Resolution vs. contrast ratio for projectors

Discussion in 'Displays' started by SeanBurnley, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. SeanBurnley

    SeanBurnley Extra

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    I've been designing my theater room for a while and have learned greatly from this forum. Encouraged by Neil Joseph I decided I had to go with a projector for my display device. My dedicated room is in the basement and sort of small (15'6" x 11'6" with 8' ceiling) but I have plans for, and have purchased used theater seats and intend on two rows of seating. My sweet spot will be about 11'6" from the screen. I want to go with about 87"x49"(100"dia.) or 80"x45"(92"dia.) screen. For a projector I'm wondering–– is the resolution the most important feature to look for or is the contrast ratio more important. Just for example: (I know one is DLP and the other is LCD technology) the Infocus X1 has a contrast ratio of 2000:1 but its native resolution is 800x600 whereas the Viewsonic PJ551 has contrast ratio of 400:1 but a resolution of 1024x768. Any clarity would be helpful. Thanks, SB
     
  2. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Because your setup will be in the basement, I would focus more on contrast ratio. My HT is in my basement and have a couple of well windows which lets in some light during the day and I still use the economy mode on the PJ. It is plenty bright. I am going to leave resolution up to some others here as I think current dvd technology is 800x600 and you won't need the higher resolution until HD comes along. I'm sure I'll be corrected on this by other members if I'm wrong.
     
  3. SeanBurnley

    SeanBurnley Extra

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    Thanks Tommy. Anyone else? The room will have no windows BTW.
    And not that I plan on purchasing either of those projectors, I was just wondering what to look for.
     
  4. Rick Guynn

    Rick Guynn Second Unit

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    I think it actually kind of depends on the levels you are comparing.

    For instance, I would probably take the X1 over the viewsonic in the case you quoted because 400:1 is just too low for what is available out there these days. However, if you were comparing something that had 800:1 and XGA, it would be different.

    With regards to resolution in general, essentially more pixels are always better (caveat: if the machine has a really crummy scaler, it may look worse than machine with the native resolution of the source). They make the image look smoother. When you have more pixels, you have less screen door.

    So it's kind of relative. There are tradeoffs with everything.

    One more thing, be very careful when looking at specs for projectors. Listed specs usally bear little resemblance to the numbers in calibrated, actual use. i.e. the X1 has nowhere near 2000:1 contrast in real use, it's closer to 800:1.

    RG
     
  5. SeanBurnley

    SeanBurnley Extra

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    Thanks Rick for the input. How can consumers compare apples to apples if the the specs aren't true to real use? My example was an exagerated comparison to make the point but I think you're saying that if all things are equal or near equal, then resolution is the main factor to consider.
     
  6. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Sean, this is the place I spent a good amount of time prior to purchasing my projector http://www.projectorcentral.com/home.cfm

    It has a lot of useful information. I should have given this in my initial post. Sorry.
     
  7. ryan_m

    ryan_m Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe the X1 does have a high contrast ratio but only in "presentation" mode which you would never use for home theater. So they aren't totally lieing.

    I would go with one of the highly talked about projectors over at the AVS forum . There are plenty of opinions of all the various hot projectors. You probably can't go wrong with one of them. Just get one that fits your needs.

    I have the X1 and I'm very happy with it.
     

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