Advice on upgrading 4x3 projector

dougals

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
2
Real Name
douglas tobin
I am looking for advice on updating my projector. A little background: around 2006 I purchased a BenQ PB6200 projector (1024x768) hooked up to a HTPC. At the time, it was great for playing DVDs, I used TheaterTek as my player and it gave me the controls to tweak the colors, reposition the image for letterboxed content and full screen 4x3 content. I have an electric drop down 4x3 120" screen, so for video games I liked that it would fill up the entire screen. For widescreen movies I would raise the screen up so only 16x9 section was showing, and use Theater Tek to adjust the location on screen so you did not notice the black bars above and below. Later I added a blu-ray drive to the HTPC, and while it is not as snazzy as a full HD projector, the quality bump over DVD was noticeable and I was happy with it.
My current setup is not a dedicated home theater. It is my living room, which is rather small with challenging ambient lighting depending on time of day.. The room is about 10 feet wide and 12 feet deep. We sit 9 feet from the projector.
BenQ 6200 1024x768 projector
Distance from screen: ~11 feet
Screen aspect ratio: 4x3
120" drop down screen
Projector placed approximately 7 feet high
VGA input to HTPC
HTIB 5.1
Fast forward to today. After upgrading Power DVD, it no longer allows Blu-ray to play on analog displays (HDMI or other digital only). The PB 6200 has dust in-between the DLP chip and the lens which creates some visual artifacts in dark low-light scenes. I could downgrade software and crack open the projector to clean it out but I am thinking of using this all as an excuse to upgrade the projector to HD.
know I am in the minority here, but I really prefer a 4x3 aspect ratio to 16x9. But most HT projectors now are 16x9. I thought that there might be 2048 x 1536 projectors out there as an upgrade path for the 1024 x 768 but have not seen any. There are some 1400 x 1050s in the market, but those I have found are oriented towards medical imaging solutions, expensive and not good for HT setups.
If possible I would like to stay at 4x3 since my screen is set up for that aspect ratio, plus I find letter boxing widescreen content less distracting and unsatisfying than pillar boxing 4x3 on a native 16x9 display, since this would create a tiny 4x3 image in the middle of the screen. On the other hand, I really would like to have better pixel density than you get on an XGA display.
So my options are to get a 1920 x 1080p widescreen projector, or a newer 1024x768 projector that has modern inputs for HDMI for blu-ray.
My reasons to stick with 4x3:
+ Although I am sacrificing some potential quality, it will still be better than my six year old BenQ PB6200 which I honestly have been happy with until recently.
+ Cost is less -- seems like good 4x3 projectors can be had for well under $1k which is nice. If I go with a widescreen HT projector I would probably budget $2200.
+ My screen is an electric remote 4x3 which works to hide the screen when not in use. I am not going to go buy a 16x9 screen, so the widescreen devices would not take advantage of the whole screen like a 4x3 would. 4x3 content would be tiny or would need to be magnified 200% to fill the screen which might look too pixelated.
Should I give up on 4x3 and just go with a good 16x9, or is there a reasonable upgrade path you could recommend to me? I could spend as much as $2200 would not mind spending less for a moderate gain over my current set up.
I saw one projector that I thought might be a good choice, because it appears to do well with video content, has multiple inputs for old and new inputs, and does well in ambient light situations. What do you think of this $550 projector vs going 16x9 1080p, spending an extra $1000 or so to upgrade to full HD?
Epson PowerLite 93+ Projector
http://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_93+.htm
 

schan1269

HTF Expert
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
17,111
Location
Chicago-ish/NW Indiana
Real Name
Sam

schan1269

HTF Expert
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
17,111
Location
Chicago-ish/NW Indiana
Real Name
Sam
Now that is weird. You found that Epson...yet "setting the parameters to find it" (ie HDMI and 4:3) it doesn't show up in a search...
 

Jim Mcc

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2004
Messages
3,757
Location
Oconomowoc, WI.
Real Name
Jim
There's no nice way to put this, so I'll just say, ARE YOU CRAZY? Wanting to buy a 4:3 projector in 2012, almost 2013? What I would recommend is keep the screen and buy a 1080p, 16:9 projector. When you view a 4:3 source, drop the screen down further.
1) Do you want to stick with DLP?
2) Do you need lens shift?
3) Is 11' your throw distance?
 

dougals

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
2
Real Name
douglas tobin
Hi Jim,
I know 4x3 seems a bit of a throwback, but it's versatility is a plus for me. I like the ability to fill the screen from floor to ceiling if I want to vs. a short and wide viewable area. With the 4x3 I get a loss of quality for movies, but they still fit the screen. So an IMAX like 4x3 HD experience would be my preference if money were no object.
If I take your advice and get a 1080p projector how would you recommend magnifying it to play 4x3 content at full size on my screen? Would using a zoom lens to increase the image to take the full screen be too washed out or pixelated once you magnify it that much?
in answer to your questions
1) DLP vs LCD: I would probably be happier with LCD but am not opposed to DLP as long as the rainbow effect is not too pronounced (not sure if that is even an issue on current DLP projectors)
2) Lens shift would be an upgrade to my current setup which uses keystoning.
3) The projector is 11 feet now but I have some flexibility in moving it closer or further back if needed
 

Jim Mcc

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2004
Messages
3,757
Location
Oconomowoc, WI.
Real Name
Jim
When zooming using a 16:9 projector (making a 4:3 image larger) you can only go to a certain point, then you will run out of vertical screen space. Then you will have bars on both sides. Using the zoom will not affect image quality, but it will dim a little as you go larger.
Rainbows still affect a small % of people. You will not know until you try the projector. Make sure of the return policy before you buy.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
345,218
Messages
4,734,738
Members
141,414
Latest member
attlasrex