Saturday, December 31, 2011

ViewSonic PJD5133 SVGA DLP Projector - Review and Resources

After spending 6+ hours looking up projectors, reviews, specs, and manuals, I finally decided on purchasing the ViewSonic PJD5133 SVGA DLP Projector. Based on my research (see below comparison chart) it seemed like the best fit for my price: it has good ratings, HDMI, high lumen output, and of course, support for DLP 3D.


The reason why the PJD5123 is blocked out in red, is that I decided it was silly to even consider because it is basically identical to the PJD5133 except for
the lack of HDMI support, which seems like a good enough reason to pay the $20 difference between them.

Although I have had some rough times with this project over the past weeks, I finally have got everything working, and I must say this is an amazing projector for the low price tag. I thought I would regret not going for the higher resolution Acer, but honestly, even sitting just a few feet away from the projected image, I can't see any pixels or low resolution artifacts.

To get back to the problems I had with this projector, the first was with an HDMI cable I ordered. Based on its reviews and specs, I purchased a "BlueRigger High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet (25 Feet) - Supports 3D and Audio Return" off Amazon to connect the projector to my computer. However, when I connected the two via the new cable, my projector kept saying "no signal" and wouldn't display any output from the computer. I tried messing with settings on the projector and on my computer, but to no avail. Finally, thinking maybe the cable was broken, I went to another room in our house with a brand new TV and tried using the BlueRigger cable to connect a Roku box to it. It worked! Thinking that maybe it was a compatibility issue with the HDMI version, I scoured the web to find what HDMI version the projector supported. Sure enough, about halfway down the spec page on Viewsonic's web page for the projector, in small print, it says "HDMI 1.3".


 After finding out that the projector natively supports 1.3 HDMI, not the newer 1.4, I went ahead and bought a 30 foot 1.3v HDMI cable off Amazon (for link, click here). After plugging it in, I was ecstatic to find my assumption was right, as the 1.3 cable worked immediately. I also purchased a right angle HDMI adapter, so that I could have the projector against the wall without the HDMI plug bending against it. You can see the right angle adapter plug in the picture below.


The next challenge was getting my XBOX 360 hooked up. I would have just used HDMI, but my XBOX is one of the older ones, so all it has is component output. I thought I was screwed and there would be no way to get it hooked up, until I double checked the projector manual and found a picture of component cables being plugged into a VGA port on the projector (pictured below) as well as text on a page saying the second VGA port (the bottom one) supports RGB component input.



Based on this evidence, I went ahead and purchased a component to VGA converter cable on Amazon (for link, click here) for only about $7, and whadya know, it worked right away. However, since the converter cable had male component ends, and the cable from the XBOX has male ends, I had to use three female to female RCA couplers to get them connected, which you can clearly see below. For audio, instead of plugging it into the project, I use a RCA red/white to phono adapter.


Finally, being obsessed with 3D and virtual reality, I knew I had to get 3D working to satisfy my craving for things flying out at my face. I went with a pair of Optoma 3D glasses, even though they aren't rechargeable, because they had a decent price tag, good reviews, and seemed big enough to fit over my prescription glasses. After arriving just two days after ordering them from Amazon (what would I do without my awesome Amazon Prime), I unboxed them and put them on. I got lucky, and they do fit perfectly over my large glasses; no discomfort at all! However, after putting them on, I immediately realized that I really had no idea how to actually display the 3D content. I started googling solutions and trying out software, but nothing seemed to work. The Stereoscopic Player (link) did produce an effect when playing compatible videos on my computer via the HDMI cable, but whenever I went to fullscreen mode (which is necessary to enable the 3D), the framerate fell and I ended up watching all my videos in slow-mo. Finally, after trying a whole bunch of other software, which I won't list, I came across a recommendation online for Cyberlink's PowerDVD 11. I almost disregarded it, as I remembered PowerDVD as the shitty bloatware slow player that comes pre-installed on prebuilt computers. That might have been an accurate description of the software 7 years ago, but after trying it out, I can say Cyberlink really turned things around, because PowerDVD 11 KICKS ASS. Seriously, I threw every format I had at it, and it displayed full 3D in stunning clarity. For example, I tried a 1080p SBS (Side-By-Side) MKV Imax film about the International Space Station, and it instantly detected that it was a side-by-side format, processed it as such with my ATI Radeon 5800 Series, and synced the left and right frames with my shutter glasses, all in real time, with no lag or stutter, producing an amazing jaw-dropping effect. To demonstrate how it splits the images, I created a simple picture in paint.net with a side-by-side image (the picture is below)

