1st FP setup, Infocus 4805 or Panasonic AE700

Discussion in 'Displays' started by VenkR, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. VenkR

    VenkR Auditioning

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    I am looking at the Infocus 4805 and the Panasonic AE700 for my 1st plunge into FP world. My usage will be 80% dvd and 20% Direct tv , most of which would be football and other sporting events. I dont have HD programming from Direct TV and dont plan on it until perhaps next fall. The room is 12 X 20 with some light control , i.e. there are blinds but a decent amount of light during the day with blinds drawn since they are not blackout blinds and there is a stairwell open to the upper floor. The main seating is 14 ft from the screen. I am looking at 84" screen if I go Infocus 4805 or 96" if I go with the Panasonic due to difference in resolution.

    The pros I see of the Infocus 4805 are its low price (can get for $999 from Costco), great performance on DVD, and ability to purchase at Costco and their retrun policy in case I find that I am sensitive to the rainbow effect.

    Some of the cons include it is not a true HD projector and whether this will cause me to want to upgrade in the near future. Set up will require hiring someone to cut into the drywall, pull cables, and mount it in the ceiling since I am not very handy. In addition I would need to purchase a ceiling mount and longer component cables at a minimum (possible DVI run if I want to look towards future). This offsetts the cost difference somewhat when compared to the Panasonic AE700.

    The pros I see for the Panasonic AE700 is that it is HD (so it should be future proof for a while- if there is such a thing) and the ease of setup since it is a long throw projector. I could mount a shelf to the rear wall and have a 96 inch image at a 19ft throw distance which would work with a seating distance of 14ft. I could move my audio equipment to the rear of the room and use existing video cables and just longer speaker cable run to the front of the room.

    The main con is the price difference when compared to the Infocus and whether I may be paying for the HD capability and not taking full advantage of it. In addition, I have not been able to find a place where I can purchase the Panasonic somewhat risk free. Projector People will allow you to use for 4 hrs w/o a restocking fee, but that doesnt seem like much, especially to a newbie such as myself. I am also somewhat nervous about Panasonic's 1 yr warranty, seems a bit lacking compared to competitors.

    Given what I am looking for, which would you recommend? Will either of these projectors work for watching football during the daytime with some ambient lighting if I am not too critical of the picture quality (i.e. wouldnt mind if it were worse than current 42" Toshiba rptv, but cant be unwatchable). Have I missed any points in evaluating the pros or cons for either projector?

    Thanks
     
  2. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    You've already done a ton of due diligence. I only have experience with the 4805, and I can assure you that sports on TV is very watchable with ambient light-way better in the dark of course but watchable. A grey screen is helpful here. Rainbows very unlikely to be an issue with 4805.Of the 20 or so people I've asked, not one can see them on mine.
     
  3. VenkR

    VenkR Auditioning

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    Brian,

    It is reassuring to know that you have used the 4805 in ambient lighting for wathcing sports. One of my concerns is that this purchase, unlike my RPTV, is somewhat blind so I am relying heavily on reasearch and the experience of others.

    I did have a question about your choice of screen. I have heard differring opinions on screen selection and ambient lighting. One is that you should go with a high gain white screen since it reflects more of the projected light. I dont fully get this since I assume it would also reflect the ambient light. The other is to go with a grey screen which absorbs ambient light, but I assume it would do the same with projected light and make the image less bright. What is the gain on your grey screen?

    Thanks,
    Venk
     
  4. PeterMano

    PeterMano Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I'll throw in my 2 cents here as I just came back from a local a/v dealer to inquire about the 4805. They had a room set up with the 4805 and an epson home theater model projecting a high def sports broadcast along with a whack of lcd, dlp, crt and plasma sets as well.

    It was great for a quick comparison of various formats. There was a fair bit of ambient light coming from the rest of the store, but the room had no lighting of its own.

    The projected images were definitely subdued and lacking brightness in comparison to some of the higher end dlp, lcd and plasma units. The 4805 did a nice job of scaling the high def signal and looked pretty good from a resolution standpoint. The epson didn't look very good at all in comparison.

    I guess the long and short of it is, if you're going to be viewing in ambient light, I think you really need to preview your choices and see if you can live with them. If I had to view these projected images, under those lighing conditions, I'd probably pass on the projectors. For me, I'm a late night owl, and I watch most of my programming at night after 9 pm, so a projector will work for me.

    But, if you're going to be watching a lot of material during daylight hours, I really think you should check things out first. These projectors are hardly light cannons and the res won't help you out there. I thought the 4805 did a pretty good job to these untrained eyes with the hi-def sportscast.
     
  5. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    If you have to spend extra money to have work done and buy a mount, then I would go for the 700.
    It will be a little brighter than the 4805, not much though.
    Main benefits of the 700 are 2x zoom (allows you to set it up almost anywhere), lens shift (eliminates the need for keystone correction) and HD (Blu-ray and HD-DVD are right around the corner).

    The only real benefit of the 4805 is the cost and that is being offset by the extra money you will have to spend to set it up.
    But both are very good machines, you can't go wrong with either one.
     
