Sony LCD Projection

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Ted_C, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. Ted_C

    Ted_C Agent

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    Shopping for a new TV and would like some advice. I have been researching the sony brand and have been looking at there LCD projection tv's. They have some new ones coming out in october the KDF-60XBR950 and KDF-70XBR950 and currently have the KF-60WE610 out. Does anyone have any comments on these tv's, there technology or if there are better tv's out there. Does anyone know the difference between the XBR and WE?
    I went to view one and found the high dev pictures and DVDs to be outstanding, but regular tv to be horrible, like looking at a digital pic that had been enlarged too much.
    Could you also give me your opinion of the different types of technologies available.
    1. Tube
    2. Plasma
    3. LCD
    4. Projection
    5. LCD Projection
    6. DLP Projection
    Thanks for your advice
    Ted
     
  2. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Hey Ted,

    before I get into it in depth (and you know I can!) tell me some things:

    1. Can you turn the lights out to watch movies (make the room dark)?
    2. How far can you sit from the screen? How close?
    3. How much can you spend?
    4. How long to you plan to keep this display? Is this an inventment you want to last 2-5 years when you'll upgrade again or do you want to keep this for the next 10 years?
    5. What's the room like in terms of decorating? What restrictions do you have from your significant other (if this applies)

    Let me know and then I'll give you the skinny on some stuff and relate it to your situation as best I can.

    dave [​IMG]
     
  3. Ted_C

    Ted_C Agent

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    Thank you.
    1. I can get the room pretty dark.
    2. Maximum 12' away and as close as you can get.
    3. I am looking at the Sony KDF-70XBR950 which will be $7000.00 which would be my cap.
    4. I would like to have the tv ten years or more. One selling point that was given to me on the Sony LCD Projections was the fact that the $#%@^& was replacable.
    5.No restrictions.
     
  4. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Ted-thanks for the response.

    Ok, prepare yourself to be evangelized...because you are the *perfect* candidate for front-projection. Please allow me to pontificate a bit as most folks don't really have front-projection 'on their radar' so I'm aware that I can sound too preachy because I'm passionate and want to help rasie the FP awareness with my fellow movie-lovers. Please bear with me! [​IMG]

    Why am I so enthused about FP? Because once you see a well-set up FP, the image can be jaw-droppingly incredible and it makes going back to a TV...even a 65" TV...seem like "a movie in a box".

    Also there's this nice little antecdote; Dollar for dollar, you will do better to go front projection.

    The quality of digital front projection systems has come so far recently that, IMO, you can now *exceed* the quality that you see on almost all consumer HDTV rear-projection sets. The only exception is the black-level (how black dark areas look), but projectors are getting better and better and many offer a very satisfying black-level that you might nit-pick but your friends would never notice.

    Naturally you need a darkened room to watch a FP image. However, using a screen like Stewart's Firehawk (which rejects off-axis light) you do *NOT* need to turn the lights 100% off. You still get the best picture in a dark room, but if your wife wants to read a magazine on the sofa off to the side she can turn on a table lamp without the picture washing out too badly. As long as the ambient light in the room isn't hitting the screen 'head on' you're ok if they're not excessively bright.

    Your seating distance of 12 feet is ideal.
    We often talk about screen-viewing distance as a ratio of distance compared to one unit of screen-width (16x9 screen).
    Sitting about 12 feet back from a 100" diag screen works out to be about 1.5 screen widths back...about as close as you can get with DVD software but still producing a *stunning* picture. With a DLP HD2 projector, you could sit 12 feet back from a 100" screen and see a gorgeous and sumptuous image that every guest will describe saying "it looks better than the theater". And they won't be exagerating. LCD projection is also a great option (cheaper) but I'd recommend a 1.75:1 minimum viewing distance/width ratio. Since you can't go past 12 feet, if you went LCD you should get a smaller screen.

    If you can go with a "fixed" screen that doesn't need to roll-up you can install a screen that's relatively affordable (under 1K). If you need an electronic screen that can retract when not in use they cost more (about $2K).

