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Early thoughts on the Panny PT-L200u LCD FP

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Ron-P, Jun 5, 2003.

  1. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Bought this from ProjectorPeople.com, $1,099, free ground UPS shipping and a free Da-Lite wall mount 37.5"x67" 16:9 screen. I paid a bit extra for faster shipping. I did not have to pay tax as well.

    This is a very early review. It arrived yesterday and I've only spent about 1.5 hours with it. I will say, after that time I had no headaches or eye fatigue. I know now that those symptoms were brought on by the rainbows from the X1.

    I set the PJ up at 8' from the screen projecting an image size to fill the Da-Lite, roughly 77" diagonal. I sat in my front row at 9' and the back row at 13.5'.

    Out of the box, colors were vibrant, rich and flesh tones were perfect. Black levels matched those of the X1 if not a touch better. During the scene in Fellowship of the Ring in the mine when Gandalf falls into shadow. The cliff detail was more prominent than with the X1. Also, in clothing detail of the characters, I noticed more detail and deeper blacks in the folds of the clothing. In the large dark scenes is where a lot of detail is lost as with the X1. I did notice a bit more of a blue tint in the large dark scenes with the 200u than with the X1, this was very minor, my wife was unable to tell the difference. But, I did have time to tweak the colors of X1, I have yet to do that with the 200u. I did note in the final battle scenes in Attack of the Clones there was a bit of red-push happening. This should be easily corrected once I tweak the colors and run the breakout cable.

    The screendoor effect between both is identical. At 9' from the screen it is slightly noticeable, at 13.5' its not an issue. After slightly defocussing both PJ's I did find the 200u to maintain a slightly sharper image over the X1.

    Build quality I feel is a bit better than the X1 as well, very solid construction. It also has a more solid feel to the lenses when zooming and focusing. The 200u's fan noise is also quite a bit quieter but it does seem to get a bit hotter over the X1.

    The two things I do not like about the 200u is the throw distance, it's short. With the X1 I was able to mount it on the back wall and get a perfect image size. With the 200u it will need to be mounted from the ceiling in the middle of the two rows of seating. Not a major concern, but a dislike. Also, using the component input does not allow you access to the individual RGB color adjustments for tweaking. You must use the DVI input for this. In my case it's not a huge deal as a 25' breakout cable will be a lot less expensive over a 25' long component cable.

    Overall I am very pleased with the 200u and will most likely keep it. It's an excellent deal with the free Da-Lite.

    Both the X1 and 200u are quality PJ, offered at an excellent price and produce an outstanding Picture.

    I will add to my review as I have a small breakout cable at home and will be able to tweak the image. As of now it was just the out of the box image.

    More to come...


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Awesome Ron. This only goes to show that DLP does not always win over LCD at the same pricepoint. Keep us updated.
     
  3. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Is this native 16:9? If it is, then it's my new target. The short throw distance kind of messes things up a bit - It's gonna be harder to rearrange the room than I thougth. Is there of calculator for this thing? Off to Panny's website [​IMG]

    --
    Holadem
     
  4. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    Ok, what's a break out cable? Ron I sent you a PM yesterday, did you get it? I'm really thinking about getting this projector. When it comes to tweaking can you adjust it like a regular tv (color, contrast, tint, etc) or is it very different; to the point that you'd have to be skilled to adjust it?

    I wanted to order this today so I could have it by Sat. looks like I may be out of luck.[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    I had been following the threads about the Infocus X1 closely, but never was able to make up my mind about ordering one. Given Ron's experience with the X1 I am glad I didn't. Instead I took advantage of the recent $200 price drop on the L200U's older brother L300U and ordered it. I should have it early next week.

    For $600 more than the L200U you get the higher resolution (1/4 HD), and the screendoor reduction technology.

