SP4805 and the Big Game

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Holadem, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Gee.

    Last minute decision to host a superbowl party has me scrambling for ways to watch TV on the PJ. I have 3 questions:

    1- Is it safe to assume that SD cable would look like garbage and just forget about it?

    2- I could just lease an HD box from comcast for the shortest possible lenght of time (like a month) and pick it up today or tomorrow? I have no interest in keeping an HD setup at this point. My only HD ready display is the projector and with the exception of Sunday, I don't watch TV with it.

    or

    3- OTA HD with an antenna and some kind of stand alone HD tuner?

    What's the best, most cost effective way to set this thing up for just this one event?

    Thanks.

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  2. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    Dave
    In past Super Bowls, I have run an antenna wire to a VCR, from there to my receiver, and then to a SP4805. Definitely not HD, but definitely watchable.
     
  3. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Hmmmmmm reaaaaally. So I guess projected SD cable doesn't totally suck. I think my cable box might have an S-video output. I shall try that out tonight.
    Thanks Dave.

    The thing is that some channels are visibly pixelated even on my 32in tube set (my TV workhorse). Perhaps I will get lucky with a good feed on whatever network is showing the superbowl.

    I am still looking in HD options, any suggestion is appreciated.

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  4. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    I have had mixed results with SD. The 4805 does pretty well compared to many PJ's at SD but ultimately it depends on how good the signal you are feeding it is.
     
  5. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Don't forget that the 4805 has the (then) state-of-the-art Faroudja de-interlacer/scaler built in to help out with SD s-video sources.

    So the picture won't *totally* suck; especially if your Super Bowl station is digitally delivered on your cable system.

    However, don't forget that this will be a 4:3 aspect ratio picture centered within the 16:9 projected area. And, if you use your cable box's "stretch mode", *then* the picture *will* suck because you'll be at the mercy of your cable box's scaler. Alternatively, you could use the 4805's "Letterbox" mode, but then you'll typically find that the score/quarter/time remaining graphics will be cut off.

    For those reasons (and because the HD signal looks *glorious* on the 4805 in "Native" mode) I would still upgrade to HD.
     
  6. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Ha.

    I ran a couple of searches and it's looking like the OTA option is out as the rare stand alone tuners out there are a couple of hundred bucks. And then I am floored to find out the Comcast cable box is a measly $8.99/month. Wow. I was expecting much more. Heck I might just keep the damn thing just for my weekly screening of LOST [​IMG]

    Thanks fellows, the path is now clear. Hopefully I won't be back with technical issues. I've been reading around and it seems pretty straightforward. I will not be bothering with digital connections (especially since apparently the SP4805 needs an adapter for DVI and HDMI), I trust component between the HD box and the PJ will be just fine.

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  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Another option, since your SP4805 displays HDTV at DVD resolution, is a Panasonic DVD-Recorder with an ATSC tuner built-in. The DMR-EZ17K can be had fairly cheaply and displays HDTV signals at downconverted 480i over its component output. If your cable company sends local channels in the clear via QAM, you could get all your locals that way. You could make DVDs of Lost. [​IMG] HDTV looks outstanding on my X1. [​IMG]
     
  8. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Of course, over the air reception is iffy in lots of places, and getting it to work "on deadline" might be stressful. Consult AntennaWeb for help.
     
  9. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    However, don't forget that this will be a 4:3 aspect ratio picture centered within the 16:9 projected area. And, if you use your cable box's "stretch mode", *then* the picture *will* suck because you'll be at the mercy of your cable box's scaler. Alternatively, you could use the 4805's "Letterbox" mode, but then you'll typically find that the score/quarter/time remaining graphics will be cut off.

    [/quote]
    You can switch the 4805 to 4x3 mode and have a monster picture if your screen allows it. I used Goo paint screen so I can flip back and forth.
     
  10. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Yes; it'll look *fantastic*. By the way, set the cable box to output 1080i (which is the default) and set the 4805's aspect ratio to "Native" mode (as opposed to 16:9). You'll be *astonished* at how detailed, sharp, and clear the resulting 480p native resolution picture will look!
     
