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Buying my First Used Projector - $500 spending limit


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26 replies to this topic

#1 of 27 Cliff_B

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Posted August 08 2004 - 07:59 AM

Greetings everyone,

After searching and searching I haven't really found an answer yet for my question (this site is so HUGE though!) so I hope it isn't too newbie-ish, considering this is my first post. Posted Image

I've been looking at front projectors on and off for years now ever since my father saw one playing Top Gun at a trade show years ago. We don't live close by a place that sells these things and besides that I know I'll get spoiled by looking at the newest gear so I guess I'm just looking for a little advice from some 'old-schoolers'.

I imagine someone on here has had some of these older projectors and of course some still enjoy them today but of course since they've been discontinued not everyone is familiar with them.

I've been looking at getting a used older model style projector and probably using screenpaint, a blackout cloth, or one of these other DIY type methods I've been reading about but my budget for the projector isn't even $1000, it's $500 dollars. Posted Image

I've had my eye mainly at the Sharpvision models but I'm open to any brand, I just don't know what else out there is good.

I've narrowed the Sharp Models down to the XV-S55U at 600 ansi lumens and the XV-H37 at 250 ansi lumens (I believe there are other variations of this model with higher resolution).

And finally onto my very first question ever posted here! I know you're all excited so here goes...

If you were stuck with getting a used projector on eBay, here, or from a friend and had a spending limit of $500 what would you choose and why?

Oh, you can pretend you're me too with the below 'wants/needs'.


My Info:
----------
Whatever projector I get will be used at night perhaps a few days a week for watching widescreen DVD primarily, and perhaps some BIG XBox gaming from time to time. I'm not sure how the native resolutions and formats of these projectors would effect going back and forth between those two, but as long as I can watch big movies, I'm happy!

My room is 16x24 and I'd prefer to use the 16 ft side.

It's not a controlled lit room but I plan on only using it at night with the lights out, this should help save on bulb life too.

I'd like to have about a 10' to 11' size screen. I can push it back to the 24' side of the room my room if necessary on the mounting.

I'd love to have component inputs for my DVD player and XBox, but it's not a dealbreaker, I can go with plain RCA's.

It would be nice to be able to take the unit outside for a Monday Night Football game in the backyard so are there any models better for taking outside as far as protection against basic elements?

Ultimately I'm sure I'll be happy with something that might not be considered the best with today's standards, but this is just my first step and if it goes well I'm sure I'll be diving into a 'Superman System' at some point. I appreciate any advice whatsoever.

Thanks again in advance for all the help!
Cliff

#2 of 27 Bob Maged

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Posted August 08 2004 - 09:01 AM

Today's new sub $1K projectors are much better than anything you could pick up used on ebay for $500 (even though they cost several thousand dollars a few years ago when THEY were new). With the InFocus X1 and Benq 6100 both around $900, I would suggest saving up the extra $400 and buying a new X1 or 6100 when you have the money. Spend a few more months without a PJ rather than wasting $500 on a PJ you will be disappointed with.

#3 of 27 mark alan

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Posted August 08 2004 - 09:32 AM

Almost guaranteed you will buy the projector and within a couple of months you will need a new bulb (people usually sell their projector because they don't want to spend money replacing the bulb). Bulbs on new projectors are about $300. Bulbs on older projectors are usually even more expensive.

Buying a used projector on the cheap is almost always a bad idea. Buying a projector when you can't afford to buy a new bulb is always a bad idea.

I would wait until you have the money to waste on this hobby. Otherwise you will waste what you have now, and you will have a projector with no bulb and no money to buy one.

#4 of 27 Michael Pineo

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Posted August 08 2004 - 10:41 AM

I usually hate it when someone posts a budget and then people come in with suggestions that don't fall within the budget, but I have to agree with these posts. I had a Sharp H37 and it doesn't even come close to what budget projectors can do today. I paid $500 for mine and then had to shell out almost $400 more for a new lamp. That is probably what you will end up doing. So you'll end up spending $900 anyway, so you're better off getting an X1, or a Panny L200U or something like that.

From personal experience, the jump from the Sharp to my Panny L300U was like night and day. The screendoor on the Sharp was horrendous and the colors were never quite right. If at all possible, try to save a little more for the projector. You'll be much happier if you do.

MikeP

#5 of 27 ChrisWiggles

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Posted August 08 2004 - 11:56 AM

sorry, lazy this afternoon, but if you haven't crossed it off the list (didn't read the whole thing), a used CRT video grade or an entry data grade 7 incher can be had for that amount, and will wipe clean any digital at this price.

#6 of 27 Stephen Dodds

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Posted August 08 2004 - 02:12 PM

You can get a refurbed Benq 6100 from TigerDirect for $750.

Steve

#7 of 27 Cliff_B

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Posted August 08 2004 - 02:18 PM

Wow everybody - thanks for the great tips!

