Making the switch from T.V. to DLP, What should we know? Advice please

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Natalie M, May 1, 2002.

  1. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    OK Our situation is this. We have all of the audio equipment we need for our HT. What we dont have is the video. Currently, we have a 27" Zenith, which is 3 years old. We use dish network. We have the Onkyo Dv-c601 for our DVD which is not even 1 yr old.

    Our budget is in between 3-5K. We were orginally considering a CRT PJ but given the low lighting, weve decided to look at DLP instead. The two weve located so far are the Toshiba TDP-P4 DLP and the Viewsonic LiteBird PJ 1075 DLP. We are looking at a screen size at least 61" diagonal.

    We were also considering the Hitachi 61SWX10B RPTV until we came across the PJ's in the affordable range.

    My question is, if we were to buy one of these PJ's would it be as simple as just hooking all cables up or is there more to it?

    What are the Pros and Cons between the Pj's and the Hitachi?

    We just want to make sure we understand everything before we got out and buy.

    thank you

    Natalie
     
  2. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    May I ask how you chose these two particular projectors? I visited their respective websites and their specifications are not all that impressive for what you will be paying. I'm sure you have heard this before, but I'd like to re-emphasize: DO NOT PURCHASE A PROJECTOR FROM A LOCAL RETAILER (unless you are dead-set on supporting a favorite brick and mortar location and plan on spending a couple extra thousand dollars!). If you'd like, I'll give you some recommendations on other models and what to look for and avoid.
     
  3. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, price is an issue. We were looking at the Hitachi hit61swx10b RPTV which is 4000. Then we came across these PJ's that I mentioned earier. If we can find DLP PJ's for around the same price as the Hitachi that would be good. Unlike audio, were not really up on spec's for DLP PJ's. I would welcome any explanations of specs to look for and any other advice you all might have to offer. By the way, if we buy a PJ, it will most likely be online. There really isnt any places around here to try before you buy, so its more like taking a guess.

    P.S. another PJ we looked at was the NEC LT150z
     
  4. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm glad that you've opted to purchase your projector online. Let me give you the rundown on the biggest differences between a all-in-one rear projection unit like the Hitachi and a front projector. Some may tell you that they can run their high-lumen projectors with the lights on, but I wouldn't recommend. Don't get to caught up in the brightness (lumen) ratings, as you will need to figure out a way to have your room light controlled anyways. In a light controlled room, even a sub 500 lumen DLP projector such as the Plus Piano has been said to produce an image that is plenty bright. No matter how much you spend, the picture produced by projection will be inferior (with the right projector and conditions, only slightly) to the Hitachi's picture. When attempting to produce a comparable picture, the projector's contrast ratio (not lumen rating) becomes the most important factor. The two projectors that you mentioned both have sub 450:1 contrast ratios. The projector I will recommend to you is the NEC LT150. I purchased this projector after months of researching at www.avsforum.com This site contains a wealth of information, but as a warning, some of the tweaks they suggest can be far too complex and intimidating. Some of these guys are SERIOUS videophiles. Anyways, the NEC LT150 offers a contrast ratio of 850:1. What this means is when your favorite movie is projected up on the big screen, grays will be gray, dark grays will be dark gray, and blacks will be black. The higher the contrast ratio, the more adept the projector will be at conveying these different levels. The end result is a picture that looks 3 dimensional and dynamic (many LCD and low contrast ratio DLP's will produce a vibrant image... but one that is very flat looking with grays in place of black and not much shadow detail). Bottom line is, I am VERY HAPPY WITH MY NEC LT150. It produces a very 3-dimensional, bright picture on a 110" screen! It should look even better on a smaller screen. If you'd like, you could build your own screen with simple materials from a fabric store, or e-mail me for suggestions. I purchased a Da-Lite Hi-power pulldown screen that makes for an image that is significantly brighter (Well worth it for around $220!). Bottome line is, while the Hitachi will be more functional and practical for everyday TV-watching use with the lights on, NOTHING compares to the drama and scale of full-fledged front projection of movies!
     
  5. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, Ive got a thread going over at AVS actually. Like Ive said, we came across the lt-150z. The problem is, I dont always want to watch things in the dark. I thought (guess I was wrong) that lumens meant you didnt have to.

    So youre saying that the Hitachi would have a better picture? Or did I misread that?
     
  6. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    By the way, I own the highly-acclaimed NEC LT150 which (according to CNET search - http://shopper.cnet.com/shopping/res...848441,00.html) can be had for around $2500. For $500 more, you can get the LT150z which has a zoom lens. Personally, I never really had a use for the zoom. My projector is set perfectly in place, no need to fuss with it. With a projector this cheap, and a budget of around $4000, you have an extra $1500 to play with. I would recommend a Dalite hi-power screen for around $200 depending on size (http://www.shopcousinsvideo.com/dalitemodelb.html). Most LT150 owners who use a standalone dvd player go with the Panasonic RP56. Unless you want to spend upwards of $1000, this player will provide you with the best picture possible. Pick it up online for under $186 and free shipping (http://www.abtelectronics.com/script...t.php3?id=6541) or at Best Buy for around $220. Check out this page for the best prices on the connection cables that you will need (http://www.pccables.com/cgi-bin/orde...search=MONITOR)5 BNC to Super VGA HDDB15-M Cable is what you will need to hook the projector to the DVD player. You may want to call them and also ask for 3 BNC to component adapters along with the cable length that you have chosen. For under $3000 you have just about everything you need! Spend that extra cash on some DVD's to watch on the big screen...
     
