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My own X1 vs. Z1 Experience (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jan 8, 2003
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I know there are a lot of people out there who can't decide between the Infocus X1 and Sanyo Z1 for an entry level FP. A week ago I was one of them. With that being said I'd like to throw in my own 2 cents being that I just spent a few days with each. I bought the X1 last sunday. I hooked it up via S-video mainly because I couldn't find that component adapter at CompUSA or Radio shack. Right out of the box the X1 really impressed me. Great detail, decent colors, and really nice contrast. Blacks looked black for the most part, and the overall picture was really bright. The only problem I had with the X1 in fact, was rainbows. I saw rainbows...many of them. Anytime I looked away from the screen and then back, was when they really came out. High contrast scenes in LOTR Fellowship and Starwars AOTC really brought them out as well. I kind of forgot about them after a while, and I really didn't notice them as much. Kind of like the same phenomenon as being aware of when you blink. Anyway, I decided that the rainbow effect bothered me and I was set on returning the X1. After searching on the net for the best price on the Z1, I came across AGI. They're only four hours away from me so shipping only took a day. I connected the Z1 to the same Sony Progressive scan DVD player that I did the X1. The Z1 has component inputs right on the back , however, making this image true 480p. The first thing I noticed was that the Z1 was too far ( roughly 13 ft) from my 92" da-lite screen even with the zoom all the way down. After rearranging my setup, I moved the Z1 about 3 feet closer and it fit the screen perfectly. Unfortunately, that is pretty much where the perfection ended. I popped in Fellowship extended because it is the yardstick by which I measure all audio and video. Right off the bat the Z1 looked dull and pixelated. I remember reading a really comprehensive and in-depth review of the Z1 by a guy named Oren Jacob at avsforum who said the Z1 didn't look so hot right out of the box and required tweaking. Fair enough.. I popped in my home theater calibration disc to give it a whirl. After messing with the Z1 all weekend. I did get the picture reasonably close to the X1's. I just couldn't get the WOW factor out of this thing as I did with the Infocus. The X1 just seemed to have deeper blacks and brighter whites to me. I also coudn't get the Z1 as infocus as the X1 ( no pun intended ) I was contstantly fiddling with the lens to get that original level of detail that I got from the X1. The real irony of this comparison is that in every category imaginable other than the picture, The Z1 wins this battle hands down. 16:9 aspect ratio, component inputs, more menu options, better color control in 480p mode, eco mode, and a MUCH quieter fan. All these are irrelevent if the picture quality is not there. In my opinion, the Z1 doesn't have the punch the X1 does. On the other hand, the Z1 doesn't have the rainbow effects the X1 does. If you are not sensitive to rainbows, allow me to wholeheartedly reccomend the Infocus X1 to you. It has an amazing picture and costs $300 to $400 less than the Z1. If rainbows do bother you, don't be fooled into thinking the Z1 is going to give you the same image minus the rainbows. That's what I thought and was very much mistaken. As for me, I'm contemplating buying the X1 again to see if I get used to the rainbows as some people claimed they have. If not, I'm going to stick with my CRT for the time being. In a couple of years I'm guessing the DLP projectors with faster color wheels (read less rainbows) are gonna drop to the $1500 and under range. If indeed that does happen, I'll give it another try. And that, my friends, is my two cents.
 

Doug_H

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 21, 2000
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586
I haven't seen the Z1 in action but I just finished fixing the rainbow problem on my X1. Someone suggested getting away from a white screen (there are a number of other fixes I have heard of as well) so I talked with the guys at Goo systems http://www.goosystems.com/goosystems.cgi/index

I sanded and painted my wall after I removed my white Dalite screen. The color they suggested is a light gray. As soon as I turned on the X1 I saw a big difference. Blacks are blacker, colors brighter and the picture took on an even better quality.

The rainbows, well they are all but gone... I would say 99% of them went away. I can still make them out if I turn my head fast enough but considering that is the only time they show up I can't complain. The LOTR test was passed with flying colors, no rainbows at all.

If you are thinking of getting an X1 do yourself a favor and get a gray screen. You can also paint a screen with goo or apply it to any DIY screen. The stuff is great and the folks there will give you great service.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2003
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Doug, Thanks for the link. I checked it out and it seems like a worthwhile option. However , you DID mention a number of other fixes you have heard of. Feel like passing them on?
 

Doug_H

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 21, 2000
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586
The most promising one is discussed on avsforum.com they are trying different lens filters and finding some that do pretty well. The downside of this fix is that you lose light output and need to do considerably more calibration to bring things back in. If you have good light control in your room this may be a good option.

I have also heard that using the progressive input makes a big difference. I don't have the adapter yet so I am running interlace only at this point. I think jumping to 720P will make a big difference and will let everyone know as soon as I try it.

I don't like this fix but some are slightly unfocusing the lens, just a soft unfocus which seems to help. I had to do this with my old PJ to eliminate the screen door effect and I never could get used to it.

The final thing is screen size to viewing distance. It seems that the X1 requires you to stay with the 1.5 x screen width rule. If you go past that you are more likely to see the rainbows.
 

Neil Joseph

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Neil Joseph
Thanks for the information Doug. Does the gray screen slightly reduce the light output or does it seem to have a higher than 1.0 gain to it?
 

Doug_H

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 21, 2000
Messages
586
It does have the same effect as reducing the output but not enough to cause me any problems. I did need to do a calibration however. The blacks are much better and colors in general improved.

If you have a problem with light control you could try the presentation setting, I have no idea what the effect would be though. Probably not a good solution.
 