    Just watched Lord of the Rings Two Towers on my friend's Sharp 9000 (16x9 HD1 DLP) projector and the experience was trans-porting. No HDTV can give you quite that experience. And even if you *could* buy a 100" HDTV...why would you want to? Who wants a 100" black box sitting at the front of their room? And I used to deliver big-screen RP sets for a living...it was *not* fun moving those things!

    Ok, why would anyone *not* want to go FP?

    If you can't make the room dark when you want to watch movies you can't go FP. Also, if you sig other (or yourself) doesn't want that PJ hanging from the ceiling and you can't sit it on the coffee table that's another problem.

    But to keep things in balance, IMO a FP is *less* intrusive in the room than the "paino" scale HDTV box that we normally see. And a retractable screen can make the whole room much more decor-friendly when not watching movies...a big plus for the sometimes less technically-focused spouse.

    Your budget would easily land a top-performing projection system.

    Allow me to take a moment to discuss two of the primary contending technologies in your price bracket. I'm going to focus on 16x9 HT-oriented projectors to keep things simple:

    LCD This is the most affordable projector type you can buy geared towards home-theater. Sony makes a *great* HT projector...the HS10. It typically sells for under $3K. Main downside is that it doesn't do black very well...the darkest it can go is gray. However, sony is about to replace this model with the HS20 which is reported to have better PQ than their current 12HT model (their current statement LCD unit) and it should sell for around the same $3K price. This unit provides slightly greater than 1280 x 720 resolution...so it qualifies as a true HD-resolution projector.

    Pluses with LCD aside from price are great colors, bright pictures (typically), and a stable easy-to-watch image. Downside is the "screen door" which is visible if you get up close to the screen. It's the gaps between the pixels...they don't touch...there's dead space between them. LCD works by light shining *through* the pixel structure so all the wires to turn those pixels on/off are routed between them which is why that screen-door is there. That's why you need IMO to sit about 1.75 screen widths away for the picture to look "smooth".

    DLP Next up is DLP. DLP uses mirrors that pivot to reflect light to create the image vs the "transmissive" nature of LCD. For this reason the pixels can be packed closer together with less dead-space between them so DLP devices have less "screen door" allowing you to sit about 1.5 screen-widths without being bothered by the pixel "grid". Colors used to be not as good as LCD but the last 2 generations of 16x9 HD DLP PJs have had *great* color IMO. DLP also does black better...still not *real* black but a much darker gray that will generally "look black" to most people unless you ask them point-blank "is that true black or just dark gray?"

    Downside is that most affordable DLP PJs are "single-chip" which means they use a spinning RGB color-wheel to make the full-color image. Some folks who are sensitive see "rainbow" artifacts which look like little RGB strobe-flashes when you eye scans quickly accross certain image content.

    The better HD projectors use higher-speed color wheels to reduce this so that most viewers don't notice. I saw a few "rainbows" when watching LOTR but it didn't get in the way of the movie (though who would deny that no rainbow-artifacts are better than even a few).

    You can get good LCD for around $3-3.5K. You can get good DLP (projectors using the HD2 chip is what you'd look for) for between $5K and $10K

    Others may have different opinions (I'm sure!) but IMO the "goal" of our home-theaters should be to replicate our films in a way that recreates the *good* theater experience as best as possible (please no-one bring up glue sticking to the bottom of their shoes or crying children...that's not the point). As great as the best HDTV is...a *truely* large-screen FP can take you into *real* "movie" territory. When you see Ben-Hur or Sleeping Beauty projected and you can't stop thinking to yourself "Damn, that looks like a projected film print right in my living room" you want to share that experience with all the HT enthusiasts around you.

    Nothing wrong with going with a RP HDTV or wall-hung plasma of course. There are many reasons why we may choose one type of display over another. But the best way IMO to make a decision where your wallet is concerned and one that you want to live with for quite a while is to start at the top and work your way down in the decision-making process. The reason I jumped in here and gave such a front-projection spill is because it seems that lots of folks spend $$$ on a rear-projection HDTV because they didn't even know that for the same (or less) money they could have purchased a front-projection for their HT environment that could have delivered even more. If you're passionate about your movies and how you experience them and you're working with limited resources...better to be informed up front!

