Projectors - What to buy....?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by DoubleDown12, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. DoubleDown12

    DoubleDown12 Auditioning

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    I am building a true theater room (18ft long by 16ft wide, ceiling is 7.5 ft) and I'm looking to get a projector.
    I can mount the projector at around 13 - 18 feet. Viewing distance will be around 15 feet for the back row and 10 feet for the front row bean bag chairs. I was thinking of 110" diagnal screen. The room can be blacked out. I'm installing acoustic paneling as well.
    The theater room will be used for TV (30%), Movies (40%) and gaming (30%). Probably no more then 2 -3 hours a day.
    I have always had a Plasma or LCD and while I am up to speed on all of the options for TVs, I find myself clueless when it come to projectors.
    I have a budget of around $5,000 (this includes buying a screen, which I had no idea they cost so much) and I have been having difficulty selecting one.
    So far, I have narrowed it down (I think) to:
    - JVC DLA-x30
    - Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 5010
    - Panasonic PT-AE7000
    - Sony VPL VW95ES
    Does anyone have any thoughts on these? I read that lumens are important for brightness, especially when viewing 3D but there is a wide range here (DLA-x30 is 1300 lumens, The Panasonic has 2000 lumens) and in reviews, it seems that these two are equal in brightness.
    I was also looking at
    - JVC DLA-x70R
    - Sony VPL HW30ES
    - Runco LS-3
    These 3 options are more expensive and this will require multiple trips to the flower store for the wife to get the OK for these.
    Is the viewing quality that much better? My local Electronics dealer is completely sold on Runco and claims that for any projector under 10k, the LS-3 is by far the best picture quality he has ever seen. Should I try and stretch my budget?
    Also, from what I'm seeing, a good screen will range from $1500 - $3000. Does the quality of screen make that much of a difference?
    Any thoughts or guidance would be very helpful....
    Regards,
    DD
     
  2. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Don't skimp on the projector...
    JVC cost what they do because they are the best. Runco also good if you want to ransom your first born...
    Screen doesn't have to cost that much. There is MaxxMud if you'd rather paint. There is AT if you want a proper speaker placement.
    Lumens is only a helpful "stat" within the same manufacturer...(it is a lot like many stats, only useful if you know how they came up with it)
    IE X Lumen via JVC means squat against Y Lumen from Sony.
    AT=Acoustically Transparent
     
  3. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    Just a brief comment, have no current knowledge of good/bad projectors.
    Noticed that you mentioned a $5000 budget. Just reminded me of the good old days (late 90s) when I had to purchase a projector for the company I worked for. The projector itself was almost $7000 and there was no budget for a screen. Simply pointed it at a white wall for powerpoint and other presentations.
    Really amazing how things change and prices drop.
     
  4. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Good point about video gaming with a projector. Didn't know that JVC were "second best" in that regard.
    However, I personally don't know anybody that games with a projector. Most of the "projector people" I know(including myself) run a dual display...
    A large plasma with an AT screen that comes down in front of it all.
    That is the "other reason" for an AT/micro-perf...
    Works great in a dual display set-up as you can perfectly place your center for the smaller display...then the speakers are still in perfect position when the screen comes down.
     
  5. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    I have a very similar setup regarding room size, seating and acoustic treatments. Based on my experience I would:
    - Get a screen but don't break the bank to do it. I've have had a 92" Vutec Silverstar since 2004. If to do again, I would probably go a bit bigger on the screen like you (up to 110"). I'd also look at Carada screens. They seem to have a descent reputation and will keep you in your budget. All though if you do go a bit more, screens can last along time.
    - For a projector, I initially went with the max i could afford at the time. I bought a Sharp 10K DLP for $6800. Unfortunately, after 5 years the color wheel acted up and it wasn't worth fixing. So I moved on to a Sony HW10 for $3000. Room setup, speakers, and amplifiers can be bought once and kept for a long time, while processing and projectors are under constant improvement and tend to fail sooner. Now I assume a potential upgrade window related to processing and projectors every 5 years and budget accordingly.
     