I'm sure as you might imagine, I did set a budget for a used projector not over $500, but I didn't realize I could get so much better in a new one for $1000. I just assumed that I could get a used one for cheap, run it until the bulb runs out, then give it away and upgrade to an expensive Big Kahuna if I really enjoyed it.

Getting a new one though is absolutely the way for me to go after going to both Benq's and InFocus's sites and doing some more reading. (I guess I put too much search criteria into Projector Central's Find engine because I never got any results new under $1000.)

I see InFocus now has an X2 and the X1a in addition to that X1 plus I've also gone back and refined my search to just the maximum of $1000 and received 8 results.

Now I just need to take some time and do some more reading on here for comparisons/reviews/user opinions of these units as well as any other new $1000 ranged projectors but these responses have REALLY helped me a out lot.

In the course of reading this site for a few days, joining & posting a question earlier today, and getting all these great responses, I definitely feel like I'm going the right direction. Whichever one I choose, I'll have to post some pics of the setup somewhere for all to see.

I'm sure I'll have more questions soon, I'd just rather do a search first and make sure it hasn't already been answered as well as further educate myself so I don't sound like the village jester. Posted Image

Thanks again!
Cliff

#8 of 27 Philip Hamm

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Posted August 09 2004 - 12:26 AM

Quote:
I see InFocus now has an X2 and the X1a in addition to that X1 plus I've also gone back and refined my search to just the maximum of $1000 and received 8 results.
I recently was in the market for a projector in your price range, and I bought a used X1. The X1a and X2 are missing the Faroudja deinterlacing chip. This chip is critical if you plan on watching anything other than DVD or HDTV on the set. I wanted to be able to watch regular NTSC broadcasts and LaserDiscs on mine. Something to consider. You should be able to fiond a used X1 for not a fortune.
Philip Hamm
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#9 of 27 Matthew Todd

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Posted August 09 2004 - 05:03 AM

Quote:
if you haven't crossed it off the list (didn't read the whole thing), a used CRT video grade or an entry data grade 7 incher can be had for that amount, and will wipe clean any digital at this price.

I would agree with Chris. If you haven't ruled out CRT, and if you want something in the $500 range, I'd be looking at a 7" used CRT. My first projector (you could get it for under $500) was an Ampro 2000. Good for a resolution of about 1024x768 and about 600 peak lumen output.

Matt
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#10 of 27 DanielJE

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Posted August 09 2004 - 05:20 AM

i said this before but i am at about $1200 with a x1 from ebay last January for $850.
built my own screen for $10 4x8 1/2 blue board for $9.25.
i looked into screen paint and it was as much as a screen.

#11 of 27 Michael Pineo

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Posted August 09 2004 - 07:07 AM

CRT is a great suggestion. Just make sure you are aware of what you are getting into if you do. There is much more setup involved. Also you need to be careful that you don't end up with a projector that needs to be re-tubed in the near future. That isn't to say that CRT is a bad way to go, just make sure you do your homework. I actually wanted to go the CRT route, but the combination of low ceilings and not wanting to floor mount a projector forced me to go digital.

There is no doubt that CRT will give a better image, but the plug and play nature of digital ends up working better for a lot of people.

Whichever way you go, good luck!

MikeP

#12 of 27 Cliff_B

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Posted August 09 2004 - 07:28 AM

Geez, the responses just keep coming, this is great! Maybe I should just sit back and let all of you take me to class on this stuff. Posted Image

After researching the site here for about 3 hours last night and going to varying manufacturer's sites I've ended up back full circle at Bob Maged's two suggestions... the InFocus X1 and the Benq 6100, leaning towards the X1. (My other candidate was a Sanyo PLV-Z1 which I'm still not ruling out. Also, I haven't completely ruled out the possibly of a CRT as everyone who uses them on here swears by them with a passion, and I like that.)

I also didn't know THAT info about not being able to watch NTSC feeds from those other InFocus 'X' models, and I MUST be able to watch my football in Goliath mode...thanks Philip.

I have been entertaining that InFocus SP4805 as well, but this is my first projector, so I'm trying to go nice and slow. Maybe next year I'll get the SanyaBenqInFocaMitsahoobastank Quasimodo T-1000 Projector. Posted Image

I'm just going to kill myself for days now (like others probably do) as I soak up as much information as I can. I know the X1 and 6100 are both popular units so I imagine some folks have some pictures of both in action in addition to personal opinions of each as well as others.

And yes I'll be making my own screen to start with, I'm having a lot of fun reading all the different ingenious methods of using Rustoleum, Tremclad, Polywall, Blackout cloth, the list goes on... but I'm going to get a projector first and foremost before I dive into that swimming pool of insanity.

The most helpful bit of knowledge besides these projector ideas I've learned so far is to run away from rainbows and screen doors.

Thanks everybody(again!),
Cliff

#13 of 27 DaveGTP

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Posted August 09 2004 - 07:45 AM

Quote:
I also didn't know THAT info about not being able to watch NTSC feeds from those other InFocus 'X' models, and I MUST be able to watch my football in Goliath mode...thanks Philip.


