I finally took the plunge! Plus Piano HE-3200 in the HOUSE!

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Chauncey_G, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    ...and it looks fantastic!
    I auditioned a couple of other projectors, a Sharp LCD that was in the $4000 range and a Runco in the $6000 range (sorry, I don't remember model numbers). The Sharp, while it had good brightness and color, suffered from a horrible screen door effect. The Runco was DLP, if I remember correctly, and it looked great, but it was out of my budget.
    After finding a Plus dealer in my area, I decided to have a look. I'd been curious about this PJ ever since reading the polar opposite viewpoints on internet forums (mostly over at AVS Forum but also here to some extent). There were those that said the Plus Piano was the ultimate in price/performance quality while a different camp insisted that low light output, lack of Hi-Def resolution, rainbows and DLP headaches made it unwatchable.
    Armed with the following films: LOTR - Fellowship of the Ring, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Fifth Element, Se7en, Young Frankenstein and the most recent edition of Starship Troopers, I went to audition this controversial projector.
    First let me talk about light output. This seems to be the biggest criticism from Piano detractors. Rated at 450 lumen, on paper it doesn't seem like it would be all that great an image. In reality, though, the brightness was perfect. During the audition, while a movie was playing, I asked that the lights in the room be turned up as far as they could go. The picture washed out, of course, and I wouldn't want to sit through a film like that, but the image was still detailed and watchable. It is my sincere opinion that the light output issue with this projector has been blown out of proportion.
    Next, the rainbows. Out of all the films that I auditioned this unit with, as well as the ones that I watched on my own at home, I have only ever seen rainbows on one film: Young Frankenstein. I only saw them there because I was trying to see them. I wonder if they were more readily apparent because the film is black and white? Every other film that I have watched with this projector has been free of this rainbow effect.
    Next, the resolution. I am using this projector to watch DVD's exclusively, and it's resolution is perfect for this application. The Piano 3200 does accept a HDTV signal, but downconverts it into WSVGA (I got to see a HDTV feed at the dealer, and though it lacked the depth and clarity of true HD, the downconverted image was very nice). Since I rarely watch regular TV, at this point there is little reason for me to look into projectors with additional resolution. Whenever HD-DVD hits the market, I will trade up for a higher-res PJ (I'm not sold on the D-VHS platform). Until then, the Piano suits my needs perfectly. I guess this question can only be determined by each individual's needs.
    As to DLP headaches, thus far they are nonexistent.
    I ran my power and component video cable and installed my screen (82" 16X9 Stewart Firehawk) prior to the arrival of the projector. I did this to minimize the amount of time between getting my new toy and being able to play with my new toy. [​IMG]
    I had also ordered the ceiling mount that Plus sells with the Piano. It's fairly pricey, and I had considered a couple of DIY options, but time and logistics dictated that I just buy what was available. This mount is built like a tank! It features rugged, durable all-metal construction and weighs in at about twice the projector's weight. It has great X- and y-axis adjustability as well. All in all, it took me about 4 hours to install the mount and projector. It probably would have taken less had I not run into a couple of snags on my end of things.
    It didn't take long at all to optimize the Piano with Video Essentials. A few tweaks here and there and it was ready to go. The first scene in was the "Battle of Carthage" from Gladiator, followed by the "Abandon Ship" sequence from Starship Troopers, and last but certainly not least a few choice scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Considering I made the leap to FPTV from a 27" direct-view Sony, watching these films was a whole new experience. It's like I have a brand new DVD collection!
    I now add my voice to the chorus of FPTV owners when I say that nothing simulates all the positive aspects of the movie theater experience like FPTV. WOW!
    I also would like to heartily recommend the Plus Piano HE-3200. I feel that it is an underrated projector that has received a lot of ill-deserved bad press. If you are looking for a projector for less than $4000, then you owe it to yourself to at least audition this unit. Seeing the Piano in action dispelled all of the criticisms that I had heard about it. IMO, it's a great value for the money.
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Let me be the first to congratulate you on your purchase and quick setup. You are right, watching on such a setup makes you want to revisit your entire collection again. You also picked a very nice screen to go along with it. It will enhance your image like no other screen can.
     
  3. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    I am also convinced to go the FP route, with current ownership of a 10 year old 35" TV. I had thought that a 5.1 sound system would have kept me reasonably happy for a while, but I now feel that a large image is necessary to really get sucked into the movie.

    I will likely go with one of the upcoming HD2 DLPs, but I did see the 3200 recently (BTW, I believe it's the Plus Avanti; the Piano is the 3100). Unfortunately, the dealer's setup was absolutely awful. Screen and wall were undersized, bottom of image was chopped off by shelf underneath, and the settings were atrocious. The dealer had no interest in pushing this projector, as evident by the setup as well as our conversation. Oh well.

    Good luck with your unit.

    Doug
     
  4. David Hicks

    David Hicks Stunt Coordinator

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    Congratulations on the move to FP!!! You'll definately want to watch every one of your DVD's over again. I've had my projector almost 6 months and I'm still going through my collection.

