HD81 Connections, Remote & Menu System
To say that the external Gennum-driven process has an adequate number of inputs is like saying talk show radio hosts have a few opinions. Let's count just the video inputs: two composite, two s-video, two component (YPbPr), two BNC (RGBHV), three HDMI inputs (up to 1080p) and one "loop through" for connecting a receiver or HDMI jumper (bypass).
The connections are very easy to get to and are spaced apart in a leisurely fashion. RS-232 is available for control over the processor and a separate, dedicated RS-232 cable connects the processor to the projector. Dual 12V DC triggers round out this unit and make for a very flexible product that can either go near the projector (in the unusual case of a single source or table mount configuration) or in your AV component rack or equipment closet to serve as a master processor for all of your video sources (preferred).
Editor's Note: Receiver Loop-through Options
The HD81 video processor gives three ways to utilize the HDMI receiver loop-through option:
Option 1 (HDMI 1.1+ capable receiver): Connect HDMI video inputs to the video processor. Take the'to AV receiver'output of the processor and run it to your AV receiver's HDMI input. This will allow the AV receiver to pull the HDMI audio from the sources and play the audio. Take the receiver's HDMI output and connect it to the'from AV receiver'input on the video processor.
Option 2 (non-HDMI capable receiver): Connect HDMI video inputs to the video processor. Connect audio from the source components directly to the receiver. Take the'to AV receiver'output and run it to the'from AV receiver'input using the supplied short HDMI jumper cable.
Option 3 (single HDMI source): Connect the single HDMI source components directly to the'from AV receiver'input. Run audio as you typically would.
There is, however, an undocumented (but implied) Fourth Option of this loop-through functionality that comes into play for those of you with a myriad of HDMI-capable components. It is identical to Option 1 above, but recognizes that you can now connect an additional set of HDMI input sources to the receiver 舑 thus expanding the capabilities of the system. How is this relevant? Simple. Instead of having a maximum of 3 HDMI inputs, users who have a Denon AVR-4306, for example, would effectively have two additional HDMI inputs to utilize. It can get confusing, but with some planning and a universal remote control you have almost limitless inputs.
This remote is (don't tell anyone I said this) sexy. It is the first remote I've seen which has backlighting for both the buttons as well as all of the text on the remote. Lacking a dedicated "light" button, you can simply press the "Enter" key to illuminate the remote control with a soft blue glow that surrounds each button and backlights the text. This is a "5-star" remote. There is really nothing missing and it provides an incredible amount of control over the projector. Let's face it, with a $10k price tag, no one will be using this remote for long (sorry product designers) but like a nice key ring, it makes this higher-end projector look smart.
About the only thing I could possibly say that detracts from the seemingly perfect remote is that its buttons are all the same above the "Gamma" and "Color" controls and below the "V-Shift" and "Overscan" functions. This means you'll have to look at the remote to control 2/3 of its features. The good news is that menu functions and "Overscan" controls (which I used predominantly) support tactile recognition (i.e. they're different than the other buttons) and are easily used without looking down. This is a clean, elegant remote (golf clap).
The Menu System
The menu system of
the HD81 is new and utilizes the Gennum VXP's overlay abilities. Organization was a mixture of
sensible and haphazard (which I've found is pretty much standard across the board). Overall most
items were easy to locate, though some had to be recalled from memory and seemed to be located in an
The Image menu allows users to access basic controls such as Contrast, Brightness, Color and Tint as well as access the Advanced menu for enhanced tweaking. The Advanced Menu is where you can "get down to business" if you're into really tweaking your system to its fullest. Here you have access to Gamma, Color Temperature (more on this later when we calibrate the system), Image Mode, and Color Vividness. A couple more features exist that we don't recommend using due to their lack of performance or limited usefulness: Edge Enhancement (leave this off), Noise Reduction (saw no real effects via HDMI) and B/W extension would fall here. Based on a sweep pattern the B/W Extension setting was the equivalent of tweaking the Brightness control slightly and raised the level of the blacks without really affecting white levels. As we indicated, Edge Enhancement should probably stay "Off" as even a setting of '1' produced ringing artifacts on several of our test patterns. The projector Modes has a wonderful ISF Day and ISF Night setting - both of which even appeared on the remote control. Unfortunately, HD81 users are all waiting for a firmware update to activate these functions. I have no idea why this wasn't done at the factory - it defies logic.
The display menu is simple, providing options for the preset formats (16:9, 4:3, LBX and Native). 16:9 will scale all inputs (standard and high definition alike) into 1920x1080p. 4:3 will scale all inputs into 1440x1080p, and LBX will stretch all inputs (standard and high definition) 1.33x vertically.