The original image
 Then, using Tridef Media Player, another great piece of software that supports ATI and on-the-fly 2D to 3D conversion, I had the image separated into two different streams, one for each eye. As you can see below, the glasses in conjunction with the DLP link technology work wonderfully at presenting only the image meant for that eye; no headache/nausea inducing ghosting.



Back to PowerDVD 11, it can also convert 2D content to 3D IN REAL TIME, for both pictures and videos. Did I mention it did this in real time? No converting, no waiting, just instant 3D. It actually works well too! So far I have tried it on a few movies and TV shows, and it actually produces an effect pronounced enough to make using the glasses worth it.

As for 3D gaming, I tried out both IZ3D and Tridef Ignition and Tridef won the battle. With IZ3D, I had a lot of really freezing on my computer, a blue screen of death, and a problem where when I rebooted my computer, all I saw was a mouse cursor against a black background. The last issue was the worst, as to fix it, I was forced to go into Windows "Safe Mode", uninstall the IZ3D software, and then reboot. With Tridef, it automatically scanned my computer for installed games and software and created profiles for them, it has built in settings for many existing games out there, and also has a generic profile for real time 3D conversion of any video game! I tested it out with SWAT 4, using the generic profile, and the 3D effect was breath taking. In fact, it was more pronounced than any 3D effect I have seen in any theater ever... and I saw Avatar in 3D as well as a few movies in IMAX 3D. Needless to say, I am paying for this software once the 15 day trial period runs out. Even then, I get 50% off the price, as they offer half off to any users whose graphics card supports ATI HD3D, which the 5800 series does!

If you stumbled upon this post because you have a question about this projector, and through my long rambling page I still didn't manage to answer it, feel free to post it in the comment section below, or email it to me at joshblogs.com@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

13 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. I just got the 5133 and I'm struggling to get a 3D effect. But your post is pointing me in the right direction. It also feels like the glasses I got (ViewSonic PGD-250) are out of sync with the 5133, even though they are both made by ViewSonic. I think I need to force my video card to go into 120MHz mode via the ATI control panel, not via PowerDVD 11 (which is awesome btw, great recommendation). I also lol'd at "shitty bloatware slow player" because that's exactly how I remember them to be.

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    1. No problem "Unknown", glad it could help you out. That is a good idea to try the forced 120HZ, as it is really necessary to achieve 3D, but be warned, for certain outputs, 120HZ will only work with certain resolutions. For me, when I have my projector connected via HDMI, the only resolution I can use on my computer that will allow for 120HZ seems to be 800x600, which is SVGA anyways, so it all works out fine. If you are still having problems, you could always try updating drivers for the AMD Catalyst (most recent official version is 11.12). Best of luck!

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  2. so im thinking about buy this projector and im wondering i read that you need to get a converter to work with say a ps3 or xbox for 3d can you confirm if this is true

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    1. Sorry for taking so long to respond. Somehow I missed all the comments that have been posted on this page, but I feel I should still respond just in case someone else has a similar question.

      Your question is a rather difficult one to answer, because it has a lot of variables. 3D gaming on the Xbox 360 is available for only a select number of games, the full list of which can be found here: http://www.3dtested.com/3d-xbox-360-games-list/ . Keep in mind that most methods of achieving 3D require a digital signal, so my guess is that most of these games will only work if you are using an HDMI cable to connect your Xbox 360 to your projector.

