Please post PJ shootout opinions here!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Kane D Williams, May 18, 2002.

  1. Kane D Williams

    Kane D Williams
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    Hi folks

    Well it finally happened!

    Thanks to all those who attended and brought equipment, to RGB for their envolvement and a very special thanks to AV-Sales, who have been great and seem like a truely honest company to deal with and I'd urge anyone to give them a look if concidering a PJ etc! They made us feel very welcome, gave us food and drink and never tried to sell us anything! Best of all they were nice guys (and one lady)!

    I have to go to work now, so will post my impressions of the PJ's later, but I will say that none of the PJ's were set up to anywhere their full potential IMO and the shootout raised as many questions as it did answer! I also think that some of my opinions will differ from other members, but hey, that's why this is all so much fun! More later!!!

    Cheers Kane


    PS. If this thread gets too big (50+ posts), we should then start a new PT2 thread I think!?
     
  2. jrwood

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    Yeah glad you guys/gals enjoyed yourselves. I can't believe no one has posted their opinions yet on the projectors and what they saw! :(
     
  3. Timh

    Timh
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    :( come on then!
     
  4. Kane D Williams

    Kane D Williams
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    OK, so I guess I'll go first! I know that others will have different views and so hopefully the discussion will begin??

    Firstly, as I pointed out, I believe that all the PJ's there can look much better than they did, but this is not to say they looked bad, in fact I liked them all in different ways! We often had screen sizes that where different from one another and although at the beginning of the night the VW11HT, TW100 and AE100 (plus a Plasma that no one took any notice of) were all being run from an Extron DVS204 scaler (I think that was the model) at RGBHV. Strangely enough, all PJ's were seeing a different resolution, none of which matched their native panels! So they all had to re-process the picture!

    My immediate impression was that I liked the Epson the most, but I thought the Sony was very smooth! After about 10 mins I started to realise that the Sony's smoothness, which I had first thought may be lack of definition, was actually just simply a stunningly film-like smoothness with as much detail as was on the DVD's! The Epson kicked butt when it came to contrast and blacks (for LCD), but it suffered from the worst digital artefacts I'd ever seen on a projector (like a first generation Plasma, only worse)! The AE100 had a very similar picture to the Epson, only as would be expected, with less resolution. It too suffered from the artefacts but to a lesser degree. I was really shocked and disappointed as the artefacts made the Epson un-watchable for me, which is a shame as this is what I was interested in pursuing!

    However, as I had never heard anyone mention these artefacts before (for the TW100 & AE100), I assumed that the scaler was the culprit and when at the end of the night the Epson was given a simple S-Video feed the artefacts seemed to disappear and the unit looked very nice!

    Marks FLD filtered AE100 was an improvement over the un-filtered version and gave a great performance for the dosh, especially through the VGA, via his HCPC. Unfortunately we did not get a chance to test DVI as AV-Sales had been let down with the cable! Another very good budget performer was the Piano cutesy of Philip. This was a stonking picture, amazingly, not too far off the Z9000, which with a SRP of £9000 against the £2200 of the Piano is no mean feat for this "LITTLE" beauty!

    It became apparent that DLP does deliver a livelier picture, with more punch, contrast and deeper blacks, but sadly, I for one could not live with the rainbows, even from the gorgeous Z9000! This is a real shame, because the Z9000 was simply breathtaking in every other aspect, and at the unbelievably low price Technophobe paid for it (EU model) £5200 would have me saving now! For anyone looking to buy one of these, I would definitely suggest also budgeting for a scaler/deinterlacer, as when fed directly from the Extron the picture became 30% crisper, with fine detail popping out from every pixel! Obviously these scalers do offer a good performance when delivering the correct signal to a PJ and it's a shame we did not get a chance to set each PJ up with the Extron separately and see what they could all really do! Interestingly, when the Sony was given its native res, it showed the picture tall and thin (like a 16:9 ration on a 4:3 TV) and we could not rectify this? This was a real bummer as it resulted in the Sony being packed away to let the Piano or Sharp have a go! It's not that I didn't want to see these, as these where a great addition to the night, it's just that I felt the Sony had so much to offer!

