16:9 vs 4:3 native resolution?? Help

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Stefan_H, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. Stefan_H

    Stefan_H Auditioning

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    Hello,
    I am purchasing a projector for my basement home theatre. I have already purchased an Elite Screen R92H tensioned screen. It is 16:9 ratio. 86x45"
    Here is my question:
    When looking @ projectors, I notice some have a native resoultion of 4:3 and offer 16:9 display option, while some have a 16:9 native resolution. My screen is 16:9 so that is what I will always be using.
    What should I do?
    Will a projector that runs 4:3 native, be able to offer the same 16:9 picture quality as one with a 16:9 native resolution?
    Also, will a projector that is too bright (to many lumens) be bad for your basement? Here is the one I am looking at:
    Its an Acer PD525. 2600lum, 2000:1 contrast, and XGA resolution, DLP.
    Let me know what you think.
    Any other model suggestions would be greatly apreciated
    Im trying to stay in the $1000-1500 range.
    Thanks
    Stefan
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Stefan, you want to buy a 16:9 native projector to go with your 16:9 screen. I don't know anything about that projector, but I do know the "hot" projectors right now in your price range are the Infocus 4805 and Optoma H31. They're both 16:9, DLP projectors. They're both about $1,000. You can learn a lot about projectors and read reviews at Projectorcentral.com.
     
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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  4. John Whittle

    John Whittle Stunt Coordinator

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    Stefan,

    Native resolution is probably one of the most important considerations. All other formats will be scaled by the projector/tv set to the native resolution for display and the quality of the picture will be determined by it's ability to do that.

    A device with 4:3 native will "chop off" image quality when it shows 16:9 because it won't use all of it's available pixels to display the picture resulting in less information to the display chip.

    Also watch for other characteristics such as 720P or 1080I. The projector will "adjust" NTSC to fit that display as well. Most projectors (the 4805 for example) can scale NTSC to EDTV (i.e. 480P) and downconvert HD from 1080I (which is really 540 scan lines interlaced) to 480P.

    But you have to do an eyes on evaulation of any projector with all your planned signal sources to see what the projector will show. It's also a good time to see if you can spot DLP rainbows. A wide variety of scene material (fast action/black and white/etc) will help. Don't rely on any of the store "source video" to be able to evaulate the picture. Does anybody know what those stores use for "source" (such as Best Buy/Circuit City/Fry's) since the quality varies widely and offten has "patterns" in all the displays at the same time suggesting a low res source.

    John
     
  5. Stefan_H

    Stefan_H Auditioning

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    Thank you very much for all your information. I have looked at projector central,and it is indeed very helpfull!!
    Thank you kindly John for your reply, it has been very informative.
    I will definatly buy a projector with a native 16:9 resolution.
    Its funny though, I have checked into many projectors that claim to be 16:9 only, and I find out that they are acutally 4:3 native, that can project 16:9.
    I thought would be the same thing, but I understand now the scaleing issue you are talking about.
    Would this mean that if I put a 4:3 projector into 16:9 mode, that light will still shine above and below the 16:9 screen, or will it actually project a true 16:9 image?
    Sorry for the rookie questions, I very much apreciate everyones help!!
    God Bless
    Stefan
     
  6. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    This is certainly true. But ....

    Certain 4:3 projectors (the JVC SX21, Canon SX50, for example, with 1400 x 1050 resolution. Unfortunately, they are well above your budget) have 16:9 areas that use more pixels (1400 x 788) than all other digital projectors in their price range and below regardless of their aspect ratio.

    There is a way to have your cake and eat it too via the use of an anamorphic lens. What is that, you might ask? It's a special lens that sits in front of a digital projector lens that squeezes or stretches (depending on the type of lens used) a 4:3 shape into a 16:9 shape. Your player is set to its 16:9 mode but the projector is 4:3. In the presence of a 16:9 enhanced signal, the lens is moved in front of the lens. For full screen or unenhanced sources, the lens is slid to the side. Can you see the advantage? The signal recorded on a dvd, whether 16:9 enhanced or not, is always in the 4:3 shape. By leaving the projector in its 4:3 mode, all the pixels are used and none are chopped. The lens then optically squeezes (or stretches) the picture to its proper shape. All of your projectors resolution is used, and you get higher light output as a bonus! The other upside is that you use all the resolution on full frame material also - no black bars on the side, no cramping the 4:3 image within a 16:9 space. Of course, this all means you must have a 4:3 screen.

    The downside to an anamorphic lens is price. If you're willing to shell out $495, the Panamorph Corporation is still closing out their older but still excellent P752 lens. This is a whale of a deal - I believe it once retailed in the neighborhood of $2000. There ain't nothin' else in this price range.

    This will probably put you over your budget, but it's something to consider for the future (until supply runs out).

    Finally, whatever projector you go with, MAKE CERTAIN IT IS HDCP COMPATABLE!. If you don't, you will be SOL when high-def discs come along.
     
