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X1 ReviewX1 ReviewX1 review

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Georgio, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Georgio

    Georgio
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    Although the AVS forum is chock-a-block with X1 postings, there has been very little discussion of the X1 over here, so I thought a brief review might not go amiss. I hope it will encourage postings from other X1 users.

    Selection:
    I bought an InFocus X1 clone (IBM ilv300) from Nexnix/Shootandshow about 2 months ago after a demo in comparison with a Z1 and a HT1000. We had viewed some digital TV and DVD on an InFocus LP130 DLP (borrowed from work). We thought DLP picture quality was promising and we hadn't seen any rainbows on it. I was also influenced by reports about degradation of LCD picture over time. So I was looking for a DLP solution and had studied the X1 faq and the many postings about X1 at the AVS forums.

    In the demo, the 'filmic' quality of the X1 picture was impressive and neither my wife nor I saw any rainbows. We were bothered by the Z1's screendoor and thought the colours too 'primary'. The HT1000 did look better than the X1 in the demo, but not 200%+ better suggested by its price. For our intended level of use (5-6 hours/week) we could not justify a price much higher than £1k.

    Installation:
    Screen: 1.8m wide white blackout material roller blind £65 from B & Q. We project onto the 'fabric' side.
    PJ position: initially on a table, but now mounted on ceiling at approx. 3.8m from screen
    Viewing position: underneath the PJ.
    Sources:
    Digital TV: Nokia Freeview box via ProV de-interlacer to VGA input
    DVD: Denon ADV1000 all-in-one home cinema receiver (non-progressive) direct to S-video input
    Cables: VGA & S-Video, each 15 metres, concealed behind skirting boards.
    Filter: Cokin 62 mm circular polarising filter (see 'Rainbows' explanation below)
    Aspect ratio: we use the 4:3 setting all the time. This gives satisfactory picture resolution and smoothness from all sources.
    Picture settings:
    Picture settings (X1 firmware is v3.8):
    for TV (via VGA): video mode, contrast 71, brightness 35, color temp. cool, Red 60, Green 50, Blue 50
    for DVD (via s-video) : film mode, contrast 85, brightness 50, color temp. warm, Red 50, Green 50, Blue 50

    In my experience, it takes several weeks to understand and get the best balance of picture settings on any new display device and the X1 is no exception.
    These above are the settings that I'm currently using after considerable experimentation. I did attempt to calibrate the DVD input with an Avia DVD, but I didn't much like their very low contrast and high brightness recommendations and have reverted to something more contrasty. However, I've only had the Avia disk for a week and haven't devoted much time to it yet, the picture may still benefit from additional calibration and/or tweeks.

    Minor installation issues:
    - it is essential to have a conveniently-placed switch for the power to the PJ because the remote 'off' leaves the fan running at a whisper.
    - if you have another device connected to the same source as the X1 via a VGA cable (I have an LCD monitor for use when the PJ is off), it is essential to install a VGA switch to select between the output devices because the PJ interferes with the picture when it is powered down. I use a cheap manual 2-way VGA switch for this.
    - Over-expenditure on cables seems to be inevitable - I have bought a variety of s-video, composite and VGA cables that are no longer in use due to changes in configuration, wrong length of cable, etc.
    - the only drawback of the IBM ilv300 X1 clone (and the only difference that I have discovered) is that the PJ housing is black (versus the light silver of the standard X1) which makes it very conspicuous on the white ceiling of our living room. I have made a housing from aluminium sheet to reduce this problem.

    Experience:
    I think the X1 is a very good choice for viewing PAL material from Freeview TV and from DVD. First impressions were very positive, especially with the TV input.
    I had some problems getting the DVD to look good via the long s-video cable - it was too dark. This problem was traced to the use of an s-video splitter to feed the DVD signal to a separate LCD monitor. Have removed the splitter and now get a brighter picture, but I suspect that the 15m s-video cable is still attenuating (darkening) the picture a little. This is compensated by an increase in the X1 contrast setting the DVD picture is now very satisfactory.

