Can I compare HDTV to a Front Projector?

DanielKellmii

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I am looking into getting a projector in about 6 months. My wife want an HDTV. This is for watching movies mostly. Neither of us care that much about TV. (Yes, I know that there is no such thing as a HD DVD player yet.) How do I compare something like XGA resolution on a projector to the resolution on a HDTV screen?


Depending on the final set-up of the room the throw will be about 14-15 feet. Anything greater than 90 inches diagonal is fine. I will be about 14 feet away from the screen, but some will sit about 8 feet away.

Thanks
 

Matthew Todd

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XGA resolution is 1024x768. HDTV is either 1080i (1920x1080) or 720p (1280x720).

Most of the CRT based RPTV HDTVs that you see in stores are probably set up to display everything as 1080i. Most of these don't actually have the ability to resolve the full resolution offered there. Resolution wise, you probably wouldn't see a huge difference between watching HDTV on the RPTV or an XGA front projector.

There are now digital RPTV HDTVs that generally are set up to display everything as 720p. These are new and generally more expensive than the CRT RPTV HDTVs.

Then there are also direct view HDTVs and front projection HDTV capable displays too. I figured when you say "HDTV," you're probably thinking of an RPTV.

One difference you may have already noticed is that those RPTV HDTVs generally have a wider aspect ratio (16:9) compared to the aspect ration of an XGA front projector (4:3). Because of this, you may want to consider a projector with a wide screen aspect ratio (e.g., WXGA).

An alternative (one I like very much) is to consider a used CRT front projector. You can set up a CRT front projector for either 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio (without losing resolution) by squeezing the raster height. Also, you can display 1080i and 720p natively, without converting to one or the other.

Matt
 

Mike Wladyka

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in addition to what matthew said, there are some so-called HDTV projectors that deliver resolutions of 1280 by 720...most notably are the sanyo Z2 and the panny AE500
 

Cameron Yee

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If you're going to watch movies and little TV, then I suggest going with the projector. It kind of sounds like your wife needs some persuasion in that direction? Does she think the set looks better? Has she seen a projector in action? I don't think a comparison of specs would be sufficient - definitely get some kind of firsthand exposure.
 

DanielKellmii

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A used CRT? Isn't that pretty big and still expensive? Maybe I am thinking of something else.
And I have no idea on how to squeeze the raster height? Is that hard to do?
 

Matthew Todd

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Squeezing the raster height is really easy to do. With a projector like this it is as simple as pushing some buttons on the remote control, and it only needs to be done once.

Matt
 

DanielKellmii

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She has seen them in action at business meetings, but not as a way to watch movies at home. It is just too different for her.
 

ChrisWiggles

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Definitely, however, it is a little misleading to state that you don't lose resolution with raster squeeze. The resolving capabilities is your limit, and running full 4:3 will allow you far more scanlines. Reducing the image to 16:9 (since CRTs are 4:3 devices) will limit your capabilities in terms of scanlines. Either way you do it, by black bars, or by raster squeeze, you can't maintain the same resolution as 4:3 without suffering from the effects of overlap. It's either lower resolution + squeeze, or black bars, and both net you identical results.

It's still a superior way to go, IMO, for a budget-limited display.
 

Larry Hoffman

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Why not take her to a Audio-Video store where they have a home theater projector set up so she can experience it for herself. Seeing a data projector do a presentation and watching a movie on a big screen are two very different things.
Seeing it for herself might change her mind.

Larry
 

Cameron Yee

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Well, I persuaded a co-worker to get the X1 and he trusted my judgment without question. When I helped him set it up he was thoroughly impressed, even though we were only watching it on a less than ideal screen. The first thing he said upon seeing the image was "So why get a big screen TV?" and I said "Exactly."

Seeing is definitely believing, especially with projectors designed to handle video. The DATA projectors she's seen, though close to the experience, are really not the same.

Now this doesn't mean front projection is always the way to go. Sometimes it just doesn't work for the room. But if it works, there are definite advantages. For one, from an interior design viewpoint, there is more flexibility because there's not a huge set taking up space and attention. And given some of the great projectors out there, there is definitely more bang for the buck.

You really need to have her see it firsthand. If she's only against it because it's "too different" that's really a shame. She really needs the to make a more informed decision than that, especially when spending that kind of money.
 

Matthew Todd

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Daniel, I'd agree with everyone else that you should try to take her somewhere where they have a well set up front projector optimized for watching movies. That may help her get sold on the idea.

Matt
 

Matthew Todd

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I would also add that once you get a CRT front projector hung properly on the ceiling, its weight is a non-factor.

As Matthew said, you can get phenomenal values in that market. Although I paid considerably more for my XG a couple years ago ($3500), even then you add a processor, screen and some cabling and you're done with the video for $6,000 or so, with a picture, especially for movies, that I believe you can't yet touch with a digital for the same dough.

It's probably overkill, but I also believe the best reasonably priced set-up for a home theater that will be used for HD, movies AND SD shows is an RPTV with a pull down screen that drops in front of it, and a CRT front projector hanging from the ceiling pointed at that screen.

Not coincidentally, that's my set-up, and it works very nicely. I don't pull down the screen for standard SD shows, or the news, or that kind of thing. But for eye candy HD stuff, and definitely for movies, the screen drops and the projector fires up...
 

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