      Here is a list of PS3 games that support 3D natively: http://www.3dtested.com/3d-ps3-games-list/

      If you looked at both lists, you might have noticed that both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 support very few games in 3D. For those that are obsessed with 3D gaming, that is where a converter might come in, because a converter can process the 2D signal from games on both consoles that don't natively support 3D, convert it to 3D, and then pass it to the projector over HDMI. The real issue with these converters though is that they are essentially guessing where edges and points are, using some complex algorithms, so the 3D effect is not going to be as realistic or as comfortable as that produced by natively supported games. If you want to find some converters, just do an Amazon search for 2d to 3d converters and make sure you pick one that can process the output from your Xbox (e.g., if you have an older xbox that is not capable of HDMI output, make sure you pick one that can process component output).

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  3. does the 5133 display 16:9 at all? cause im trying to find one to use with my xbox but im not going to sacrifice screen ratio for price. please for the love of god hit me up so i can maybe buy it. jeffrey.amsbaugh@gmail.com

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    1. Again, sorry about taking so long to respond. Somehow I missed the comments that have been posted here. Although you probably have already made a decision about the projector, I feel it necessary to post a response since I know others might have a similar query.

      The PJD5133 does indeed support 16:9, but technically almost every display supports every resolution. What I mean is that displays use scaling to display non-native resolutions, so for example, a 16:9 source viewed on a 4:3 will have black bars on the top and bottom of the image. A lot of people might remember this effect from when the movie and TV industry was finally making the switch from 4:3 to widescreen (16:9 or 16:10) and if you viewed a newer movie or show on your old square tv, you got pissed because the image was smaller than the screen and was wasting space by having bars on the top and bottom. Of course, for most displays things are switched now, so you get that same effect on newer widescreen TVs when you watch old TV shows that are 4:3 - you get black bars on the sides. tldr: scaling to display non-native resolutions wastes pixels and produces a lower quality. In general, buy the projector to match the content.

      What this boils down to is what content you view the most, what screen or surface you are projecting onto, and how much you want to spend. If you view almost exclusively 16:9 content, are projecting onto a widescreen screen or a narrow surface, and have the money, I will always recommend going with a more expensive widescreen projector. However, you said you are using this for the Xbox, which actually does support 4:3 ratio, so this projector might work just fine for you. I've logged a lot of hours on this projector with an Xbox 360, and I actually had a hard time switching to a 16:9 ratio when I started gaming on another projector.

      You can also use zoom/scaling to display 16:9 content on a 4:3 and have it take up the entire screen - no black bars on the top or bottom. However to do this it simply zooms in on the image and crops the sides.

      I'm not great at describing all this, so I would reference some other sites if you want more information to make your decision.

      Here is one:
      http://www.theprojectorpros.com/learn-s-learn-p-theater_aspect_ratio.htm

      Here is another:
      http://www.projectorcentral.com/home_theater_projector_buyers_guide.htm?page=Aspect-Ratio

      You can also try Googling terms like: "projector aspect ratios" or "16:9 vs 4:3 projectors".

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    2. I just want to add one more thing. Although I advocate for a higher resolution projector if you have a lot of HD content or exclusively 16:9 content, I want to make it clear that I still see this projector being the best for IT'S PRICE RANGE. Sure, if you have lots of money to blow, by all means get a high resolution projector (such as the Optoma GT750E short throw which I am currently enjoying in addition to the PJD5133). However, if you have a limited amount to spend and you are primarily going to use it for non-HD content, video games, and the space you are going to project it onto is suitable for 4:3, you can't find a better projector than the PJD5133 for the price. Don't take my word for it - just take a look at the Amazon reviews.

