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It's Ruby time!
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Curt Palme
CRT Tech


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 23682
Location: Langley, BC

TV/Projector: All of them!


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:08 pm    Post subject: It's Ruby time! Reply with quote


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Sony VPL-VW100 ("Ruby")



Full specs


OK, so I went down to DarinP's place on Weds, and upon entering his house it looks like he's set up for digitals more or less the way I am for CRTs.
Screens are everywhere..Smile There's a 128" wide in the living room, and a 10' wide Da Lite 2.8 gain, 2.35:1 ratio in the screening room along with a second 8' wide on an adjacent wall in the same screening room for smaller screen viewing. I'll stick with the screen that I saw the Ruby on. It was a 2.5 gain screen designed for digital use.

Now, keep in mind that this was a very sunny day, and I went from my car to his HT room within about 2 minutes. Now let me describe the room: It was COMPLETELY black. Black carpeting (covered with black velvet?), black ceiling, black velvet walls, even velvet on the sides of his speakers so the shiny finish wouldn't reflect light. This literally was a black hole with no reflections whatsoever. WAF: very low.

Now, since my eyes weren't used to the dark, Darin guided me to a chair dead center of the screen. There was just a tiny light at the HD DVD player so all I could see was a bit of the back of the chair, and I had no idea how this room was set up. To me it looked like he had room about 12 chairs on a sloped floor and the screen looked to be about 20-25 feet away. SWEET!

He then powered up the Ruby with a regular DVD player to start, and he told me that this was 'just' a DVD source. We viewed a clip from the Star Wars 5 film, and it looked pretty damn good right off the bat. The black levels weren't perfect, but they were better than literally all digitals that I can remember seeing, better than the Qualia and heck, better than some CRTs that I've seen with the brightness cranked way up.

Smile

Unfortunately I also saw red misconvergence immediately. The red image was shifted up and to the right, enough to be noticed in about 50% of what I watched. The blue looked to be OK, then again red misconvergence is always more visible than slight blue shift. But that aside, the image was great.
When we looked at more shots, I did see what I'd complained about at avs in the past: In scenes with bright faces, the bright spots looked a bit jaundiced, or as if the actor was about to break out with a bad case of acne, that his face or skin had oily splotches on it. I pointed this out to Darin, and he saw it too. Since I'd seen it on other digital projectors, this was not necessarily a fault of the Ruby.

Then Darin brought up the lights. My initial perception of the room was way way off. It was about a 18'X 13' room, not sloped, with a single seat in it.
As I said, black velvet all around. The seat was 12' away from the screen, not 20'. Amazing what zero ambient light can do to your perception.

Darin then switched to a multitude of HD DVDs. I saw clips from Serenity, Training Day and others. As he pointed out, the first generation HD units are slow in reading the discs, and apparently can be glitchy at times. The HD DVD was putting out 1080i which the Ruby was then reassembling (as it were) the image to 1080p.

There's no question that there was more detail in the image than with a standard DVD player, but as Darin mentioned, during another demo that he had at his place in mid demo during a break, he switched out the HD DVD of Serenity with the standard DVD version. Only one person noticed the lower resolution of the image.

Now it's interesting, I did not notice the acne/oil type sheen of people's faces with the HD DVD source. Am I seeing a limitation of the signal source or limitations in the digital display technology when I see this on other digital projectors? I have not seen this issue at all with CRT images.

Darin took off the neutral density filter from the Ruby about 1/2 way through the demo. The light output of the Ruby increased about 40% or so (my perception, measurements would show that the light output doubles with that filter removed), with a slight elevation of the absolute blacks as expected. Keeping in mind that I found the brightness level to be fine with the filter in place on a 10' wide screen (albeit in a perfectly black room), I thus believe the Ruby to have adequate brightness for HT applications. Those that want to view the Ruby with lots of ambient light will be disappointed. By my estimation, the Ruby puts out about as much light as any 8 or 9" EM focusing set.

One other slight flaw that I noticed with the Ruby was that the second 'D'
in the 'HD DVD' logo in the lower right corner was tinted pinkish as compared to the rest of the logo that was more neutral. Darin had said that he'd noticed this as well, but that he wasn't sure whether the discoloration was due to the signal source or the Ruby itself. I didn't notice this discoloration in any movie scences.

Due to time constraints, we didn't put up any test patterns that might have narrowed the source of this very minor fault down.