JakeCo

Agent
Joined
May 8, 2003
Messages
27
Wow, I should have never read this post. I was just about set on getting the Z1 and now this! Let me let you in on my setup (or what it will be). My DIY screen will be either blackout cloth, blackout cloth painted with the goo, or drywall painted with goo. I can't believe that the X1 is close to or even better than the Z1, especially with 16:9 material. I guess I'm gonna have to build my screen, and check them both out. Did anyone else have the same reaction of the X1 being better than the Z1?
 

Jed M

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Joined
Oct 2, 2001
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The final thing is screen size to viewing distance. It seems that the X1 requires you to stay with the 1.5 x screen width rule. If you go past that you are more likely to see the rainbows.
I am reading this wrong, or have I thought the wrong thing this whole time? Do you mean that the further back you sit the more chance or seeing rainbows? I always believed it was the other way around.
 

Doug_H

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 21, 2000
Messages
586
Jed

if you sit closer than 1.5 times the screen width you are more likely to see the rainbows. The farther away you sit the better the picture up to a point. I am infact breaking the rule and have about 2x screen width and with the white screen rainbows were a problem, changing to a gray screen fixed the problem though.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2003
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I was just about set on getting the Z1 and now this!
Jakeco, My advice to you (not that you asked for it) is to do exactly what I did. Find a dealer with a good return policy and try them both. You can read a million reviews and articles about each but you won't know yourself until you see it with your own eyeballs. Like I said originally, the Z1 is way better on paper, and I had a million Home theater nerds, video purists, and salesmen telling me all the reasons the Z1 was better. I am still waiting for anyone of those guys to explain to me why this X1 has a deeper, and more vivid image. I also love their solution to getting rid of the Z1's screen door problem. "Just keep moving your viewing position back until it's no longer a factor". OK! I'll just watch the damned thing from the neighbor's house. Please tell me what the point of having a giant television screen if you have to sit as far back as possible? Why not just buy a 27" tube and sit 2ft away? Ok, so I'm rambling at this point. I think in the end this debate can be best summed up like this: Each of these products is a respectable entry level unit of their respective technologies. All you have to do is to decide on DLP or LCD.
 

JakeCo

Agent
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May 8, 2003
Messages
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Matt,
Thanks for your advice. I think I will do just that, try both and see for myself. I will be trying them out on blackout cloth, which is a white, glossy material. Did you say you got the Z1 from AGI in Penn.? If so, what was their return policy, restocking fees like? I can get the X1 from a local Best Buy, so I know that their's is 30 days, no restocking fee.
 

Jed M

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Oct 2, 2001
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Thanks Doug, thats what I thought, I guess the way it was worded threw me off. This is the first DLP I have really looked into. Real familiar with screendoor but not with Rainbows. Thanks for the help.
 

Steve Mudie

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 30, 2002
Messages
8


Matt,
I couldn't agree more. My brother-in-law has a very large (60"+/-) RPTV. IMO the picture is horrible but he argues with me like your example above, "Look, look, just back up here 25+ feet away. Now it looks good doesn't it?" :laugh:

As for your original post. Thank you for an open honest comparison. It makes me feel better since my X1 is on the way to me now. I just ordered it today and can't wait to get it. I chose it based upon hundreds of forum comments and other reviews I've devoured on HT over the past several months just like yours.

Steve
 

DustinF

Agent
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
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I personally couldn't stand the X1 and the limitations.

Outputing to a 106" screen made from blackout cloth. Tried grey too. I am just too sensitive to the rainbox effect and my wife noticed quite frequently too.

Now on to the Z1 and my personal opinion.
This thing looks amazing. Hooked up to a regular dvd player it looked ok.
Hooked up to a htpc with zoomplayer-windvd-ffdshow. Resized to 1440x960 and then output to 960x540 1:1 from my Ati card looks unbelievable. The best image I have ever seen next to some crt projectors. The image is so crisp and 3d like sometimes I have to pinch myself.

That's the key though. Without ffdshow and being able to output to 960x540 I wouldn't get it. But if you have a htpc or plan to build one I wouldn't hesitate for second to get the Z1.

BTW- WMP9 highdefinition downloads also look absolutely incredible on this thing. I could be wrong, but having exactely 1/2 of the high definition resolution may be helping.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2003
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I can get the X1 from a local Best Buy, so I know that their's is 30 days, no restocking fee.
Being that I bought an X1 twice from bestbuy, that last statement isn't quite accurate. Best buy considers their projectors part of their computer line and will only honor a return within 14 days rather than 30. They also told me the first time their would be a 15% re-stocking fee if returned it. However, when I did return it, they gave me a full refund. This may be due to the fact that Infocus dropped the price during the time that I had it. Another little FYI: Best buy won't sell you their product replacement plan with any projector as of January 2003
Infocus has a 5 year manufacturers warranty anyway so it's really no big deal. As for the Z1, I got it at audiogeneral.com. They'll honor refunds within 5 business days. (Not a lot of time) They have a 10% restocking fee. I was so excited about the price ($1195 & free shipping) that I didn't care. I didn't think I was gonna return it anyway. Oh well. Oh and one more thing about the comparison...when you're testing them out, try to get your hands on the THX mastered version of the original Halloween. You'll see a huge difference in black levels. The movie is exceptionally dark on any set but the Z1's washed out blacks makes the movie unwatchable IMO. After 5 minutes of watching that movie I immediately packed up my Z1 and sent it back.
 

JakeCo

Agent
Joined
May 8, 2003
Messages
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Matt, I agree with you on the Best Buy statement. I called my local Best Buy and the return policy on the X1 is 14 days and a 15% restocking fee.
 

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