    DVD picture fed to the PJ via s-video cable is far superior to the picture obtained when the same signal is routed through the ProV and a VGA cable. I suspect this is down to the ProV and I intend to test the DVD picture from a laptop computer feeding the VGA input very soon. On the other hand, the ProV produces a very respectable digital TV signal via the VGA input.

    Rainbows: As soon as I started watching DVDs through the s-video input I began to see some rainbows, initially they somewhat annoying. The annoyance has reduced with time and problem it is now almost totally eliminated by the use of a polarising filter. We are currently viewing everything with the polarising filter in place and even with it in place the picture brightness is fine.

    Noise: With the PJ mounted about 1.5m above our heads, it is not at all objectionable.

    The bottom line:
    After two months of tweeking and installation sorting, I'm very happy with the choice of an X1. I never had serious doubts, but there were frustrating moments over the choice of cabling and getting the picture settings right.
    We are now very happy with the X1's picture quality; the general experience of viewing of DVDs and suitable TV material on the large screen is very positive.
     
  2. uczmeg

    uczmeg
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    Nice comments. Thanks.

    I would imagine you would get another level of performance from the PJ if you could get a DVD player that does component output (I'm assuming the PJ takes a component signal) or use the VGA input from a PC with 1:1 pixel mapping.

    S-video is rarely the best way to go!

    Be VERY careful here!

    Usually when you switch off any PJ from the remote the fan will stay on. It does this to cool the bulb and is essential to long bulb life.

    After a while, once the bulb reaches a set temperature then the fan will stop.

    Experiment. I'm sure you will find it will stop.

    ALWAYS let the fan cool the bulb. NEVER switch off the power until it stops if you can help it.

    Cheers
    Marc
     
  3. theritz

    theritz
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    Georgio,

    Welcome to the forums.....

    That's a well written and informative review - in particular your comments about the time needed to "live with" and adjust the settings to get the best from the pj are very pertinent. The X1 is very popular over on avs, and I would be interested to hear more about the rainbows issue that arose for you, which filter you used and how effective it was.

    Marc's suggestion about trying DVD through a PC is a good one - you won't need any extra cabling ( sympathise with the "surplus cable" syndrome - I reckon it happens to everyone....) - you can connect the PC to the ProV and use the "bypass" mode on the Prov. You'll be sending the X1 a signal at it's native resolution and you should find it a very marked improvement over Svid - We find that Svid is practically unwatchable, lacking clarity and very "muddy" (perhaps the "dark" issue you refer to) - the DCDI processing is no doubt doing good things, but the quality of the video signal is being limited by the Svid source.

    BTW, the fan runs on permanently on the X1, IIRC, in standby mode, it's not just the normal cool-down period ?


    Thanks again for a thoughtful review .

    Sean G.


    /thinks..................... OMG, a thread that's not about the Z2.............. and no cheerleading !!
     
  4. cyberheater

    cyberheater
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    I read on the US Avforums that a bloke that works for infocus said that the X1 machines were designed to be able to switch of straight away. I.e, you can pull the power and it would not affect the bulb life.
    He said it was better for the bulb as the bulb was allowed to cool down more slowly.

    Sounds a bit odd though...
     
  5. uczmeg

    uczmeg
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    That does sound odd.

    If the fan just switched off when you turned off the system then I'd tend to agree or even if the fan never goes off when Georgio hits off on the remote. But if the does eventually go off when switched off from the remote then I'd say they were talking rubbish!

    Just my opinion of course!

    Cheers
    Marc
     
  6. Georgio

    Georgio
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    If you use the 'power-off' function on the remote, the fan runs at full spedd for 1-2 mins, then goes into a whisper mode, which continues for ever unless you cut the mains supply.

    Cyberheater is quite right, a guy called Bob from Infocus says that you can pull the plug with no problems for the lamp.

    But being a cautious type, I use the remote off first, then cut the power when it's in whisper mode.

    I'll followup on other queries and try to post a couple of photos of my setup soon.

