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Projector advice needed


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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted November 28 2005 - 09:03 AM

Hi, I've been looking for a HDTV projector, suitable for viewing in a small darkened room (as in no ambient light at all) at close distance (about 1.5m). I'm not interested in entertaining an audience: this is just for my viewing. I did a Google Dealtime search, and found one very cheap, but since I've never bought a projector before, I'd like the opinions of some people here:pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/91501/art/benq/pb2220-videoprojector.html

At first glance the specs I'm most interested in seem to be there: good image size and projection distance (i.e. way bigger than I actually need), HD resolution, DLP technology. Lumens is very low, but as I said it's for a darkened room, so how high does it need to be? Also, the lamp life seems a bit short, only 2000 hours (or, 1000 2 hour movies), but I think that should be fine consideringmy viewing habits (though with that in mind, when it does come time to change the lamp, would it be possible to get one with a longer life, or do you generally have to get the exact same model lamp?). And a <34dB noise level seems quite high to me (even though my surround sound setup will probably drown out most noise!). I've got no idea how to read the contrast ratio, so someone tell me if 2000:1 is good or bad for my needs!

As I said, it seems very cheap for a HD projector, and the manufacturers seem to make a point of describing it as 'portable', so I'm wondering if it might be a bit too cheap, even for my modest needs. What does price get you with projectors, anyway? I can't see any correlation between price, resolution, image size or technology. Are you usually paying for the things I don't care so much about?(i.e. lumens, lamp life). There is another listed at a slightly higher price:pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/163431/art/benq/pb2250-video-projector.html I can't find either on the manufacturers site, but there is one similar to both:benq.co.uk/Products/Projector/index.cfm?product=454&page=specifications

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Kirk Patrick

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Posted November 28 2005 - 01:31 PM

i just bought an optoma h31 so let me offer a few comments in no particular order:

--benq is not among the higher rated low cost home projectors in general, having said that there are many very happy beng owners out there especially of the 6100

--the low cost standouts are the infocus 4805 and the optoma h31 both available for less than you are paying for the 2220 (about 550-580 english pounds) (assuming you buy in the us anyway)

---viewing from 1.5 meters is very close, it's highly likely you will see a lot of screen door effect (your 2220 is a higher ez pj than the infocus or optoma so perhaps it won't be as bad as on these 2 lower rez pjs)

--there is no way to get actual contrast from contrast ratings, what pj's say and what they they ultimately do is not the same thing

--as a first time pj buyer i have found that it is not easy, it requires a lot of work to get right (cables, connections, power, mounting, distances, lighting etc)

--the best way to do it is to make sure you have a good return policy wherever you buy it (i.e. costco)

--i bought mine at costco and will be returning it because i am sensitive to the rainbow effect that dlp projectors produce (your beng is a dlp)

--however, in every other respect, the optoma h31 is an outstanding pj and makes dvd's look terrific...you will never go back to a regular tv again

good luck!
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#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 28 2005 - 06:34 PM

David, obviously you're in the U.K? What other choices do you have in your budget?
Do you know about the "Avforums.com", which is based in the U.K?

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted November 29 2005 - 12:15 PM

^Yes I am, and I'll check out that site when I have time, thanks (1am as I write this!).

Kirk Patrick, thanks for your tips, and I'll certainly shop around until I find the best for my needs (I think I noticed the 4805 while searching earlier). Unfortuanately, the infocus 4805 seems to be more expensive here in the UK ( Posted Image ), and is certainly lower res. But, I've noticed on the infocus site that that's the same price as the SP5000, which is a higher res,somaybe that will be an option if I decide to spend a little more. I can't find the optoma h31 listed on the UK site though.

But isn't screen door effect most commonly associated with LCD projectors? (unless I'm thinking of something else?).

As for the rainbowing, I'll just have to find out if I'm sensitive to it somehow before I buy. I hope I'm not, as I think DLP is the best option for my needs.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Kirk Patrick

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Posted November 29 2005 - 01:07 PM

Quote:
I can't find the optoma h31 listed on the UK site though.
i believe it's called the 30A in europe, try this page : http://www.projector...Optoma_H30A.htm

i could go on and on about how much i like this projector, for dvd's it's truly spectacular

Quote:
But isn't screen door effect most commonly associated with LCD projectors? (unless I'm thinking of something else?).
in general i believe that dlp produces less sde because the pixels are "filled" to a greater degree, it's much less obvious...i certainly don't see them at all on my optoma

but alas i do see rainbows much to my intense displeasure because in every other way i love this pj

good luck!
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#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 29 2005 - 05:42 PM

David, SDE is only a problem if you sit too close. Try to see both DLP and LCD projectors in person to see what you like best.

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted December 01 2005 - 05:18 AM

^I definately will do that before parting with my money!

Kirk Patrick, can you tell me if any of those projectors you mention are HD? They both seem to have a SD res, but HD is mentioned elsewhere in the specs. I think I really need to go HD these days, if I'm to invest in a projector.

