Unbiased CRT vs DLP.

Discussion in 'Displays' started by ScottieZ, May 25, 2004.

  1. ScottieZ

    ScottieZ Auditioning

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    I cannot get a straight answer on the best projector for a dedicated home theater. Can someone give me an unbiased opinion? I want to have an 8 to 10 foot 16x9 screen. I will be mainly watching dvd's and HDTV. Would like the best HDTV picure possible 1080p. One dealer said CRT loses it's crispness over 720p, and DLP looks better. He said he used to do CRT but not any more. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. James R. Geib

    James R. Geib Stunt Coordinator

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    As far as I know, there are no current DLP projectors capable of displaying a native 1080P image. TI's DLP chip capable of such a resolution, the xHD3, is not in any consumer projector yet. But, if you can hold out a little while, I would tout that as a better projector than a CRT for the common man, simply because it is an easier technology to set-up and maintain.

    However, if you are a patient man, and have money to spare...........Arguably, the best CRT projectors out there can produce the most film-like images and best contrast levels of any projector technology available today, but we're talking $50,000 plus projectors with outboard video scalers/processors. Additionally, CRT projectors require relatively frequent calibration to maintain their supurb picture.

    DLP is, in my opinion, catching up. And, again, if you can wait, a DLP projector utilizing the xHD3 chip would provide an awesome image for your home theater.

    However, it won't be until 3 chip xHD3 projectors, or a better chip, are available when DLP may truly compete with the top of the line CRT projectors as far as image quality.

    But, be prepared to spend a lot of money on an xHD3 projector when they do arrive. My guess would be somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000. Vague, but honest!

    I dont know if I really answered your question in the right way, but those are my thoughts.
     
  3. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    If you want the best in CRT ... prepare to pay for it. Upwards of $50 G's ...

    The DLP will give you more light output and you won't have to worry about proper warm up time. It also does not need as much TLC as a CRT unit.

    You will also get more colour linearity from edge to edge with a DLP unit compared to the CRT technology.

    Regards
     
  4. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Look at JVC's D-ILA projectors. They have some that'll do true 1920x1080; they also have a variety of smaller ones, in a full range of brightnesses.

    They aren't cheap - I think the cheapest ones start at about $9000, but they have an image stability that DLP and CRT can't touch.

    I'd be interested to know, though, from someone like Michael-TLV, as to how well the newer ones calibrate and hold their calibrations for home theater use. Any experience with them?

    Leo Kerr
    Lkerr1@alumni.umbc.edu
     
  5. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    In general,

    LCD and DLP calibrate very well with a much more linear grayscale tracking than most CRT based units. Definitely better than the FPTV crt units.

    If I had to pluck a % out of the head, I'd say that the digital panel tech tracks 30-40% closer than what a FPTV crt would do. (Not perfect but noticably better)

    I don't know about longevity though since the technology is too new and no one has had their unit around long enough to ask you to come back to look at it. I have only two friends with up scale DLP projectors that I can keep an eye one though ...

    For my own lower end LCD projector ... the blue polarizer fails much sooner than the drift of the grayscale.

    Regards
     
  6. Matthew Todd

    Matthew Todd Second Unit

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    This is more or less true if you want to buy a brand new CRT, but if you are willing to buy used (say from a reputable reseller like Tim Martin or Curt Palme) you can get the best that CRT has to offer (9" EM focus CRT like a Sony G90, Marquee 9500LC) for much, much less (probably $10,000-$25,000).

    I have an 8" EM focus CRT that I plan to stick with for a long time. The price was right ($2500 with a set of brand new tubes), 1080i looks great, and I can see scan lines at 720p.

    If you are considering high end 1920x1080 digitals, you should also look at the Sony Qualia (~$30,000). I beleive it's Sony's take on JVC's D-ILA (generically LCOS?).
     
  7. ScottieZ

    ScottieZ Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies. Definitely wouldn't be able to afford the upper end DLP. I am looking at about $9000 tops for the projector. Maybe leaning toward a high end used CRT (9" Sony, Electrohome or Barco), but I am a little worried about maintenance, and getting the most HDTV bang for the buck.
     
  8. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    As always, "best" depends on what your priorities are. We're at the point where the better DLP units beat CRT in some ways, but not in every way. If you're going to spend a lot of money and want something that will be satisfactory for many years, I'd definitely recommend doing some comparative viewing if at all possible.

