LCD vs. DLP Projector Help!

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Moe Maishlish, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Hi all,

    I need some help, guidance, and assistance in determining how I should proceed with a recent projector purchase & setup.

    I recently purchased an Epson S3 LCD Projector from Costco, for less than $750 CAD ($850 after tax). The price was right, and it listed itself as HDTV capable, so I did some research and found several mainly favourable reviews. I'm aware that this is an entry-level projector and that I can't expect cinema quality crystal clear pictures from it, but obviously cost is an issue, and I'd like to minimize it as much as possible.

    I'd read about SDE (Screendoor effect) with the LCD projectors, but didn't actually experience it firsthand until I setup the projector in my basement and gave it a whirl. It's not terrible, but it's definately visible and a little distracting. Since the projector doesn't have native component inputs (or DVI/HDMI for that matter), I had to buy a component to VGA adapter to connect my upconverting DVD player to the projector. I set both to 16:9 mode, which actually compresses the image a bit and significantly reduces the SDE, but I can still see it.

    I'm currently laying the projector on a table, and projecting it from about 16 feet away onto my wall, which produces a picture approximately 9 feet wide.

    Anyway, since I bought this from Costco (and since they have a fantastic return policy), I've been considering returning the projector and replacing it with a DLP in the same price range (maybe a bit higher). I'm familiar with the "rainbow effect" with DLPs, and I'm pretty sure it won't affect me that much since my parents have one and I don't notice it. I was originally looking at the Infocus X2 & X3 units, but noticed today that the Optoma MovieTime DV10 is on sale for $999 (with a free screen) as well.

    Given that I'm relatively new to the whole projector scene, I'd really appreciate any advice and guidance that you guys can offer. I'm not looking to drop a bundle, but rather maximize my enjoyment at a modest budget. My main concerns are obviously image quality (i.e. reduced SDE), HD compatibility (I know I can't get a pure HD signal, but I'd like to get as close as possible), performance and overall build quality of the product & especially the bulb.

    Thanks in advance...

    Moe.
     
  2. David-Wright

    David-Wright Stunt Coordinator

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    At this price point you aren't going to see a big reduction in SDE just by going to DLP as it is mainly a function of resolution vs picture size and seating distance.

    So one thing that jumps out is you are throwing a very large picture. How far back are you sitting? So try this. Stand at the back of the room. Walk forward until you really notice the SDE. Make sure you sit further back than this. Play with the zoom to make the picture smaller until the SDE is less noticeable. Or even move the projector forward a little.

    I don't think you will see a big increase in resolution until you get to the $1,500 U.S. price range and the resolution goes to 1280 x 720.

    So I don't think it is the projectors fault, what you have there is some tweaking to do.
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    SDE will not be a problem if you sit the proper distance from screen. With that projector, or any 480p projector, you should sit back 2X the screen width. With a 9' wide screen, you need to sit back at least 18' from screen.
     
  4. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the responses so far...

    I've actually played/tweaked the projector to try to minimize the SDE... I've moved it forward, closer to the wall/screen (making the image effectively smaller), and I'm sitting about 19-20' back from the projected image, but I still see the SDE. It's ok if I don't wear my glasses (although my eyes are still good enough to pick it out every once in a while), but the moment I put them on I can definately see it.

    My question is regards to native resolution... my S3 is 800x600 native, but other projectors like the X3 & Optoma have higher native resolutions (1024x768 & 854x480 respectively). Would those values make a difference in picture quality? What about image-processors? ProjectorCentral (http://www.projectorcentral.com/) has the following specs for all three:

    [Epson S3]
    Compatibility
    HDTV: 720p, 1080i
    EDTV/480p: Yes
    SDTV/480i: Yes
    Component Video: Yes
    Video: Yes
    Digital Input: No
    Personal Computers: Yes
    Display
    Type: 0.5" PolySi LCD (3)
    Native: 800x600 Pixels
    Maximum: 1280x1024 Pixels
    Aspect Ratio: 4:3 (SVGA)

    [Infocus x3]
    Compatibility
    HDTV: 720p, 1080i, 576i
    EDTV/480p: Yes
    SDTV/480i: Yes
    Component Video: Yes
    Video: Yes
    Digital Input: M1-DA(P&D)
    Personal Computers: Yes
    Display
    Type: 0.6" DLP (1)
    Color Wheel Segs: 4
    Color Wheel Speed: 2x
    Native: 1024x768 Pixels
    Maximum: 1280x1024 Pixels
    Aspect Ratio: 4:3 (XGA)

    [Optoma MovieTime DV10]
    Compatibility
    HDTV: 720p, 1080i, 576i, 576p
    EDTV/480p: Yes
    SDTV/480i: Yes
    Component Video: Yes
    Video: Yes
    Digital Input: No
    Personal Computers: Yes
    Display
    Type: 0.5" DLP (1)
    Color Wheel Segs: **
    Color Wheel Speed: **
    Native: 854x480 Pixels
    Maximum: 1400x1050 Pixels
    Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (WVGA)

    Once again, thanks for all your help!

    Moe.
     
  5. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    You must have bionic vision if you're still seeing SDE from more than 2X screen width back. You would be better off with a DLP projector, since the SDE is much less noticeable. And yes, the higher the resolution, the less SDE.
     
  6. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Ok, so I'm slowly narrowing down my choices to replace the Epson S3 LCD. I know that I want to go with a DLP - that's for sure... so it's basically down to 2 (or 3) systems...

