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Need some opinions... please :-)

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by docfeelgood, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    I'm looking to buy my first projector and have been looking at models ranging from 1k to 3.75k.... although I have only seen a few in action (difficult to find demo's).

    The models I have looked and and shortlisted are:

    Panny PT-AE300 / Sanyo Z1
    Sharp XV91E
    Domino Sim2 20

    I know these models vary a lot in price but I don't mind the cost so long as it's worth the extra for the leap in image quality.

    I have seen a panny PT-AE200 in a very brief demo and it seemed fine.
    I have also seen the Sim2 and that was a fantastic picture. haven't seen the Sharp tho.

    Can someone who has seen these 3 PJ's 'in action' give me their opinions on what the differences are in terms of image quality and any other important differences (I know some are LCD and some are DLP).

    I want to buy a PJ and keep it for at least 3 years.... don't want to be upgrading every year.

    The room is about 8foot wide by about 13 foot long and I want to ceiling mount the PJ at the back of the room. We will be sitting approx 10 feet away from the screen.

    I'm hoping that this excellent forum (which helped me pick my CRT) can help me settle on the right PJ for me.

    best regards

    :)

    Doc
     
  2. Mirablo

    Mirablo
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    sharp or sim 2 only your eyes will tell you if the money is being well spent . id have the sim .. but its not my money.. the sharp is nice if its rainbow free for you
     
  3. Bristol Pete

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    the sharp four about 3.5 hours and thought it was an amazing image. I happened to see one rainbow in that time, which was on a night time scene on the region one edition of U571.

    It has a picture that I would describe as lush and filmic and probably the best picture that I have seen on a PJ yet.

    However, and it a big minus point, the Z91E is a 4:3 panel only with a resolution of 800 x 600 which would result in a scaled down 16:9 image. In fairness this still looked fab but it was the 4:3 overscan that really put me off and made me decide not to buy it. The overscan would have lit too much of the wall surrounding my screen and I was not sure I could live with it.

    I rationalised that buying a £2.2K 4:3 PJ in mid to late 2003 is perhaps a backward step.

    Each to their own though. note that some 4:3 PJs like the peerless NEC HT1000 can display a 16:9 image sans overscan at a perfect resolution for PAL images.

    Demo the Z91E, thats the least you can do.

    Cap:smashin:
     
  4. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    I saw the Sharp, Infocus X1, Sim2 HT200DMF and the NEC HT1000 over at Jeff Paynters place early this year, and the Sim had slightly better colour and smoothness to the image. I chose the HT1000 because it was £1000 cheaper and isn't that shabby. :)

    If you can see the HT1000 and Sim2 Domino, then you won't be dissapointed. Both deliver excellent images, but you have to decid which one is better for you and the extra cost.

    The X1 is a bargain at around £800 online now, and I didn't see a lot of difference between it and the Sharp. The X1 will be more prone to rainbows due to the slower colour wheel.

    If you can get down to Horsham, Jeff will give you a great demo:

    www.projectorsareus.co.uk

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  5. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    Thx for the replys :)

    I notice nobody has mentioned the panasonic.... are the other two miles better in terms of picture quality in your opinions?

    Also... the Sharp...

    with it having a 4:3 panel, does that mean that widescreen 16:9 movies (like from Sky or DVD) will have bigger borders than a PJ with a 16:9 panel? (scuse my ignorance).

    I guess what I'm asking is what are the trade-off's or implications of having a PJ with a 4:3 panel when most of the sources you watch are in 'widescreen' format?


    oh... and any more opinions on the above PJ's would be great.

    I've added the NEC to my list :)

    cheers
    Doc
     
  6. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    The NEC is 4:3 - xga 1024 x 768, but will just use 1024 x 576 for widescreen, If you tell it you have a 16:9 screen (in the menu, talking to it won't do anything :) ), then it will only use the 16:9 portion of the dmd and keep everything within the boundaries.

    There is a very small amount of overspill within the 4:3 panel above and below the 16:9 image, but it's barely perceptible if you don't have a 4:3 screen or light coloured walls, so the black border you mention may not be an issue. This will vary form pj to pj. There is no trade off with xga panles, except that you get a smaller 4:3 image if you use it as 16:9 and display 4:3 within it. I feel that tv programs should always be smaller than movies so that you don't lose the impact of the film. Sports is a different kettle of fish though.

    svga panels are only 800 x 600, so downscaling of both NTSC and PAL films has to be done to accomodate them. That's why xga is the better choice IMHO.

    I've not seen the Panasonics myself, but they do seem to be good value. There does seem to be some issues with reliability though.


    Gary.
     
