What's at fault-PJ or screen?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by indus, Jun 13, 2015.

  1. indus

    indus
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    Hi

    I'm not very happy with my pic quality but don't know whether its a screen or PJ issue. Bear with me but here is the background

    I was using my PJ with a manual pull down 7ft Beamax screen (approx £230) in a non light controlled room. Near white floors, walls and ceilings.

    I then built a dedicated, all black, light controlled room. Whilst this room was being built I was without any kind of PJ for well over a year.

    Anyway, I still have the same PJ but now have a near 9ft wide fixed AT screen from Sapphire. Also I now sit about 12.5ft away from this 9ft screen whereas before I sat about 15.5ft from the 7ft screen.

    I'm just not impressed by the PQ at all, images look soft edged and colours don't look great. And even though I'm now in a bat cave the contrast isn't brilliant either.

    I also get what I can only describe as artefact in dark areas. I particularly see this when there is a sudden change from a light to dark scene (and ? vice versa). I'll then, just for a second or so, see 'noise' ie blocky coloured specs in the dark area.

    What I'm trying to figure out is whether all this is due to me sitting closer to a larger screen and hence the solution would be a better quality PJ. Or is it down to the AT screen.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    It might help to mention what projector you have (can't see anything in your signature that gives a clue). However, it could be a combination of the larger screen, closer seating distance and likely lower gain of the AT screen making it look less 'punchy' than you were used to. Along with that you will certainly need to recalibrate the projector (I'm not talking about copying someone else's settings or from an AV forums review here either).

    The noise in dark areas might just be a raised black level setting (it may be caused by something in the video chain doing something it shouldn't). I would generally recommend that you bypass any video processing in your AVP and I know from my old 818 that it can be a bit of a pain making sure that it isn't doing anything to the video signal (I have a Lumagen VP so I really don't want anything else messing with the signal). It could be something as simple as using a different HDMI port on the projector/AVP and that is applying different settings to what you had previously.

    I would take sometime to try some test discs (I'd recommend the AVS HD709 one which is free to download) to make sure that you aren't raising the black level and that the brightness control is set to show only from 17 and up. Slightly less critical, but making sure that the contrast control is set so that you can see up to at least 235 (above that is optional and isn't so necessary as there shouldn't be data above this point and it only wastes brightness on a projector allowing up to 254).

    I plan to change to an AT screen next year and I will be adding lots of 'Devore' and other black materials to improve my room, so I'd be very disappointed if the same happened to me.
     
  3. indus

    indus
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    Hi Kelvin

    Sorry, the PJ is a Sony VPL HW10.

    1) In terms of calibration I must admit I've never calibrated it professionally. Most of the settings are out of the box, contrast is at 80%, brightness at 50% etc. I've played with the three options for auto iris and gamma by eye but not sure I really know what I'm doing.

    I've looked at the calibration AVS download you mentioned and given the the time it'll take me to figure out how to burn a disc I'd be better off buying one. Can you recommend one?

    2) You mentioned that the AT screen will have a lower gain. Can higher end projectors compensate for this issue.

    3) I have an Onkyo 5507, any idea how I bypass it's video processing?

    Thanks for your help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
  4. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    Hi Indus,

    I can't really recommend another disc as the ones I've tried simply aren't as good IMHO at being able to set the brightness level correctly. It isn't hard really as all you need to do is burn to a DVD (it plays as an AVCHD which is effectively like a 'mini' BluRay). However, the video essentials discs do have test patterns to help set up the brightness/contrast properly as it sounds like you've just set at default values which may not be ideal. It's just that those other discs always seem a bit ambiguous regarding the correct setting, but the 'flashing bars' on AVS disc are very clear cut when you've got it right.

    Screen gain is important, along with the screen area. You've gone from a smaller, possibly higher gain screen, so the image will be spread out further (making it dimmer) and the AT surface likely has a lower gain (making it even more dim). You could possibly make up the difference just by using high lamp power, though without measuring it's just a guess. I think it is a combination of poor set up and perhaps that the projector doesn't have the light output to properly light up your new bigger screen.