    1) Infocus X3 ($1039) - got generally good reviews from what I've read.

    Pros: 1600 Ansi, 1024x768 native resolution, DVI Input, 4000 Hour bulb life
    Cons: Claimed to be a "data projector", 4 Color Wheel Segs and 2x Color Wheel speed, 4:3 Aspect Ratio

    2) Optoma H27 ($1049) - Also got pretty good reviews from what I've read... maximum resolution of 1280x1024

    Pros: Digital Input, 16:9, Comes with a free screen, 6 Color Wheel Segs and 4x Color Wheel Speed
    Cons: Only 850 Ansi, 3000 hour lamplife, 2500:1 contrast

    3) Optoma MovieTime DV10 ($999) - From what I've heard, much like the H27, except there's no Digital Input.

    Pros: Maximum Resolution of 1400x1050, comes with a free screen, 4000:1 contrast
    Cons: No information on Color wheel segs/speed, 3000 hour bulb life, 1000 ansi, No Digital Input.

    I also want to consider the fact that I might eventually be inputting a HD source into these projectors, so converstion for a HD picture would also be a huge factor.

    Moe.
     
  7. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Out of those 3, I'd go with the Optoma H27(But it has a huge image offset, 57%). The X3 is not a HT projector. When you look at specs, don't pay attention to the "max. resolution". What's important is the native resolution, such as 480p. 2 other good choices would be the Optoma H31 and Infocus 4805. Have you been to Projectorcentral.com and Projectorreviews.com?
     
  8. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Ironically, about 2 hours ago I ordered the Optoma H27 online, after having read several reviews of it on both projectorcentral & projectorreviews (many of the specs I listed in previous posts were from those sites).

    What convinced me (other than the comments here - thanks by the way!) were the mostly positive comments of the reviewers, decent price, and features, as well as the fact that it offered DVI input, which means I can use the HDMI output on my DVD player with a conversion cable directly into the projector. I'm not sure how exaclty I'm going to deal with the offset though - right now the S3 is sitting on my coffee table and is projecting a nicely centered image... if the H27 is offset so much that it projects onto the ceiling, I'm going to have to consider alternate methods of positioning the projector (or mounting it from the ceiling).

    I doubt I'll use the screen that it ships with, but you never know... that's what ebay is for, right? In any event, I'm really looking forward to seeing how much of an improvement in image quality there will be with the H27 DLP in relation to the S3 LCD.

    Moe.
     
  9. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    It should be a huge improvement. Do you want to continue to use the H27 on a table? As long as it's a pretty low table, the offset shouldn't be a problem(It depends on how high you want your screen from floor). Ideally, you want the projector level front to back and not use keystone correction.
     
  10. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    I'd like to continue using it on the table... that way, when I'm not using it, I can hide it away out of plain site. I intend for my basement to be used for more than just watching movies (it's not a dedicated theater), so having the projector hanging from the ceiling might be a bit of an eyesore, especially a concern for a few of my friends who are VERY tall, and might end up making contact with it.

    The coffee table's about standard height... about 1.5 feet off the ground... right now, the s3 is sitting flat on the table, and projecting an image right in the perfect part of the well (perfect viewing height). If the Optoma can do the same thing, I'll be content with leaving it where it is.

    Moe.
     
  11. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    What is the offset of the S3? I doubt it's anywhere near the huge offset of the H27. I don't know what Optoma was thinking with the H27's offset.
     
  12. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    I'm not really sure how to read it, but epson's site (http://www.epson.co.uk/products/vide...pec/EMP-S3.htm) lists the offset for the S3 at 9.6:1.

    I've got my fingers crossed that the H27 doesn't project onto my ceiling... I'd hate to have to sacrifice a good projector because I can't "point it right".

    Moe.
     
  13. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    It's simple to figure out the offset(in inches) for the H27. It's 57% of the image height.
     
  14. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Well, the H27 arrived yesterday, and it blows my previous projector (Epson S3) out of the water. The image quality was much higher, and no noticeable screendoor effect to speak of. I also kept my eyes open for any potential rainbow effect issues, and I'm happy to report that I don't notice any. I used an HDMI to DVI cable to connect my DVD player to the projector, and the picture is just beautiful.

    The Epson is being returned ASAP...

    A couple of things to note though - the offset (as previously mentioned) is excessive! Placed in the same position on my coffee table as the previous projector, it projects an image that is so high up that 10% of the image spans the border between wall & ceiling, whereas the Epson was perfectly centered (placing the H27 Manual under the projector & adjusting the keystone centered the image perfectly though). I also had to pull my coffee-table back a little bit to give the image a little bit more width, which still isn't as wide as the image projected by the S3.

    So, given the image centering & size issues, it looks like I'm going to have to go with ceiling mounting the projector, as much as that's not really very appealing to me. But it's a small price to pay for the much-improved image quality!

    Now... I've gotta decide on which ceiling mount to purchase. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm looking for something with a sturdy construction, with plenty of freedom of movement (which I can also lock into position), which is also easy to install. There are several on eBay that are tailored to the H27 which are of metal contruction, and they all claim to be "the best"...

    Moe.
     
  15. TicoTVA

    TicoTVA Stunt Coordinator

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    If that doesnt work you may be able to flip projector over and buys rubber stick on feet for the projector... Just a thought.
     

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