  7. Noger

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    Hi,

    Recently saw the AE300 , Z1 and XV91E "back to back".

    All are excellent units. Can't see (unless you get rainbows on the sharp - which I didn't despite getting loads on an IBM pj) someone being disappointed with any of them. Prefered the sharp ... even over the HT1000.

    If you hang on for another couple of weeks, the Z2 and A500 should be around. Even more choice !!
     
  8. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    Thx :)

    Would the chicken-wire / screen door effect be noticeable on the AE300 from about 10 feet away with a 5 or 6 foot screen?

    I'm also still wondering about the 'bang for bucks' thing..... I mean the Sharp and Panny sound great and are priced around £1800 and £1300 respectively. The Sim2 is £3750.

    Is it really two thousand pounds better in terms of image quality?

    Usually I'd just go and see for myself but it's difficult to find a dealer who has PJ demo faciliies never mind one who has all of the models you want to see.

    I'm relying on the eyes of the forum to make things clearer :)

    regards

    Doc
     
  9. Noger

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    No, AE300 didn't have as much screendoor, due to the "softer" image trickery.

    With the higher resolution of the new models this should be reduced still further.

    I know it is difficult, but I really would suggest making a trip to see some demo's. It is very subjective ... particularly with the DLP/LCD issue. If you don't see rainbows then a cheaper DLP can produce a great picture.

    But I am not a great ambassador .... despite seeing 10 or so units in a week (luckily I am "between jobs" at the moment) ... I have ordered the new Sony without even seeing it.
     
  10. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    LOL :)

    Thx for the advice matey.

    Which Sony are you going for?
     
  11. Noger

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    The HS20.
     
  12. Pulsar

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    Noger,

    I have the HS10, which i purchased blind. You will not be dissapointed.

    Rob
     
  13. Noger

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    Yeah, I saw the HS10 last week. Very nice too.
     
  14. yatesd2404

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    Hi



    I have the Sharp that you are thinking about and so far have not been dissapointed. However, I would agree with comments above that you really need to see to decide, even if it is difficult to find a good demo place.

    When I went for the demo I was thinking of either the AE300 or the Sharp and had the same worries about 4:3 vs 16:9.

    What decided it for me was that I took my own player in and played around for about 2 hours switching between different sources.

    I watch alot of 16:9 via DVD but also alot of football in 4:3. I found that the quality of the Sharp when presented with the 16:9 image was still really good and when given a 4:3 image was obviously great. I didn't like the way the Ae300 tried to portray the 4:3 image.

    Another big point for me was that the Sharp seemed to give a really good black and more natural colours. The Panasonic black seemed a little grey for my liking.

    But it really is down to individual eyes, I have never had any rainbow issues and yet a friend complained after about an hour of rainbows that I could never see.

    I did think that I was getting more headaches when I first got it, but I am now not sure if this was simply the fact that I sat in and watched more films in the dark and drank more wine and beer whilst doing it. Don't get headaches at all now.

    Anyway, there are some great machines out there now and I am sure you will not be dissapointed in whatever you go for.

    I would maybe also put some thought into what connections you are going to want today and in 6 months. What will your sources be and is DVI inputs something that will be of use??

    If you have any specific questions about the Sharp then let me know.


    Good luck,


    Dave.
     
  15. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    Thx Dave.

    What did the panny do with the 4:3 image that concerned you?

    Oh... and how have you got it set up?

    I'll be ceiling mounting it at around 13foot (4metres) and sitting at around 10 feet from the screen. Not sure what screen size this will give and what size screen to buy etc.

    cheers matey.
     
  16. yatesd2404

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    No worries mate.

    The panny when presented with the 4:3 image did the same as my widescreen TV it either distorted the image to try to fit a 16:9 frame or gave you a small picture. I must admit I watch alot (and I mean alot) of football and sport so therefore 4:3 was probs more important to me than most. With that in mind and the black and colours from the Sharp I went that route. But would agree if you expect not to use 4:3 much than a native 16:9 could be better.

    Unfortunately I have not been able to ceiling mount my PJ as am in a rented place in germany at the minute but expect to be moving in next 6 months so did not want to do a permanent fixing.

    That is actually something else I like that it is quick and easy to configure as I basically keep all the connections in but move it to and from coffee table when I went to use it.

    Is not perfect scenario but I can get it configured up in a minute so not a big problem.

    My room is about 4.5 m long and about 3 m wide. I think my PJ is about 3m away when on the coffee table. I have a 100inch screen I believe and this fills it up nicely. It could do larger at that distance but not much more, and I feel that this is probs as large as I could handle from that distance (say 3.5m) without needing to move head instead of just eyes.