    One issue that you should at least be aware of, that's not directly related to picture quality, is DVI/HDMI connections. Depending on what you want to connect to your projector, this may not be an issue, but a used CRT will not be able to take advantage of DVI outputs which offer the best quality signal. (There may also be issues with copy protection down the road, where a signal path using DVI/HDMI with HDCP is very desirable.) Many current HD set top boxes offer DVI outputs. My goal for my next projector is to run a single DVI cable from a processor/switcher to the projector.

    If you haven't seen the DLP units based on the HD2+ chip (the models from Infocus, Sharp and Marantz have the enhanced 7 segment color wheel which makes even more of a difference), you should at least take a look at one if you can. The Marantz is pricey but the other 2 are pretty close to your budget. Then again you might do better with a less expensive used CRT, and check the digital waters in another 2-3 years.
     
  9. Dan Wesnor

    Dan Wesnor Second Unit

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    A few years ago, you could get a decent new CRT for about 11k. If you get a used one, make sure you know how old the guns are, and how much they will cost to replace (if they're still available). You will also need a totally dark room, and be able to tolerate a Volkswagen Beetle being hung upside down from your ceiling. Make sure you get the manual so you'll know if what you're getting will work for your installation. And make sure there is a qualified serviceman in your area. You will probably have to pay for installation if you mount it on the ceiling, since they weigh a lot and you might need some reinforcement.

    You might want to spend some time with a digital projector in your price range to make sure that the hassle of a CRT is right for you. CRT has the best picture when the conditions are right, but there's a whole lot of downside to them. Even a mediocre $2k LCD can throw up an involving picture these days, so unless you're a perfectionist, there's no reason to demand the very best.
     
  10. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well, if you buy new you can pay even more than that easy.

    But used, you could get the whole shebang way way WAYYYY cheaper.

    Take a look at the HD2+ dlps, they are very nice, but they still have a lot of downsides too.

    REalize an LC 8in EM CRT like a nec XG, or sony G70 will beat such a model in PQ, for considerably less cost, maybe half the price, or a touch more.
     
  11. Matthew Todd

    Matthew Todd Second Unit

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    Scottie, I got your email, but my response got bounced back to me, so I'll just post it here. Some of this is now redundant to what's already been mentioned in the thread.

    Here was your question:


    Answer:

    I haven't ever critically compared my 1080i image to a good DLP. The last DLP I saw (only for a few minutes) was a Marantz. It was a nice 720p unit, just fairly expensive ($8,000+)

    I have never paid to have a professional set up my CRT, although I would like to (and will) when I install it in its permanent home (dedicated theater). Right now it's just table mounted in a spare bedroom set up as a makeshift theater.

    I just replaced my Ampro 3600 with the same model, just a newer unit with better tubes. I actually have a spare set of brand new tubes that need to be installed into the Ampro, but I may wait until I move to the dedicated theater to do it.

    I just set up the new projector last week, and I've never had any real trouble with the current unit or the one I swapped out as far as convergence drift or other annoying things. I did have a focus board in the old projector die that I was able to swap out myself. I guess that's the extent of my maintenance.

    As far as needing calibration to fix any convergence drift, my old projector in the 10 months I had it never needed it once. It was just fine from first set up. I expect the same out of my current projector. Once set up correctly, they really need very little maintenance to look good.

    When I look at the projector, especially with a desktop image projecting or when surfing the net, I'm sure I could squeeze more sharpness out of it, but as is, it's great for over the air (OTA) HD and DVDs.

    I think I could be probably just as happy with a good HD2+ DLP, it's just that it would cost me so much more than the CRT.

    I hope that helps!

    If you haven't already, take a look at the CRT forum over at AVSforum.com

    Matt
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I must have skimmed past this post. No question about it, if you have the dedicated space for it, go CRT. A 9incher will smoke pretty much anything, except *maybe* in some ways the newest like the Qualia, but that would blow way past your budget.

    If you are picky about the picture, and want the most natural presentation, go for a 9incher, you won't regret it. If setup and such are an issue for you, I wouldn't worry about it that much, include in that budget a setup tech, and then all you'll really have to worry about is convergence from time to time which would be quick to tweak on your own or have the tech do it. AT that budget point I'd probably use a tech to do setup if you're not familiar with CRTs already, if only because they will get you the best PQ a lot faster than you can figuring things out little by little.
     
  13. ScottieZ

    ScottieZ Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the replies. You have all been a great help.
     
