In a continuing effort to improve and enhance the picture quality in my home theater, I've taken drastic action....I've changed the projector.
To stay true to my "cheap front projection" philosophy, I have switched to a used Barco 1208/2 CRT projector. This unit is HDTV capable. I will be using my HTPC to drive this unit through an Extron RGB 120 interface that I purchased on Ebay.
I am running this unit at 960p, or 1440 x 960 @ 48Hz refresh rate for film based DVD's. This resolution is an exact doubling of a DVD's native 720 x 480 native resolution which theoretically helps eliminate scaling artifacts. 48Hz is the same refresh rate used in cinemas (each frame is double shuttered at 24 frames per second) to eliminate the 3:2 frame alternating that can result in motion jitter.
A common question/issue with Barco CRT projectors is "My connection to the RGBHV ports (ports 3 & 5 on the 1208 and others) is not working, what's the problem?"
The Barco 1208/2, 1208s, 808 and others have a 5 BNC RGBHV input called port 5 that will only accept RGB signals with a negative sync. Port 3 will accept positive or negative sync signals, but is a non-standard 9 pin D-sub connector.
For port 5, if you are connecting the projector to a PC you will need to force negative sync, which may require that you use a utility like Powerstrip. Or you need to use an interface like an Extron RGB 120, RGB 108, 202xi or similar to convert the sync to negative.
For port 3, you will need an adapter or custom cable configured for this port. You can make one using the techniques described here, using the pin outs for this port. A cable is available from Barco, but expect to pay a healthy sum for it.
General CRT Set Up Hints:
Want to know a lot more about CRT projectors? Check out this article by Curt Palme, CRT tech extrordinaire: CRT Projector Primer (primer updated 4/06)
Mechanical set up is fully 70% of the battle, make sure the distance to the screen is right and that the projector is square, centered and level.