Darin also showed me a clip from the second LOTR movie of of Wormtounge'svery dark coat, but the Ruby showed a pattern in that black coat, something that a CRT without gamma correction might not display. We talked about the pros and cons of the various technologies, and being a guy that calls it like it is, I offer this:

My belief is that when you're dealing in high end display technologies, you can easily spend dozens of hours carefully selecting signals sources and fine tuning any projector of any type, spend thousands on accessories only to have a fellow enthusiast come in and comment that 'gee, I don't like that fleshtone setting', or ' I'm not sure if your gamma is set correctly'. As I've told many potential CRT customers that ask what make and model is the BEST projector, it really becomes subjective based on what the individual viewer likes to see. A flawless image will not make up for a bad movie or poor acting..Smile

Is HD DVD better than standard DVDs? Yes. Am I going to dump my current 400 DVD collection? No. Will I buy a $600 first generation HD DVD player that is glitchy? No.

The Ruby: Is it the best digital image that I've seen? Yes. Is it perfect or better than CRT in every aspect? No.

The bulb life as I understand it is about 2000 hours, and the bulb costs $1000 USD. As per many avs postings in the >$3500 forum, Ruby owners (including Darin) are noticing dimming of the bulb in as low as 200 hours. BTW, Darin's Ruby had about 330 hours on it, and was plenty bright with the ND filter on it.
Will every Ruby owner get 2000 hours out of their bulb? I doubt it. Unlike the Qualia, there is apparently only a 90 day warranty on the bulb, and no spare bulb is included when you purchase a Ruby. This to me will make me a Ruby owner only when they show up in an as is condition on eBay for $500 or less, and only if I know that I can buy a bulb when that time comes.


We called it quits after about 90 minutes or so. I walked away from the demo now understanding what all the hype was about, that Ruby that I saw at the
Sony store in Vegas was a joke compared to what I saw here. Hopefully Sony
will be able to address the convergence and other quality control issues that are posted over at avs with the next generation of Rubys that come out.
For the person that wants a plug and play device, the Ruby will be a good choice. Will the Ruby still be playing in 3000 hours when my 9500 LC (or Barco 808 or NEC XG or Sony 1031) is just starting to show a hint of tube wear, or will bulbs be available for the Ruby in 7-8 years? I'm not sure.

One last note about the demo: I commented on the way out that the sound system sounded pretty good. While we didn't crank it up, the bass was solid and the dialouge was clear. Darin laughed and turned up the lights. The 'impressive' speakers were generic Sony tower speakers purchased at Costco, driven by a Pioneer surround receiver. The bass however was supplemented by a kickass SVS subwoofer. This actually showed me once again that you don't need to spend thousands on top notch equipment to get really good results on an audio or video level.

Comments? Smile


Last edited by Curt Palme on Mon May 15, 2006 2:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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madpoet



Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Posts: 852



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About what I'd have expected. Different strokes for different folks! Darin's room sounds REALLY nice.
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Kamel407



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 331
Location: Melbourne, FL


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For straight comparison's sake, what would you qualify the Ruby to equal in the CRT Realm?
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Curt Palme
CRT Tech


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 23682
Location: Langley, BC

TV/Projector: All of them!


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't really compare them. The Ruby is on par with a 9" set as for overall PQ, but has more sharpness and no setup issues (unless you want to tweak away).

It's lighter, etc, but with the bulb costs and probable non-repairability of the chassis, that puts it way down on my personal desireability list.

But for a straight pix comparison, without regard to long term cost/hr of run time it will stand up to any 8" or 9" set. (mind you I haven't seen a G90 in action ever).

The blacks and 3D factor overall are still better on even an 8" CRT IMHO.
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Person99



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 4901
Location: Flower Mound, TX


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curt Palme wrote:
The Ruby is on par with a 9" set as for overall PQ


What 9" set have you seen that can't be converged? Confused
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r.bauer



Joined: 08 Apr 2006
Posts: 274
Location: The Netherlands


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To approach a CRT as much as possible, the auto-iris should be turned off. It creates too many artifacts (brightness compression) in my opinion.
Sorry you didn't compare a 9" CRT with the ruby, the CRT has a much more punchy, dynamic picture. (As I recall correctly, you haven't seen that many properly calibrated CRT's to compare with.) The Ruby is much more dull, has a less vivid image, especially on a big screen. A poperly calibrated Ruby hasn't got that much lightoutput, it is reduced significantly.
Any screen over 9-10' wide is simply too much for a ruby. The 2.5 gain screen was a big help/requirement.

What did help was the absolute blackness of the room. In such a room you don't need that much light to obtain a good (as in enough light output and contrast) picture. A 9" CRT would smoke a ruby under the same conditions.