  14. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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  15. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    For an 8x10' crt you will need excellent light control, ie. a pitch black room, to work with.
     
  16. EricBres

    EricBres Auditioning

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    I am surprised to see nobody mentioned the Sharp Z12000 projector? I spent some time withone and let me tell you, 1080i is absolutely stunning!

    It sounds to me like setup could be a concern.
    With the Z12000, you set it up once when you install it and from there it is just a matter of changing a lamp after 2000 hours and possibly sliding out a filter to clean. And definately no "budget a setup tech" into the cost.

    I am unbiased ... so won't get involved in the debates, but there are plenty out there comparing this model to CRT's. Both sides present some decent plusses and minuses. It seems to be a great comparison for half the aggrivation.
     
  17. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Whew!

    If I had a $9000 budget to allocate to a projector, I would purchase the new Infocus 7205 and wouldn't think twice about it!

    http://www.infocushome.com/amer/eng/...lay/sp7205.asp

    This thing is powered by the new 720p Mustang HD2+ DLP DMD, has 2200:1 contrast ratio and 1100 lumens (these are calibrated specifications); with an innovative 5x seven segment color wheel. Throw in the latest iteration of the Faroudja DCDi chip, with both 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown conversion, and I have a really hard time understanding what more anybody could possibly want!!

    Here's the advantages of this projector over CRT:
    * Easier setup
    * No convergence issues ever! (The upside of the color wheel technology.)
    * About 75% brighter than any CRT.
    * Calibration not required every six months.
    * Outboard scaler/deinterlacer not needed to reduce motion artifacts.

    The only advantage that I would see for CRT over this projector is:
    * Theoretically better contrast ratio (but will you really notice it?)
    * Doesn't need to scale to get to 1080i (but scaling technology has come a long way in the past few years; 1080i displayed as 720p looks stunning!)

    In short, I really believe that this projector will throw up a picture that, overall (considering linearity and convergence issues), will *smoke* any current CRT projector.

    And without all the hassle of CRT.
     
  18. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Faith-based opinions are fine in most cases, but when it comes to evaluating a product, there are a lot of ways to do that that are better than pure conjecture.

    Having been a part of a very thorough shoot-out of an HD2+ DLP (Sharp 12K), I can say that I'm sure it really would be a very nice projector. But it by no means smoked a color-filtered LC 8in CRT, which would be significantly lower in price. The superior image quality in subjective terms to me still went to the CRT.

    Also, to get the highest CR from the digital, it actually had lower light output than the CRT, from my recollection.

    Lack of screen door, inky blacks, natural ease, lack of rainbows, superior depth, etc all made film look better in most cases on the CRT. But this is a very very close comparison, and I would not say that any clearly came out "way ahead." And certainly an HD2+ won't "smoke" any CRT. And you do have to consider the price of something like an HD2+ unit compared with something much much cheaper.
     
  19. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Chris,

    I readily concede that a properly set up and maintained CRT is going to look better than any current color-wheel based one chip DLP projector. (Even one as outstanding as the Infocus 7205.)

    The point that I was trying to make is that the current Mustang-based DLP projectors will get you pretty darn close to the pq of a 100% properly calibrated CRT projector without all the hassle of the maintenance involved with keeping the CRT at 100% peak efficiency. And if the CRT is operating at a little less than that peak efficiency, *then* the DLP image probably will smoke it.

    But, I have to concede that you're right in that this is a "faith based" opinion. I haven't actually had the pleasure of viewing a 7205 in action. I have been exposed to several CRT projector based Home Theaters though, and I can tell you that they're usually not maintained properly. In most cases, except for "rainbow" artifacts, I actually prefer the picture that I get on my (very very modest) Infocus X1 at home over those particular CRT-based theaters.

    THE BOTTOM LINE is that it's just easier for the common "guy on the street" to obtain a consistently outstanding picture with a HD2+ DMD, 5x, 7 segment color-wheel based DLP projector than a CRT.

    At least, in my opinion.
     
  20. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    I haven't physically touched my Dwin HD700 CRT projector since I installed it in 2001 (purchased new). In its first six months, I touched up geometry, convergence, and gray scale a couple of times using the handy remote and easy-to-follow menus. But it's been rock-stable for more than a year now. It's got only 7" tubes but it "smokes" any single-chip DLP I've seen.

    Ok... I am biased :b
     

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