The Art of Home Theater Projectors

CES 2014: 3D Printing, Robots, and Displays (Part 4)

Now, I actually was able to spend some time in the 3D printing booths. Along with “smart” stuff and robotics, 3D printing was probably among the most talked about things at the show. Here’s an image of a large, portable Solar Panel. The casing was created with a 3D printer, reducing time from design to production significantly. A classic case of being able to model your products in-house at a fraction of the cost.

3D printers

3D printers

3D printed solar panel

Solar panel, with framing made by 3D printer

Robots. Floor sweepers, polishers, lots of cleaning robots… But the one that really impressed me, was a one of a kind: Winbot. This little guy (about a foot by a foot), climbs all over your window cleaning it. Takes some time, but it works. The demo included writing with magic marker, and when the robot got to that place, it took off the marker in one attempt. I really want to include one of the Winbots for review and demoing in our dream home. Certainly we do have the glass, inside and out. The Winbot is tethered, as it probably works hard to stay attached to vertical glass windows.

The Winbot window cleaner

The Winbot, a window cleaning robot

Lots of cute robots, and pet dog robots, and informational jetson type robots, robots for kids, robots with digital faces and touch sensitive tummies. for digital signage, and ultimately to replace counter folks at fast food restaurants, etc.

Robots on display at CES

Robots on display at CES

In fact, Robots and 3D printing was everywhere in South Hall, with all the major players, and many minor ones present, with MakerBot (now part of Stratasys Systems) probably the best of the booths, but also 3D Printing. Many printers were actually actively printing things, and the booths were loaded with working devices that were printed, from toys to tools.

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Items created by 3D printing

Of course, the nicest thing I saw was not at the Zigbee booth, or the Belkin booth, or even the Epson press conference. It was the Lamborghini Veneno located in the Monster booth. Magnificent car, definitely the hottest thing at the show. It made those Teslas look like old Volkswagens.

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Lamborgini Venemo

By the way, Monster threw their annual awards event, with Head Monster Noel, and Nick Cannon, introducing the usual hip hop and rap stars. The concert was Fleetwood Mac, and boy did they rock. Stevie Nicks sounded real good, but playing by Mick Fleetwood on drums, and especially Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, blew away the thousands of us in attendance. Awesome. Noel (Lee) always puts on a show, and raises a lot of money for his favorite charities… Not to mention giving out lots of product awards.

Noel Lee (not taken at CES)

Noel Lee (not taken at CES)

Here’s the view from the GhostBar, best in Vegas. Just had to stop by, as Sony had its press dinner in the Palms Fantasy Tower (click to enlarge).

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I saw a demonstration of Leap Motion for the first time in the Haier booth. A guy was playing a flight game, just by moving his hand inches above the sensor: Tilting hand to bank the jet, etc. Cool, but the guy wouldn’t stop playing it so I never got a chance to try it out.  LG was also showing Speech and Gesture recognition, but I didn’t get close enough…

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Haier Leap Motion

All right, back to more of your typical home theater-y stuff:

Above, Casio shows ultra short throw projector that works great for digital signage.  Elite Screens launches a new ambient light rejection screen – the DarkStar. I plan to get it in here for review at some point.

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The cutest projectors at the show, however, were these tiny projectors that come in bright colors. Not exactly business class products, but cool… The DLP.com booth was one of the highlights, lots of pico and pocket projectors there. Some are already being distributed in the US (i.e. at Brookstone), and others are seeking distribution (such as the little guys in bright colors).

But on the performance side, the big thing there were projector based dashes for cars.  One looked similar to the huge display inside the Tesla S, but these even offered curved screens. and capacitance knobs, etc. The menus come up as you hand gets within about an inch of the control, I didn’t get a photo. But this year the heads up display for cars, that DLP.com was showing was really awesome, and extremely bright. It won’t be long before we start seeing a revamp of the modern dash and controls.

Curved OLED TVs were the rage, still pricy, and do we really need a curve, and don’t forget, that curves make sense if you are sitting straight back, and at the right distance, things get funky if sitting to the sides…

Curved LED TVs

Curved LED TVs

That’s all I’ve got. Overall, lots of cool stuff, very pleased with the showing this year. Hope you found it interesting. -a

 

News And Comments

  • godmoves4u

    Art,
    Can you help me out? I have an upstairs family room 18X12.5 I have 2 small window in the front where I would put a fixed screen I will black out the windows paint that section black I would paint the ceiling dark gray and the side walls burgundy I would also put black acoustic on burgundy walls, my carpet is beige I would order a 10X12 theater rug, in the back of the room I will hang drapes to go all the way across to close off the room. My ? is I’m a huge 3d and sports fan. What’s the largest screen can I get with this setup? Is Carada BW a good screen? I have paid $100.00 for people to come out, but they end up not showing up, yes I get my money back, but that’s not helping. Please advise if you have the time.