    -dave [​IMG]
     
  5. Ted_C

    Ted_C Agent

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    Thanks that was a lot of info. I apreciate it. What about watching regular tv. Do you know much about the
    sony KDF-70XBR950 thats coming out in October that you can give me your opinion about. Of course I would love the larger screen, light is no problem but honestly I have to tell you most of the viewing would be normal television not dvds. Also what about the picture quality? I understand that after time it will fade with a projector. I was told by a not so experienced salesmen at good guys that DLP technology is on the way out although he couldnt tell me what was replacing it. Thats when he suggested the LCD rear projection. The sets are beautiful. But like I wrote earlier watching normal tv was painful but HD was AWESOME!!

    Can you give me some specific models I can look up and research of fps

    Also what about hooking up my bose surround? Can that be done? What about other connections like video games video cameras dvd players cable boxes.
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Hey Ted,

    if you're primarily going to watch "TV" a projected image may not be the best thing for the simple reason that "TV" signals won't look very good blown-up. Now...having said that, I can HONESTLY tell you that they'll probably look BETTER on a projector than they do on the HDTVs that you've seen in stores. Yes, I know that the projected image is even bigger so it doesn't make sense...but for some unknown reason most standard-def programming looks even WORSE on most consumer HDTVs than it does on the same-sized regular TV standing next to it.

    There *should* be no reason for this. Upscaling a standard-def image should improve the quality...not degrade it...even if in general making the image bigger exposes more flaws (again, my point is that size-for-size most HDTVs do a WORSE job with normal "TV" than the same sized NTSC set next door!).

    For whatever reason, that's almost always the case and I can't figure it out either. But I can tell you that while "TV" blown up on a 100" screen does *not* look like the fifth element super-bit DVD, it can be quite watchable and even enjoyable. This is true especially if you have a decent digital cable or DSS signal. You'll see the flaws, but depending on the source quality it can still be worth watching.

    Now, what most folks do is they get a normal "TV" for watching regular stuff that sits in the corner that they use to watch the news etc. Then they drop the screen when it's time for movies or HD (broadcast and sat. HD is a jaw-dropping experience on a 100" screen with a digital projector...expect a clarity of image that puts most CRT HDTVs to shame). I'm talking about spending less than $999 on a standard 4x3 TV for the corner of the room. Not a necesity, but some folks prefer a small picture for "TV" and keep the big-screen for the good stuff.

    That's just the nature of the beast. TV basically sucks in terms of picture quality...and even the best you can do these days (DSS) is still horribly compromised by overcompression and poor source-material prior to broadcast. In other words, there's no magic "one size fits all" display screen-size. You gotta pick which experience you want to maximize...or get two displays to each handle the job they do best.

    Regarding games and stuff...YES...a digital projector is IDEAL for games. There's no "burn in" with a dig PJ so you can play those computer graphics all day. and trust me...there's nothing cooler than your fav video game on a 100" screen!

    Regarding Salesmen...basically you're going to have to ignore everything they say and educate yourself on forums like this. DLP is absolutely not going away...in fact its stronger in sales than it's ever been. Sony is releasing their first new-technology projector in a few months...for $25,000. It's based on a new technology called SXRD. The hope is that sooner than later Sony will utilize this new technology in more affordable front/rear projection products to help compete with DLP stuff and make the world a better place. But DLP also has some tricks up it's sleeve and is ready to fight back. Either way consumers will end up winning.

    But buying a DLP projector right now is a GREAT investment...in any case...how would buying an LCD rear-projection HDTV for the same price be any "better"?

    You'll need to spend some time over at AVS (avscience) forum reading about digital projectors.

    I'll make a quick list of some that might work great given your budget...and hopefully they'll be coming down in price soon bcs there are new top-teir models that are about to be introduce:

    Sharp 10000 (HD2 DLP) @ 7-8K
    Marantz HD2 projector (forget model number) about same price.
    Optima 76 HD2 DLP projector...about to be released and should be under $5K!!! This will be an AWESOME deal.

