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Optoma H50 v Sony VPL-HS10 v Sanyo Z1

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by John_N, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. John_N

    John_N
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    Hi Guys

    As you can see, I'm about to buy the HS10 but suddenly am worried by the noise levels, despite the seemingly good spec of the HS-10 and the enthusiastic reception it has received,

    So it occurred to me to ask a few questions:

    The DLP-based Optoma H50 has recieved a good review. If we leave the rainbow effect out of it, how does the image look? Has anyone seen one and compared it to the HS10?

    The Sanyo Z1 is a lot cheaper but again has good reviews.
    Has anyone seen the Z1 side by side with the HS-10 and compared it. Is the HS10 worth the extra cash - especially here in the UK where the extra resolution is not going to be used really because we don't have HDTV.

    Or am I being over-cautious to worry about the noise level of the HS10 in the first place?

    Cheers
    John
     
  2. NJS

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  3. John_N

    John_N
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    I think I've been convinced by Webloader not to worry so much about noise levels. I'm going to the Sony Centre in Reading tomorrow to have a look at the HS10 so I'll give my critical feedback then.

    I have an HS10 reserved at a secret location ;) (they only had 1 in stock) so if everything goes according to plan I should have it next week.

    I liked the look of the HS-10 from the spec (WXGA panels and reasonable black level and contrast ratio) and I've looked at a few DLP projectors and I felt a bit headachy after a while. Also I gather that the colours on the LCD are often more saturated and accurate if you can get rid of the dreaded screen door which according to 99% of reviews is not a problem on the HS10 - which I can believe so I think it's a trip to Sony for me...

    Shame it's not a bit smaller though than the 369mm depth. This would need a deep shelf unless you do put it in an alcove. :)

    Does anyone have any experience of screens? I'm thinking of using a grey/white wall at first. I've not been able to find a grey screen UK supplier - and besides - I wanted to see how things looked on white / grey walls.

    I don't want to spend loads on the screen. The Stewart firehawk is a case in point. I've not found a uk supplier for DaLite high contrast screens. The UK cheap screens I've found have all been white and none have been tab-tensioned.

    It's quite an interesting can of worms....
    John
     
  4. retrof

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    Hi John,

    Would be very interested to hear how you find the noise level. I can't get a demo here, but would like to know how it compares to the noise of something like a Playstation2 fan or PC fan. If I go for the HS10, I'll have to mount it directly above my seating position, hence my worries regarding noise - I don't have the volume pumped up all the time, so no guarantee it would be drowned out!

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    -rf
     
  5. xander

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    Any reason why you don't include the AE300 in your list? I'm totally amazed at it's picture quality from just a standard PAL interlaced signal...
     
  6. John_N

    John_N
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    Hi

    According to the spec that I read, the AE300 is:
    800 ansi lumens
    800:1 contrast
    960 * 540 WVGA 16:9 native.

    The reason I looked at the HS10 was because it was:
    slightly brighter (1000 ansi cinema black off)
    700:1 contrast (slightly worse)
    1388 * 788 WXGA 16:9 native.

    I realise that the ANSI lumens have no real meaning because they tend to be inflated for max output.
    Once the projector is calibrated properly then tend to drop and of course as the lamp ages.

    The HS10 review in
    projector central illustrates this quite well, but does mention that you can get 851 ansi lumens from the HS10 with cinema black on and default 'mid' colour temperatures. We all obviously want as much light as possible and I intend to do some viewing with some ambient light so this is a factor, even if the human eye is not really able to distinguish between 800 and 900 lumens for an average screen I guess it helps to have as much as possible.

    The contrast ratio plays an important part in enjoyment, but I gather that these ratios are often inflated or messed around with by manufacturers in order to gain better figures. I think 700:1 and 800:1 are both very good pictures for an LCD given a few years ago they stood at 100:1 !

    The big factor for me was the resolution. A standard PAL picture has 625 lines (interlaced) and when playing a PAL dvd the DVD stores 720 x 576 pixels. This is slightly too large to fit onto the resolution of the panasonic without some scaling and therefore you are losing detail from the DVD. A good article that explains PAL v NTSC dvd is available here

    This was one of the reasons (perhaps not very good) that I used. If I could see the panasonic side-by-side then I guess that would be a lot better.

    I'm off to the sony centre tomorrow. I'll report back on perceived noise level and picture quality if I can.
     
  7. John_N

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    Hi

    Well I saw the HS10 today at the Sony Centre. Followed by the optoma H50. Here is a comparison of both.


    The sony HS10 first....

    Noise level

    The noise level was apparent when I stood next to the unit and listened for it. However it wasn't as bad as I expected. In terms of absolute level I would class it as being about the same as a very quiet 'micro' PC. So the noise level didn't bother me.

    They had it set up to the side, using digital keystone correction (side shot 2) to keep the picture square. They were using a sony DVD player on an S video feed.

    Picture Quality
    The picture was stunning. On bold colourful scenes like Shrek and Monsters Inc the colours were bright and bold and the picture was perfectly acceptable.

