Upgrade, No HDMI, Uniformity

Big Budget
I currently have a 125-inch Da-Lite screen and a throw distance of around 25 feet. I am using a 5-year-old SIM2 Seleco HT300 single-chip DLP projector. I would like to upgrade but not spend over $30,000 to do so. I was wondering what projectors you would consider for this setup?

Rocky DiChristofano

Do you have a dealer or installer you work with? At that price level, you should. A dealer or installer can demonstrate candidate projectors in your room to find one with enough light output to fill that screen. Some projectors that come to mind in that price range are the SIM2 C3X Lumis HOST and perhaps something from projectiondesign, Digital Projection, or Runco.

Missed It By That Much
I bought a Yamaha home-theater receiver about six months before the introduction of HDMI. I have now purchased a 1080p projector and plan to buy a Blu-ray player.

My question is this: Since my receiver obviously doesn't have any of the HD decoders, such as DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD, is there any way I can enjoy the lossless audio formats through an optical or coaxial audio connection, or do I have to buy a receiver with the necessary decoders?

Ben Loewen

The optical and coax digital-audio outputs can only carry the standard Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams, not the new lossless formats. The only way to hear the new audio codecs in their full glory with your receiver would be to get a Blu-ray player with multichannel analog outputs (assuming the receiver has multichannel analog inputs). However, this bypasses the receiver's EQ and processing, so it would be best to get a Blu-ray player with speaker and bass-management controls.

Unfortunately, such players are rare and usually expensive; examples include the Oppo BDP-83 ($600), all current Pioneer models ($400 to $2200), and Denon DVD-3800BDCI ($2000, discontinued), DVD-A1UDCI ($4500), and upcoming DBP-2010CI ($700). At some of these prices, it might make more sense to get a new receiver with HDMI inputs, in which case you can get a Blu-ray player without multichannel analog outs for more like $200 or $300.

Uniformity Umbrage
I recently got a Sony KDL-52Z5100, and going from standard def to this was obviously very dramatic. But now that I've had it for a few days, I've noticed something. I watched some TV a couple nights ago in a completely dark room, and I noticed when the program went to black (say, between scenes) or when something was letterboxed, I could see faint "splotches" for lack of a better term in the upper left and right corners and a couple of areas along the left side of the screen. It's very faint but noticeable if you look at those areas. Is this something I should be concerned about? Is this typical of LCD TVs in this size?

Erick Mangali

What you're describing is typical for virtually all LCD TVs, which rely on a backlight to display a picture. The backlight is never perfectly uniform, which shows up most often when the TV is displaying a completely black screen. It's nothing to be concerned about, and it shouldn't be noticeable with normal program material, except perhaps letterboxed movies or 4:3 TV, in which case, there's not much you can do about it except try to ignore it.

If you have a home-theater question, please send it to scott.wilkinson@sorc.com.

Brendt Montgomery's picture

Don't forget about the Panasonic blu-ray players with multi-channel analog outputs....they are a little more fair in price than some that you mentioned, Scott. But I do agree that it might be worth it to just upgrade the receiver too.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Yes, the Panasonic DMP-BD55 and BD80 both have multichannel analog outputs and speaker settings with bass management. I didn't include them in my original answer because Panasonic hadn't gotten back to me with this info by the time I posted it. After I read your comment, I downloaded the owner's manuals for both players, and sure enough, they have these capabilities. The BD55 is discontinued, and the BD80 carries the same list price of $400, which is much more reasonable than many of the players I cited.

Bill's picture

Scott, as a correction. The Oppo BDP-83, when it release to the general public, will be $499 MSRP. I had confirmed this with Oppo via both email and on the phone.

Mike LaBorde's picture

The Oppo has been released to the general public. It should also be noted that the Oppo is more than just a Blu-Ray player. It also plays SACD and DVD-A and several different audio and video formats from disc or USB drive.