Which new Mac computer for displaying on a large screen?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by vjjohnson3, May 23, 2006.

  1. vjjohnson3 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    #1
    Hi,
    Which computer is going to be best at displaying anamorphic (high quality)dvds (from the drive) onto a very large projected image (16 ft by 9 ft) and/or large lcd tv(55 inches or more)? Macbook Pro, iMac, or Mini, or will they all display the same? I am trying to get an idea of the picture quality once it is blown up that big, will it be close to high definition or will it look blown up, or grainy,etc.?

    Also, does the fact that the imac only has mini dvi out make it display less quality, or does it matter?

    Will the dvd drives in these computers play and record any dvd discs that are put into them, or will there be the same combatibility issues with discs that have been burned from other machines and software?

    I am really trying to buy one computer with one dvd drive that will do all of my home theater viewing and just trying to simplify my electronic life.

    thanks,
    Vincent
     
  2. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    The Centennial State
    #2
    Your biggest concern should be what is the native resolution of the projector/LCD TV and can whatever Mac you're thinking of support that resolution. And since the highest HD res is 1920x1080, you can go from there. Methinks that blowing even that up to 16ft x 9ft, you're gonna get a grainy image, unless you stand back 100ft. That is huge!
     
  3. vjjohnson3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    #3
    thanks for the reply

    I do appreciate the reply,

    I have the projector already. It has a native display of 1366 x 768 (widescreen). It is displaying all of my media at 16 ft by 9 ft onto a huge wall. I sit back about 20 ft and really love the look and feel of a huge image.
    It looks best on high definition from the satellite receiver (or from off air HD broadcasts) but it also looks remarkably well on regular digital satellite tv and/or a portable dvd player through s-video. I see a little bit of graininess from the digital satellite image but from all off air digital images it looks remarkable.

    But I am trying to update two things: new computer and/or new dvd player

    I have checked the resolutions for the new mac computers and they don't match my 1366 x 768 exactly but there are wide screen resolutions that are higher. Will that work well, and is there any difference between the new computers as to which will do it better?

    Thanks,
    Vincent
     
  4. Drizzt macrumors member

    Drizzt

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    #4
    I believe most projectors support different resolutions and that Apple computers seem to handle varying resultion types just fine. Same with DVD players. Can you post the model number of the projector too? You shouldn't have any trouble with a Mac as a source for a digital projector. Just be sure to get a DVI cable to not have any distortion or to lose anything in translation. Also, I don't believe that the mini-DVI port on the iMac means anything bad. Just look forward to that beautiful GUI on your wall in a couple days. :)
     
  5. beaster macrumors member

    beaster

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    #5
    My guess is that the problem won't be with your hardware, it'll be the software, at least for DVD viewing. I don't know what PJ you have, but most home theater projectors will accept standard HD resolutions (e.g. 1280 x 720) and scale them to whatever native resolution the PJ has (apparently 1366 x 768 in your case). All Intel Macs should have enough processor and video horsepower to keep up with video at 1280 x 720 (except maybe the core solo Mini?). If the Mac can't output the PJ's native rez, then just set the Mac as close as you can (i.e. 1280 x 720) and let the PJ do the minimal scaling work that remains. If the Mac can out put the native rez, then the question then comes down to whether the PJ or your Mac is better at scaling the source. My guess is that the PJ will be better, but definitely experiment.

    The real problem is with the software though. My experience with the DVD Player software on the Mac is that it isn't ready for primetime videophile use. Watching DVD's from DVD Player reveals bad deinterlacing and scaling artifacts on my G4 powerbook, but I admit I haven't tried it on an Intel Mac yet. You might be better off with a dedicated DVD hardware player with a quality deinterlacer (e.g. Faroudja) and scaler. I too have an HD projector, and the picture quality from a stanalone DVD player is definitely better than what my Mac can do today.

    Put another way - at least in the PC world, you have to spend a fair amount of time and $$ on a PC that can exceed the picture quality of a $200 standalone DVD player. It can be done if you know what you're doing and are willing to fuss with ffdshow, etc., and the results are be worth it. But I haven't heard of anyone being able to get a Mac to do the same - the software just isn't there (yet).

    -Sean
     
  6. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    so you are actually using a wall area of 16 feet, by 9 feet? thats an awfully convienient number.... or is that the buzz size you thought would sound coolest? and you sit back 20 feet? so, you live in an airplane hanger?

    i just dont believe this is a real question. more of a fantasy/wishlist.

    anyone running a projection setup (at that size no less) would NOT be using a computer DVD player for a source.

    and the picture quality vs. size issue, is gonna make zero difference from the DVD drive, its the projector quality that would make a difference.

    but, someone who projects their image to 16x9' should already know that.....
     