Any CRT, and especially LC models, have better blacklevel.
But I have to say, everybody has their own preferences as to what quality parameter they like/need more in an image. For me it is blacklevel and a punchy, dynamic picture. Ruby loses out in both.

I have compared the Ruby to a Cine9, both calibrated in a pitch black room.
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Curt Palme
CRT Tech


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 23682
Location: Langley, BC

TV/Projector: All of them!


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Person and Rbauer, you're both right.

If I include the misconvergence in the equation, the Ruby is under par of an 8" set, put it up with something under an NEC PG.

That's why I said though, you can't compare them. Granted, sitting 12' away from a 10' screen is also a wee bit close to the screen, but then again the rule of thumb with a CRT is that you shouldn't see convergence issues more than 6' from the screen, and a well calibrated set will look great even closer than that.

So yes, for a true comparision would need to be done under equal conditions and side by side.

THe big thing for me was to confirm that the Ruby did have some WOW factor though, as up until Weds all of the people in the >3500 forum at avs were blind as bats based on what I saw at that Sony store.

Smile

I will say though, whatever contrast ratio I saw at Darin's place was pretty good. No, it was not as good as CRT, but you certainly couldn't say that the blacks were gray as they are with a lot of low end digitals. I guess you could also argue that smaller CRT sets aren't as good as 9" sets, and therefore you should hold out for nothing but a 9" set with the highest contrast ratio.

As I said, I'm not in the market for a digital at all, and I'm more convinced than ever that the longevity factor will continue to bring former digital owners over to the dark side. I can't see that someone will release a 50 K hour lifespan chassis in any digital format any time soon, let alone ever. To me, they will continue to be disposable units until the end of time.



R, I agree that the perfectly black room added to the WOW of the Ruby. THe one at the Sony store in Vegas indeed looked REALLY flat, and the CRTs that I've seen and tweaked did not have a perfectly black room.
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r.bauer



Joined: 08 Apr 2006
Posts: 274
Location: The Netherlands


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curt, a bit OT, but you should buy an analyser and calibrate your own CRT. After that it makes you smile even more every time you turn on your own CRT.
Another advantage is when you look at a calibrated displays a lot, it makes it easier to judge other images you see.

OK, I have to confess, an analyser was the last measurement instrument I bought as it was last on my list or priorities, but it has improved the output of my CRT the most. That is now more than four years ago.


Last edited by r.bauer on Fri May 12, 2006 8:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Brian Hampton



Joined: 22 Apr 2006
Posts: 1174



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well,

I'm excited about the Ruby. It's a third the price of the first generation Sxrd and performs much better so things are certainly going in the right direction.

I love the look of CRT FP and have been hooked since I saw my first Sony 1031. But, time doesn't stand still maybe in twenty years if I'm still very interested the Ruby of that time period will be easier to get and use then a CRT. (Perhaps it will even be more energy wise which could soon become a greater deal with rise-ing energy costs.)

-Brian
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donkey



Joined: 21 Apr 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Nashville, TN


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to see they are making progress. It must be an improvement over the Qualia then. The Qualia in a house I wired came in a little early, and we had some time to side by side it and an ISF'ed 1292 (my personal best setup so to speak, started out brand new out of the box...set that got me hooked on CRT) and the 1292 was a noticeable improvement in color, punch and impact with everything else being identical.

If I paid nearly $9k for something that has permanent convergence issues that would be totally unacceptable to me. 90 day lamp warranty? I can't believe people can live with those things. To me that's a pretty big risk. But more power to them, there is nothing wrong with new technology...just those willing to pay for it!
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BlackSabbath



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 219



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That many screens, damn how much money does he have? He might as well buy 2 G90s and stack them and put it in the same room as the ruby with how much cash it sounds like he has.
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Chuchuf



Joined: 11 Mar 2006
Posts: 548



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:51 pm    Post subject: Re: It's Ruby time! Reply with quote

Curt Palme wrote:

The Ruby: Is it the best digital image that I've seen? Yes. Is it perfect or better than CRT in every aspect? No.


My feelings exactly. But why is it the best digital image we have ever seen??????.......because it's soooooooo CRT like when compared to other digitals.
I spent a week or so testing a Ruby and found a lot more faults than you did in the 90 minute audition you had with it. And that is what someone contemplating a Ruby needs to do, spend time with it and see if you can live with the faults.
Nice FP, but it's not for me.

Terry
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Chuchuf



Joined: 11 Mar 2006
Posts: 548



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curt Palme wrote:

It's lighter, etc, but with the bulb costs and probable non-repairability of the chassis, that puts it way down on my personal desireability list.