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  4. have you tried the pjd5133 with the Viewsonic 3d Adapter ? VP3d1 I have the pjd5133 but cannot get my pc to display the 3d properly, power dvd plays the sbs ok but doesnt look 3d on my screen

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    1. No, I have not tried the VP3D1 Viewsonic HD 3D processor. To be honest I had no idea the product existed. Apparently, it is meant to solve the main issue that I addressed in my review - the project can not handle 3D over HDMI 1.4, which is the new standard for carrying 3D from Bluray players, cable set-top boxes, and other devices to displays. It doesn't convert 2D to 3D, although those converters do exist, but it actually simply takes 1.4 input, such as from a 3D bluray player, and transforms it into a 3D signal that can be then carried over 1.3 and read by the projector. I believe there are other converters out there that do the same thing, so I would shop around a bit if you are looking for a device like this.

      As far as getting the projector to work with PowerDVD, there are a few things I can address. First, make absolutely sure that the cable from your computer to the projector is a 1.3 HDMI cable, and not 1.4. If you need to purchase 1.3 cable, look for the Amazon link in my review above. Next, 3D is an emerging field and not yet very standardized - different graphics cards handle 3D processing in different ways. My Radeon HD 5830 on my self-built desktop rig seems to work extremely well with 3D, and I didn't really have to do anything special to get PowerDVD to work with the projector. However, when I got my new W530 Lenovo Thinkpad with a Nvidia Quadro K1000M discrete graphics card, I had to do A LOT of work to get it to play nice with the PJD5133 projector. A LOT OF WORK. Nvidia is really pushing their own emitter system, because they want you to buy their own emitter and glasses instead of using the emitter built into the projector and DLP link glasses, and they make it very hard to use 3D without buying the emitter.

      So, what I am saying is that there are lots of factors that can affect 3D performance, so if you want some more targeted help/advice, I need some additional information from you, such as your graphics card, computer model, and version of PowerDVD.

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  5. Hi there. After reading your detailed blog, I think you might be the guy to help me. I bought a Viewsonic PJD5133 a few months ago for my home theatre. After using it for a few weeks, it stopped working with my Sony Bluray DVD player. I started with an Auvio 20 ft hdmi cable I got from radio shack. I initially had it connected to my Dishnetwork HD receiver. It worked good with no problems. I then hooked up my older (2 years old) Sony Bluray DVD player. I would have to manually unplug the HDMI cable and switch from the Dish receiver to the Sony Blueray player. It worked fine for several weeks. I then hooked up a Auvio HDMI switchbox that allowed me to plug the reciever and Blueray into the switchbox and then the common HDMI cable to the projector. I could then just push a button to switch devices. This worked fine for about a month, then I got the "no signal" display from the projector. It works fine with the Dish receiver, but would not work with he Blueray. I tested the Blueray on other TV's and it worked fine. I then got a new Sony Blueray player, hooked it up to the projector and it started working again. I thought I had the problem fixed, but it recently has been acting up, saying "no signal". I even bypass the switchbox and it sometimes doesn't work and sometimes does.

    I read your info about different version HDMI cables (1.3 and 1.4). I had no idea about this. I checked my Viewsonic owner's manual about what version, and it doesn't mention a version, such as your picture above shows. I think they changed the manual.

    So if you have any ideas it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you much! mpuntin@earthlink.net

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  6. Hello, by the way I wanted to say that you have posted one of the best blogs r with the VGA cableegarding information out there that I have seen. I too have the pjd5133 and was amazed when I first started it. Now my problem is with the 3d, I did buy a 1.3 HDMI cable and here are the specs of my PC. I have a Samsung RF711 with the Nvidea GT 540M video card. I went online to see if my system does 3d and it says that it does support 3d. Now my problem is that when I try watching a 3d movie with the HDMI cable or with the VGA I dont get any 3d results. I am using PowerDVD 12 and it does the SBS process but no popping 3d. Any help please.

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  7. Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future. portable projectors

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