I finally got around to hooking up my Laserdisc player to the new QKK Mini Projector and gave it a spin earlier today. QKK must have had old collectors like me on their minds, because my Laserdiscs look really good on this projector.
The thing that was holding me up from watching LDs on the projector earlier was that I didn’t have long enough RCA cables to run from the Laserdisc player to the projector. But today, I received a 10 foot RCA three connector cable, which I bought off of eBay. So, using my new cable, I hooked the projector up to the video switcher box, which I have next to the T.V. that switches between the VCR, LD and DVD player.
When I first started playing the Laserdisc, the video signal was quite noisy, so much so that I didn’t think this idea was going to work. Because the LD player only puts out a composite signal, I thought the picture was just going to look terrible projected out onto such a big screen. But, before I gave up, I decided to forego the switcher box and plug the projector directly into the LD player. Bingo! The video quality improved dramatically.
I then started tinkering with the settings in the projector’s main menu. First thing I did was switch to a 4:3 aspect ratio. Even though many Laserdiscs are presented in letter box (aka widescreen), the picture is still in 4:3. This is because, back in the day, this was the most common T.V. format. There wasn’t any hi-def, and T.V. screens were pretty much all square. This is also why watching Laserdiscs on modern televisions/monitors can look like crap due to the T.V. trying to squish and stretch the 4:3 picture into the 16:9 format.
The real smart thing that QKK did for us Laserdisc (and VHS) owners is give us a “Zoom” function that we can increment one percent at a time. What this allows me to do is lock the picture at the right aspect ratio, then precisely zoom in picture to get as much of the movie onto the screen and not waste space with the black bars of the letterboxing.
There are a few other settings that can be used to help compensate for the relatively low resolution of the composite signal coming from the LD player. I activate the QKK’s noise reduction setting, as well as turn down the sharpness of the picture (aka Picture Mode). Lastly, I adjust the colour of the projection to “warm”, which I find makes the picture easier to watch for my old eyes.
After all of these minor tweaks, the picture being projected from the Laserdisc is surprisingly good. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but the QKK engineers seemed to have had video collectors like me in mind when they produced their mini video projector.