  7. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    The Hitachi will have a better picture, but only marginally (some may argue this point). The problem is, the TV is bulky and 61" is as big as you're gonna get. With the projector, you can project as big or as small as you want. It weighs less than 5 lbs... move it around till your heart's content! When you fire up an 80"+ image onto a wall, your jaw drops and you forget about the minor picture improvements that an RPTV (such as the Hitachi) provides.
     
  8. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I already have a dvd player its the Onkyo DV-C601 and is less than 1 year old. A screen size of 61" is huge to me, but I think hubby would want to go bigger. The only problem is the lighting problem. I dont always want to watch everything in the dark. I think the Hitachi is on wheels...or so hubby said. LoL I dont know what to do.

    So which specs are most important?

    Oh and hubby thinks he can build a screen himself

    Yes the bulk is the reason my hubby is leaning to FP. Can you get 16:9 aspect on them though?
     
  9. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    If you told me 6 months ago that by this time I would be sitting in my living room, enjoying movies on a 110" screen, I would've thought you to be crazy. Projectors with a native 16:9 panel are generally much more expensive. What do they get you? More resolution? nope. Better picture? nope. What they lack are the black bars above and below the image that you are probably used to seeing while watching a widescreen DVD on a 4:3 TV. The NEC has a 4:3 panel. Fortunately, you can setup the projector so that the actual image (not the black bars) fits the entire screen. The black bars will be projected above and below your screen onto the wall, curtains, etc. Fortunately, the black levels (contrast ratio) of the projector is so good that I would have to point this out to you. The 16:9 image produced by the LT150 (which has a native 4:3 panel) is identical to that of a native 16:9 panel projector. If you plan on watching TV with the projector, then the fact that it is 4:3 native is actually a feature. As for watching with the lights on, you can do this with front projection, but I would advise against direct light in favor of ambient light. Obviously the picture will look more washed out than in complete dark (IMHO, the only way to go!)
     
  10. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Whats a native panel mean?
     
  11. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry if I'm getting too technical in my efforts to help. Now I hope the videophiles will correct me if I'm wrong... A DLP projector operates by shining light from a bulb, through a colorwheel (spinning wheel of 3 translucent colors, and onto a DMD panel (I believe this is a panel of tiny, rapidly switching mirrors). From the panel the light is reflected through the lens where it is focused across the room to the screen. The DMD panel can be either 16:9 or 4:3. Most projetors have 4:3 panels. More expensive dedicated home theater projectors have 16:9 panels. These more expensive projectors are said to have "native" 16:9 capabbility. Projectors like the one I am recommending (NEC LT150), have 4:3 panels and have to do "the squeeze trick" in order to display 16:9. This trick allows the projector to display the exact same image as a projector with a 16:9 panel, but with black bars on the top and bottom of the viewable image. By simply lining up the projector so that only the viewable image falls on the screen w/black bars offscreen, you will have a picture identical to that of a more expensive 16:9 "native" projector. Make sense?
     
  12. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes that does clear it up, thanks.
     
  13. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff are there any Hitachi's listed at Projector people, you could recommend?
     
  14. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff, with the LT-150 will I need the deinterlacer? I havent heard you mention one.
     
  15. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not really clear on you Hitachi question. I don't know very much about rear projection televisions. When I said the Hitachi will give you a slightly better picture, I was refering to a big screen rear projection TV. I am completely unfamiliar with Hitachi's front projection DLP offerings. Once again, I will strongly recommend the NEC LT150/150Z. You DO NOT need a separate deinterlacer, provided you are feeding the projector a good progressive-scan signal. For the money, you can not beat the Panasonic RP56 that I mention a couple of posts earlier. I know that you already have a DVD player, but this Panasonic is an absolute necessity for this projector. You could always sell your other DVD player on ebay or use it in another room. I believe so strongly in this Panasonic as to claim that it should be factored into the budget of anyone who is purchasing the LT150.
     
  16. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, Thank you

    For your input. We have decided that at the present time, it would be best to stick with an RPTV. For several reasons, i.e. we dont have alot of time to make sure everything is maintained properly, the majority of our viewing is via satellite. With a 2 yr old, we're lucky if we can finish 1 movie in one night. My husband is hardly home, so we really dont get to do much.

    Even though we had planned to wait for a HT view until we moved into a house, my hubby has the itch to go bigger now. In a 2 br apt, there isnt much room for a FPTV and a regular t.v. for regular viewing.

    Light is also a factor, neither one of us can stand to watch anything in the dark for very long. One hour of Band of Brothers in the dark is enough.

    Granted, the RPTV we have in mind is much more expensive, but its also everything you need in one unit, which doesnt require lots of maintenance.

    At the present time, we just dont have what it takes for FPTV, but we're not giving up on the idea all together. Maybe a few years down the line, when things have slowed down (if thats possible), and we have a house, with enough room for 2 types of video, then we will again consider the FPTV.

    FPTV is something my hubby really wanted, but for our lifestyle TODAY, it isnt practical, maybe in the future, it will be a perk we have time and energy to enjoy.

    Thanks again to all of you for your input, not only did you help me learn a few things, but now I have some knowledge of FPTV for later down the line.
     
  17. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Glad I could help. I'd rather you pick something that will provide the most enjoyment, while remaining practical. Home theater and TV watching should be fun, not a chore. Development of projectors is currently moving at a break-neck speed and in 2 years, the offerings should embarass what is available today. Good luck with your purchase!
     
  18. Natalie M

    Natalie M Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL yeah, finding a way to purchase, thats the hard part. But hubby is obsessed, so on we go.
     

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