  6. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    Take this for what it is worth. I recommend using a well sanded and carefully painted wall. I use a Sherwin Williams white that has the same color response as StudioTek 1.3 but without the gain, which I don't need. You can Google Sherwin Williams screen paint and should come up My experience and evaluation is that a $3K projector on a $2K screen will not look as good as a $5K projector on a well prepared white wall, assuming you have good light control and don't need screen gain to help with stray light or you just really want acoustically transparent. Plus you can try any size you want without monetary commitment.
    Others will disagree but I also am very sensitive to hot spotting from any screen with gain including the StudioTek and notice the light rolloff towards the edges that most others apparently do not. I had a Sony G70 CRT (still hanging there) and now a Sony 95ES projector in a dedicated bat cave but I use it for movies only. I chose the 95ES on my white wall over the 30ES on a StudioTek, approximately the same total cost.
     
  7. DoubleDown12

    DoubleDown12 Auditioning

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    Guys, I really appreciate the feedback (I still had to look some words up - PJ Newb). It's helped to clarify some things.
    I won't be able to put my speakers behind the screen (I didn't even think of it to be honest) as I had them wired off to the side.
    I built a false wall where the TV was going to go before I decided on a PJ and it's only a 1/2 wall. It's hard to explain what it looks like but I did this so I could walk behind my component stand and TV and easily plug and unplug anything without a problem. So painting the wall won't be an option.
    After some of the comments above, I just setup a 58" plasma in the living room and the main xbox is hooked up there.The bulk of gaming will be done by the kids here and I will set up the 2nd xbox in the theater room so I can link in with my kids the odd time, maybe 3 or 4 hours a week. After reading up on "crosstalk" I'm seeing that it is a fairly common issue among most 3D PJ's, if not all of them to some degree. I'm not 100 sold on 3D at this stage so it won't be a deciding factor for me.
    My local electronic dealer who I bought most of my stuff off of over the last 10 years has offered me a great deal on the Panasonic PT-AE7000 and the reviews I have read are very good. I'm going to have him set me up with a demo. Anyone have any thoughts on this model? He has also offered me a demo Runco LS3 for about 1/2 the price it retails for. I'm now interested in the JVC as well but he doesn't deal with JVC so I will have to go elsewhere for a demo.
    For speakers I'm using M&Ks: 3 fronts are LCR 850s, V850 sub, 2 surround 95 Tripoles, and 2 surround 550THX. I'm using the Arcam AVR 600 for a receiver. The sound is pretty good right now. I'm demoing the Arcam BDP100 Blu-ray and I'm not sure if I will go with it yet as it's fairly expensive...
    Thanks again for all the help!
     
  8. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    The main reason I don't "game" with the projector...
    Atari Flashback and Wii are the extent of our gaming. Occasionally an Ipad game will be shown via the "Apple AV connector"...
    Haven't tried Angry Birds in "100 inches of glory"...so far, 50 inches is good enough...
     
  9. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Interesting...I thought our setup's were very similar before (even down to the bean bags for the front row seating), Now i see we have similar taste is speakers as well. I have three M&K 150's up front with the M&K350 sub, and four M&K SS200's along the sides and back. BTW, the Carada screens of the at size go for under $800. They aren't as specialized as some screens but provide decent bang for the buck.
     
  10. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    Okay I have been able to locate the information. First is a comparison of many screen materials
    http://www.projectorcentral.com/paint_perfect_screen_$100.htm?page=Finding-the-Perfect-Paint
    Second is the article I found on the Sherwin Williams paint
    http://www.projectorcentral.com/paint_perfect_screen_$100.htm?page=Finding-the-Perfect-Paint
    I have a sample of ST130 and by eye they are indistinguishable, except for gain on-axis and loss off-axis. When the angle balances to the same gain, the ST130 disappears. I played around a lot with the screen and I concur with that article that the paint is outstanding and if you consider ST130 or Snowmatte to be perfect, this paint is 95+% of that being brighter than Snowmatte but less than ST130 in the middle (but greater on the edges). As far as FL is concerned, I am running 8' wide so that is 36 sq. feet and I can easily achieve 12 FL on low lamp. Plus I come from a CRT so I am used to less.
    I stand by my statement that at the budget proposed in a dedicated room, sink it all into the projector you want and use paint over a lesser projector and a screen. Now that I have the projector I want (Sony 95ES) even if I had another 2K, I would consider a screen but I don't think it would be money well spent. It isn't that I don't think they are great, I just don't think it would really make that much difference in my setup because I don't need its advantages. A different or multi-purpose room and the cost-benefit equation changes.
     

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