    Most people did not like the VW11HT, practically dismissing it, saying it was too washed out. I know what they were complaining about, in that room, set up how it was it definitely had less punch and perceived contrast to any of the others, but I truly believe that this LCD gave the most film-like and detailed, artefact free presentation of them all! The detail on Mr Phoenix's lace embroidered collar and each individual strand of fur on Mr Crowe's battle attire where displayed with such precision and zero chroma crosstalk, beating etc. The others did not compare at all (DLP's not on at this point). I must concede though that the Sony did show edge tizzing (like composite video) on other material that the other didn't, but this seemed to dissipate - dodgy connection perhaps (one was a little dickey)?In a completely darkened room and maybe with a grey screen, I believe it would have looked stunning to all!? If I had to choose one of the PJ's right now, on what I saw that night, the Sony would be the one!

    In reality however, I would check out the Epson again, as I still think this can be set up to look excellent. I had totally counted it out due to the severe artefacts (like highly compressed NTL - bad solarisation), but when I saw the S-Video feed minus artefacts, my faith was restored and I really want another chance to see it shine! One point, we could not get a component signal (from Tosh 210 or 220) to sync, the picture rolled (BEWARE)! I would also like to give the Sharp a go in my home (who wouldn't) to see if I could live with the rainbows. I was not expecting to see them as I could not with the Marantz at Bristol (well only very occasionally) and if I did not have an issue with them, this would be the one hands down! Actually, I'd still look at the Sony and Epson again just to make sure as I feel the Sharp got the closest to what it can ultimately do and the others did not!

    The Panasonic and Plus are both exceptional machines and it would be hard to pick between them. The Plus has all the DLP advantages, but the AE100 can be driven by a HCPC/Scaler and the blacks can be improved (screen/filer). I think for £900 less, I'd go for the AE100 and spend the rest on another toy! One quick note about the Piano, it seemed to have less rainbows (Fifth Element SB) than the Sharp!??

    Well I'm rambling so I'm off (I'M ACTUALLY ILL). If anyone want's any more specific questions, I'll do my best to give you by views!

    Bye for now

    Kane
     
  5. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    I second all of Kane's thanks; it was a splendidly enjoyable evening with not a hint of any sales patter or pressure (unless you count that chap in the suit who sat in the corner trying to convince everybody that a Crestron remote system was really a low-budget option and that we all should get one.)

    I also agree with Kane about the sheer difficulty of comparing projectors. At any one time we had three projected images and one plasma screen lined up more or less side-by-side, but the viewing conditions couldn't be ideal and the amount of image-tweaking varied enormously from unit to unit. What was valuable was the hands-on experience, the opportunity to tweak and twiddle and compare ease-of-use.

    I'm not particularly technically-minded, so most of my impressions were based on emotional reaction rather than detailed analysis. And my overall feeling by the end of the evening was that I didn't think that - for me! - any of the more expensive projectors were worth paying the extra for above the cost of the Panasonic. Yes, the Epson was good - but was it a thousand-pounds-worth better than the AE-100? Does the extra image detail of the Sony really justify a price tag so much greater than the Panasonic's? (Of course the question of reliability is another matter...)

    Having said that, I did like the Plus Piano though: a very small and neat unit, with clear and well-laid-out controls and menus. I wasn't bothered by any rainbow effects, where I was with the much pricier Sharp.

    I suspect that if we'd been watching in different rooms, with each unit set up to give its best under ideal viewing conditions, the differences between the various projectors would have been rather more pronounced. But on a performance-per-pound basis, and taking into account factors such as control design and ease of installation, I remain perfectly content with my (relatively) cheapo Panasonic; or at least I shall be once I get it back from being repaired...

    A fascinating evening. Thanks again to Kane for setting it up and AV-Sales for hosting.

    Bert
     
  6. nelson

    nelson
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    Hi Kane and others who attended the shootout. Thanks for making the effort to set this up.

    Please can we have some in-depth comments about the TW100, I think this is the unit many of us have been waiting to hear about.

    It sounds like the black level and contrast ratio was good in comparison to the other lcd's, but how much worse than the dlp's?

    Was the screendoor significantly better than the AE100? Does the extra resolution make a noticeable improvement over the AE100 in terms of detail and sharpness?

    Was the TW100 tested at all with the HCPC?

    Were the Toshiba DVD players the only ones available with component outputs, is this why you resorted to viewing with S-Video feed? I am presuming that a good component feed would have yielded a much better picture than S-Video?

    If this problem with component feed is common to all players, then this is really serious. Even if it's only a concern with Tosh players, then it's still an issue for me, as I just purchased the SD510E.

    I unfortunately wasn't able to make the shootout, but it may have been a wasted journey anyway, as it doesn't sound as though you got to see this unit at anywhere near it's potential best performance. I think I will need to travel down as soon as I get chance and take a look for myself.

    Kane - Hope you recover soon so that you can do some serious typing!

