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LCD vs. DLP Projector Help!


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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted June 20 2006 - 08:54 AM

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.
- Confidence implies the knowledge of one's limitations, while arrogance implies that one does not have any.

- There's no such thing as "normal". The secret is to find someone that's screwed up in a way that seems "normal" to you.

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   David-Wright

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Posted June 20 2006 - 04:04 PM

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.
David-Wright

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 20 2006 - 05:37 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted June 21 2006 - 05:38 AM

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.
- Confidence implies the knowledge of one's limitations, while arrogance implies that one does not have any.

- There's no such thing as "normal". The secret is to find someone that's screwed up in a way that seems "normal" to you.

#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 21 2006 - 07:54 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted June 22 2006 - 05:43 AM

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.
- Confidence implies the knowledge of one's limitations, while arrogance implies that one does not have any.

- There's no such thing as "normal". The secret is to find someone that's screwed up in a way that seems "normal" to you.

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 22 2006 - 02:12 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted June 22 2006 - 02:57 PM

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.
- Confidence implies the knowledge of one's limitations, while arrogance implies that one does not have any.

- There's no such thing as "normal". The secret is to find someone that's screwed up in a way that seems "normal" to you.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 23 2006 - 07:56 AM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted June 23 2006 - 11:26 AM

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.
- Confidence implies the knowledge of one's limitations, while arrogance implies that one does not have any.

- There's no such thing as "normal". The secret is to find someone that's screwed up in a way that seems "normal" to you.

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 23 2006 - 03:24 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted June 25 2006 - 02:53 AM

I'm not really sure how to read it, but epson's site (http://www.epson.co.....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.
- Confidence implies the knowledge of one's limitations, while arrogance implies that one does not have any.

- There's no such thing as "normal". The secret is to find someone that's screwed up in a way that seems "normal" to you.

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 25 2006 - 01:28 PM

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

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted June 29 2006 - 05:54 AM

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.
- Confidence implies the knowledge of one's limitations, while arrogance implies that one does not have any.

- There's no such thing as "normal". The secret is to find someone that's screwed up in a way that seems "normal" to you.

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   TicoTVA

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Posted July 01 2006 - 07:45 AM

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