    Thanks
    Lionel

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      A little idea of budget helps, but 3D is going to be your limitation. Sounds like your room is perfect – full lighting control, mostly dark surfaces…

      If your budget is in the $2000 – $3500 range, there are a limited number of good choices:

      BenQ W7500 (review publishing Tuesday)

      Epson 5030ub/6030ub (sounds like your local dealer isn’t helping and you’ll be buying online, so 5030ub.

      Sony VPL-HW55ES

      All of these are serious home theater projectors with at least very good black levels, and a lot of horsepower under the hood. The 1.4 gain carada BW (I think in reality it’s closer to 1.3 gain, will definitely support a 130″ screen with reasonable brightness in 3D, and plenty for sports with any of these in your room.

      Now if your budget isn’t that great, you start getting bigger trade-offs. So give me some guidance if the spend is less than low/mid $2000s -art

      • godmoves4u

        I have 6k max

        • godmoves4u

          This would be for Projector rug etc. From your review I really like the Sony Vpl-hw55es. I

        • ProjectorReviews.com

          I think you are good with the Sony. Spending more will not get you a brighter projector. The more expensive Sony (95ES and JVCs) aren’t near bright as the HW55ES.

          This is because everything as you spend more are dedicated home theater projectors, rather than media room/ambient light.

          The exception are the new G series Epsons, but starting at $3500 they do passive 3D, but only when you stack 2 together. Low cost on glasses, and 4000 lumens each, but a definite budget buster. Also, mediocre black level performance (these models come from the commercial side). Not for you, but two of them would do a 200″ screen no problem.

          The Epson saves you bucks, has a better warranty, but the Sony is my favorite of the two. I think they are about a tie in value, based on the roughly $1000 difference. The Sony is the more elegant of the two. -art

          • godmoves4u

            Art,
            I was blown away when I first saw Avatar in 3d and my frist IMAX 3d, that put me over the edge I knew an 80″ TV was no longer in my plans.
            I’m hoping to get the same immersivion at home. I will start my project. I will continue to read your reviews helps me out a lot.

            Thanks for your time.
            Lionel

          • ProjectorReviews.com

            Once you get the projector and get everything set up, please get back with us, and let us know about your experience. Thanks! And don’t forget to try our calibration settings and let us know how they play out for you.

            Since there’s always some lamp variation, it’s not guaranteed that our settings will be better on your projector, since the Sony looks really good right out of the box. Yet, I would expect that ours will at least improve the picture slightly. -art

          • godmoves4u

            For sure

          • godmoves4u

            Art,
            I have my room painted. I’m waiting on Acoustics and Window
            covering. I also have my curtains hung. I’m left with a max of 13′ feet viewing distance. So now the room is 13′x12′
            What’s the maximum screen size that I can get now to go with VPL-HW55ES? I’m ready to order.
            Thanks

          • ProjectorReviews.com

            You’ll find our throw distance information on the Performance page 3. But it plays out this way. The closest you can have the projector for a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen is 9.7 feet measured from the screen to the FRONT OF THE LENS.

            The Sony is about 2 feet deep so about 11 feet of viewing distance. However did you account for the screen not being flush with the wall? That could be another 1-2 inches on a fixed wall screen and up to about 4 on a wall mounted motorized screen.

            Still assuming you have 11 feet total: That’s 13.4% longer than needed for a 100″, so you could have a 113.4″ diagonal screen.

