Late yesterday afternoon I installed a shiny new 3D projector. It went upside down on my ceiling mount, and I took the trouble to plug in the 3D transmitter prior to powering it up.

I switched it on, adjusted the focus, zoom and lens shift to get the picture right, and all seemed well. Except that the menus looked oddly coloured. As an example of this, at this point with no signal the projector was showing a blank blue screen with ‘HDMI 1’ showing in a box in the top right corner. The letters were blue, as though transparent to the background blue, rather than the white which is the norm. But who knows, perhaps that was a design choice so I paid no attention.

I then applied a signal: a Topfield PVR through a current model Pioneer home theatre receiver. It was ABC News 24 (a 720p50 signal, upscaled by the Pioneer to 1080p50). Whoah!

It looked like most of the colours were inverted into strong purples and blues and reds, but they were also heavily posterised and very grainy. I fiddled with the HDMI signal settings on the projector (changing from Auto to component to RGB at both signal levels), and this changed things but left the character more or less intact. Let me be clear, this was nothing subtle. It was like looking at a colour negative, but worse.

Since it was late in the day and I didn’t want to be stuck like this in the evening, I rang the product manager for the unit, but he was as baffled as me. I switched to a Blu-ray player with the same results.

I turned off the unit, unplugged the 3D transmitter (just in case) and plugged the unit directly into the Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player, using HDMI 2 this time (just in case).

Turning it back on, and the problem was about three quarters resolved. There was still some heavy grain, and some posterisation. The colour seemed approximately right this time, except during a camera pan when oranges and purples swirled around. I tried changing the HDMI colour standard on the Oppo (RGB, component, etc). Nothing fixed it.

I switched the projector off. Went away for a couple of hours doing dinner and such. Came back. Moved the connection from the Oppo to a Yamaha Blu-ray player. Switched both on. Perfect performance!

Step by step I reversed the changes. Yamaha BD through Pioneer to projector: perfect. Oppo BD through Pioneer to projector: perfect. Topfield PVR through Pioneer to projector. Perfect. Switched it to ABC News 24. Switched off projector and plugged in 3D sync transmitter, and switched it back on. Perfect. Returned the HDMI cable to HDMI 1 on the projector. Perfect.

I’m back where I started, with no change to the settings. But what seemed an explicable problem has inexplicably gone away.

I do wish I’d taken photos of the initial crook displays. They were something to behold.

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