It may be lighter than a CRT but Ruby is by no means light at what...80 lbs??
I couldn't believe how heavy it was the first time I picked one up.

Terry
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Brian Hampton



Joined: 22 Apr 2006
Posts: 1174



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well,

Heavy usually means higher build quality so it's good that it's heavy. But to be that heavy for it's size it must be quite dense.

-b
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Welwynnick



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 229
Location: Welwyn, Herts, UK


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curt, thanks for all the time and effort for the trip and the write-up. It's really worth it coming from someone like yourself.

Several people have remarked on the Ruby's tendancy to crush the blacks and whites - did you notive any of that?

Can you also say whether you were watching with the dynamic iris on or off? If it was on, did you notice any effects of it working.

Thanks again, Nick
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Curt Palme
CRT Tech


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 23682
Location: Langley, BC

TV/Projector: All of them!


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gotta run and by a BBQ in the US, so I'm gone for the day I'm going Weber!), but remember that I'm far more of a service tech than a tweaker or critical viewer. Granted, I've probably spent more hours watching test patterns than most here, but actual critical viewing and playing with test patterns other than focus and convergence, not much time really.

It's almost a sacreligious admission that I've watched a whopping 2 hours of my 9500LC since I put it up 2 months ago..Sad

But the bottom line is, you can tweak like crazy or bitch about crushed whites or blacks (I didn't see either in the Ruby) and tweak every 2 hours to compensate for something, and that's all well and good, but it defeats the purpose of the HT system.. to watch it.

Until Sony (or someone) comes out with a set without convergence issues, can put a 2 year/1500 hour GUARANTEE on the bulb that is $200 to replace, and the PQ of a digital like the Ruby is under $3500, only then will a digital appeal to me and the mass market. Oh, let's add a 30K hour chassis life and that it could be installed in a light smoking environment without blowing up. And I want to buy bulbs for 10 years after the discontinuing of the device.

CRTs can do all of the above (in the used market), although the average tube cost is $500-600, but lasts 8000 to 10,000 hours with careful use and a proper setup.

Wanna bet that my criteria above will never be met for digitals?
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Spanky Ham



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 5634
Location: Comedy Central


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:21 pm    Post subject: Re: It's Ruby time! Reply with quote

Curt Palme wrote:

One last note about the demo: I commented on the way out that the sound system sounded pretty good. While we didn't crank it up, the bass was solid and the dialouge was clear. Darin laughed and turned up the lights. The 'impressive' speakers were generic Sony tower speakers purchased at Costco, driven by a Pioneer surround receiver. The bass however was supplemented by a kickass SVS subwoofer. This actually showed me once again that you don't need to spend thousands on top notch equipment to get really good results on an audio or video level.

Comments? Smile


Careful, you will have the BAAS members all over you. To them, audio heaven has the same name as that soccer ball in Castaway.
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CZ Eddie



Joined: 23 Mar 2006
Posts: 1599
Location: Austin, TX


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:56 pm    Post subject: Re: It's Ruby time! Reply with quote

Chuchuf wrote:

I spent a week or so testing a Ruby and found a lot more faults than you did in the 90 minute audition you had with it. And that is what someone contemplating a Ruby needs to do, spend time with it and see if you can live with the faults.


Agreed. Alot of it is personal preference of course. But when it comes to digital vs. CRT and you're used to a CRT, I really recommend spending a few days with any potential digital replacement for a CRT. A bit over a year ago, I bought a brand-new Panasonic AE700 to replace my worn-tube Marquee 8500 that I had at the time. My first impression was that I was never going back to CRT. But over the next few days of switching back and forth between the brand new digital and my worn-tube 8500, I decided to sell the digital.

As I said, my first impression was "wow this digital is awesome". But as the days went by, I found myself going back to the Marquee over and over and prefering it's picture. And this was on a fairly large 110" wide (?) 16:9 screen.

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RVonse



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 2372



PostLink    Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 3:08 am    Post subject: Re: It's Ruby time! Reply with quote

Curt Palme wrote:

The bulb life as I understand it is about 2000 hours, and the bulb costs $1000 USD. As per many avs postings in the >$3500 forum, Ruby owners (including Darin) are noticing dimming of the bulb in as low as 200 hours. Smile


And what about the cost differnential of the screen when comparing technologies? It sounds like the Ruby you saw was requiring a pretty expensive high gain screen for the contrast, no? Thats a lot more than you need for a crt I think.
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WanMan



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
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PostLink    Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curt, what about the dynamic iris? Why a ND filter? Did Darin use a CC filter?
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