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Upgrade from AE100, buy scaler, or leave well alone

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Samoth, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. Samoth

    Samoth
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    I've owned a Panasonic AE100 for a couple of years now, and I've finally got round to getting a proper screen (ScreensUK Tab Tensioned Electric 2m wide) rather than the homemade job I was using before. The screen is lovely, but the downside is that it's making me notice the flaws in the projector more.

    My main source is DVD (a Pioneer 470), over component, with progressive scan. I also have SKY+ and a Tivo, and even the occasional video.

    I'm noticing that there's a noticeable halo/ghosting on high contrast objects on the screen - particularly dark objects on a light background - the sharpness setting patterns on DVE show this well. (yes, I have calibrated the projector and checked the sharpness settings etc). I've checked with different leads and different DVD players, so I know it's the projector. Having a google around suggests that ghosting on the component inputs is a 'feature' of the AE100.

    So, I can see a few ways to go :

    1 : Upgrade the projector
    The Panasonic AE700 and the Sanyo Z3 both look good for the kind of money I can stretch to, but do have problems of their own (Like VB in the case of the AE700?)​

    2 : Buy a scaler
    The ISCAN HD looks very good, and would allow me to drive the AE100 through the HD15 port, hopefully giving me 1:1 mapping and less of the ghosting due to no longer using the component inputs. This would also improve the picture from my SKY+ and Tivo etc. The ISCAN HD is kinda overkill for the projector maybe, but would still work fine if I upgrade the projector sometime next year, as I understand new panel technology may be in the offing etc​

    3 : Leave it all alone
    Convince myself out of upgradeitis and wait until next year to see what's new in the world of projectors then​

    So, those are the things I can think to try (no, I don't want to build a HTPC - I know I'll end up tweaking it forever and I spend enough time with computers for work :) ). Any advice and suggestions greatly appreciated.

    Sam.
     
  2. theritz

    theritz
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    Hi and welcome to the forums.....


    I'm in much the same boat as yourself, having a 2 year old AE100, but I've been running it via a hcpc pretty much from day one. An upgrade to the AE700 would certainly see an improvement in picture performance in terms of contrast, colour performance etc, but whether it will resolve the issue you dexcribe over component I can't say; maybe some of the new AE700 owners will chime in. VB would certainly be a concern for me, although there are mixed reoprts on the forum as to how significant/consistent this is. I can understand the attraction of a scaler - the iScan does output 852x480 which would be agood match for the AE100, and it would also be an investment if you upgraded the projector in the next twelve months or so to a 720 model. It would also allow you to scale other sources.

    You've discounted the pc route - I'd advise you to re-think if your main viewing is dvd. If you have a pc with a dvd drive, you could give it a whirl and see how you liked the performance. If it really isn't an option, then maybe the scaler is a good upgrade path, albeit and expensive one.

    I'm hoping to trial a CRT over the next month or so :smoke: , if a digital upgrade is on my horizon I think the HS50 would have to be the favourite.

    HTH,

    Sean G.
     
  3. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Hi Sam,

    What 'other technologies' are you thinking of in the projector world?

    As for your dilemma .. IMHO the biggest problem with the iScan is that AFAIK it doesn't support HDMI which, again IMHO, makes it a very dubious medium-term proposition, I believe they said it won't be upgradeable so you'll be stuck.

    For my money, given your choices, if I were to do anything I think I'd probably plump for a Z3 in your situation, HD format with HDMI means you should be able to use it with HD-DVD et. al. when they come out.
     
  4. azzo

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    If you are already using progressive scan, adding a scaler will not provide enough improvement on this projector.
    I have had my AE100 for almost 3 years, I use to use an Iscan Pro, it was a lovely piece of kit, I moved to a PS DVD player as the lipsync was a real pain. The iscan was better though, but it wasn't leaps ahead.
    I am thinking of upgrading as there is only so much you can squeeze out of the AE100.
    If you do plumb for an ISCAN, the ISCAN did not sync properly with the VGA port, I had to use component to get the progressive scan. (It kept dropping out)
    Azzo
     
  5. Oakleyspatz

    Oakleyspatz
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    Hi Samoth,
    The problem with "wait until next year to see what's new in the world of projectors then" is that you could be waiting forever as there are ALWAYS new and better models coming out year on year.So whilst your waiting for the 'next big thing' you're missing out on some current fantastic projectors.
    I would definately sell the AE100 ( on ebay you'll get about £400 I reckon) and put it towards a new model. You priorities should be a) Picture quality b) future proofing c) value for money.
    Picture quality is quite easy to narrow down in the under £2000 price range. I would say it between the Panasonic AE700 ( VB is not as bad as has been made out and is controlable to a large extent) The Sanyo Z3 ( excellent LCD projector but the Panny's picture is a little smoother ( less chickenwire) even though the Z3 is by no means bad in this respect. The Optoma H57 ( Brand new DLP model means fantastic resolution, contrast and colour but check for susceptability to rainbow issue first) Sony HS50 ( superb New LCD model with 6000:1 contrast ratio!!!...But DVD images can look a little 'digitized' without an external scaler) Infocus SP4805 ( lower resolution DLP but fantasticly 'natural' image with very high quality Faroudja video processing and great spec for £1300)
    In my opinion, if you do not suffer from rainbow problems ( and with advances in colour wheels, speeds etc. they affect less and less people) then go for the Optoma H57 ( Great picture, £1899, optomised for PAL DVD/TV, futureproof, great looking)
    If money is a factor, then the Sanyo Z3 is great
    at around £1300
     
  6. Samoth

    Samoth
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    All I was thinking of were the mutterings about the next round of LCD panel technology for instance, nothing groundbreaking really - just the ongoing march of what you get for the same money...

