This past weekend, Jenny and I made a purchase we’d been researching and planning for some time: we bought a video projector, the Sharp XR-10X. Gone is the small flickering tube, a mere 18 inches across diagonally. Replacing it is our flickering living room wall, or rather a flickering expanse of it that’s about 100 inches diagonally, or 80 inches from one side to the other.
It’s a helluva way to watch the Simpsons.
The new projector isn’t perfect. For the moment, we have an s-video cable snaking its way across the room, but that means the picture quality is a little off: you can see flicker lines gradually scrolling up the screen, and sometimes quick motion is a little glitchy and pixelated. Hopefully this can be corrected by switching to component video cable, but that’ll mean calling Time Warner and bugging them to get me a cable box with a component-video output.
But even with the extant flaws, it sure beats the old cathode rays, especially for Jenny, whose distance vision isn’t great. Even with a fair amount of ambient light, the image is clear, and somehow the mind is willing to believe that a patch of white wall in a lighted room is black if the surrounding area is flooded with brighter light. There’s a bit of the window-screen effect from visible pixels, but I have to pause the video to see it clearly, and it’s actually kind of useful for making sure the focus is right. The sound of the fan in the machine is far less intrusive than the air conditioner across the room. And at the rate we watch TV, the lamp should last us at least a couple of years.
Now I just need to get a hold of some quality ambient films to show at parties. Fluxus films? Warhol screen tests? Fillmore-style psychedelic light shows? Daniel, I’m counting on you to have some kind of Russian avant garde something-or-other that gives good background.