    P.S. I hope you will copy your posts to the AV Science Forum too. I would like to see some input from Li On, MorpheusSzeuto, snathan, etc. on the component issue you have raised. These guys seem to be on the ball technically.
     
  7. Lefreck

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    The problems with the component inputs on the TW100 are due to macrovision. It seems that there already exists an update, haven?t found someone yet who got it, though. I've tried teh TW100 on its component inputs with my mv-off Pioneer DV-606 and it didn't loose sync.
     
  8. Walter mitty

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    Oh thanks lads for taking the time to do this comparison, this is just what we needed, please can you tell us any more about the Plus Piano? I`ve had an Email assureing me it`ll be available at end of this month, I`d really be grateful as I`m interested in this unit since it has the built in Scaler like the Iscan so I can watch Sky and the like without going down the PC route thanks again and well done
     
  9. nelson

    nelson
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    Lefreck,

    Thanks for the update on the component problem with the TW100. That's good news if it's only Macrovision that's the cause, as the Tosh SD510E I have just bought was from Techtronics, and has the chip upgrade which as well as making it region free, RCE compatible, also removes Macrovision from the signal path. If there is a firmware upgrade for the projector, I would be interested inthat also.
     
  10. Shockabuku

    Shockabuku
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    Hi all. Sorry for my late input...busy weekend!

    I echo all the thanks to AMC & RGB who devoted a Friday evening to a bunch of AV nerds like us! Very friendly & "hands-on" atmosphere, and it's so rare to get the chance to compare projectors like that.

    My impressions were very similar to Kane's....

    TW100 initially looked great. Great level of detail, which really stood out against the AE100 (for example) in dark areas of the image. However, those digital artefacts were the worst I have ever seen...so much so that we thought there must have been a problem in the setup somewhere. The AE100 was showing them too, although to a lesser degree, and they disappeared when using my HCPC. Similarly, they disappeared on the TW100 when feeding S-Video, so that suggests the Extron was at fault (not good for a £2k scaler!). This was not confirmed as the culprit, but I can't think of anything else.

    Although the Sony wasn't in use for long, I agree with Kane that it produced a stunning image, apart from the "aliasing" (tizzing) that was probably a factor of scaling. Feed it a native signal & it'll be fine. For the money, it produced a stunning picture, with great detail & contrast (for an LCD). Colour temp was too warm, but I'm sure that's tweakable.

    The big daddy for me was Technophobe's Sharp (it should be for the dosh!). Absolutely stunning image that competes with a good CRT television imho. I'm very suceptible to rainbows, & the Sharp for me produced very few. If I had the money, I'd get one!

    The Piano was a wonderful little thing. It really shows the advantages of DLP...superb contrast, vivid colours & a very small form factor. Unfortunately, the rainbows for me were terrible. Such a shame...I'd seriously consider one over the AE100 if it wasn't for them.

    My AE100 (with FL-D, fed from my HCPC) produced a much better image than the standard AE100...but then I already knew that :D The shootout reassured me that I'd put my money in the right place. Given a tight budget, you can't beat the HCPC/AE100 combo imho. For £2k, you've got a 16:9 projector, a DVD player, Pre-amp (if that's your taste) and all the other features of a PC...the only consideration is the hassle factor. Maybe I'm biased though.

    Finally, one little box that really impressed me, so much so that I've already put in a pre-order with av-sales, is an as yet unnamed video scaler/tuner box. For approx £150, this little box handles an s-video input very nicely indeed. We tried it with the TW100, and was a marked inprovement on a straight s-vid feed to the pj. It also has a handy VGA passthrough, and even a TV tuner built in & a remote. It should apparently be available within a couple of weeks.

    So, a jolly good evening. Thanks to all for organising / attending, and I'm looking forward to the next one!

    Mark.
     
  11. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    I should have mentioned that one of the real bonuses of the evening for me was the chance to see the AE-100 fed by a PC. Yes, as everyone says, a very noticeable increase in the picture quality; if the PC interface can indeed be made almost transparent then it strikes me as a very worthwhile way to go.

    The rainbow effect is certainly a problem, but I would urge anyone to have as detailed a demo as possible before rejecting DLP technology on the strength of it. As I said above, I saw almost no rainbows on the Piano, but found them very vivid on the Sharp - the exact opposite of Shockabuku's experience.