    You can actually download the PDF for the Z91 and that lists the max screen sizes, I can mail it to you if you want.

    Otherwise I know that there is a good site reguarly linked here with screen size calculations based on room sizes. Don't know it off hand but sure someone will or a search will find it.


    Cheers,

    Dave.
     
  17. Bristol Pete

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    Nice posts. Interesting stuff.

    So in reality, how much does the overscan affect you in the domestic environment and are you aware of it at all?

    Also, how much of a 16:9 screen does a 2.35.1 image fill or not fill - when both the DVD deck and PJ are set to 16:9. I did not realise that the sharp apparently recognises 16:9 signals and adjusts accordingly. Do you crave a 16:9 image and does the scled down image lack anything compared to a standard 16:9 PJ?

    I feel kind of gutted at the mo, as you may have seen the my AE300 has died. Well, I have had no end of problems with LCD PJs and I sometimes wish I had cut my losses and bought the DLP Sharp. The stupid thing is that it was £200.00 out of my price range so I went for the Panny, only to end up buying a Unicol ceiling mount for £175.00 :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Me and money dont go together:rolleyes:

    Glad you are sorted though:clap:

    Cap:smashin:
     
  18. yatesd2404

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    Hi Captain,


    Will try and answer what I can but I am certainly no expert and what I write is merely based on my impressionsa and my dodgy eyes.

    First off sorry to hear about your panny.

    I have read and can understand that a 4:3 panel can not correctly portray a 16:9 image and hence you lose some resolution. For me though I could not see a difference between the Panny and the Sharp in terms of resolution when feeding a progressive scan image via my DV27. I took my unit in and fed a mixture of NTSC and PAL signals to both using Gladiator, Shrek, Lord of the Rings, Lawrence of Arabia and The Blue Planet as my test discs. I felt that these would give me extreme blacks (The Blue Planet and Rings cave scenes) and this was where I found that the Sharp seemed to portray better darks than the Panny.

    I was using Shrek hoping that the extreme colours and animation would be good to show up resolution and colour issues, and I saw nor real difference here, both seemed really good. With Gladiator I found that the Sharp was seemed to get the facial colour better.

    As I say it is all personal opinion. I will also be honest and say I am not exactly sure what is meant by the overscan. I have read a few bits and I am assuming that that is to do with the light going outside of the actual image when portraying a 16:9 image.

    This is possible as I do have issues that I can see some edges of light that creep over the edges of the black backgrounds of my screen. I was never sure whether this was because I never had a perfect placement as at the minute I do have to use a slight keystone correction as well.

    I imagine this might for some people be annoying but it has never really detracted from my viewing pleasure and it is only very slight. My room is all white at the minute so even with blackouts on windows is probably a little too light anyway, so this might mask any problem that would be more visible with a darker room.

    As for the size of the image, not sure I can give a good answer on that one. I have a 4:3 screen, I do still watch alot of films naturally in 16:9 and still get what for me is a good picture and large enough picture for the room. If anything I might say that my 4:3 image is a little large for the room (anyone who seen Martin Keown on a large screen close up will know what I mean).

    Not sure what size you would get for a 4:3 image being portrayed onto a 16:9 screen, as I remember you got fullscreen depending on what option you decided to choose for stretching and zooming image.


    Not sure if any of this helps, if someone can tell me what overscan actually is (if I am wrong) then can re-assess my home situation.



    Cheers,

    Dave.
     
  19. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    Hi Captain

    Sorry about the panny..... no fun when that sort of thing happens.

    Question for you.

    What kind of problems have you had with LCD PJ's ?

    The reason I ask is that it often looks like this forum is made up of mostly Panny LCD owners. So obviously it could seem biased in favour of those PJ's (although I'm sure they are great projectors).

    However, I've heard a few people mention reliability problems with these PJ's.

    Also, on the subject of LCD and DLP. A guy who I would say was pretty experienced with selling and setting up projectors told me 'after seeing decent DLP PJ's he would never buy another LCD'.

    I know it's always down to taste and opinions etc. However, you have first hand experience and an educated opinion which is very appreciated when trying to narrow down my list of PJ's to demo.

    regards

    :)
    Doc
     
  20. Bristol Pete

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    Well,

    My experience of LCD has been hit and miss. I have had three faulty Z1's which exhibited the usual LCD suspects in the guise of dead pixels, vertical banding (very badly too) and one that simply switched itself off due to over heating!

    I then, perhaps through frustration bought an HS2 on a whim, which was lovely and trouble free aside from the screen-door effect which began to irritate after having at home on a week long demo. However, that is simply an opinion, not a fault. Sometimes wonder if I should have just kept it !

