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Some Qs on 1080p versus 720p projectors?


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#1 of 12 captaincrash

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Posted November 26 2006 - 09:59 PM

I am about to build ...

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...an addition onto our home with a dedicated home theater (semi-multi-purpose) which will be part of it. I have a 21x15 dimension with a shallow cathedral ceiling design. As such - I want to put in a front projector as the room will have very dark shading window covers and be wired for everything from semi-auto lighting to sound and semi-automatic curtains over the screen. I want it to look and perform like it was expensive but cost considerably less then my left arm and right foot. I don't know if I'm ready for a "cost is no ******" bank of power and video conditioners with a 6' high rack of monural amps yet.... or an exotic $100,000+ projector and $28,000+ curving screen. NICE Cozy chairs and nice finish work... yes.

SO... I am interested in learning more about the following regarding front projectors with a cost effective approach in mind:

1) Do I really NEED a projector with 1080p versus 720p IF the only media sources for 1080p are gonna be the HD DVDs? I enjoy movies - and am mildly impressed with 720p upsampled from regular DVDs on my 57" Epson Livingstation (720p). But ... I don't see enough media out in HD-DVD nor do I find the HD-DVD players at a compelling price level yet ... or in the foreseeable future. PLUS... I will probably be a late buyer in the HD-DVD market since I have several 100 (if not a thousand) regular DVDs ... and almost every star trek DVD out there. SO I am lothe to change to HD-DVD if I have everything I want in standard DVDs already and watch HD cable and only to be impressed by material that is SHOT in HD. A lot of movies broadcast on HD appear to be upsampled standard resolution stuff and rebroadcast as HD without the bars on the left or right... and as such look comparable to my upsampled standard DVDs. SO... why would I need 1080p if there is little programming that is original 720p??? If they have so little TRUE 720P programming and broadcast signals are 720p ... then what hope do we have for having signifiacnt TRUE 1080p programming or media??? Why would they SHOOT in 1080p IF they could not even broadcast it in 1080??? I think I might be totally satisfied with a native 720p projector/system.

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2) I know that 1080p has a native 1920x1024 resolution (right?). Do they make any good native resolution front projectors that have RELATIVELY low cost (for a moderate coct front projector?). And if so - what are the models? IE, if there were a small price difference with a 1080p versus a comparable 720p then I might go for a 1080p projector in spite of my expectation of little SHOT material at 1080p.

3) DO they make many 720p projectors with a NATIVE resolution that matches 720p output? WHY, of course... you say! What precisely is the pixel dimension of 720p? Is it 1280x720? AND what would be your recommendations for a NATIVE 720P resolution front projector that is an excellent all around performer but relatively tolerable for value. Not the cheapest - but among the BEST which has the lowest street price/ and therefore highest value?

4) What GAIN level do you think is ideal for a fixed screen? 1.o? I've been told higher gain screens sacrifice image quality... how so? Is the dynamic range lower? Is there loss of shadow detail or ??? I've gone to several "high end" AV stores in the LA area and they have mode projection screens then front projectors set up - AND few sales people who posses and decent technical knowledge - so it seems. What screen manufacturer would you recommend for decent value with high performance?

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5) Can I get away with something like an EPSON PowerLite Pro Cinema 810 front projector with 1600 lumens and 720p NATIVE resolution? It has a MSRP of $3000 (relatively cheap street price IMO), a 3 LCD engine (no color wheels), 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 1280x720 native resolution (is this true 720p?), 60HZ refresh rate, 102% vertical shift by 50% horizontal, a 1700 hour lamp life at 1600 lumens or 3000 hours at a reduced intensity level, and fan noise levels of 33 or 26 DB depending on lamp intensity settings.
http://www.epson.com....s&oid=63064240 Or, would you like to chime in with your recommendation(s) which weigh in around $3,000?

6) I'd like to offer a "thank You" in advance for your opinions, criticisms, perspective and flaming nonsense on my queries. Some may have dribble while others shed true wisdom on these general musings of mine. I have a long way to go and indeed appreciate everything which may be offerred in reply one way or another!

Cheers!

#2 of 12 SethH

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Posted November 26 2006 - 11:10 PM

I'm heading to work, so I can't answer many questions right now, but I would suggest that you also consider the Panasonic AX100U and the Sanyo Z5.