    The throw distance is indeed a problem, and so are

    1) The vertical offset (the lens has to be 2-3 inches above the lower edge of the screen or 2-3 below the upper edge of the screen).
    2) Clearance required at the back (minimum of 1.5 feet recommended).
    3) Lack of horizontal lens shift

    I need to table mount the projector in my apartment and I just can't seem to come up with a ideal configuration for my 100" DIY screen. I will need to place the projector at a height of about 2' (my screen will be about 20" from the ground), 10-12' feet away from the screen and center it with respect to the screen. That leaves me with an off-center viewing position so that I don't get in the way of the projector and so that it doesn't end up obstructing my view of the screen. I will be trying the keystone feature once I get the projector to see if the picture quality degradation is acceptable for a 5-10 degree horizontal keystone correction.

    Ron, I would be interested in hearing your comments about the L200U once you've had a chance to spend more time tweaking it. I will post some comments on the L300U myself.
     
  6. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Deepak, I'll keep adding to this thread as I move along the tweaking path. As for the 300u, congrats, nice machine. I almost bit the bullet, but after reading reviews on it, it's great for HD viewing, but if your only doing DVD (like myself) it's really not needed. Therefore I could not justify the added expense.

    I'm only buying this to last me 2 years or less, by then prices will really be down and the technology will be much better.

    Holadem, yes it is native 16:9. Go to ProjectorCentral.com an look up the PT-200u, it's got specs, throw-distances and anything else you may need for info.

    LaMarcus, I did get it, sorry for not returning it, I forgot :b

    A breakout cable connects the component out on your DVD player to a 15-pin PC/DVI input on the PJ. This will allow you access to the RGB individual color controls not available through the standard component connection. And yes, it is very tweak-able. A 35' cable will run about $44 from PCCables.com (much cheaper than a 35' run of component and there is no loss of PQ (from what I've been told). I ordered a 6' when I had the X1 so I'm going to hook it up tonight and tweak the settings.


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  7. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    Deepak, when did the price drop on the 300u?
     
  8. Greg Yeatts

    Greg Yeatts Second Unit

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    Ron-P

    I have been following your projector thread closely. My wife does not think that having a living room (a room that is never used) is practical. A home theater room with a PJ would be much more practical. I have been blessed to have such a wife. Now I am looking at projectors. I wish you good luck with the L200U.
     
  9. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    Ron-P if you don't use the breakout cable (which I may very well get any way) what options do you have to adjust the picture. When it comes to tweaking can you adjust it like a regular tv (color, contrast, tint, etc) or is it very differen to the point that you'd have to be skilled to adjust it?
     
  10. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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  11. Frank Kanyak

    Frank Kanyak Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought my projector(300U) from Ritzav in early January but didn't get mine until early February(production was limited at that time). If you read the ad very closely it is for online purchases only, no phone orders accepted. I am very pleased on their customer support, being polite and courteous and most importantly "patient". Just ask for "Clawdaddy" he'll hook you up!!! I am glad to see everyone enjoying this cool little machine. ENJOY
     
  12. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    I got a price quote from ProjectorPeople on the 300u and it is still $1,899.

    I'll email Ritz to see how long they'll have that price for.

    ~T
     
  13. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    About a half hour more with it last night and a few more discoveries.

    First off, the 200u does not have a DVI input, only PC. Both models are listed in the instruction manual side by side and I read the wrong one. So, that means I do not have access to the RGB color controls. A big deal, not in my case.

    Again, out of the box the colors were excellent on both LotR and Nemsis but when I put in Attack of the Clones I noticed some red push and a blue tint in the blacks. Each time I put in a different movie, I played with the settings. Right before I put in AotC I accidentally changed the picture setting to Dynamic which enhances the colors for a brightly lit room. After changing it back last night, Attack of the Clones looked excellent. No red push and the blue tint in the blacks was gone. So no individual color controls via the component input, only a color slide which I have not adjusted yet.

    I did adjust the contrast and brightness in the Cinema 1 mode to achieve a better black level. The picture is really looking excellent.

