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Pretty much sold on FP, but need help on which projector and what shape screen?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Hine, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Hello all,
    I've been surfing through threads both here and at AVS looking for information on projectors and have narrowed it down to Panasonic's AE-100 and NEC's LT-150z. Each have their benefits but I'm looking for some more advice.
    First off, has anyone had the chance to see both projectors under similar conditions? Is the extra resolution of the 150 worth it if I'll only be using a progressive scan DVD player (no HTPC at this time)? Well, come to think of it the 150 has better contrast ratio and lumens as well, but in a room with fairly well controlled lighting how many people think I'll notice the difference?
    My last question about these projectors would be if anyone know's a good place to get them. I know I can get the AE-100 for $1515 delivered from pricejapan but what about the NEC?
    As for screens, here is how I understand it. If I got the lt150z then I should make a 4:3 screen because I can watch both widescreen and 4:3 images on it whereas if I made a 16:9 screen when I watch 4:3 material on it the image would be too tall (unless I was always zooming in and out to fit). Whereas with the Panasonic I could make a 16:9 screen and when watching 4:3 material it would just fit in the middle of the screen. Is this accurate or am I way off base?
    I greatly appreciate any help on the matter. I keep telling myself to just buy one as either will no doubt be better than the 7yr old 27" zenith! (composite video only) [​IMG] I do want to make the right choice though, especially on screen size as I will be building the screen into a full on component rack that will take up the entire width of the room. Having the exact size and shape of the screen will be key in making all the other measurements.
    Thanks for your time and comments,
    Dan Hine
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Neil Joseph
    How much 4x3 material are you planning to watch? (DVD or TV/Satellite?)

    If I were choosing between those 2 projectors, I would go with the NEC which has a greater resolution, even though it is not native 16x9 like the other one. However, the greater resolution gives it vertical resolution of 575 pixels with the rest devoted to the black bars compared to the Panasonic which only has 484 vertical pixels and a lower horizontal resolution as well of 858 pixels compared to the NEC's 1024 pixels.

    I would get a 4x3 screen for the NEC.
     
  3. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Thanks Neil, I agree that the NEC is a better projector but the cheapest I can find it is $2995 and thats for a used one! Do you know anywhere that might have them for a bit less? Thanks.

    Dan Hine
     
  4. Jeff J

    Jeff J Extra

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    My suggestion would be for the lt-150.

    one point for consideration between the two is screen door impact. The lt-150 should be the winner hands down between the two – the combo of a higher overall pixel count and higher fill factor should result in significantly less pixel structure for a given screen size/viewing distance vs. the AE-100.

    I would also highly recommend a 16x9 screen. Two reasons:
    a)I don’t think that it make sense to make lower resolution source material a larger size than higher resolution material. The pq of cable or satellite is really poor compared to dvd or HD – expanding this low quality source material will just make the overall quality look even worse.

    b)relative impact – I use an approximate constant area method for widescreen viewing and place all 4:3 material pillar boxed in the center of the screen. I want to give widescreen viewing more impact than regular tv viewing – I don’t feel like I am watching film on a small screen.


    A 16:9 screen would also set you up if you ever want to upgrade pq by adding an anamorphic lens. In order to have the ability to put the 4:3 image in the center of the screen, you would either need a HTPC (also recommended) or a HD receiver – if you look around for an open box deal (a lot of places are clearing out current stock to get ready for the new boxes) you should be able to find one for $300-400. HD really does look pretty impressive, even when only using ~575 lines. Definitely a must for a FP setup.

    Good luck,
    jeff

    (you might want to check out the avs classified section for a lead or two on a used lt-150(z)).
     
  5. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    1. DLPs look good, but give a few people headaches (including me). You want to try one before you buy.

    2. 16x9. On a 4:3 screen, if you sit far enough away for most 4:3 sources (DBS, cable, VHS) to look acceptable wide-screen movies are too small. If you sit close enough for DVD to be "big" VHS is unwatchable and the rest are mediocre. 16x9 and wider screens give you theaterical scale on good sources, and an acceptable size 4x3 image (in my case, an 87x49" (100" diagonal) 16:9 screen nets a 65x49" (81" diagonal) image. Viewing distance is 144".

    3. You probably need an outboard scaler (or HTPC) to accomplish this.

    4. Digital projectors don't do black, so if you're not using a 16:9 projector or 4:3 projector/anamorphic combination which will keep the light on the screen you probably want to black-out the wall arround it to avoid distraction.
     
  6. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I would love to have a 16:9 screen but as I said, HTPC is not an option right off the bat. I'll already be having to save up a lot to get the projector and won't be able to afford HTPC.
    So given that, I would assume you would still say I should get a 16:9 screen and use the zoom feature so 4:3 material will fit on the screen? In that case I would have to get a LT150z as the 150 does not have a zoom. I'm not saying the NEC isn't better than the Panny but does the consensus seem to be that the LT150z is worth $1500 more?
    Thanks Drew for the tip about blacking out the wall around it. This is being taken care of quite well actually. [​IMG] When it ever gets done I'll be sure to post pics.
    Jeff, you mentioned HD and it occurred to me that I should mention that this will be for about 95% DVD use, 3% laser disc 1% video gaming and 1% DSS. HD just isn't a big deal to us at this point. Not that we don't like HD. I love it!!! But not enough television is watched to warrant an HD receiver purchase.
    So another question would be, even if I make a 16:9 screen, what would I use to mask the wanna-be black bars above and below? My shelving and walls will be black but wouldn't the image spill over and look bad? If I'm going to spend $3000 on a NEC LT150z (even used is around $2700) maybe I should just save more and get a Sony VW10HT. Sorry for being so indecisive and thanks for everyone's opinions and insight.
    - Dan
     

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