Optima DLP Front Projector questions (and projection questions in general)

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jeff Cooper, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Screenwriter

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    A friend of mine just bought an Optoma DLP front projector. I don't know the exact model, but he said he got it at Best Buy for around $1,300. I think it's the EP739. I went over to his house to play around with it, and was amazed at the picture quality. He has it set up just projecting onto the wall at about 25 feet away, and the brightness and picture quality is stunning. The size of the picture and the sharpness completely blows away any television that is 3 times that price. He has the dvd outputting from the HDMI source from the player, and coming into the digital input on the projector.

    Anyway, this was my first real experience playing around with a projection system, and I had a few questions.

    1) I popped in the Avia calibration DVD to calibrate it. Contrast and brightness was a snap, and I couldn't find a sharpness control in the projector menus, but sharpness looked good anyway. The real problem I had was trying to calibrate the color. Instead of the normal Tint and Color controls that a TV has, the only way to adjust the color was to adjust individually the Red, Green, and Blue levels. By using the 'Blue Bars' test pattern with the flashing squares, as you would a normal TV, the only way I could get the squares not to be visible through the blue filter was to pump up the blue very high. According to the DVD, the color was calibrated, as when I looked through the blue filter, the flashing squares were no longer visible. However, the picture looked terrible. It was way to blue; things that should have been silver were turquoise, and the colors were very muted. How should I go about calibrating this? Is the process different, since i'm not adjusting saturation and hue? Do I need to use the other colored filters that came with Avia? Also it seemed that each color adjustment seemed to 'cap off' at a certain level, i.e. after I adjusted red past a certiain level there was no visible change even though the value kept increasing.

    2) He was projecting onto a wall, and doesn't have the budget right now for a good screen. He wants to paint the wall, but doesn't know what type or color paint to use. Should he use a glossy reflective type, or a matted non reflective type. Also what shade should he use? Pure white or more silverish?

    3) The projector can do both 4:3 and 16:9. When projecting in 16:9, it basically uses the bottom half of the 4:3 area to show the image. Is there any way to change it so it uses the middle or top area for this? I couldn't find this in any of the menus.

    4) Finally, does anyone have experience with this particular projector? I'm just wondering what the general pros and cons are for this model. I was until recently really sold on getting a DLP rear projection TV, but now I really think I want to go front projection. The quality and size of the picture can't be beat for the price. Is this one a decent projector?

    Thanks in advance for any help!
     
  2. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    Chris Gerhard
    Optima makes several projectors, I don't know the model he purchased. Of course all projectors can do both 4:3 and 16:9 but today for a home theater, I would only want a 16:9 projector since most DVDs and HDTV are formatted for 16:9. There are a number of recommendations for inexpensive do it yourself screens at the AVSForum including paint recommendations.

    Chris
     
  3. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Screenwriter

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    Whoops, I've just notice I made a pretty big mistake. The projector is an OptOma, not an OptIma. I think the model is the EP739. I've updated my original post.
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    Native 4:3 DLP Multi-media Projector? Sounds like a neato projector.


    I have never been clear on how XGA 4:3 Native Projectors handle different aspect ratios. I know I was looking at these multimedia projectors and came to the conclusion none of them seem good when compared to even lower res actualy HT projectors.


    Seems expensive at around or near $1400, maybe 1/2 that would become more a seriosu consideration.
     
  5. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    Those "color controls" you were adjusting are not for adjusting the colors in an image. They are for setting the underlying color of gray. It's a common mistake when one confuses color decoding controls (saturation and hue) with grayscale controls (red, green and blue gains and biases) See the sticky topic http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf/...-decoding.html

    The connection he is using is providing the projector with RGB signals. In other words, the DVD player is already doing the color decoding into RGB so there isn't a need to adjust saturation and hue on the projector. The DVD play may have saturation and hue controls, but it sounds like the color decoding is already being correctly done so it doesn't need to be further tweaked.
     
  6. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the information. Eventually I gave up and reset the settings back to the factory defaults and just calibrated for brightness and contrast. The picture was great after that.

    In reading around different forums, it seems that since the signal is being passed over the DVI/HDMI port, that the projector does not allow you to adjust the color or tint.

    I didn't think about trying to adjust it at the DVD player level. I'll have to go back and try that, since even though the picture looks great, you can still see the flashing squares through the blue filter on the AVIA blue bars test pattern.
     

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