    Bert
    http://www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  12. Guest

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    Regarding the issue with getting the Toshiba 210 to sync through component, did this apply to using it with the Panasonic? I was considering pairing this player with Iscan to connect up to the Panasonic...so this may be a potential problem for me....
    Best regards
    LittleT2
     
  13. Shockabuku

    Shockabuku
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    Hi LittleT2. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we could hook the Tosh up to the AE100. It was getting late & the patient chap from RGB needed his cable back!
     
  14. Guest

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    Shockabuku....in your opinion, how much better is the ae100 picture using an HCPC....compared to running it via a dvd player using Iscan pro for example.....and what problems am in likely to run into using a HCPC if that is the route i take?
    best regards
    LittleT2
     
  15. Shockabuku

    Shockabuku
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    Well, I haven't seen an Iscan in action, so can't comment on that one. However, I can say that the benefits to image quality are considerable when using a HCPC. I'd also include the Hoya FL-D filter in the equation too...I wouldn't be without it.

    What problems are you likely to run into? Hrmmm...depends how good/patient you are with PCs really ;) If you can build a PC, then you've got enough knowledge to build a HCPC (with a little help from this forum regarding components & software). As far as tweaking is concerned (coz you will want to!), the AE100/HCPC combo has been just about tweaked out, so all that lovely knowledge is available for people to brain dump all over you.

    Building & setting up the hardware & software is pretty quick. It's getting it all user-friendly that takes time...integrating with a remote control etc. It's worth the investment in time though if you really want to squeeze every last bit of image quality out of the AE100.

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  16. Guest

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    Cheers Mark....could you give me a run down of what hardware/software combination you are running at the moment....it would give me a good starting point to build a similar PC to someone who is already running an ae100 this way.
    Best regards
    LittleT2
     
  17. Shockabuku

    Shockabuku
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    No problem. Here's my spec...

    Hardware...

    ASUS A7M Mobo
    AMD Athlon 1Ghz
    512 meg PC133 RAM
    40Gb IBM 7200 HD
    ATI Radeon 7500 graphics card
    M-Audio Delta 410 sound card
    IRman infra-red receiver
    Trust RF keyboard & mouse
    Philips Pronto
    DIGN case (on order)

    Software...

    Windows XP Professional
    PowerDVD XP (fully loaded version)
    Girder
    Powerstrip
    Norton Ghost

    It's worth checking out the FAQ on the HCPC forum here for more details. There are alternatives to a lot of the above, but I've tried to go for "best in class" as much as possible, though without forking out silly money.

    If you want any more info, feel free to start another thread on the HCPC forum (don't want to totally hijack this thread!)

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  18. Guest

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    Cheers Mark....apologies to Kane for off the topic.....will perhaps see you over in the HCPC section :)
    Best regards
    LittleT2
     
  19. Kane D Williams

    Kane D Williams
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    Nelson

    The only sure positive things I can tell you about the TW100 are that the black and white levels looked very good and hence the contrast ratio. I would say that in a darkened room the contrast would equal the average cinema, but in comparison with the DLP's, well these looked even better, like CRT TV! I could not see any real screen door effect on any of the PJ's as the pictures where quite small and the extra resolution was noticeable over the AE100, but not hugely. Although, I think as the screen size grows this will become a prominent advantage!

    We did use the HCPC with the Epson, but was not sure if we had perfect pixel mapping? It was an improvement over the Extron feed, but I can't remember if it eliminated the horrid solarisation effect? I know that I was never overwhelmed by the PJ, but still believe it has potential to be great!

    The Tosh players where the only ones used with component o/p.

    I would like to state that the Sony was never fed from the PC or stand-alone DVD player, or successfully given its native res from the scaler and it still looked superb.

    I'd just like to point out that this was in no way a wasted journey, as I met a lot of nice people and got to see a lot of nice kit. Admittedly not at there best, but I've still seen them!


    Walter

    Just like to clear up that the IScan is not a scaler, just a deinterlacer. All digital PJ's have their own scalers and deinterlacers. The Sil 503/4 that is in the Iscan/Piano/TW100 is a very good deinterlacer though and reduced jaggies considerably compared to the Sony et al! The scaler in the Sony seemed excellent though, much better than the Sharp, which still looked great using its own scaler, but marvellous with the Extron!

    Kane
     
  20. Lefreck

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    The TW100 has the Faroudja deinterlacer...
     
  21. Kane D Williams

    Kane D Williams
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    Yeah, I don't know why I made that mistake... I'm only human I guess!:D

    I must say that the Sage/Faroudja chip that is in the TW100 and Marantz (and a few others inc Mitsubishi) works very well.

    Kane
     
  22. Guest

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    Ah, I've been busy on site visits this week so haven't had a chance to reply sooner.

