Projector questions (long)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Devaux, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. David Devaux

    David Devaux Agent

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    Hi All,

    I am about to begin turning my basement into a theater and I got a few questions about projectors. First off the room is about 20x14x7.5. I am not sure whether or not to get a 16/9 projector, or a 4/3 projector. I probably watch more TV than DVD's, but I do watch DVD enough that I am really interested in the 16/9, but I am worried how the 4/3 TV's shows will look (especially sporting events).
    I read an article recently that recomended getting a 4/3 projector and screen, and then get electrical masking so when you want to watch DVD's the screen can be made to look like a 16/9 and the projector will display like a letterbox. Anyone else ever do this? The logic made sense when they said that an 8 foot wide screen would be 4.5 feet tall if it were 16/9 and six feet tall if 4/3. With the 4/3 screen and electrical masking, wide screen movies would still be 8 feet wide and 4.5 feet tall, and I wouldn't have to worry about stretching the image while watching 4/3. Any opinions? Also, anyone know how much electrical masking adds to the price of a screen (it will be fix mounted to the wall)?
    Also, could anyone tell me the difference between LCD and DLP projectors? I will be able to control the light, but I would also like to be able to view it sometimes with some lights on, like when the guys come over for a game.
    Oh yeah, I am hoping to limit the price to between 4-5 grand for the Projector, Screen and any masking so any suggestions for models would be appreciated as well.
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    One thing you have to consider is the quality of a 16x9 image vs the quality of a 4x3 image. Let me explain what I mean by this....

    16x9 images of today include DVD, much (most) HDTV, DVHS, and HDDVD down the road. These are fair to high quality images. What would be your source of 4x3 images? If you get a 16x9 screen and projector then the 4x3 source would obviously be smaller because of the black bars to the sides of the image. On the flip-side, if you get a 4x3 screen and projector then your 16x9 image would be smaller because of the black bars on the top and bottom of the image. The 4x3 source/image would be blown up to the full size of the screen but if the quality is less than that of the 16x9 image then this will not make sense. You will see all of the defects in the picture blown up to a larger size. Better off going with the 16x9 screen in that case and settle for the smaller 4x3 image.
     
  3. David Devaux

    David Devaux Agent

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    Good point, I hadn't thought of that. Right now I have regular cable and while the picture isn't that bad on my 36" TV, I can see where it could get distorted. We do not have digital cable yet, and I cannot get Direct TV, because we have too many trees in the way.
     
  4. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    In that situation then, the case for 16x9 is stronger. You can always mask off the sides for 4x3 material which is more likely to be of a lesser quality than your 16x9 material. It would not make sense to blow up the 4x3 (poor PQ) larger than your 16x9 (great PQ).
     
  5. EdR

    EdR Second Unit

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    David,
    I just posted about my projector in this thread, so I won't repeat myself.
    I do a good deal of gaming on my projector so 4x3 was my format of choice, and I'm very happy with how widescreen movies look on it.
     
  6. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    EdR, although your projector is native 4x3, it can be set up in 4x3 mode (with a 4x3 screen) or in 16x9 mode (with a 16x9 screen). What is the native resolution when this unit is set up in 16x9 mode? Curious.
     
  7. EdR

    EdR Second Unit

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  8. Sean M

    Sean M Stunt Coordinator

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    The LT260 is an XGA projector, so when displaying 16:9 images it has a resolution of 1024x576. If you do a lot of gaming, then a 4:3 projector makes a lot sense, since the video quality from a game console or PC can be better than a lot of hi-def source material. There are games that run in 16:9, but they are nearly all for consoles, not PC's and there aren't that many of them. There is a partial list in one of the Game forums here, though I forget which one.

    David, I believe the article you are reffering to was on projector central. In Evan Powell's case, he was limited to an 8 foot wide screen. He was going to use electric masking with this screen and enjoys classic films and concert videos that are shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio. 4:3 is a sensible choice if you are width limited and want to use electric masking, or any masking really, since you only need 2 way masking to get solid black borders around the image. 16:9 would require 4 way, both vertical and horizontal since nearly nothing fits it exactly outside of HDTV and slightly stretched 1.85:1 aspect ratio movies.

    The downside to using a 4:3 projector and screen is that you give up both resolution and brightness when using it in 16:9 mode compared to a native 16:9 projector and screen. If you're not an avid gamer, or don't care so much how games look and your best sources will be 16:9, then I'd go with a 16:9 projector and screen.
     
  9. EdR

    EdR Second Unit

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  10. Sean M

    Sean M Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, Ed, that's the thread I was thinking of. Thanks.
     
  11. David Devaux

    David Devaux Agent

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    Thanks
    Also, I very rarely play any games. Don't even own any consoles, and I don't plan on getting one anytime soon (maybe when I have kids). I have a couple games for my computer, but I wouldn't play them on the big screen.

    Any suggestions for projectors and screens totaling less the 5 grand? I can probably fit a screen about 9 feet wide.
    Also, what's the difference between LCD and DLP projectors, and which would be better for a home theater. Not really looking at CRT, because I need to ceiling mount the projector, and the ceiling is only about 7.5 feet tall, so I don't really want a projector that is too huge hanging down, plus I'm not really big on all the tweaking CRT's need.
     
  12. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Sean,

    "Video quality of a game console or PC better than high definition source material."

    I think not. Not even close. Every game I have seen from every console has severe artifacting in one form or another. REALLY look at the image coming from the console critically. There's no contest between true high definition programming and the video output by a gaming console or PC.

    David,

    What you need to realize is that if you choose a 4:3 projector and screen you will use less of the projectors resolution when you view 16:9 material. You lose about 25% of the vertical resolution. If you use a 16:9 screen you will be utilizing the full vertical resolution of the projector. By vertical resolution understand that I mean top to bottom resolution. I would not make this compromise. Regards.
     
  13. Sean M

    Sean M Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually Bill, if you had quoted me correctly, you would see that I said that the video quality of a console or PC can be better than a lot of hi def source material. I did not make a definitive statement that it is better, just that it can be better in some cases. All hi-def sources are not created equal. I'm quite sure that a console game couming out of the X-Box at 720p or a PC game running at 1024x768, provided the game is of sufficient quality, will look better than a lot of the upconverted material that a lot of stations try to pass off as high def.

    I won't argue with you about true hi-def sources, as I haven't compared them directly under critical conditions, but it was never my intention to impunge all hi-def material. Realistically, a good portion of what is being broadcast on hi-def stations is not true hi-def. HDNet notwithstanding.
     
  14. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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  15. David Devaux

    David Devaux Agent

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    I think 16:9 will be my choice.

    It is what I was initially planning, but that article made me question that for a second.
     

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