You CAN watch NTSC on the other ones, but the Faroudja chip in the X1 will have much better PQ than whatever cheapass scaler/deinterlacer solution they implemented on the X2, X1a.

For that matter, the X1 should have better scaling of standard NTSC than the BenQ 6100 as well. The 6100 has a faster color wheel, though. Tradeoff.

The used CRT is a good idea if you have room for it, and willingness to install it.
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Gideon - "Probably. Screw them."
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#14 of 27 Philip Hamm

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Posted August 10 2004 - 01:17 AM

Sorry, my post was unclear. As Dave points out you CAN watch NTSC sources on the other projectors, it's just that they will look dramatically better on the X1. For me, since I have such a big LD collection that I'm not converting to DVD it was an absolute requirement.
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#15 of 27 DanielJE

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Posted August 10 2004 - 01:26 AM

I own a X1 and am very happy with the picture. but i don't know a lot about this stuff and was where you are about 6 months ago.
maybe people that own one can post the good and bad of the X1 to help you to decide.

#16 of 27 Michael Pineo

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Posted August 10 2004 - 01:38 AM

The only bad thing I have really read about the X1 is the rainbows. The ideal situation is to spend some time with one before you purchase one to see if you see the rainbows. Even if you do, you may be able to live with them. If not, you might want to go with either LCD, or a DLP projector with a faster color wheel. The comments I have read about the X1 go from "I don't see any rainbows" to "I see rainbows, but only when I move my head from side to side really fast" to "I was physically sick/had horrible headache after watching for a 1/2 hour". Unfortunately, most of us aren't in a position to see any of these projectors before purchasing them. It might be worth checking here and on the AVS Forum to see if anyone in your area has an X1 or another projector that you are considering. Most people on these boards are more than happy to audition them for you.

MikeP

#17 of 27 DanielJE

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Posted August 10 2004 - 03:15 AM

when i got my X1 my wife said she say rainbows and i never have but when i got a THX component cable she said she never seen them again. i'm still not sure if she new what she was talking about.

the one thing i don't like about the X1 is the ceiling mount i have too adjust the projector before every movie. it just don't hold it in place.

#18 of 27 DaveGTP

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Posted August 10 2004 - 07:44 AM

Quote:
when i got a THX component cable she said she never seen them again


Impossible. Something else changed. Or, she adjusted to them - I've heard that people that are only a little sensitive have reported eventually not seeing them at all. I know I adjusted a bit - I now only see them in scenes where something white (and small) is surrounded by black or dark scenery.
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Gideon - "Probably. Screw them."
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#19 of 27 Cliff_B

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Posted August 10 2004 - 02:19 PM

Hey everybody!

Well after even more hours and hours of research I've finally made my decision projectorwise. I'm going with the InFocus X1, which I'll be getting next month. If I feel like spending another $500 I'll go with the 4805 but I imagine I'll be more than content with the X1.

If I see rainbows which aggravate me beyond tolerance, (which I'll have a huge tolerance if I can watch 'Aliens' across my entire wall), I can always post it on eBay for a little less and use that money to help get a better one.

I think you can only research so much before you start to lose your mind. I may subconsciously take note of whether or not I see a rainbow, but I'm going to try not to go hunting for them or any other of the countless flaws that I've been reading about on the Internet with this and other projectors.

My thought on it is this: Everything is flawed to some point and I don't mind being the kid on the block that has a videotaped copy of Star Wars rather than no copy.

So now I'm doing some preliminary screen thinking, how big it can be before it becomes uncomfortable to me, what I should use to do it myself, etc. etc. I decided to put some masking tape markers up and get an idea of what the maximum picture size I could get with the X1 would be.

The forum requires a minimum post limit before inserting pictures straight into the message so here's the full link which you can copy and paste into your browser's address bar:

angelfire.com/anime5/dexterslab/screenthought.jpg

I drew the border boxes so the sizes would show up easier for everyone. Of course that couch in the front will be moving as well as the end table and seat to the right so you'll have to excuse that. My roommate was watching 'The Italian Job' so you'll have to excuse his arm in the shot as well. And no, that killer Scooby Doo blanket draped across the couch isn't for sale. Posted Image

Does that screen seem like overkill or just right? I love a big picture and will be sitting 16' away so it's just a thought. Of course nothing's ever final until you sit down with an huge image in front of you and can then make that decision/adjustment, but I'm just curious as to what size(s) and viewing distance some of you are running at.

Thanks,
Cliff

#20 of 27 Michael Pineo

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Posted August 11 2004 - 12:14 AM

That might be a little big. You have the right idea though. Once you have the projector, just project it on the wall and find what seems comfortable for you.

Here is a link to my screen. It is about 8 feet wide and I sit between 18 and 20 feet away. I find it to be comfortable, although I could probably go a bit larger.

MikeP


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