    Sony HS20 16x9 LCD which should be the projector to beat at its price-point of @3K.

    Those are some models to read about at AVS. Regarding "HD2", this is the 2nd generation 16x9 1280 x 720P chip from Texas Instruments and is used in many projectors from different manufacturers. In the next few months many of these guys will be releasing new projector models based on TI's 3rd-gen chip: HD2+. This means that HD2 PJ prices may fall slightly...a good thing!

    BTW, you can use any surround sound system you like with any display...it makes no difference as the two processes are not related.

    Here's a great AVS forum to poke around in. You'll learn more here than any other single source point about digital projection. Read a while before you post any questions there to familiarize yourself with some of the basics.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...?s=&forumid=24

    In the meantime, feel free to ask me anything more. And remember...don't trust those salespersons! Only the rare few actually know what they're talking about. It's rather frustrating for hobbiests like me who go to shops and have to listen to those guys spreading mis-information like the plauge [​IMG] (again, no offense to the saleperson out there who really *does* know what he/she is taling about...you know who you are and you know that you're the exception!)
     
  7. Ted_C

    Ted_C Agent

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    So there is no best of both worlds that will give you a great TV signal and great movies?
     
  8. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    How can there be?

    The problems is the quality of the signal you're trying to watch.

    If you blow a DVD up to 100 inches it can look spectacular...like a *real* movie in your living room.
    That's because DVDs are often mastered with fantasic quality and have great resolution.

    But how can you take the noisy/low-resolution image of "TV" and magnify it and achieve the same effect? You end up simply making the flaws more obvious because they are larger.

    Conversely, if you get a small display to make TV look its best...then you're really wasting the potential of those DVDs and HDTV signals!

    BTW, to keep things in perspective, it has been my experience that "good" TV signals can look very watchable on a projection system...albiet not as glorious as DVD or HDTV images. It despends on the quality of the TV signals...

    Think of it like the difference between AM and FM radio. FM = high quality stuff like DVD and HD and AM = low-fi stuff like TV.

    If you listen to AM radio in your car...not a big deal if you're just listening to the news. But if you tried to play that AM signal through a great stereo system and played it loud (the analogy of a 'large' picture), you'd hear all the noise and flaws in the AM transmission and it might become distracting...but the FM would sound good (assuming good reception here) and sound musical and much more natural when you played it loudly on your hi-fi.

    You really need to see a projector in action with both types of material to get the picture of whether you'd feel "TV" would look enjoyable on a big screen (and like I said, "good" TV signals can be enjoyable, even if they are still inferior to DVD and HD images on a projector).

    I'm not in CA so I don't know any local shops that have good projector demos set up so I can't offer you any advice!

    But before you spend your $7K be sure to spend some time over at AVS getting better acquainted with these concepts and asking some questions to see what others have done. Trust me...this is a very common situation...what to do given the discrepency between the qualtiy of TV signals vs DVD and HD and how to get the most out of the programming you intend to watch! You're not the first person who's had to deal with this and it might be beneficial to discuss it with others who've made decisions about their gear with this issue in mind to see what solutions they came up with and how satisfied they've been in the long-run.

    Keep in mind there are many answers to the same question. Some folks buy a small TV and are happy and don't mind their movies and HD experience being compromised. Others go the other way and get projectors with 100" screens and don't mind the noise they see when they watch TV on it. Others get two displays...one for each task....and watch TV on a 32" direct-view and then drop the 100" screen when it's time for movies or HD [​IMG]

    dave [​IMG]
     
  9. Ted_C

    Ted_C Agent

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    My experience with the lcd projector tv is just as you say. TV signal sucks.
    I have time warner cable and they offer hd channels and hd tuner built in to there cable boxes (for a fee of course) I would assume that these High definition tv stations with high definition tuner would come out just as clear as a DVD with the front projector?? Correct??
    Also what about bulb life?
    O yea and thank you very much for all the info. I really would like to go FP.
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Yeah,

    and like I said for some odd reason TV stuff tends to look worse on most HDTVs than it does on a front projection system *even* though the FP is bigger. I have a theory that some HDTVs are actually designed to make "TV" stuff look degraded a bit to make HD look even better by comparison!