    A newer projector will likely be brighter (partly due to the new lamp, but for other reasons too). I think having a dimmer picture may also make it seem 'soft', so this could be the crux of the problem. Some projectors have a variable aperture so you can control the light output (turn it down a bit when new, open it up more as the lamp ages/dims). The HW10 is quite an old model now, so something like the current VW40ES would likely be a very big step up (though it doesn't have the above aperture control, but you can use ND filters to some degree if it ends up too bright. If you buy from someone like Ricky Jennings at Kalibrate there is even a calibration option for a very fair price, which sound like it would help in your case.

    If your 5507 is like my 818, then I think you need to set the video in two places; IIRC it has to be set to 'direct' in one menu and something else in another menu. Might be worth asking on one of the Onkyo threads (doesn't have to be for the 5507 as I think they all use similar settings).
     
  5. mattkhan

    mattkhan
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    @indus fwiw if you have no interest in getting into video calibration (which I am guessing is the case based on your comments about audio calibration but do correct me if I'm wrong), I would just get someone in to calibrate it. IME it's unquestionably good value for money.
     
  6. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    That's good advice from Matt, but debatable if it's worth spending the money on a projector that might need a new lamp by now and is likely worth less than the cost of a calibration.

    I'd try just checking a few basic settings and perhaps upping the lamp power to high (assuming it's currently in 'eco' mode) to see if this improves things. You might still want to upgrade, but that would be the point when getting a pro calibration would be worthwhile IMHO.
     
  7. mattkhan

    mattkhan
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    that's true, I was assuming there was no intention to upgrade the projector (and hence the cost of a calibration is relatively small compared to the cost of a new PJ!). How many hours does the bulb have on it?
     
  8. indus

    indus
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    Thanks. Matt, you are correct in that I'm not prepared to spend a significant amount of time on calibration. I'd be prepared to pay for calibration but my concerns are

    1) What if the issue is all down to the screen being rubbish? No amount of calibration will be able to resolve that.

    2) The PJ wasn't calibrated when I used it in a non dedicated room on the Beamax screen yet I seem to remember that the image was better. If it didn't need calibrating then to get a very acceptable image why does it need it now?

    The bulb only has about 500 hours on it.

    It's confusing because some things have changed for the better ie a fully light controlled black room but some things have for the worse ie shorter viewing distance, larger screen, AT fabric.
     
  9. mattkhan

    mattkhan
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    no idea tbh, however I would not discount the possibility that your expectations have gone up markedly and perhaps the room is a more demanding environment. You may also have something misconfigured somewhere. Basically everything has changed so I would not be confident that what you remember of a year ago is a reliable guide to the present.

    Take all the above with a large pinch of salt though, v hard to comment on this without seeing it in person. Is there anyone you know who can give you a second opinion?

    I have that AVS disc on my file server btw, if you don't have a burner I could send you a copy if you like (assuming I can find any discs that is!)
     
  10. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    I think that you've changed so many things that it's hard to get a baseline. Plus you've presumably been watching a TV for the last year which will tend to look sharper than a projector.

    Where are you based? It might be worth taking your current projector to one of the Forum advertisers for a comparison demo, better yet if you could get a loan demo unit to try in your room. While Sapphire maybe aren't top line screens I don't think it is so 'rubbish' that it is spoiling the image, it's just that you're getting much less light reflected back at you. Have you tried running in high lamp to see if this helps?

    EDIT: Posted at the same time as Matt. :)

    Also, a better room will show up the poorer black level of this older model. Also it may make it easier to see those dark level artifacts you've now noticed that might have been there in your old room, but hidden by light wall reflections.
     
  11. Mark_a

    Mark_a
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    I have an Onkyo 515 and it has a "Through" setting on the HDMI inputs which passes the signal through unmolested leaving it to the display to do any processing (the default is "Auto" which does auto-scale and change to progressive, as well as other processing, if/as required).

    Regards

    Mark
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Going by online screen calculators...and presuming your beamax as there standard 1.2 gain screen and your screen to PJ distance is the same in both instances...and the AT screen is around 0.8 gain, you've gone from around 16ftlamberts to 6ft lamberts of light on screen. 6ft lamberts in a black cave could be OK but it's likely that you will have less than that due to lamp age.

    Also, sitting further away from a small screen makes it look sharp. Sitting close to a large screen makes it look much softer in comparison. I'd think the issue you have is your projector is not capable of lighting up your screen sufficiently and this lack of contrast on screen will be making the softness more apparent. A new projector is likely the solution....then get someone to calibrate it.... :)
     
  13. indus

    indus
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    Thanks to everybody for their input. I will check all the 'small things' like making sure the AVP is on pass through etc.
    What I really needed was some reassurance that it wasn't because the screen was just so rubbish, I think I've got that.