  11. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    It was spectacular.

    (getting the HD box from Comcast turned out to be an ordeal. After sending me an hour away only to be told that the HD box of that area wouldn't be compatible with my area, and that no Comcast office would be open until Monday, I had to shake heaven and earth and speak to like 3 managers at Comcast to get a technician to show up at my door on Sunday morning with the box... which he didn't have when he showed up because his instructions mentioned nothing about an HD box, although I repeatedly asked the CSR drone with WRITE IT DOWN. Luckily, he had a DVR box laying around in his van. [​IMG])

    But it was worth the trouble and some more. The picture was stunning. I've never seen anything like it. Hard to believe that a real HD projector would look significantly better. I tell my guests that this thing can be had nowadays for ~$500 and they don't believe it.

    While this is a discussion for another thread, is this the type of quality I can expect with the new HD formats?

    Thanks to everyone for your help, we had a fantastic time.

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  12. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    You should definitely get HD for watching LOST. It's way creepier in hi def! Stuff that was pretty much invisible on a plain-old analog 36" TV is OMFG! on the 65" in digital HD. If you like sports, then by all means have the HD. You can make out details (sweat running down, grass blades stuck in jerseys, whatever) that are completley lost in SD.
     
  13. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    HD-DVD and Blu should be even better as cable/Sat can have a lot of compression.
     
  14. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Sweet.

    I watched The Matrix Relaoded later last night on DVD, and it's a noticeable downdrade from the crisp, detailed EE-free Super Bowl picture. The darkness of the matrix and the reduced resolution resulting from the wider AR probably account for some of the difference, but not all.

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  15. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Holadem:
    That's the way I feel as well. I was all set to replace my 4805 with one of the newer high contrast 720p LCD projectors, but after sampling the latter I felt that my 4805 was "good enough" for right now. Evidently I'm going to have to wait on a $1500 1080p projector before I'll have enough justification to retire the 4805!

    As far as the new HD formats, I can attest to the fact that a good HD-DVD looks better than anything I can get over cable. The colors look better, the contrast ratio seems better, and there are far fewer compression artifacts. (Of course now is probably *not* the time to be starting a HD-DVD collection [​IMG] )
     
  16. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Don't you wish you had gotten an HD box years ago. [​IMG]

    I can't imagine that HD-DVD or Blu-Ray should look substantially better than a good DVD on this projector. As I understand it, the main reason HD looks better than DVD on a 480P projector is color resolution. Even with more compression there will be less banding if there are more colors.

    Personally I've been loving OTA HD on my X1 for about three years now. Looks great to me, I have absolutely no interest in upgrading unless my X1 breaks. I think DVD looks great, too.
     
  17. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Indeed. [​IMG]

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  18. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Hi. It's me again [​IMG]

    Any idea why I have these slow moving horizontal bands crawling up on my screen? They are only there when using the HD box -- DVD player is fine. They were there on Sunday as well, but I was so stunned by the picture quaality they didn't really bother me, I figured it was some kind of interference. But now that I am used to the new picture, I can see the bands more readily and want them off my screen [​IMG]

    Any ideas?

    EDIT: Looks like a ground loop problem. Goddammit.

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  19. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Some inexpensive component cables are not shielded particularly well. (Were yours provided by the cable company?) Make sure that your DVD player and other video sources (such as game systems or VCRs) are OFF when using the cable source. If that's not the cause of the interference, then try repositioning the component cables a little. In some cases the offending interference will go away after moving the cables as little as a few inches in either direction just as they are emerging from the back of the cable/DVR box.
     
  20. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I plugged the PJ in the same outlet as the everything else at the front, and it went away (the interference, not the projector [​IMG] ). It was just a makeshift solution for last night, I have no intention of having a power cord permanently run the lenght of my living room, so I will have to find another way. There are other plugs at the back that I will try.

    It could also be because I used a cheater plug. Not intentionally, just that the extension cord wouldn't accept the ground plug from the PJ.

    So at this point I dunno if it's because everything is in the same outlet, or because the PJ is not grounded. But it works [​IMG].

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