    My thoughts on the shootout - Well, my main purpose of visiting was to see the AE100 in action. Though I have a Piano my brother is contemplating a pj so wanted my recommendation. I have to say, from what I saw I was most impressed by the Pany. I thought it's picture detail and colours very vibrant. Initially it was being fed by the Extron though to be honest I struggled to see much difference when it was fed from the HTPC .... and for that matter even the s-vid feed. However, the screen sizes were quite small so it was difficult to get a feel for how any of the projectors would fare in a home environment.

    Unfortunately the Sony was just being taken away when I arrived so I didn't see much of it in action. The Epson was impressive in it's punch and vibrance and you could see there was more detail present. One thing I did notice about the LCD's when they were being fed from the HTPC is that there seemed to be a faint cross hatching present - not screendoor, much larger than that. I'm guessing it was due to the feed but I couldn't confirm that.

    It was clearly obvious though that both the DLP's had much better blacks even given the lack of light control in the room. The picture on the Sharp looked fantastic - if money were no object I would have one. It's detail level, in combination with the contrast level of DLP gave a simply stunning picture. Again I was searching to see much difference between feeding it from a component feed or the Extron.

    For some bizarre reason my Piano seemed to throw a wobbly when being fed from the Samsung. But fed from my Tosh via S-vid or the SD-210 via component there was no problem whatsoever.

    I won't comment on the Piano performance since I'm biased - but my recommendation to my brother: If he can only afford 1300 then get the AE-100. If he can afford 2200 I think the DLP of the Piano offers a great picture (so long as they release them in this country) and 'Plug and Play' simplicity. I'm undecided about the Espon - nice detail, bright picture, but the price??? And if he wins the lottery, go for the Sharp.

    One final thought - I recommend anyone how has only read about these projectors to see them physically. I had only ever seen my Piano and thought others were of similar size. How wrong was I - the sony and the Sharp were monsters by comparison to mine! You definately need to factor that in to the 'can I live with it hanging of my ceiling' question.

    Thanks Kane for organising it all,

    Cheers.
     
  23. Guest

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    Kane,

    I notice that the Sony wasnt driven via p.c.-which was a shame-as I believe that via p.c./ avia calibrated /colour temp adjusted-it has 30% better contrast.
    At its native 1366 x 768 -bypassing its internal scaler(which is very good)-it is 20% better in terms of smoothness and colour vibrancy.

    When folks see a correctly calibrated Sony they would not baulk at paying a premium over cheaper projectors!..unfortunately most never have..

    How did the 11ht compare to the Sharp(ive never seen them together..)?
    Doug :)
     
  24. Technophobe

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    Sorry for the late feedback, been on holiday for the last week.
    Many thanks due to Kane and AV-Sales for bringing us nerds together for the evening, I found it all most interesting.
    I’m not going to compare the Sharp as this is not in the same price bracket as the other projectors on show.

    I arrived part way through the evening when the Sony, Epson and the Panny were being shown from a common source. My first thoughts were how good the Epson looked with its superb contrast compared with the other LCD’s on show. I thought LCD technology had peaked but this shows there’s plenty more to come. Unlike most I wasn’t overly bothered by the minor artefacts and would be quite happy to live with it and maybe add an external scaler later.

    For the price the panny looked great, I can see why it’s so popular and is an excellent first buy, but how long before your yearning for better contrast I wonder?

    I was expecting great things from the Sony considering their reputation but was very disappointed with the contrast and where most thought it smooth and cinematic I thought it simply lacked detail especially considering the high resolution panels it uses. Was there something wrong I wonder?
    The biggest surprise for me was the Piano, which looked superb and is so compact!
    In a properly darkened room I’m sure it looks great, pity they didn’t see fit to add a zoom lens as this must restrict the possible use in some installations.
    If Plus could bump up the output a little and add a zoom lens I’m sure this would be a winner.

    My personal interest was in trying the Sharp with an external scaler or HTPC.
    Despite postings that say otherwise the internal scaler can and was successfully bypassed to enter the ‘Dot by Dot’ mode to give much smoother moving images without any artefacts that I could see.

    One last point can anyone explain why I too could see rainbows on the Sharp, yet at home I very rarely see them? Could it be related to the external scalers frame rate or because the picture size was so bright (small picture size), or perhaps simply that our eyes were more mobile at the event and not continually focused on the screen as they would be at home?


    Many thanks to all that attended and to AV-Sales for hosting the event I had an enjoyable evening.


    Technophobe
     

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