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BenQ 7700 or Panasonic AE900?


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#1 of 33 OFFLINE   John Menoni

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Posted October 27 2005 - 07:42 AM

I thought I was all set. At first I thought I was going with the BenQ 8700. Then they came out with the 7700 for a cheaper price. I said, that is it. I'm going with the BenQ. I finsihed the room and even bought the screen. Now when I'm almost about to pull the trigger on the BenQ, I see the AE900. I looked down on LCD until I read the reviews about the AE900. A week ago I would have bet my paycheck that I was buying a DLP projector. Now the AE900 has my thinking. I have a few questions for those who might know. 1) I need a very short throw distance for my 96' screen. What is the shortest distance the AE900 can be from the screen? 2) The BenQ seems like it harder to install in regards to it's versatility. Does the AE900 have to be placed so that the projector is even with the top or bottom part of the screen like the BenQ? I'm not sure how the lens shift works. 3) Will the AE900 project a bright enough image for a 96' screen? My HT has controlled light and I have fabric on the walls. All this time I always thought DLP was brighter than LCD. Thanks in advance for all the input. This forum never lets me down!

#2 of 33 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted October 27 2005 - 09:19 AM

http://www.projector...e900_pe7700.htm

Picture quality aside, there's no doubt the LCD model is more flexible in placement. I've also been a fan of DLP since the X1, but am seriously considering one of the new crop of LCD.
See the calculators on that site for size/distance questions. For a 96" diag pic, looks like the AE900 can be in a range from ~10'-20' from the screen. Looks like it's more than bright enough, also...more than twice theater-level brightness at 96".
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#3 of 33 OFFLINE   John Menoni

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Posted October 27 2005 - 09:42 AM

Jack, thanks for the input. I can't believe I'm saying this but I think I might go with the LCD.

#4 of 33 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:04 PM

Lots of people including myself saying the same thing right now. The reality is that LCD still has the same inherent limitations. Fortunately newer technologies and processing have been developed to mitigate them. And we all win as a result. What I'm struggling with now is the Panasonic vs. the Sanyo Z4, which is getting great reviews. Both the Panny and the Sanyo have their respective strengths, but what is attracting me is the wider range of vertical offset with the Z4. I crave a flush mount to the ceiling and the Panasonic is still rather limited here, allowing only 6" above the top of the screen for a 100" diagonal 16:9.
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#5 of 33 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted October 27 2005 - 05:26 PM

the AE900 is a very nice machine, and what makes it so is both the DI, and the smoothing lens they use. Very very nice picture for the price.

#6 of 33 OFFLINE   John Menoni

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Posted October 28 2005 - 08:03 AM

Jay, are you telling me that that you could mount the projector 6' above the screen with the Panasonic? That is much more versatile than the BenQ 7700 I was looking at. With the BenQ you had to mount the projector even with either the top or bottom of the screen. The fact that I can mount the projector 6' above or below the screen makes things much easier for my placement. Does anyone know if placing the Panasonic this way effects the picture quality in any way?

#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted October 28 2005 - 10:25 AM

Yeah, same here. I'm also intrigued by the fact that the Z4 also does all the scaling I'd need for a CIH setup. The lack of SDE at 1.3x width according to PJC would be perfect for the 2.35 screen size I'd like.
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#8 of 33 OFFLINE   Michael TLV

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Posted October 28 2005 - 10:27 AM

Greetings I'm really eager to see if the AE900 still has the typical LCD discoloration on solid colors. Put up a solid gray field ... and watch how it looks pink gray on one side and green gray on the other side. Need to know that this issue has been solved for me to shift a bit toward the LCD side. Regards
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#9 of 33 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted October 28 2005 - 04:32 PM

Yes, that's supposed to be inches, not feet. You have 13% of screen height above or below the top or bottom of the screen. For an 87" wide 16:9 (49" high) that's 6+" which is basically nothing. There are reports that the image bowes at the extreme end of the shift so plan for 4" at best. Also note that this value goes down if you use horizontal shift as well. The Z4 is 150% screen height above or below center, or in other words 1 full screen height above or below the edge of the image.
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#10 of 33 OFFLINE   John Menoni

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Posted October 29 2005 - 01:57 AM

So basically I can put the Z4 on the floor and it will be fine? Does any of this reduce picture quality? If so, how much?

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted October 29 2005 - 06:56 AM


Assuming that the bottom edge of your screen is no more than one screen height up from the floor (which I have to assume it is not) then, yes, you would be able to place the projector well below the screen. From the reviews I've read you have to get to the outer third or so of the shift range before quality starts to be compromised in the form of bowing. If within that limit (which is still very healthy) there is no compromise. Again, from what I have read. The PT-AE900 does exhibit bowing towards the end of its range as well, but you have less overall shift to play with. Also note that if you use horizontal shift at the same time this will limit the available vertical range.

