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I am familiar with avsforum, but apparently this topic is far too babyish to get anyones attention or interest.
Could someone answer my question from an Audiogoner's perspective?
If I do capitulate and go for the plasma -- the new 50" Fujitsu, for example -- can someone tell me what happens to Time Warner Cable in HD and the occasional DVD if I geek out with a processor?
There a number of DLP projectors(4:3,XGA) in the $2k to 4k (street price) that incorporate "some" faroudja processing (if not present in the dvd player) & will get you "80%" of the way towards the "best", another $1 to 2k for a screen & some serious blinds for ambient light control & you'll be set(and the screen doubles as a "bass trap" as a bonus)
Get a sub $2k digital projector with high light output (lots of lumens). Infocus X1 has 1100 ANSI lumens (IIRC) and the BenQ 6100 has 1500 ANSI lumens (IIRC). That should work well if you don't have total light control in your bedroom or living room. The entry level digital projectors have really come a long way in the last 2 years or so.
You could likely get a NEW sub $2k digital projector and sub $100 DIY screen which could subjectively get you 80% or that demo at 1/10th the cost. YMMV. The DIY screens are supposed be only be slightly worse than commercial screens costing $800-2000. YMMV. no it won't be 'true' HD c.1920x1080 but it *could* still be pretty jaw dropping for you.
Hang around in the sub $3500 projector forum on AVS and read the back discussions. Also search the screen forums for parkland plastic, gatorboard, and Behr 'Misty Evening' paint. It's scary the level of video performance a little over $1k can get you these days!
I guess when I see somethig great; I buy it;or it's little brother. You're going to be downsizing from the projectors mentioned. The best is always the best. WHY?? because it costs more. Do some looking around. Plasmas and these new tech rptv and entery level projectors ALL have trouble doing either blacks/ greys/shadow detail (darker sceens in movies) I say pick up a lower price plasma. The tech. changes so fast you'll want something better shortly. That way you wont loose to much. And, make the misses happy(which as we all know;makes us happier)Then get your self one of those 3 chip 25k Sim projectors. Oh yaa the Firehawk screen will be about 4k. No video processor needed unless you are using down-rez stuff like lazer/vhs tapes.
If your putting this in your bedroom..forget a projector. I would go with a large plasma as your wife wants. If on the other hand, your setting this up in another room..forget the plasma and go with a projector. Even a cheap projector will blow the plasma away in overall enjoyment in a larger room size but would (could) be somewhat of a hastle to deal with in a bedroom/TV/dvd/sleeping type of setup IMO. You should find something with no problem @ or below $5,000 that has a great picture. I wish I could show you a screen-shot of even what my cheap little Infocus X1 projector looks like on my 100" screen with a progressive scan DVD player. You don't need to spend a ton of money with these new projectors and Televisions to get a great picture..they are getting THAT GOOD.
Thank for the opinions so far.
Further to projectors, I already have a trusty Sony VPL 4000 Q 16:9 HDTV LCD which everyone raved about when it came out and at least used to be a bit of a cult item.
However, it is not terribly bright and the fan is a bit noisy even in a bigger room.
Will even the new cheapo projectors handily outperform the old benchmark Sony or should I just buy the plasma for the bedroom and use the projector in the living room while my wife watches the food channel or something?!
In any event, it sounds like Faroudja video processors arent exactly a high value item and wont be required for HDTV and DVD?
I have a Sanyo plv-z1 projector - cheap and cheerful, but beats any Plasma I have seen hands down at a fraction of the price. Getting all carried away I tried a number of processors and either saw no meaningful improvement or a degraded picture. One of the problems is that the Sanyo already has an ok scaler, and adding more stages of A to D and D to A is hardly beneficial. Mine was only one experience, but I have heard some experts say that processors were sensible for the old CRT projectors but do not make much sense with today's digital projectors.
That's right these scalers inverters and such are for making your lazer discs/vhs tapes and interlaced dvd players and the like;look much better on your projector. i.e.480i material.Many have odd rez for Pal.Many of the projectors up convert prog. dvd to 720. (mine does)Which is about as good as can be had, without a computer program card.I have a dvi in,but no supporting player. The early dvi players are a mess./compatibility issues. The D1 and 931. Others are comming out. Then ya got 2 types of dvi inputs. Reminds me of when Quad sound came out in the '70s. This cart. would only work with Columbia/RCA or what ever incompatibility it was.
I take your point about obsessing over the gear and overpriced incremental improvements, but to me, this example is not an apples to apples comparison.
To complete the audio metaphor, this seems more like Faroudja marketing a state of the art, up to the minute latest generation, wildly expensive signal processing device that made cassette tapes sound quite good, but really didnt make clearly discernible improvements to high end analogue or a well recorded SACD.
What self respecting audiophile would buy that?! Remember DBX signal processing devices in the 70's? Readers of Stereo Review, not TAS bought them.
Or am I missing something? I still dont get video.