The Epson may be as good, but I haven't seen any reviews for it yet. The Panasonic and Sanyo are both new models if very successful and proven lines of front projectors.

#3 of 12 captaincrash

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Posted November 26 2006 - 11:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SethH
I'm heading to work, so I can't answer many questions right now, but I would suggest that you also consider the Panasonic AX100U and the Sanyo Z5.

The Epson may be as good, but I haven't seen any reviews for it yet. The Panasonic and Sanyo are both new models if very successful and proven lines of front projectors.

Interesting ....

..... this review I googled on the Panasonic makes it sound totally awesome - and it's generally under $2,000 (plus a $200 rebate - that ends Nov 30th unfortunately). With the long throw distance and dark room auto output of 343 lumens I imagine the bulb must enjoy tremendous life! http://www.projector...sonic_ax100.htm

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However... this COMPARISON REVIEW between the Sanyo Z5 and the Panasonic leaves me agreeing with their conclusions in preferrring the Sanyo Z5 for it's digital noise free high contrast output and lower price ($1700 + there may be a $200 rebate!). The extra brightness of the Panasonic may not be an issue since I am creating a functional home theater with very dark shading over the windows.

http://www.projector...100u_plv-z5.htm

Thanks for the referral... they appear to be outstanding proposals!

#4 of 12 Jim Mcc

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Posted November 27 2006 - 06:27 AM

It sounds like you want an LCD projector. Is that right? In my opinion, 1080p projectors are still way too expensive. The cheapest one I know of is $4,000(Panasonic). And the only benefit right now is with HD DVD's. Make sure you also read the reviews at Projectorreviews.com. He does a much better job than Projectorcentral.

#5 of 12 captaincrash

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Posted November 27 2006 - 01:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Mcc
It sounds like you want an LCD projector. Is that right? In my opinion, 1080p projectors are still way too expensive. The cheapest one I know of is $4,000(Panasonic). And the only benefit right now is with HD DVD's. Make sure you also read the reviews at Projectorreviews.com. He does a much better job than Projectorcentral.

I am actually experiencing mild confusion on the issue. Just a couple days ago I was thinking the way to go was a front projector for a 90-100" screen in a 15x20' room. Now I am not so sure as I'll have some seats about 8' away and others about 15 feet back. So - I'm still working through the details. I do have a 57" DLP Epson - but I was thinking it would be a little too small for the room and setting I envisioned.

At any rate, I am beginning to discover the 1080p front projetors are pretty pricey... but then again I figure these will come down in price eventually. AND I do agree that the only practical use for a 1080p display is for HD DVDs. And that may not be enough to pursuade me at this point - especially for the premium they demand. $4000 for the lowest 1080p compared against $1600-2000 for a pretty good 720p (Panasonic or Sanyo) does not make much sense to me.

#6 of 12 Jim Mcc

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Posted November 27 2006 - 02:56 PM

You're confused about what issue? I definitely recommend a projector for your room. A 57" set would be WAY TOO SMALL for that room. I wouldn't even consider a screen size smaller than 106" diagonal. Why so much space between rows of seats(7')? What kind of seats will you use?

#7 of 12 captaincrash

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Posted November 29 2006 - 03:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Mcc
You're confused about what issue? I definitely recommend a projector for your room. A 57" set would be WAY TOO SMALL for that room. I wouldn't even consider a screen size smaller than 106" diagonal. Why so much space between rows of seats(7')? What kind of seats will you use?

Well...

... from what I'm reading there are a variety of considerations in developing a guideline on optimal viewing distance ... and hence an optimal screen size for the desired viewing room.

In its' simplist form - one formula says your viewing distance should be 2-3x the diagonal measure of a screen. So ... in my planned home theater the dimensions are 15x20. So - if I were to apply the 2-3x formula in reverse then I could place seating in the 12-18' or the 10-15' range. This would imply the optinal screen would have a diagonal measure of 6-5'... or 72-60". However, with a good projector I could easily have a screen more then double this diagonal measure on a 15' x 10' wall.

So what am I to do? Some have posted that they would like to have a screen as large as humanly possible in their venue. SO... should I have an 11x6.2' screen (12.62' diagonal) on my 15' wide wall? The optimal viewing range is implied to be 25-37.6' back with this size screen!

