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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 BenZ

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Posted May 01 2003 - 07:05 AM

Hello,
This is my first post, but it seems like there are a bunch of helpful/knowlegable people here, so here goes:

-I have a budget of $2000 to improve the video system here at our house (~45 guys, a bunch not technically oriented).
-We want to want to watch DVD's and Digital cable on something big.
-Afraid of getting an RPTV because there will be lots of people around (somebody falling into it a definate possibility), and the fact that people will probably mess with the settings and cause damage (burn-in, etc.)
-Leaning towards a projector for above reasons, plus projector will be more versatile (move it around for presentations, etc) and we can watch on a bigger screen
-Sony HS-10 was first choice, but a little out of our budget. Now considering the Panasonic PT-LC75U (for 1600).
-Viewing conditions will be a mixture of dark (for DVDs) and light (sports events).
-Going to mount from the ceiling (also,needs to be protected from theft).
-Have a great place for the screen (54" high by as wide as we want (probably 73" for standard format)
-need a moderately wide viewing angle
-Should we buy a pull down screen, make one ourselves, or paint one using this stuff I've heard about called "screen goo"?

Any advice on what you think would be best for us (projectors, screen material, etc.) would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Ben Zimmerman

#2 of 9 Neil Joseph

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Posted May 01 2003 - 08:06 AM

Panasonic L300U. It is a 1/4 HD projector (960x540) that is known to do clean scaling of 1080i Hdef material (1920x1080). It has compared favourably to the Sony HS10, Infocus X1 and Sanyo Z1. Try doing a search for it using the search function and pull in the various threads. You will want to use a 16x9 screen for this setup. Here are a couple of reviews from projector central for you...

Panasonic PT-L300U vs. InFocus X1 -- a critical comparison
Panasonic PT-L300U review for home theater

BTW, welcome to the forum.
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#3 of 9 BenZ

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Posted May 01 2003 - 09:13 AM

Wow, the L300U looks like it might be close to perfect, what about viewing with some light in the room (reviews seemed mixed). Any ideas for the best type of screen?

Thanks,
Ben Zimmmerman

#4 of 9 Neil Joseph

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Posted May 01 2003 - 09:42 AM

Well, the best type of screen would be something like the Stewart Firehawk that is silver/gray in colour and it will help to boost the black level and block out ambient light from the room. A cheaper alternative to that is to build your own silver/gray like I did.
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#5 of 9 sean_pecor

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Posted May 02 2003 - 03:40 AM

I'd go with a low gain matte white screen if you're concerned about viewing angle. Higher gain screens will increase brightness but limit the viewing angle.

The Panny L300U is a very good choice, oriented more towards TV viewing than business presentations. Another projector to seriously consider is the NEC LT660:

http://www.projector....VT660&sid=PCEL

For $1,999 this bad boy weighs 6.6 pounds and puts out 1700 lumens. The XGA resolution (1024x768) also makes it better for business presentations where the Panny's 1/4 HD lower resolution (960x540) would fall a bit short.

Sean.
President, Lead Developer
Digital Spinner, Inc.
http://www.digitalspinner.com

#6 of 9 Dan_Whip

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Posted May 02 2003 - 06:21 AM

Another model I'd have a serious look at is the Infocus X1. It compares very well to the Panny, plus you can get it for under $1200, plus right now there is a $100 rebate. That gives you plenty of budget to get a good screen, a ceiling mount if you want it, and all the wiring you'll need.

http://www.projector....ame=InFocus X1

#7 of 9 Max Leung

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Posted May 02 2003 - 09:53 AM

Only problem with the DLP-based projectors (like the X1) is that, given you have 45 guys, there is a chance that a couple of people will find the rainbows objectionable, especially with a high-gain screen. Even if they don't see rainbows, a couple of them may experience headaches or eyestrain from the single-chip DLP effect.

With that said, I'd recommend against an X1 or a Z1 because I doubt these projectors are bright enough for a large room that seats 45 people. The NEC VT660 with 1700 lumens and a matte white screen (or a Firehawk, if you don't mind someone falling into the screen and destroying that expensive screen! Posted Image ) should be sufficient in a moderately dim room. Now, if the room only seats a dozen people or less, then nevermind, a Z1 or X1 should be sufficient in a dark room.

If you plan on watching sports during the day, you may need to get a high-gain screen anyways. BUT: Some people on www.avsforum.com note that some high-gain screens are rendered nearly useless (turn into 1.0 gain screens) if you ceiling mount the projector. A table-mounted projected image will be best for some of these screens.

How high is the ceiling and how long is the room? Throw distance and lens offset may be a major issue for you. For example, a ceiling mounted Sanyo PLV-Z1 cannot project an image where the top is lower than the lens (even with its lens shift). Whereas an NEC LT240 has an 18" (maybe less, can't remember) offset from the middle of the lens to the top of a 100" diagonal screen. You can flush-mount the LT240 and have the top of the screen a foot and a half under the ceiling.

Anyways, I think we'd need a little bit more information from you:

How big is the room? How high is the ceiling? What is the seating distance? How well ventilated is it? Are there any windows? How many people will be seated in the room at once? Do any of them care about video quality?

With 45 people, there is a chance that DLP rainbows may make it unwatchable for some, which can be a big deal if people are expected to "donate" cash to pay for it. Of course, if you get a DLP projector with a 5x wheel, this should be a nonissue, but they are usually more expensive (cheapest is the Sharp Z90/DT-200, a nice DLP projector for $3000+ US -- compared to the Infocus X1 which only has a 2x wheel but is $1200 US).

I don't know how you can protect the projector against theft...anybody with a screw-driver could take it off the ceiling mount very easily. 5 minute 5 finger discount!
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#8 of 9 Max Leung

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Posted May 02 2003 - 09:58 AM

Oh, and BTW, what's your budget for lamp replacement? Projector bulb life varies between 1500 to 3000 hours, and cost somewhere between $200 to $500, with $400 being the average.

Compare this with an RPTV which can be good for 10,000 hours, with the attendant burn-in risks. You can't have burn-in on a digital projector.
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#9 of 9 BenZ

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Posted May 04 2003 - 02:12 AM

Some details about the room:
-28'X16' (long dimension is north/south)
-2 4'X6' windows on east side with blinds.
-Ceiling about 8.5' high, with a beam that extends about 6" lower crossing room 14' from where the screen will be (possible mounting location)
-Screen will be on North wall and the bottom will be at least 3' off the floor.
-Top half of room is dark green
-Bottom half of room has medium-light wood paneling
-2 couches will have viewing distances of 8' and 12' respectively (this can be modified somewhat, but also have a pool table in the room)
-The lighting in the room is recessed incadescent.

As for screen material, there seems to be a wide range of opinions. The firehawk seems good, but probably will be too expensive (can't find any prices online). Anybody heard of the Da-lite Video Spectra? It has a gain of 1.5 and a medium viewing angle. I think I can squeeze out some more cash to get a decent screen, cables and ceiling mount. I should have a bunch of time this summer, so if I decide to make the screen and possibly the ceiling mount I can. Any helpful hints? Want to have this done within a month. Can the Panasonic projector be mounted upside-down (without an upside-down image :-))?

Thanks again!

By the way, from doing all this research, one things for sure, when I buy my first house (~2-3 years) I'm going to have a heck of a lot of fun choosing what to buy for an audio/video system. Hope this forum is still around!