For cinematic movies on a 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen, the LBX
(letterbox) mode can be utilized with an anamorphic lens to derive the
correct image. This ensures that you are utilizing all of the light
power of the projector when throwing the image onto the screen. Other
than this you have access to Overscan functions (handy for some cableTV
channels) and Image shift which digitally moves the picture within the
native resolution of the display.
This menu allows access to source switching, background color settings, 12V trigger assignments and main Projector options. The Projector sub-menu grants control over important functions like the IRIS setting, Projection orientation (front, rear, ceiling, etc), Vertical Keystone, Brite Mode, High altitude (high fan) setting, Lamp and Auto Power Off functions. You can also reset all of these settings from the System menu or copy the settings to another input so you don't have to reconfigure the entire projector, say if you want to have all of the HDMI inputs behave identically. And yes, you can change the menu system to Portuguese, Chinese or Pig Latin if you so desire - well, maybe not Pig Latin, but you get the idea.
Demo mode really allowed us to see what the HD81 was doing to the picture - making this a more objective evaluation than is typically possible in a review of this nature. The box drawn during the demo mode (though offset and not precise) essentially shows the processed video within so that you can compare this to the unaffected video surrounding the modified area. I found it to be mostly helpful for Color Vivid controls, B/W Extension, and Gamma settings.
Brite Mode gives you a bit of additional illumination at the expense for a moderate increase in fan output noise. This is simply a decision you'll need to make during daytime use. I would say that Brite Mode is worthwhile for parties or when you aren't too concern with having the absolute quietest room possible. The HD81 produced a very bright picture on the screen during daytime hours and I felt that this is a projector which is fully capable of replacing a television (which is how I tend to use my projector).
Editor's Note: Gamma & DeGamma Settings
You can utilize the degamma and gamma settings in order to adjust the way the HD81 projector performs in your theater room. We found the Film digamma setting to result in the most dynamic picture, with deep blacks and a more "real" picture. If you're watching sporting events or simply want a brighter, more even image (giving you more details n darker scenes, for instance), select the TV degamma setting.
Here's the kicker, because the HD81 has such a tremendous contrast and ability to hit all of these levels, you can simulate almost any projection type or look with this system. Want a smoother and brighter image? Switch to TV degamma and try adjusting the gamma settings up a bit. The Color Vividness control will also allow you to get that punchier color pop visible in many LCOS displays.
Keep in mind that each screen and room will yield some different results, so play around and experiment to see what you prefer - then store those settings for later recall depending upon the type of material you are viewing.
Check this out:
and $300 rebate.
You will never get HD quality from anything less than 720 formatted material. The HD minimum spec is 720 pixel resolution in the vertical axis. Depending on the scaler involved, you can get very close. In other words, you must provide HD material to a HD display to get a TRUE HD picture.
That's not true - stand far enough away from ANY display and it'll look HD.
The non-marketing version of what defines an image as high definition is that when you add one more line of resolution to the image, it doesn't appear to be one bit sharper. So - a 20" display, from 20 feet away, may not look any better to someone with 20/20 vision whether it is fed the VHS version of King Kong or the HD-DVD version.
But, marketing has warped that idea so that people overly tie the 720p (or better) resolution with the exclusive meaning of HDTV.
HDTV is about image size, image quality, display quality, seating distance, and room conditions, as well as some other factors I may have missed. Simply sending 720p HD source material to a compatible display may give a defined version of HD, but doesn't promise the best possible image.
Everything else is a cleaned up version - the best possible version really - of the lower quality format.
In order (pretty much) standard analog cable and VHS are about the worst original video sources. Digital cable and satellite (DirecTV/Dish) are next. Then DVD comes into the mix as the best non-HDTV source available.
Finally, we get HDTV from cable, satellite, and Blu-ray/HD-DVD disc formats.
So, what happens when you run a VHS tape through this machine? Well, you get a really big VHS image. It will look NOTHING like HDTV - but it won't necessarily look 'bad' or even 'so-so'. It MORE depends on your acceptance of the quality. If you know VHS won't look great and aren't nitpicky, then it may look really really good - to you.
If you are picky, then they will look lousy.
It has been said, no less than 10 million times, that converting non-HD material, to an HD format does not make the original source material HD quality. But, this is moreso true with poor quality standard sources such as VHS tapes. This leads to a bit of not-so-typical sarcasm from our beloved Mr. DeBoer here. If he acts up again, just slap him.
I still have about 30 or 40 VHS titles - I am simply replacing them all with DVD titles at this point. In fact, I am thinking about selling or giving away my VHS collection this year. I'll try eBay first - then I'll donate them somewhere.
Sign me up for one of those new-fangled VHS deck thingies!! All kidding aside, you will not get HD quality pictures from your old analog video tapes.
If I get a SD-DVD player with "clean 480i" over HDMI can I get HD quality?
Sorry for the dumb questions but other threads are unclear.
:o loose tool :o