On the other hand - I can envision how it would be OK to have a screen which is larger then the 2-3x the diagonal guideline.

And again - I have to temper this with consideration for the assumed strengths and weaknesses of the projector. I've begun to read some projector reviews and a Panasonic (100?) was cited as having a bit of a grainey or pixelated output - as opposed to the leading 720p Sanyo (Z5?) which has more of a pronounced smoothing in its' output. Or... maybe it's vice versa... as I only vaguely recall this from having skimmed the article once so might have the characteristics mixed up. SO.... I would probably want the projector that does not seem to suffer from pixelation since I might be going BIG if I subscribe to the notion of biggest is best and disregards the viewing distance formulas!

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#8 of 12 frogpond

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Posted November 30 2006 - 03:49 AM

Not sure where your getting 2-3x seating distance. Generally I read 1.33 to 1.85 which for a 110" screen would be 10-12ft. Remember of course these are just Sugested guidlines. For example we have the Sanyo Z4 and our screen is 92" with our seating at 9ft back when it should be 10ft back but hey, we love it.

#9 of 12 frogpond

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Posted November 30 2006 - 03:54 AM

Oops! Just remeasured and we are 11ft back! Room is 13x15'

#10 of 12 SethH

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Posted November 30 2006 - 11:32 AM

So what am I to do? Some have posted that they would like to have a screen as large as humanly possible in their venue.


When do you plan to buy? If it's going to be several months then I would start thinking 1080p. If you have a projector that scales everything to 1080p then you can sit closer than with a 720p projector. I don't have the exact difference between the two, but the basic idea behind seating distance is ensuring that you cannot see space between the pixels. If there are more pixels you can set closer without seeing space.

#11 of 12 captaincrash

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Posted December 03 2006 - 03:58 PM

Well...

I won't be buying any equipment until my addition gets built. From the day we sign it's been said there's about 4-6 months to completion. Speaking to neighbors and friends who have done additions this seems reasonable if the contractor is normal. Some contractors take a long time to complete some deals though.

SO - we are about 3-6 weeks from inking a deal. We had a bid from a contractor that was recommended to us - and we were OK with it - but now we're learning that some folks may have gotten slightly better deals. And even a small difference amounts to several thousand in savings. SO we have delayed signing until we get a few more quotes - as we only have ONE. And one is far too few to make a decision - eh?

And thanks to all who have remarked on what screen size they've got for their viewing distances. It seems I have little idea as to what size would be "right" for my situation. But now it seems as if 57" with my existing DLP would be far too small for the size room I'm thinking of (15x20). And a projector with proper light darkening control would be ideal. Even so - I could ADJUST the screen size if I felt a change was in order. IE... if the screen was big I could possibly draw the curtains a bit on either side and maybe get away with projecting tpo a smaller looking screen OR I might fabricate an adjustable matt around the screen. I know they make motorized adjustable matts. But I'm unlikely to get one of those unless I find I'm constantly adjusting the matt.

So... thanx to all who have had something constructive to contribute.Posted Image

#12 of 12 Marc_Sulinski

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Posted December 06 2006 - 05:51 AM

I'm in a similar situation as the original poster. I am not building an addition, but I recently reconfigured my home theater area, and I am considering a projector.

I have a few additional questions:

Currently, I am sitting about 9 feet back from a 57" CRT rear projection screen. The size of the screen is adequate, but not overwhelming. If I went with the projector, I would propably be sitting about 12 feet back. What size screen is optimal? Something around 92"? Assuming the mount point of the projector is fixed, can I still adjust the image size, or is it dependent upon the distance from the wall?

Am I better off with a 1080p projector for watching HTDV? I know HD is 720p or 1080i, but I am thinking that 1080i would look better upsampled to 1080p than to 720p, as most of the TV I watch is on CBS and NBC (both broadcast 1080i natively). I would also be looking forward to getting an HD DVD player, so 1080p would probably be the way to go.

Does anyone expect that 1080p projectors will drop in price sharply in the next 6 months? I'd be willing to wait that long.

Thanks for your help.

Edit to add: What is the typical cost to replace the bulb? Looking at the # of hours of life, I will probably be replacing the bulb after 1 year.





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