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Which HD Proof Projector?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by moosie, May 5, 2005.

  1. moosie

    moosie
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    Am a newbie to all this.

    Had been contemplating a Samsung 50" Rear Projection until Mrs M gave it the :thumbsdow .

    Am now thinking maybe a projector is the way to go. Have about 1700-1800 to spend but want to make sure that whatever I buy will be able to hook up to Sky HDTV next year.

    My understanding ( and I could be wrong ) is that some PJs distort the signal to achieve the picture desired. Is this down to pixels? Is there an ideal native pixel set up for HDTV.

    Was looking at the Sony or the Panesonic. Any advice? Would be greatly appreciated. What I'm really trying to find out is, what PJs should give me crystal clear pictures when HDTV arrives and at a reasonable price ( or I am asking too much )
     
  2. MikeK

    MikeK
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    or I am asking too much

    Not really, there are several models available in your price range, all of which would do HDTV.
    They are all native 720p models - there are no 1080 native projectors yet, except for the very high end (ie > £15k).

    Your question regarding some PJs distorting the signal - I'm not too sure what you mean here, but I'll have a stab at what I think you are getting at.

    Firstly, all digital PJs convert any input signal to their native resolution - they are known as fixed panel devices, as the resolution of their display panels is fixed, unlike CRT TVs and projectors, which can alter the display resolution according to the signal.

    So, a 1280x720 (aka 720p) LCD or DLP (or DILA, but these are out of your budget I think) projector will convert 1080 input to 720 for display, and it will also convert 480 (NTSC) and 576 (PAL) to 1280x720 for display.

    Likewise a 854x480 native resolution LCD/DLP PJ will convert all signals to 854x480 for display!


    Now HDTV is either 1080 or 720.
    All current projectors in your price range must convert 1080 for display - a 720p PJ will convert it to 720p, a 576p PJ will convert it to 576p, and a 480p PJ will convert it to 480p. Likewise a 480p projector will convert both 720p and 1080i HDTV to 480p, and indeed will even convert 576p (PAL progreesive) to 480p - it has to, as that's the total amount of pixels it has on it's display panel.

    As to which models - this debate will rage on. You've picked two of the prime candidates from the LCD camp already, in the Sony HS50 and Panny AE700. Add the Sanyo Z3 and Hitachi PJTX100.
    In the DLP camp, you're probably restricted to the new BenQ 7700 (see the current thread running about this model).

    All are "HDTV Ready".


    There are also a fair few PJs which are HD compatible though, even if they don't qualify for full HD Ready status.
    This is usually because their panels are lower in resolution than 720 pixels in the vertical direction.
    However, some may have problems with HD 50Hz inputs, or lack the necessary HDCP equippped HDMI or DVI input (this looks like being a necessity for UK HDTV).


    Models such as the Themescene H57 and Infocus 5700, which are 576p DLP PJs are HD compatible.
    Models such as Themescene H30A, Infocus 4800, Toshiba MT200 etc are all DLP HD compatible 480p PJs.

    Remember that panel resolution alone is not the final arbiter of picture quality - but it is one of the yardsticks!


    Which should you buy.
    Well that's up to you - first do some research on DLP v LCD (it's been done to death :) ), and then do some reading about the relative merits of each model.
    Then pop along to a dealer for a demo, and see what you think!
    As a newbie, I doubt you'd be anything but gobsmacked by any of them TBH, but there may be some features one has which you might like, or one may stand out and grab you on it's image quality (and it may not necessarily be the one you think :) )
     
  3. moosie

    moosie
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    Thanks Mikek

    Thats a super reply :thumbsup: and should be made a sticky. I'd imagine that this question will become more and more relevant the closer we come to HDTV date.

    Now just to clarify things in my mind. My understanding is that Sky broadcasts will be 720p and 1080i.

    720p equates to 1280 x 780 and that picture should look good on a projector with a native chip set 1280 x 780.

    Now in the case of 854 x 480 my understanding is that the picture is scaled down. Are one in every 3 pixels discarded? And hence this should be less precise to a picture from a 1280 x 780 set.

    Now, I'll be very greedy and ask another question. I live is Dublin. The dealers here that sell PJs
    A) can be counted on one hand
    B) those that do tend to sell older units
    C) take the UK price and double it.

    I am going to the US in Sept and am wondering if the PJs over there will work over here. Big savings to be had if this is the case.

    E.G. Sony vpl-hs50 is 1580 STG in the UK ( cheapest I've seen )
    Sony vpl-hs51 is approx 1070 STG in the US.

    Any ideas? :smashin:
     
  4. MikeK

    MikeK
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    My understanding is that Sky broadcasts will be 720p and 1080i.

    Unconfirmed as yet, but that's believed to be the case!


    Now in the case of 854 x 480 my understanding is that the picture is scaled down. Are one in every 3 pixels discarded? And hence this should be less precise to a picture from a 1280 x 780 set.

    There are several ways of doing this pixel "decimation" (this word sounds like pixel armageddon :) ) - simply discarding the extra pixels is one way, but perhaps the crudest way!
    But whichever way you do it, generally speaking, the picture will be less precise, as it's now made up of less pixels (some methods of doing it are better than others though)
    How much you can/will notice this depends on several factors, but again speaking generally in terms of projectors and typical screen size and viewing distances, then most people will (assuming the orignal picture was really 1280x720).

    From a technical viewpoint, most projectors are universal these days, so actually functioning shouldn't be an issue (but double check that for the model you want) - but often models do differ between markets. The HS51 is not identical to the HS50, although it may be in all the areas that really matter.
    I'm not sure what the VAT and import duty rules are in Ireland (or how likely it is you'll get pulled :) ), but warranty is perhaps the main issue with importing from the US - in most cases you essentially won't have one :( .
    It's a personal judgement call as to whether the amount saved justifies the risk of going without a warranty! Not sure I'd do it, but with the luck of the Irish........ :)
     
  5. moosie

    moosie
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    Customs, Vat? Ways and means :smashin: . Say no more.
    Cheers again :thumbsup:
     
  6. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    Would a US model have a 220V power supply?

    Pixmania ship to Ireland & the price on their 'Irish' web site for Panasonic PT-AE700 at 1651 Euros is only 19 Euros more than their price in France.
     
  7. ZippyCat

    ZippyCat
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    Would a US model have a 220V power supply?


    Most consumer electronics will include switched mode power supplies that will accept voltages in the range of 100 –250V at 50 – 60Hz. This reduces the manufacturing costs and results in greater reliability due to large tolerances. USA power supplies are 110V at 60Hz, but it would be safe to say any projector available in US will work in Europe due to the above reasons, although the device may not be CE approved.
     
  8. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    The other essential item on a future proof projector other than the resolution is HDCP on DVI or HDMI. This within my budget is what made me plump for the Panasonic.
     
  9. danatk

    danatk
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    get the HS50 - it rocks! :thumbsup:
     
  10. moosie

    moosie
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    Narrowed down from spending days of reading up on same to

    Sony HS50 or HS51 ( US Version )
    Panesonic PT-AE700E
    Infocus Screenplay 5000
     
  11. danatk

    danatk
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    Can't comment on the screenplay 5000, although I did have a 4805 at home for a few days which had a great picture but I could see rainbows everywhere.

    I owned an AE700 for six months and got an HS50 earlier this week. To me the difference between the two is night and day - the HS50 is better in so many ways. It's well worth the extra few hundred quid.

    Dan.
     

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