  7. Stefan_H

    Stefan_H Auditioning

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    What is HDCP, and how do I ensure that my projector has it?
    Thanks again for the help!!
    You guys are great
    God Bless
    Stefan
     
  8. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    HDCP is the evil stepchild of piracy. Evil if your display doesn't support it, that is.

    Better explanation. HDCP is the encryption copy protection scheme that will be used for the coming hi-def discs (HD-DVD and BLU-RAY). There are also some players and sources that HDCP encrypt their outputs right now. If you want to view those hi-def discs and sources, your dvd player, display and everything between them must be HDCP compatible. Here's the very simplified sequence of events:

    1.) When your high-def DVD player plays a high-def disc, it encrypts the digital bitstream using the HDCP encryption scheme and outputs the now-encrypted bitstream to the players digital output.
    2.) If your display is HDCP compatible, your display will then de-encrypt the bitstream so that it can be displayed. If your display isn't HDCP compatible, you get to view garbage (or a message saying "ha-ha on you" - we don't know exactly what will happen).
    3.) If there is any device between the player and display, such as a scaler or a receiver, that needs to decrypt HDCP, it must also be HDCP compatible.

    In fact, the process is much more complicated. Each device and each display will have a key. These keys will be verified for authenticity. If any key is invalid, funny things will happen, none to your advantage. Your nice high-def player that you paid so much for may be disabled. Your player may rat on you to the HDCP cops. Maybe it will go up in smoke (I wouldn't put it past them). The penalty, at the minimum, will be that you won't be able to view hi-def discs in high-def. You will be able to play them in SD (Standard Definition). One thing to be aware of - the HDCP authorities don't like analog. Analog can't be copy protected and so all analog outputs will be downrezzed to SD, or disabled.

    Why is this done? Very simple - to combat piracy. An HDCP encrypted bitstream can't be displayed unless it is de-encrypted, which requires a decoder chip and a key, which a manufacturer won't have access to unless he signs a contract with the HDCP authorities and submits his design to ensure HDCP robustness (resistance to defeat). This is expensive.

    How do you know a device or display is HDCP compatable? Look for an HDMI digital input or output. By definition, an HDMI connection is HDCP compliant. Some displays have DVI digital inputs that may or may not be HDCP compliant - you gotta do your research to find out. Nearly all older displays (2+ years) are not HDCP compliant.

    HDCP is a big topic among CRT front projector enthusiasts. No CRT FP is HDCP compatible and so those big, heavy, wonderful devices won't be able to display high-def discs even though they have long been capable of it. Surprisingly, CRT rear projectors can be made HDCP compliant. Now - I lied a little bit here. There are devices (but if they will work with hi-def dvd players remains to be seen) and - maybe - ways around HDCP encryption if your display wasn't designed to be HDCP compatible. But I won't talk about them here.

    Anyway - you want your display to be HDCP compatible, else you will be left out when high-def discs finally come along. Even if your display isn't capable of displaying high-def in its full glory, you'll still get a stunning picture.
     
  9. Gerald LaFrance

    Gerald LaFrance Supporting Actor

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  10. Stefan_H

    Stefan_H Auditioning

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    Wow, alan, thank you very much for your informative post!!
    Its actually quite funny, a few minutes before reading your post, I was reading a popular science, and the showed the new toshiba HD-DVD player, I think its the first one you can actually buy. It said the 80 tiles have already been released on HD-DVD discs. Its only a matter of time now, untill everything is HD-DVD.
    Thank you also to Gerald, I will check out the link you mentioned. I am so glad I didnt purcahse the acer pd525 or I would have been screwed. Thanks for looking into this for me.
    You guys are the best
    Thanks
    Stefan
     
  11. Stefan_H

    Stefan_H Auditioning

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    One more quick question.
    I went to the projectorcentral website, and went to go check several projectors out to see their HDCP compatable, and I couldnt find a section stating HDCP compatablitly.
    I could only find if they were HDTV compatable. IS that the same thing as HDCP??
    Also what is EDTV/480p and SDTV/480i?
    Another quick question, does anybody know if Benq makes a home theater projector that is 16:9 native, with HDCP compatablilty that is not crazy exspensive, or any projector that is 16:9 native with HDCP compatiblilty and in the 1500-3000 range??
    Thanks again, you guys are very informative and helpfull.
    One day I hope I can help out others on this forum also, once I start gathering more knowledge.
    Thanks
    Stefan
     
  12. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    It may be the first high-def player we will be able to buy in the future, but none are available right now. Nor are there any titles for sale yet. Maybe at the end of this year; certainly in 2006.

    Whether everything will be released in high-def remains to be seen. I very much doubt it. It is completely unknown how successful high-def discs will be; it's very possible (my belief) that it will be only a niche market for quite a few years.
     

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