    Anyway...to sum up on a FP yes, TV will not look nearly as good as DVD and HD, but it will probably not look as bad compared to them as it did on the RP HDTVs you saw.

    HD...whether over the air or on Sat., looks *much better* than DVD if the signal has been well compressed and is of good source material. The PBS HD signal at times makes it look like your 100" screen is a giant window...it's simply stunning. Much more detailed and clear than on ANY rear-projection HDTV...which is odd bcs you would think it would look sharper on the smaller screen. Oddly, it seems that HD only starts to really "spread its wings" when it gets going 86 inches or bigger. Most folks who are used to HD on their RP HDTVs have the same reaction when they see it on a well-calibrated FP system....it looks even *more* detailed and clear on that 100" screen than it does on their HDTV at home. Go figure.

    Size matters [​IMG]

    Bulb live varies from PJ to PJ but is usually around 2000 hours which I think comes out to a couple of years of watching a few hours each day (anyone care to do the math?). Replacement bulbs run from $300-$500 usually but for a few fancy PJs (which are above your $7K limit anyway) can go higher.
     
  11. david kennedy

    david kennedy Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Dave what about the Sharp dt200 or the xvz90 do you have any knowledge of those two projecter's because i myself were looking into getting another widescreen and i can have the distance and the darkness in my room but i really don't want to go over 4 or 5 grand for projecter and screen. Both of those projecters are at price points that work for me. Another thing how high should my ceilings bein my room to get a projecter and if i get a dlp would not only be able to play regular console games but would i be able to play pc games on it? You have raised some very interesting points and i hope you can help me with some more information.
     
  12. Ted_C

    Ted_C Agent

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    David
    If I take some digital photos and put them up on my clubphoto site for you to view do you think you could help me design my home theater?!
     
  13. Humphrey

    Humphrey Stunt Coordinator

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    As a recent recipient of a Sony KDF-70XBR950 I can realisticly say that the ones you've seen in the Grand Wega line before likely were not set up right if the standard TV signal was that bad. If you have the chance to get in front of one with either a Satellite or Cable box feed there is several important steps to set it up right.

    Go to Menu -> Video ->Advanced Video ->
    DRC Mode (Set to High Density) and under the same menu
    BN Smoother (set to High)

    This will soften the picture somewhat but straight tv is much improved.

    As far as FP versus RP, I have a Studio Experience 12SF and the picture quality is top notch in its price range and under the right conditions. Bad thing is if I rent and can't go drilling holes in ceiling for mounts and cabling or spend the hundreds/thousands on custom draperies. I also have issues with stray light washing the picture out. The Rear Projection 70" rocks on except with very bright lights (like the ceiling fan in the room with four 60W bulbs 5 feet from the front of it. Even then it keeps looking decent. If I move or want to use it in another room two men can easily move it. It's the glare on the front that is the issue. With indirect lighting you'd have to be getting a suntan before it would really make it unwatchable, with reduced lighting it just keeps getting better and better. I did also see a notciable difference just between my older Sony DVD player and the new DVP-NS999ES I procurred to feed it a quality progressive scan picture. I hear (although Sony's site doesn't confirm it) that all signals fed to it are upconverted into 788P.

    I spent $5500 and tax on the set 2 weeks ago at Austin DES., it weighs about the same as my 36" direct View XBR Wega and takes up the same depth from the wall. I looked at it first at The Ultimate in Round Rock and their set just plain sucked, low quality house feed and only a low end DVD player hooked up to it. The glare from the plasma sets directly in front of the unit was distracting to say the least. But it served it's purpaose which was to suck people into that part of the store. Find someone that is feeding it the right signal, and then make your decision. I use it in a 11 X 13 room and it's perfect. It's my bedroom tv. I sit 7 to 12 feet from it and DVD's with the lights down low just plain blows your mind.
     

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