  6. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    If you mount the 4805 back 20' your min screen size should be 129"(63h x 112w) according to the Infocus calculator. Using the formula 1.5 x 112" = 14' This should be about the biggest screen you would want for that seating distance. My 4805 needed to be mounted close to the ceiling upside down to get the picture where I wanted it. I have a 91" screen and sit back about 13'. I did a DIY mount for $50. I don't know anything about the AE700. Will you have to mount it upside down? If so, will a shelf work? I control all lighting in my room and the 4805 work fine. As far as clarity, I was very impressed with the picture right out of the box. Then I calibrated it. I don't remember much about the first movie I watched. I was too busy being blown away by the color and depth of the picture.
     
  7. VenkR

    VenkR Auditioning

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    I would love to be able to view the Infous 4805 or Panasonic 700 in a store, but the local retailers I know off (Tweeter and Myer Emco) carry high end ($5000 plus) projectors. Does any one know of any dealers in the Northern VA, MD, DC area that carry the Infocus or Panasonic project?

    I am not certain regarding setup of the 700 but thought I could place on a shelf on the back wall at ~6ft and use the vertical lens adjustment to center the picture. It has a front exhaust so it is a good candidate for rear shelf mounting, but I would need to look into the vertical shift to see what would work in my setup.

    I am leary of the Panasonic given the 1yr warranty and inability to assess the product in home risk free. Are there any Panasonic 700 owners out there that can chime in with the experience with their projector.

    Lastly, can anyone comment on how difficult it would be to mount a projector in a finished room with ceiling studs that run perpendicular to the direction that the video cables would need to run? There is no attic overheard and the room is basement level so no level beneath it. Would this be a 2-4hr job for a professional or more like a 12 hr job.

    Thanks

    Venk
     
  8. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    The 700 has no offset, it projects the image dead center. Flipping the unit will not move the image up or down. The only reason to invert it would be to have access to the buttons when mounted to the ceiling.
    Depending on your room, you might not have to use any lens shift at all.
    For more info on the 700 and 4805, I suggest going over to the avsforum. There are a couple of huge threads on these units.
     
  9. krury

    krury Auditioning

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    I'll add to my comments below since you ask about ambient light. In both my tv room and bedroom I can make it really dark which is how you get the best viewing. It doesn't take much light to wash out the screen and probably depends on how the light hits the screen. As much as I love this projector you may need to try a higher end projector or switch to a TV which really ups the price. If you can use black out blinds or heavier curtains that helps. I also have not seen any rainbows on this.
    -------------
    I got my Infocus ScreenPlay 4805 with Infocus 76" pull down screen and 30' SVGA, computer USB/VGA to DVI at Costco for $999 after rebate. only good until Feb 6.

    The unit is very lightweight and portable. I project in my living room at 100" on a flat white wall using 12' component cable. I compared it to a $5,000 Epson Projector being projected on a Stewart Luxus Screenwall GreyHawk 100" ($1700) at the Hi Fi place it looked just as good.

    When I want to use it in my bedroom I plug in the 30' SVHS and watch tv or DVDs. It projects on the included 76" screen I pull down in front of a 76" window. Even at this short distance it looks fantastic. I did find that my TV signal when letterboxed had an overscan signal at the top. I went into Advanced settings and checked Overscan and it went away. I save my SVHS settings on one Preset and my component on another and it automatically uses the correct Preset. The remote is easy to use once you learn the symbols.

    I couldn't be happier with my first front projector. The blacks are black yet detailed, the skin colors are natural looking and everything is very rich in color.

    Overall I give it a A+, particularly considering the price.

    Thorough Infocus 4805 Review
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...r-11-2004.html
     
  10. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    I think I am too late to post since the sale began yesterday....but I'll still give my 2 cents. First off.....I have seen both. I own a 4805 and my buddy owns a 700. Fist off...the 700 is "better" than the 4805....which it better be for 1,000$ more. Is it 1000$ better....I do not think so. The 700 is built a lot more solid than the 4805, it has the great zoom lens which is rare for that price range, it has vertical and horizontal lens shift, is VERY quiet and has wonderful colors. The negatives is that it DOES have screendoor effect (a lot of people claim it does not because of smoothscreen thechnology but it does) it also has definate vertical banding issues. I wouldn't count the 1 year warant as an issue because that machine is built to last. Positives on the 4805 is it has great colors and contrast, and is very tweakable. Negatives is the fan noise and pixelation when too close to the screen (but it really is not as bad as I was lead to believe by reading a lot of these forums). Obviously the 700 is a lot more feature rich.....but the picture quality is almost the "same" on both of them. That is why I got the 4805 for 1000$ less. If someone were to give me either one, I would choose the 700, but if I had to purchase it I would try the 4805 and if I liked it.....keep it. If not try the 700. Either way they are both fantastic projectors to get started with. Another great one is the Sanyo Z3. It is similar to the 700 but can be had for a bit cheaper. It does not have the great zoom lens but it is said to have even better PQ than the 700 with no vertical banding. Bulb life is always an issue with Sanyo though. Best of luck to you.
     

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