    Gordon, thanks for the advice. When I look at new projectors, what should I be looking at in the tech specs to make sure it will be able to light up my screen?

    Thanks again to all.
     
  14. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  15. indus

    indus
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    Hi Gordon

    Yes I am
     
  16. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Then you should be able to find a dealer or two around here who would be able to assist in the search when the time comes. Specs can be misleading.
     
  17. Mark_a

    Mark_a
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    For what it's worth I just bought a new Epson TW6600 - but I had specific requirements which lead me to this model. I didn't want a single chip DLP as I see rainbows with them, I didn't want to spend much more than a grand (which chopped off my first choice of a Sony), I wanted lens shift, I wanted a fairly short throw lens with zoom, I wanted 1080p and I wanted 3D. If you look around with that criteria the Epson more or less picks itself. Am I pleased with it? Yup, so far, but then I've only watched three films on it - The Equaliser on Sky HD, Kung Fu Killer on 2D Blu-Ray and The Hobbit: The Battle Of the Five Armies on 3D Blu-Ray. I've not fiddled with a single setting (and I'm sure a good calibration will make it even better - not to mention shoving a Lumagen up its chuff, er, so I won't) but the difference between the Epson and my old Sanyo is chalk and cheese. Even in the non-blackout conditions of my front room on an 84" screen it produces what I consider to be a storming very bright, sharp picture. The only downside so far has been it has a noisier fan than the Sanyo (which I always ran in Eco mode anyway and the Epson doesn't seem to have) and when viewing a 3D film it auto bumps it up to the max, both brightness and fan speed. But generally, I'm not sorry I bought it, and yes, I probably should've sprung for a Sony, but that would've pretty much doubled my spending so I don't regret what I got.

    Regards

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015
  18. indus

    indus
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    A quick question on gain please. Is the effective gain of my AT screen affected by what is behind the screen?

    Thanks
     
  19. Mark_a

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    Unless you've got a rear projection screen I don't see how it could be, but I'm no expert on such things. Remember objective recorded results, such as produced by a light meter, do not always match up with perceived results, the human vision system being a complex and often apparently arbitrary thing.

    Regards

    Mark
     
  20. indus

    indus
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    Hi Mark

    So as an extreme example that would mean that it would not matter if the wall behind the screen was painted white. Is that the case?
     
  21. Mark_a

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    Provided you're not unduly illuminating the rear wall in some fashion I don't see how it can. Screens are meant to reflect light, not let it pass through, and the projected image is meant to be tightly focussed on the white part of the screen, just possibly grazing the black surround, but certainly not spilling onto the back wall.

    Having said that, I remember a series of TVs from Philips where they deliberately illuminated the back of their sets (called it Ambilight) where they claimed it produced "a more immersive viewing experience", or some such tomfoolery. Not sure too many folks truly bought into it as a concept.

    Regards

    Mark
     
  22. ThanosIG

    ThanosIG
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    It's the projector, I had the hw15 which is pretty much the same except a few extra lumens and a bit more contrast, it's the lcos panels they give a more smooth image and the colours didn't pop much, still had a decent image though, also make sure your projector is central to the screen as sometimes if the projector and screen aren't aligned properly it can blur the image slightly
     
  23. soupdragon

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    Indus.... Is this with sky TV or similar poor source? Is it the same with bluray?
    Maybe there is actually no issue, just the typical sky TV, terrestrial poor bit rate that's the issue that you are now only noticing due to bigger screen...
     
  24. indus

    indus
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    Hi guys

    Actually I've been doing some fiddling and have now managed to turn off all the processing in the AVP and the BDP. From the looks of it this seems to have sorted it out. The picture looks sharper and the artefacts I could see in black areas are 95% gone.

    I can only guess that going to a much larger screen + closer viewing distance + AT screen really brought out the issues of multiple processing.

    Thanks again to everybody for helping.
     
  25. indus

    indus
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    I'm trying to make sure the processing in my bdp is turned off. There is a setting under 'picture' that has the options of standard, cinema, fine or custom. Custom then allows you to adjust contrast, NR etc.

    Would the best thing be to choose custom and set all the adjustables to zero?

    Thanks
     

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