    Georgio
     
  7. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Great review.. I am in the same sort of situation whereby I want to buy a proj just for DVD usuage really.. and as I am not able to permy install it I do not want to spend a fortune. I am also looking at the X1.. so I had a couple of questions :

    1. how high roughly was the table u first tried.. any benefit of having it on the ceiling? I have light fittings which make a ceiling install a pain.. Also were you using it from the same distance.. for me the shorter the throw the better.

    2. Where did you get the filter lense? does it fit onto the proj or did u have to tape it in place?

    3. Some piccies of it in action would be great.. also of the screen as it sounds like what I will need :)

    4. Lastly do u know if the firmware used in the proj is still the infocus one ? Is your firmware the one which is tuned for the lamp to run for 4000 hours rather than 3000?

    Cheers

    Matt
     
  8. pugwashgreg

    pugwashgreg
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    hi georgio - have had an x1 for about 3 months, use on coffee table with component cable and progressive scan yamaha fed through vga input, also use 62 mm hoya filter. 7 foot 6 screen at 4.5 metre throw. I am well impressed with picture and combination of filter and prog scan seems to have cut rainbows.
    Settings all about 48- 50 bar green and blue which are 60 and 55.
    For money have zero complaints . unfortunately firmware 3.6 but I will suss out how to update shortly. Next pj definitely DLP.
    pugwash
     
  9. Georgio

    Georgio
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    I've posted a web page with a description of our setup and some piccies on my AVForums Home Cinema page and at:
    http://www.aoce13.dsl.pipex.com/av/setup/
    As you will see, the aim was to have a PJ setup with minimum intrusion on our living room.

    I bought the filter off ebay, but it is a standard 62mm circular polariser that you can buy from Jessops etc. I think all polarising filters reduce the light intensity by about 2.5x, but brightness is adequate. It is a perfect push fit in the X1 lens mount.

    The firmware is standard InFocus v3.8. The latest firmware doesn't 'tune' the lamp life, it just sets the timer to 4000 hours instead of 3000. But you can reset the timer with a menu operation anyway, so it's no big deal.

    The benefits of ceiling mounting are:
    - little or no keystone correction needed. My previous table setup was quite low, so correction was needed.
    - much less hassle to start viewing, no unpacking the PJ, no cables to connect, etc.
    - fan noise less noticeable.

    Georgio
     
  10. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Thanks.. look great.. I'll have to get a demo of the proj next I think.

    How good is the picture on the blind? or are you itching to get a proper screen to replace it ?

    Regards

    Matt
     
  11. Georgio

    Georgio
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    The white B & Q blackout blind is a very good projection surface except that it has developed a few ripples. The cloth must have stretched uneavenly, 'cos they weren't there at the start.

    I'm going to pop along to
    http://www.drhscreens.co.uk/
    to check out their screens - they are very reasonably priced, but I don't know about their quality - does anyone else?

    Georgio
     
  12. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Look interesting.. please let us know how you get on...

    Cheers

    Matt
     
  13. Georgio

    Georgio
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    Just in case anyone is still interested in this thread, the story up to here was that after a lot of tweeking, I have got a half-decent DVD picture with my Denon ADV1000 connected to the X1 through a long svideo cable.
    Well, I finally got around to testing the PQ when viewing a DVD played on my Mac G4 laptop, connected by a direct VGA cable to the PJ. With the X1 set to standard 'film mode' (ie no tweeks at all). The picture is somewhat better than the best I can get after tweeking from the Denon ADV1000 connected by svideo and I think the computer image has fewer rainbows (probably because the signal is progressive).

    But I don't want to turn my laptop into a DVD player permanently, nor do I want to go the HCPC route (unless I use a Macintosh, I hate Windoze).

    So I'm struggling with the problem of getting a VGA or a component signal from my Denon ADV1000 DVD player/receiver. The player does have a SCART RGB output, but there seem to a lot of uncertainties about what one needs to convert that to VGA or Component. Does anyone have any relevant experience?

    [After thought - the X1 only accepts progressive signals on its VGA port, and my DVD player isn't progressive - oh dear! My only sensible options for improved PQ seem to be:
    - put up with a non-progressive signal and try to feed it by component cables
    - use a computer to view DVDs
    ]

    Georgio
     
  14. maxiboy

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    I have got an Infocus LP400 (which has the same resolution as the X1).