    Ended up with the Panny AE300 which has been OK until this week.

    Cant really say that its LCD in general, simply PJ's full stop.

    I have however come to realise the DLP does have a superior image to LCD in the right set up and I think that my next PJ will almost certainly be a 16:9 DLP PJ, eye strain with standing !

    Cap:)
     
  21. Philly112

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    Well, after a few weeks reading this excellent site, finally took the plunge, bought a pj and here's my first post!
    Have got a Z91E, demoed vs the Panny 300 and Z1.
    I have to say that I went to the dem 99% certain of the Panny (mainly from reviews, 16.9 panel, this site etc). After seeing the Z91 however, the picture was just clearly, well, more cinematic to me. Difficult to express really, but just better (on 2.35 image on a 16.9 screen, so, yes, there was overspill). The wife was even more convinced, and when I started to say well, yes, but it's got poor resolution, 4.3 etc she just replied: look at the bloody picture!!!
    I have read alot of posts here saying only buy a 4.3 pj if you watch alot of tele/4.3 dvd's etc. Well, I don't, and frankly don't think this should put you off. If you don't see any rainbows (we didn't) buy it. Forget the tech aspects and overspill (not a big problem) and just sit back and watch.
    I can't really give any tech advice at this stage as have not done too much experimenting, but it's easy to set up (we have a temporary portable screen, and it takes me 2 minutes to get up and running). Fan noise lowish, but not the silence the ads would have us believe (but none are). Depends where you site it I suppose.
    I'd also add that it's bigger than the others (Sim2 bigger maybe, but not seen that), but also better looking (not that I fancy it of course). No DVI input, but again, we're talkng techie stuff - just listen to my wife!!!
    I'm using component input from a non prog scan player, and the picture is so good I'd really need a good home demo of a prog player to make me upgrade.
     
  22. yatesd2404

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    Philly112,


    Welcome to the club mate. I have been an owner of the 91e for about 5 months now and never regretted the decision and you seem to have echoed my thoughts and decsions as well.

    Anyway, all the best and hope you have as much fun with your new toy as I have.



    Dave.
     
  23. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    Thx for the info chaps.

    ... this is sounding good :)

    Any ideas where I can demo the Sharp? Even better if I can demo both the Panny, Sharp and NEC in the same place.

    Also, nobody has mentioned or compared the Domino Sim2 20 to these projectors (Panny 300 & Sharp) which was the other one on my list.... although an expensive option! Is it worth another 2K ?

    I live in between Newcastle and Sunderland (can't find anywhere in Newcastle that have the Sharp in to demo)

    best regards

    Doc
     
  24. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    oops .. sorry. Gary mentioned the Sim2 on page one!

    Anyone else seen the Sim2 and can compare?

    ... and that demo.... in search of the elusive Sharp 91e
     
  25. homerdog

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    I'm another relative newbie on here (been lurking for quite a while!), so I'm no expert, but I may be able to help regarding your room dimensions/screen size/seating position etc, as it is very similar to mine.

    I have a NEC HT1000 mounted 11' from a 7' 16:9 screen and it just manages to fill the screen, so if you are thinking about a 6' screen at 13' you should have no problems. The AE300 has an even shorter throw, so will also be no problem, whereas the HS10 is quite a long throw and would have been unsuitable for my application.

    When I demo'd the above 3, I thought that the picture on all of them was excellent, and at my seating position screen door was not an issue. The first to be ruled out was the Sony because of the long throw (which may not be an issue with the screen size you are considering) and also because it was too noisy to be ceiling mounted directly above my head.

    So it became a straight choice between the Panny and NEC. The NEC did have a better picture, but not £1000 better (and I did spot the odd rainbow), so I was going to go with the Panny. However, I had heard the stories about Panny reliability (confirmed by the dealer, who said that they were no longer prepared to stock them because of it). In contrast, the NEC came with a 3 year on site warranty and a good reputation for reliability.

    In the end I paid the extra for the NEC, mainly because I didn't want the hassle of ceiling mounting the projector only for it to keep breaking down. The added bonus is that I was able to mount it close to the rear wall because it vents out of the front and sides, rather than the rear, which seems to be the case with most other projectors.

    Two months down the line I am convinced I made the right choice. Sorry for going on so much, but hope this helps you make your decision :)
     
  26. docfeelgood

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    Thx for the posts chaps... appreciate it.

    Anyone had any thoughts about where I can demo these PJ's within reasonable driving distance of Newcastle.

    best regards

    Doc
     

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