    To be honest, I don't know a great deal about HDMI yet - and I'm not sure when I'm likely to be moving to a HDMI capable source, so I don't know how much of an issue that is...

    Yeah, the Z3 looks promising I agree, and is the right kinda price.

    Sam.
     
  7. Samoth

    Samoth
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    It's the ringing/ghosting that's really bugging me - the progressive scan on the DVD player is pretty good otherwise. Does show up the SKY+ output rather more though..

    I'm thinking of the HD not the Pro, which should mean no lipsync issues, as it's supposed to sort that out for you. On the syncing to VGA side, I understand that the ISCAN Pro wasn't a scaler, merely a deinterlacer, so the output wouldn't be matched to the native panel resolution etc, whereas with the HD I can make a custom output to match it. I assume the VGA port must sync ok given the right signals, otherwise the HCPC owners wouldn't be happy?

    Sam.
     
  8. Samoth

    Samoth
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    Yup, I'm entirely familiar with the 'wait until next year' problem - I'm definitely going to upgrade the projector sometime in the next year, and I am given to understand that the world of LCD projectors should see some new panels for instance during that time..

    I *am* quite sensitive to rainbow on the (small) number of DLP projectors I've looked at before. The only one I've spent a lot of time watching is my friend's old Infocus X1, which I do find rather headache inducing. I will look into the newer DLP stuff though.

    Pricewise, the AE700/Z3 look like they're both about 1300 - the reason I was considering the ISCAN HD was that it's 'only' 760, and would improve the SKY+ as well as the DVD (if I'm right about the reason for my ringing/ghosting issues) while not becoming instantly redundant the moment I upgrade to a better projector next year.. Although the comments about HDMI do concern me here - I need to better understand the difference between HDMI and DVI where sources and projectors are concerned, and also get a better sense of the timescales in which HD sources are going to be come commenplace here in the UK.

    Thanks for the help so far guys!

    Sam.
     
  9. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Not sure how much you know about DVI/HDCP/HDMI but this article gives a great overview and describes the relationship between DVI+HDCP and HDMI.
     
  10. Oakleyspatz

    Oakleyspatz
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    Sky have said they will launch High Def broadcasts in 2006
    The main difference between HDMI and DVI is that HDMI can carry sound as well as images and DVI only images. I'm sure you'll be running your sound through an amp through a digital connection anyway so either HDMI or DVI will be fine. You can always get an adapter to change between the two anyway.
    Some reviews I've read of DVI connections say the images are sharper, but not as 'contrasty' as component.
    The only thing you cannot improve on your AE100 is the resolution, so if you have an issue with this now, you'll still have it after using the scaler.
    I would take along your AE100 to any demo you go to and test it side by side to see just how much the latest projectors have improved.
     
  11. KraGorn

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    While you're quite right about sound, be aware that not all HDMI DVD players will work with DVI(HDCP) displays. It's a bit out of date (last updated June this year) so doesn't list the very latest non-HDMI projectors.

    This post on a French web board shows how several popular players don't work with some popular projectors .. some DVD manufacturers are enforcing HDMI handshaking even when the material they're playing isn't HiDef which is what HDMI is supposed to protect.

    So, buyer beware is the order of the day when going HDMI->DVI .. note DVI->HDMI should never be a problem.
     
  12. azzo

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    Samoth, you're quite right, the pro was just a deinterlacer, but did produce 480P and 525P through component, it couldn't manage this through its VGA port, although I could get happy results from a HTPC. I guess I am trying to say that the AE100 has a sensitive VGA port, and don't take it for granted that the ISCAN HD will work using VGA. It may of course, and the Silicon Images deinterlacer is superb. It could make a composite image(freeview) look amazing with very little ghosting.
    For the same or similar price you could get a next-gen projector which will adress problems the ISCAN can't - contrast, resolution and brightness
    Azzo
     
  13. SimonInd

    SimonInd
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    I've had a AE100 for over 18 months and found the best upgrade to be moving from a Sony 725 DVD player to a PC. I played with the ProV scaler but the PC was the real leap forward. 1:1 mapping is easy to achieve and running WinDVD in this environment gave a picture that trounced my DVD player via the component inputs. I've just sold the projector and am upgrading as I'm not sure there'll be a market for them for long - I figure it's worth getting something for it now rather than nothing when the bulb goes.

    In your situation I'd sell it and get a Z3, or something better if you can afford it. This should give you a good improvement in performance and when you want to upgrade again, you've got the choice of a DVI/HDMI DVD player or going down the PC route. I think this is probably more sensible than attaching an external scaler to a, by today's standards, pretty poorly specified projector.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, I'm ordering a benQ 8700 this week!

    Simon
     
  14. Samoth

    Samoth
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    Yup, that all makes sense to me and thanks for the heads up about the VGA port. I do appreciate that the projector will make a difference that the scaler can't - but the prices aren't that similar - we're talking 766 quid versus 1300, so almost double. I *suspect* that the projector is the right way to go although I'm nervous of finding that a better projector makes me more hacked off with the SKY+ output and the Tivo etc so I find myself wanting the ISCAN for thos anyhow :) Hmm, time to demo some more projectors... Well actually, getting a home dem of both possibilities would be the best way to solve this one I guess - wonder what dealers will do that...

    Thanks,

    Sam.
     

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