            Since you probably didn’t figure on the screen not being flush with its wall, and the Sony may be a little longer than 24 inches, figure your maximum would be a 110″ screen. However you wouldn’t want it to be flush against drapes if they are on the back wall. That could be a heat/fire problem. -art

          • godmoves4u

            To give you an idea. The curtains are a divider for my hall way they are hung wall to wall like shower curtains 15′ back, my viewing distance around 12′ I was thinking the projector would be at least 2′ long I allowed 3′ for that. Behind the curtains I have another 8′ before I hit the wall, but I would be extending projector in the hall way.
            If I can go with a 110″ ” the maximum stated for 3d without losing to much brightness”, that would be great. I was asking because an electrician have to install a ceiling outlet.
            Thanks for all your patience.
            Lionel

          • ProjectorReviews.com

            Hi Lionel,

            OK, then, my last answer worked all the numbers for you for the 110″ screen, just double check your measurements but if the back of the projector isn’t hitting your curtains and creating a fire hazard, you should be good to go. It’s just very close. Remember, the official distance is from the front of the lens to the screen, not the wall. BTW the Sony vents the hot air out the front, in your case, a good thing. -art

          • godmoves4u

            Hi Art,
            I purchased the Sony and I gave the installers the info that you had given me. I followed your calibrations beautiful picture 3d was awesome. I noticed the installer could not get the top corners to align look like the picture was leaning forward, if that makes sense. When he zoom the picture to much over spill. After a few days I called in another installer to see if he could fix this problem his conclusion was the Keystone was not working properly the Keystone would move the pic in but not out. He even tried lowering the projector same results.
            Today I took the projector back to best buy and explained about the 2 different installers and they agreed to install for free when another projector comes in. Disappointed, but I know what I have coming.
            Thanks for all your suggestions I made a great choice.
            Lionel

          • ProjectorReviews.com

            Hi again,

            Keep in mind that these get relayed to me
            so I only see your current comment. Why are you using keystone correction, and not the lens shift. We all avoid all use of keystone correction unless there’s no alternative. Within the normal mounting range – which is covered under lens shift in the performance section of a review usually, it tells you at what height range the projector can be placed compared to the top of the screen. With the Sony, that’s anywhere from below the bottom of the screen to a foot or more above the top, depending on screen size.

            If the projector lens isn’t centered relative to the left and right side of the screen then you need to use some of the horizontal lens shift which does limit how much vertical there is.

            One important thing, none of these solutions makes a perfect alignment possible. There is always some distortion of the shape of the image. Using keystone correction is pretty good, but affects the sharpness of the image. With lens shift you are bending the shape with the optics, a much better way, but using lens shift will slightly alter the aspect ratio of the image from 16:9, so that there’s always some small error. Bowing causes the top and bottom edges of the image to have a slight curve. In my own set up, when the top of the image (I’m on a table top because I change out projectors frequently) in the center just touches the top of the screen surface, then in the corners the top of the image is 2-4 pixels above the screen surface, hitting the frame. This is normal. That is one reason why screens tend to have black velour type materials that absorb the maximum amount of light, so those aren’t visible. For those with wide screens things are even trickier because the screen would normally be 2.35:1 or maybe 2.4:1 but widescreen movies come in at least 4 different aspect ratios, so while some movies are exactly the same as the widescreen (less the optical distortion we’re talking about), if the movie’s in a different widescreen aspect ratio you would be either overshooting the screen or under shooting it.

            In a perfect world we’d all use curved screens as the curvature minimizes the amount of difference between top center and top corners, etc. -art

          • godmoves4u

            As you know I’m new to this. Both installers were using the keystone I have no idea what keystone is. I think they just know how to run wires and mount and limited on setting up the image. I bought the 110″ Carada it is centered in the room and the projector is 12′ back.
            So I returned a projector for no reason listening to them. Hopefully the guys coming from Best Buy know what they are doing. I have to wait until the middle of the month projector’s on back order. Wow!
            Thanks Art

          • ProjectorReviews.com

            I would talk to the Best Buy folks to make sure the team they send you knows projectors. There’s a lot of different levels of skill sets, so asking can only help. -art

          • godmoves4u

            Best Buy ph# 951-653-9386 Store manager is working with me I think his name is Greg or George sorry it was a few whom I talked to, but he agreed to the free installation. Again Art Thanks for your help. I can’t wait to upload image.

          • godmoves4u

            Hi Art,
            After waiting weeks for a projector to come in at best buy I decide to get a refund. I went to Monaco in Pasadena, what a difference I finally talked to people who knew what they were doing. The installers came set the panel alignment and lens shift viola. I went to your calibration page and made the adjustment. The picture is jaw dropping. I invited some friends over they cannot believe I’m getting a 110″ Led picture. I feel like I’m at the movies everyday. Thanks for your patience and all your help!
            Lionel

          • ProjectorReviews.com

            Glad it finally worked out! -art