    I then looked at Attack of the Clones to see the black level. Skin tones looked fine in 'cinema black' mode although we did have the lines dimmed when in 'cinema black' to see the picture properly. The optional filter was not fitted.

    Brightness and ambient light
    To view with the lights on, we turned the level up to 'max' and this made skin tones look a bit unrealistic but for watching match of the day in daylight I'm sure it would be fine. I'm more into watching the material than moaning about the colour balance to be honest. Most people will fine it stunning.

    I was suprised how bright it was. It produced a very bright image in this well lit room. The image was about 100 inch diagonal and was on a plain white screen.

    Screen door
    I was able to see the pixel structure when very close to the 100 inch screen. It disappeared by the time my eyes were more than about 4 feet away. This was too close to sit anyway.

    At a comfortable viewing distance of about 7 feet from the screen I couldn't make out any pixellation or screen door at all.


    The Optoma H50

    I then decided to audition this DLP because it was supposed to be a 'good' DLP projector. And so it is. It was driven from a TAG progressive DVD player (about £3000+) on component video so it was really showing the best quality possible.

    Noise level
    This seemed on par with the Sony. Again, I didn't find it annoying - about the same as a quiet micro PC would be.

    Picture Quality.
    Again - was brilliant on both films I watched (Monsters Inc and MI 2). The black level was better than on the Sony but not by much.
    This is a 4:3 native unit so I could see very faint grey bars top and bottom but I had to look for them. They didn't bother me at all. All in all, the picture quality of the H50 was just as good as on the Sony - despite the lower resolution of the display on the H50 and the fact that the poor Sony was fed using S-video in non-ideal conditions AND using digital keystone correction.

    Brightness
    It didn't seem as bright as the sony though, despite it being rated the same or slightly higher I would have said the sony was brighter. It was still perfectly acceptable though. I didn't see it running in a room with the lights on to compare ambient light quality.

    Pixellation
    The pixels were visible at about 4 feet from the screen again. However, they looked different because it was DLP so the edges were kind of merged together. To all intents and purposes I would put the pixellation performance of both on the same level more or less.

    Rainbow and was the image 'tiring' to watch?
    This was the deal killer for me. I couldn't see it at all during Monsters Inc. Then I started to feel tired and started to get a bit of a headache. Then we switched to MI2. However, on the dark scenes in MI2, it bothered me a lot. I've never seen the effect before and I hated it. I got kind of blue and green 'flashes' all over the screen whenever my eyes moved. I also found it very 'tiring' to watch the image. I had to tell the bloke to stop the film - I had seen enough. My parter was with me and she could see it too - but she saw a whole set of different colours. With me it was just blue and green. With her it was a whole set of different ones. Strange.


    Conclusion

    Both machines gave great picture quality. If I had not been able to see the rainbows and not found the Optoma H50 image tiring, I might have been tempted to buy it because of the slightly better black level and the smaller physical size of the unit, even though the resolution was lower.

    BUT. There is no denying that the Sony HS10 had a much 'easier' image to watch and in terms of the picture quality, it was very very similar indeed. I also found it brighter.

    Overall I think the sony is a superior machine and with a bit of twiddling with the settings and feeding in a good signal, I reckon that it would beat the optoma H50 quite comfortably and you have a non-tiring image to watch as well.
     
  8. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    You got tired by watching a DLP projector in a Sony Centre:confused: :confused:
     
  9. John_N

    John_N
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    Hi

    Well the projectors weren't in the same building - I saw the Sony HS10 in the Sony Centre and then I went down the road to SevenOaks hifi where I saw the Optoma H50. They weren't literally side-by-side, more one-after-another. :)
     
  10. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    And you got "tired" from watching it? Were you perchance knackered anyway?;)
     
  11. John_N

    John_N
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    Hi

    No. We both suffered from the same effect of tiredness and weird colours on the screen. It was mid-day and neither of us were tired. I felt the screen was 'tiring' to watch. It's difficult to describe but I was pleased to get outside into the daylight. It made my eyes feel tired rather than me feel sleepy if you see what I mean.

    The number of blue/green 'flashes' I saw were randomly all over the screen - about one every half a second - and were very bright - enough to totally put me off the film. Even during the first instance of 'monsters inc' I found the image 'tiring' - I found myself wanting to close my eyes half-way - a bit like staring close up at a CRT tube when you are very very tired but without the sleepy feeling. My guess is that my eyes / brain found it hard work to process the image or maybe my eyes were constantly trying to resolve the individual red/green/blue images that make up the picture and getting tired doing it... I dunno.

    I must be one of the people who are susceptible to this effect. My advice would be - make sure you go and view a DLP projector first on a variety of source material including dark scenes to see whether you are bothered. Also - make sure the reseller has a good return policy so if you take it home and then start being bothered you can take it back.

    Apart from the effect that I suffered, the optoma H50 was a great machine and if you don't get the 'rainbow effect' then I'm sure that you will be very happy with it. If it were not for the rainbows I would have a very tough time deciding between the HS10 and the optoma H50 (in terms of image quality) and I would probably have had to get both machines in the same room side-by-side, fed by the same images and view them in more detail. Still - i did think that the HS10 was brighter and better in a room with ambient light.
     

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