  7. vjjohnson3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    #7
    Thanks, guys

    It sounds like I will definitely be getting a separate dvd player after my computer purchase. I was hoping that I could do it all from the dvd player on my computer but I can see that it will be probably not worth the time to try to do it right. Thanks.
     
  8. vjjohnson3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    #8
    Yes, I am a do it yourself (usually poorly) nerd with a great room home theater

    I measured the wall that I am projecting on. It is actually 161 inches by 89 inches (I knew there was a 16 by 9 in there somewhere) which is actually more like 13.4 ft by 7.5 ft
    Whatever it is, it's rather large, which is what I was going for.
    The room is a great room, combination living room/dining room, with cathedral/vaulted ceilings and there is no chandelier so I can project with nothing in the way. The room is roughly 27 ft by 14 ft(rectangle).

    The projector is a Sanyo PLV-70 which was a $5000 projector when I bought it 3 years ago. It is lcd and is very bright (over 2000 lumens) and I find that it does a very good job, even at that size.

    I watch everything from "vhs" to "hd through dvi-d" and I don't mind if it gets a little obviously grainy on things like vhs. I now know that I need to upgrade my dvd player (portable panasonic) because the new computer dvd player won't cut it, even if I look for different software, which I find unfortunate.
    But I will say that HD through the satellite receiver looks remarkable and digital satellite off air broadcasts also look remarkably good.
    Anything of much lower quality (vhs or whatever) looks pretty crappy blown up to that size but I just like a bigger image so it's totally cool.

    So does anyone have any suggestions on the dvd player I should buy, or if I should buy an imac intel core duo or a macbook pro intel core duo. I am leaning towards the imac and I hope it works great with my projector.

    Thanks again all,
    Vincent
     
  9. beaster macrumors member

    beaster

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    #9
    Before you jump all over the OP, bear in mind that the general rule of thumb for seating distance to a high-def projector screen is 1.5x-2x screen width, but it's personal preference. For a 16'-wide screen that makes a 24' seating distance perfectly normal. 20' would certainly not be out of the question. A 16'-wide screen is certainly on the large side for most home theaters (most projectors have trouble throwing enough light to make such a large screen bright enough), but it can be done.

    A properly built home theather PC (HTPC) with the right software will absolutely exceed the picture quality of just about any sub-$2000 DVD player on the market. Certainly the projector itself plays a huge role in the overall picture quality, but the DVD player also make a major difference that should not be discounted, especially on a big screen. That's why people who really care about PQ for their HT will build and run an HTPC as their main DVD player. I continually toy with doing it myself, but I really don't want to sink time and money into a PC - I want to build a HTMac, but the software just isn't ready for it.

    -Sean
     
  10. beaster macrumors member

    beaster

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    #10
    Even better - that puts your seating distance at almost exactly 1.5x screen width.

    You can't really trust the marketing #'s for lumens, but that PJ might be satisfactorily bright at that screen size. You're right on the edge of your light output for that screen, and it'll only get dimmer as the bulb ages. But if you have a nice dark room, you might be ok with it. Again, personal preference here.

    For a relatively inexpensive, high-quality upscaling DVD player, I'd recommend the Oppo 971. You'd be hard pressed to get a better image for the price.

    -Sean
     
  11. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #11
    dude, im not arguing the relative seating distance to the size of the screen....

    im arguing that

    1. I dont believe he has a room that size....
    2. I dont believe he knows what he is talking about
    3. I dont believe he has said equipment (projector, 55" HD set....), yet is concerned with running it off a imac? come on.


    most people that can afford a house which would have a room the size he is saying he projects in, frequent interweb forums for equipment advise, especially an imac to run a high end theater....

    i think the combo of his original dimensions (the most generic size ever, 16'x9'), coupled with the fact that he dropped his 55" to let us all know just how much equipment he has, along with the fact that he is thinking of running a home theater using a entry level mac as a source, just smacks of BS. i call troll.
     
  12. beaster macrumors member

    beaster

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    #12
    Well, as I said, many people with high-end theaters run their theaters off of HTPC's, which can be built relatively cheaply. A properly built HTPC can provide better PQ than even boutique-pricey ($2-3k) DVD players. So I don't find the question about whether the same thing can be done on a Mac strange at all, especially not on a Mac forum. As to whether he has a room that big, I have no reason to doubt it. As for not knowing what he's talking about - well, that's why he's here seeking answers from people who do!

    -Sean
     
  13. vjjohnson3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    #13
    thanks for the dvd player tip, i'll check it out

     
  14. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #14
    I used to run my HDTV from my mini. I had a 51 Hitachi rear projection crt.
    Resolution ... it would do 1920x1080i (interlaced). I also tried it at 1280 x 720 p. It seemed to look about the same. But much flickering of window frames in interlaced mode.
    I haven't tried but, the mini may be able to drive the native resolution you need.
     

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