    It was connected by S Video and the picture quality was fairly poor. I purchased a Pro V+ and this has made a huge improvement in clarity. I know that a lot of people knock this device but I can only comment on my findings.

    The Pro V+ now converts the S Video into a (progressive) 800x600 signal. Now I'm sure that this isn't as high quality as a dedicated HTPC but it is very easy to use. It also has the benefit of adding a TV tuner.
     
  15. Georgio

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    I do have a ProV and can watch DVDs through that or by direct svideo connection. The direct svideo connection is much clearer. In fact the svideo picture is pretty good - I'm probably just being a perfectionist in preferring the PC-derived picture. I had a conversation about this with 'technut', the author of the the 'Unofficial X1 faq' (http://members.shaw.ca/technut/x1faq/) and he said:

    I think I'll go along with that - until Apple brings out an irresistable HCPC :)

    Georgio
     
  16. ant1973

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    It's worth reiterating that the X1 connection through the VGA port does not use the Farojda deinterlacer. Unless your dvd player has a deinterlacer of equal or superior quality to Faroujda, you're better off connecting through s-video (or using the component adaptor through s-video) and using the projector's deinterlacer.
     
  17. Georgio

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    Right. I have now bought a decent 15 m svideo cable and the DVD picture from the Denon ADV-1000 is almost as good as the one I get when I use my Mac laptop connected to the PJ via VGA.

    For TV, I'm still using the ProV, which gets its input from an ancient Ondigital/Freeview box. But the Prov seems to do a reasonable job of de-interlacing the TV signal.

    I think a computer would do some of these picture processing jobs better, but there is no way I'll have a Windoze box in the house, so I'm hoping Apple will come out with a media centre PC before too long.
     
  18. sconie

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    Ok, just bought an X1 at a super price (I will post the details later) I am conecting it to my basic amw p8a5 dvd player come surround system, can someone clarify which connector gives the best picture quality for this setup.
     
  19. IanWhite

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    I'm looking at the x1 too.. I've got video/freeview/dvd running scart. How do I go about feeding them into the x1 ?

    I presume I need a scart selector to plug the scart leads into, and then some sort of scart to x1 connector.

    Also on the x1, what kind of light levels does the room have to be at for the x1 to give a suitable pic for watching. ?

    Thanks..
     
  20. Georgio

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    You may need a scan converter to get a suitable signal. I use a ProV.
    This diagram of my setup may help:
    http://www.aoce13.dsl.pipex.com/av/wiring.pdf
    I'm sure you could manage without a ProV, but it does improve the Freeview picture quite a bit (at the cost of some slight loss of lip-sync) and you can get by with one cable to the PJ, although I have two because I find a direct SVideo connection is better for DVD viewing.

    You definitely need to draw the curtains in the daytime. With my non-blackout curtains drawn I get a reasonable 6 ft wide picture except when the sun is shining directly on them.

    Georgio
     
  21. sconie

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    As my amw p8a5 has progressive scan, am I better using the 3 component video to vga lead's, I see them on ebay, anyone buy from there. ??
     
  22. Clarky

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  23. Gene

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    I bought an X1 from PC World over the weekend, very cheap for only £600.

    Tested it with my freeview box by using a scart to svideo lead and also my DVD player s-video to s-video. The picture seemed great to me (I'm not expert enough yet to comment on the extent of how good it is, but It looked good and am satified with it. I will of course be experimenting with different sources and leads when I can be bothered to do so.

    Placed it on a coffee table and just projected it onto a light yellow wall for a 6 foot picture. Detail was very good and very minimal rainbows, hardly noticeable if you ask me. I don't think you can go wrong for £600.

    Next on my list is projection screen from drh and neater cabling and I should be done.
     
  24. sconie

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    Thanks just going to order from there now, for anyone else looking for the parts, most places seem to have some but not all parts in stock, this looks ideal as you get 10m cable not just the adapter.
     
  25. BigGEORDIE

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    hi georgio . How do you reset timer with the menu. and does it cause any problems
     

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