For my installation the top of my screen will be 20" from the ceiling. Factoring in about 4" for the depth of the mount and the distance between the projector body and lens center that leaves me with 16" of shift required. The Panny offers 6.37" for my size screen, but of that probably 4" max is usable before bowing starts. The Z4 offers a full screen height or 49", of which I would be using a fraction. Because there's still lots of wiggle room, horizontal and vertical, my plan is to mount the projector dead center in the ceiling (vs. offset to center the lens to the screen laterally) and use a couple of inches of horizontal offset to compensate. Purely aesthetics.

If the Panasonic had the same range of lens shift I wouldn't be struggling between the two projectors. I would go with the Panasonic as the majority of what I've read gives it the edge in overall picture quality compared to the Z4. But my feeling is that without side-by-side comparison I won't notice. Conversely having a projector hanging from a pole will always piss me off, particularly as it would sit at perfect eye level when standing on the riser. Turn around unawares and you'll be seeing spots for hours. Posted Image I'm THRILLED, on the other hand, that both projectors have very generous throws. It's about f'in time more distance from the screen became available.
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#12 of 33 OFFLINE   John Menoni

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Posted October 29 2005 - 08:14 AM

Jay, thanks for taking the time to post all that info. I can't believe I have to research this whole thing all over again. Should I go with the Panasonic, The Sanyo, or just stick with my origional decision and go with the BenQ? Right now it looks like the Sanyo offers by far the most. It is much more flexable than the other two, It has the best picture according to the reviews I've read, It has the best warranty between the two LDCs, and it has the quiter fan noise. It seems like the only flaw in the Sanyo is when you play standard 480 signals. I have a satallite Tivo that swithes from 480p, 480i, 720p, and 1080i. So unless I'm missing something, it won't be a factor for my setup.

#13 of 33 OFFLINE   Evan M.

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Posted October 30 2005 - 01:43 AM

Personaly I would opt for the Sanyo. Panny makes a great product but everything I have read and seen in the past would make me go Sanyo. I for one do not like the smoothscreen technology in the Panny. It softens everything a bit much for my likes. You will notice a big difference when it comes to this when comparing the 2. As long as you stay outside of 1.3 SW away with the Z4 you will be fine. Like you said too, the Sanyo is SO much more flexible than the Panny.

#14 of 33 OFFLINE   John Menoni

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Posted October 30 2005 - 03:09 AM

I was blown away when I found that I could put the projector horizontally 1/2 screen width from the center point of the screen with the Z4. That gives me options I never thought I would have. I always thought the projector would have to be exactly in the center. Now I can put it above the seating area and to the side. That is so much better for my room than putting it in the middle. I'm so excited! I just hope that I don't find that I'm loosing quality to place it there.

#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 30 2005 - 03:16 AM

Just be careful with wanting BOTH horizontal and vertical lens shift. Think of the range like a diamond shape, once you get to either extreme you cant do any movement in the other dimension. If you arent all the way at the extreme you have some flexibility tho. Sam

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#16 of 33 OFFLINE   Bill Marsh

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Posted October 30 2005 - 03:32 AM

I have the AE700. Placement 5ft high and 13 ft back from 92" screen. Very pleased. However the higher contrast ratio of the AE900 sounds good. Vertical Banding only shows up if I don't power off. I am using OPPO dvd through a DVD--HDMI connection and 760 P from OPPO. Brilliant picture but definitely dvd quality dependent. If you get AE900 please post your impressions. Projector pricing and picture quality at this point and time is reaching towards Home Theater Nirvana. ENJOY!!!!!!
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#17 of 33 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 30 2005 - 01:44 PM

I have the AE 900, its my first PJ, and I got to watch my first day of HD on it today via Comcast digital HD, on a scientific atlanta 8300 HD DVR. It absolutely blew me away out of the box, no screen door, great volors, deep blacks. I dont know how to identify VB but I didnt notice anything that sounded like it. Great great value IMO. Sam

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#18 of 33 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted November 02 2005 - 02:55 PM

Following the 7700/900 comparison, PJC has now compared the Z4 and Optoma H79:

http://www.projector.../plv-z4_h79.htm

Despite the order-of-magnitude price difference, the reviewer seems to prefer the Z4 overall..and has been driven to the brink of hyperbole:


I'd personally like to think it's all true. Posted Image
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#19 of 33 OFFLINE   John Menoni

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Posted November 03 2005 - 06:38 AM

Right now I'm leaning toward the Z4. Not just the picture quality but the versatility makes it very tough to go elsewhere. With the Z-4 I could put the projector on the ceiling above the right wall of the room. Putting the projector in the middle of the room is very problematic for my room. I have a progressive scene dvd player and a HD DVR that I believe convirts 480i to 480p. It is the Directv Tivo. Hopefully I wont' have a problem with the interlacing.

#20 of 33 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted November 03 2005 - 08:23 PM

TV Authority has the AE900 for $2,199 with a $200 rebate from Panasonic until 12/31/05. TVA has the Z4 for $2,199 with no rebate at this time. I do like the flexibility of range with the Z4 too. Being able to go short throw or long throw makes it a very versatile projector. Sam: Good to hear you finally picked up a FPTV. I wish I had the real estate. I would have one too. Once you get into a front projector you will always wonder how you ever lived without one.

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