    Kudo's, too, for pointing out the positives of entry level projectors. Far too many people are far too negative about this price point (particularly on the 'other' forum). Yes, they have their limitations. But, I'll take my $1500 native 16:9, LCD Panasonic (AE100) over any RPTV on the market. I simply cannot imagine paying $4000+ on a 60"-70" RPTV after enjoying a 9' screen! People definately should experience FP for themselves and not take the forum freaks at face value. Front Projection really is for the masses now!

    Enjoy your new toy!
     
  5. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Chauncey:

    I saw this projector out in LA. I was floored by the overall picture quality, the level of light output and the black levels were spot on. And they were shooting the image onto a 110 inch perfed screen. Then I looked up and saw the size of the projector and again was amazed that the picture that I was looking at was coming from such a small device. BTW, it comes with DVI inputs too right? I wonder what a HTPC would look like through it. The only draw back that I could see is that is is native 800 x 600 on the resolution but for your viewing purposes it sounds like the perfect one to have. And for the money it is damn hard to beat. If you don't mind me asking what ballpark did you end up getting this for?

    I have been a preacher for FPTV for years now. Its the only way to go for a theater in the house.

    Parker
     
  6. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Chauncey:

    Thanks very much for the review. For a few months now I have been considering the Plus 3200, as well as the InFocus ScreenPlay. (I can get a good deal on an InFocus demo.) Do you know how these two units compare? And if you don't mind my asking, how much did you pay for the Piano?

    Last, I am also considering the soon-to-be-released SONY VPL HS10 (LCD), which I have reason to believe will be available for about $2,200.

    I am lucky (?!) in that I do not have a trained eye for video, so it is likely that any of these units will look just fine to me.

    Larry
     
  7. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    Hi Parker,
    You're right about the DVI input, and also right that the unit would have to downconvert any signal higher than it's WSVGA resolution. I did see a HDTV feed going to the 3200 at the dealer, though, and I thought that it looked pretty good. I freely admit that it lacked the depth and clarity of a true HD output, but I think it did a respectable job with the downconversion.
    Parker, I don't know where in Missouri you are, but if you're close (and you want to haul your gear around) you'd be more than welcome to check out your HTPC on it. Send me a PM if you're interested.
    Parker & Larry,
    I don't mind the price question at all. The dealer actually seemed to be acting more as a broker than anything else. I got the unit at the exact same price as it can be had from the Plus website which is in the neighborhood of $3300. The mount was around $300, if I remember correctly. I could have just as easily ordered it all myself online, but the dealer where I auditioned the unit was so helpful that I thought I'd throw the business through him so that he could get whatever he could out of it. Like I said, the price was the same to me either way. He basically took my credit card info then forwarded it to Plus, who completed the transaction on their end of things. Different way of doing things, but it worked out well.
    Larry,
    Sorry, but I did not see the InFocus so I can't give you a comparison.
     
  8. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Chauncey:

    I don't have an HTPC but with the DVI input on this unit it would make it easy to hook one up if you did.

    Now you need to take some pictures of your unit and some of the images displayed an post them in this thread.

    Parker
     
  9. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    Greetings, all...
    Sorry it's taken me so damned long to do this, but I've finally got some pictures of my HT room's set-up to post. No actual image shots yet, but hopefully those will come in time.
    Here's the link to the photos.
     
  10. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Once again, congrats on the setup. You have a great screen there. The only problem I see are with the words meager and humble. They don't belong. [​IMG]
     
  11. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Hey Chauncey!
    Great setup, there! The screen looks great and well-sized for your room.
    No screen shots of your Piano in action? I'd love to see some images from it!
    Thanks for cross-posting the link at the other thread!
    Gordon
     
  12. Dave Getson

    Dave Getson Stunt Coordinator

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    Very nice setup with some nice gear!! Enjoy every second of it!
    I have seen both the 3100, and 3200 in action, and both look great. They have received negative attention, but have also been shown some great attention from many people who have seen them. I know of one owner who almost brought his 3100 back because of the motion artifacts he saw in fast panning scenes, but once he tried out a HTPC, the problems all but disappeared and he couldn't be a happier guy. I envy all FP owners and someday hope to join the high rank and have one of my own. Until then, I will continue to visit and learn from such great places as this.
    Thanks for everything.
    (now how about some screenshots? [​IMG])
     
  13. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Dave, how would an HTPC reduce DLP motion artifacts?
     
  14. Nathan_H

    Nathan_H Stunt Coordinator

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    And wouldn't a DVD player with DVI output achieve the same thing, with less tweaking?
     
  15. RANDY FISHER

    RANDY FISHER Second Unit

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    Nice setup. I just got my X1 setup and running last weekend and I am so blown away by the front projection experience. BTW, love the screen you chose.
    Randy[​IMG]
     
  16. Ronald.H

    Ronald.H Agent

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    I too am considering the Piano Avanti. I haven't seen on in action yet. You aren't near the KC area are you?

    I'm curious what the screen door affect looks like on this projector.
     

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