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Kirk Patrick

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Posted December 01 2005 - 07:08 AM

the 4805 an optoma h31 (or30A) are edtv (854x480) not hdtv (i.e. 1280x720 or better)

certainly if you plan to watch a lot hdtv as well as dvd's then definitely consider hdtv resolution

at present i only watch dvd's (no cable tv at all) and since dvd's are encoded at 480 they look beautiful..720p doesn't necessarily make your dvd's look better, by which i mean that a good 480p projector can make dvd's look better than a mediocre 720p projector

but certainly consider then new crop of pj's as they will make hdtv and especially hd-dvd's look much better than the 480p machines

the standout pj's for the money in the 720 category are the sanyo z4 and panny 900

i will choose one of those only because my sensiitvity to rainbows is apparently not going away
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#9 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted December 01 2005 - 09:25 AM

^Thanks. But now I'm getting confused a little: What's the difference between HD and ED? I've never heard of edtv! Posted Image

And I think HD is the sensible option at the moment. I probably won't start using HD DVD's for a while yet (and probably never HD TV on the projector!), but when I put money into something, I want to think it will last, and like it or not HD is on the way. So it's best to get a HD projector now, rather than fork out again when I switch.

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Kirk Patrick

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Posted December 01 2005 - 09:51 AM

Quote:
^Thanks. But now I'm getting confused a little: What's the difference between HD and ED? I've never heard of edtv!

And I think HD is the sensible option at the moment. I probably won't start using HD DVD's for a while yet (and probably never HD TV on the projector!), but when I put money into something, I want to think it will last, and like it or not HD is on the way. So it's best to get a HD projector now, rather than fork out again when I switch.
edtv is "enhanced definition" vs "high definition" edtv=480 vertical lines hdtv=720-1080 vertical lines

i agree completely, an hdtv (720 lines+) is the sensible buy right now as it will future proof you for hd-dvd's whereas the 480 projectors will not (but 480P owners will tell you that hd looks very good on their pj's)

make sure you have a 720 or 1080 hd projector and at least dvi or hdmi inputs that are hdcp compatible so that you will be able to play the new dvd's

i don't think there are any of the new crop of pj's that don't meet these specs
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#11 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted December 02 2005 - 10:08 AM

Thanks for all the help you're giving me, Kirk Patrick. Much appreciated. It's certainly been useful. But,I'm still undecided. I had a look at the other two projectors you mentioned, but they both seem to be LCD technology. The only thing I have decided on is that I need a DLP projector, because of my distance from the screen. Do you know what the best rated "for the money" HD DLP projectors are? And comparing the specs of some of the projectorsout there in the price range, the benq is still looking pretty good. Can you give me details on why the benq's are not as highly rated as some of the other projectors out there? (beyond the list of specs). Thanks again!

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Kirk Patrick

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Posted December 03 2005 - 04:44 AM

unfortunately the pj's with the best reviews and best prices are lcd's, the panny 900 and sanyo z4

benq is ok, a lot of people really like their benq's, but they are not considered the standouts

you need to spend some researching here: projector central

and here: avs forum - digital projectors

front projectors require a fair bit more work to get up and running, unless you are ready to spend $3000 US, you will need to do a bit of work to find the one you want

i will say that the panny 900 is well known for it's ability to not have the screendoor effect, it uses something called smooth pixel technology which a lot of people like
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#13 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted December 03 2005 - 05:32 AM

Thanks, you've certainly given me a lot to think about!

I'm also looking at the infocus SP5000 as this seems to be a HD version of the 4805 you mentioned (and just in my price range at some stores!).

Again, thanks for all the help. It's much appreciated!

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   DelRay

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Posted December 03 2005 - 02:22 PM

Hi David. I was wondering why go the front projector route when your viewing distance will be only 1.5m. I would think that a nice 42-50" tv would look pretty nice from that distance.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted December 03 2005 - 02:56 PM

^Yeah that was the first thing I thought about. Whether I should go with LCD, plasma screen or projector. After reading a few posts in here I decided on the projector route since you get more screen size for your money. From what I've seen a TV of that size would cost me more than a good but low end projector with a much bigger projected image size. This also future proofs it as I may move it into a bigger room one day (I like to buy things to last). And as a few people in here mentioned, a projector would add more to the home cinema experience. Plus, for my viewing room a projector would be more convenient since I'd finally be able to get rid of the dusty old cabinet that my TV sits on, and open up that space (it covers a radiator!). Posted Image

On a different point, I've now noticed that the SP5000 I mentioned is actually an LCD projector - pixmania got the specs wrong! Posted Image

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   David Payne

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Posted March 07 2006 - 12:02 PM

I know, old post alert! Posted Image Basically I haven't looked any further into this since I've been really busy the last few months. But I've just started shopping around again, seeing what's out there. Is it just my imagination, or are there more HD DLP projectors out there than there were before? Anyway, I've found two more that seem to fit my needs and price range: the InFocus LP600, and Sony CX-70. Both have good user reviews on projector central, but I'm wondering if anyone here could tell me more about how good these projectors are for home cinema?





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