    Back to the short throw distance, a bummer indeed. I cannot ceiling mount this unit as it would hang too low in the room so it must be table top mounted. I will need to remove my middle theater seat and convert that over to a table for the projector and DVD player. I lose a seat (didn't get much use anyway) but will gain a very nice area that I can also use as a mini-coffee table for drinks, popcorn, etc. From the 300u to the Sanyo Z1, they all have short throw distances so upgrading to one of those will not help.

    Last night I put in Toy Story II and both my wife and I were extremely happy with the PQ. At this point, for the $1,099 price and free Da-Lite I don't think I can land a better deal.

    So far, this ones a keeper, but this weekend I'll have much more time on my hands to see if I can squeeze out any more performance.


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  14. Jed M

    Jed M Screenwriter

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  15. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Screenwriter

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    Ron:

    This *almost exactly* parallels the experience of one of my co-workers. He purchased the X1, found that he couldn't live with the rainbows, and went with a 16:9 SVGA LCD projector. (In his case, it was the Sanyo PLV-Z1).

    He's also been very pleased with his purchase. In his case, he built a 110" DYI grey screen, and invited me over for a sampling of AOTC. I have to admit, I was very impressed with the PQ. The black level was more than adequate in the scenes we sampled (which included the assassination attempt of the senator in her bedroom) as projected on the grey screen.

    I think the 16:9 native panel is what really helps out here with the DVD rendering on these SVGA LCD projectors. The contrast ratio on his unit is only listed at 800:1, but it still seems better than what he was getting with the X1 (on the same screen).

    It's beginning to appear as though 16:9 SVGA three panel LCD is far preferable to SVGA 4:3/16:9 one-chip DLP 2X speed color wheel projectors at this price point.

    Now, if Infocus were to introduce a 3X color wheel DLP for $999, then they might have something ...
     
  16. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the very, very valuable update Ron. Glad this one is meeting your approval. Plus, without the rainbow-induced headaches, you'll save money on Tylenol too! [​IMG]
     
  17. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Ron, you can access the RGB controls via the RGB input. YOu need to get a component to RGB transcoder to convert the DVD signal to RGB. Once there, the image quality becomes "slightly" sharper and you will have better control over image centering and image overscan.

    The transcoder box tends to sell for $190 from most places.

    Regards
     
  18. rin

    rin Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    congrats on the Panny! Sounds like you found a keeper. Reading the threads about your FP experience has been helpful to myself and to many on the Forum I'm sure. Thank you.
    I knew I needed an LCD PJ after a few bad experiences with DLP's-never bought one but checked out a few-some HTF'ers might remember Joe Kane's DLP PJ at the 2001 national meet banquet-man, that thing gave me a frigging headache.

    I finally decided on a Boxlight 1HD(Sanyo Z-1) and now I need screen recommendations. Sounds like you are happy with the Da-lite that came with the PJ, which one is it?

    I'm projecting on a textured off-white wall and it looks pretty good so with the right screen it will be awesome. I've read alot about using gray screens to boost black levels. After all the negative posts about LCD black levels, I was surprised at how well the Boxlight does blacks.

    Anyway, glad to hear you're enjoying it, keep us posted.

    Cheers
     
  19. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    The 300u at Ritz is only $1699 until they reduce enough of their inventory, so everyone should purchase it before the price changes. Unfortunately, I can't afford it at that price right now.

    ~T
     
  20. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Rin, congrats on the Z1. Maybe in the past LCD's had worse black levels than DLP, I don't know, but from what I've seen from this Panny, that's hardly the case, it is actually slightly better than the X1 and I have yet to shoot it onto a gray screen, which might improve it even more.

    The Da-Lite screen is a Model B, matte white. I will shoot the Panny on the gray screen I made for the X1 this weekend to see what the differences may be. Depending on which color I prefer, I may cut the Da-Lite out of the huge white roll up tube and put it onto a frame. Or, sell it on ebay and keep the gray one I've already made.

    Michael, thanks for the heads up. I've read some posts over at AVS on the transcoder. Seems it was put to good use for the earlier model Pannys. So far, I do not see a need for one.

     

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