Re: video projector for small-ish exhibition space?

From: Mitsu Hadeishi (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jul 11 2006 - 21:07:13 PDT

Just a few comments...

> I haven't seen any of the 'new' LCDs Mitsu lauds (M: can you shoot us
> specific model #s?), but every (old, I suppose) LCD our college owns
> stinks: they can't display monochrome at all (red tint on one side, green
> tint on the other) and they're way too contrasty: everything even close to
> dark detail goes to inky mud.

They're not necessarily "old" they're likely not designed for theater/cinema
use. They're just crappy presentation LCD projectors (you can still buy
those today, and they look like giant blown up standard definition TVs) which
are designed for brightness and not color fidelity or contrast.

As for models some good LCD machines in the price range we're discussing are
the Panasonic PT-AE900U and the Sanyo PLV-Z4, for starters.

> BTW Pablo, what you want is not high-contrast, but low-contrast, which
> would be expressed by a larger contrast range number, meaning the
> projector is capable of more intermediate shades of gray beyween it's
> whitest white and blackest black. The lower number means higher contrast:
> more potentially intermediate shades get pushed toward the black or white
> extremes...

Well, I wouldn't quite agree here. A high contrast projector is one that has
the largest difference between the brightest white it can display and the
darkest dark as well as a large space of grey levels. The crappy LCD
projectors you're talking about simply smash all the low greys into black,
but they ALSO have poor black levels (that is, if you measured the darkness
of their "black" it would be brighter than the darkest black of a good
projector). The best projectors have dark blacks AND a wide range of grey
levels, so I think it's more accurate to call these "high contrast (range)"

>what do people think of the panasonic pt-ae900?

This is a great projector, $3200 MSRP, 5500:1 contrast ratio, 1280x720
resolution, capable of true 720P projection (but it downsamples 1080i;
nevertheless it looks great). Even though the 1280 is lower than the "full"
theoretical HD resolution, almost all HD content right now is actually close
to 1280 wide actual resolution.

> If I were spending $5,000 on a projector, I would want true HD, which
> means 720p, or 1080i, the original HD standards. 1080p is just becoming
> available, and will probably be the highest resolution for consumer
> equipment, and media, for quite some time. It will show up on Blu-Ray
> discs soon. Any true HD projector will up-scale a 480i source, such as
> a DVD. Some do a better job than others. I don't see the point in
> spending that kind of money on a piece of equipment that would be
> down-scaling from some sources.

For $5K there aren't any projectors I know of with native 1080 vertical
resolution. Believe me, the 720 high projectors do an incredible job with
1080i content, you need to see it to appreciate it.

> Right now, the best bang-for-buck is probably the new Sony 1920 x
> 1080 projector -- 24P, true 24P 1080P. Xenon lamp, $7200 if you shop
> around. But it has a fixed zoom lens, not interchangeable, and the
> bulbs are not cheap. Not super bright (800 lumens) but ok on a 10 ft
> diagonal screen with appropriate gain. This is an SXRD device, same
> as LCOS and D-ILA, some prefer it to DLP, much better than LCD.

Sounds like a great projector for the price. I agree 800 lumens is plenty in
a dark room with no ambient light up to around 10 feet.


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.