Another "should I go FP?" thread

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Josh~H, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    I posted this over on hometheaterspot.com, but I think they don't like me because I'm not yet a paid member. [​IMG]

    Reading about all these 80"+ diagonal screens is making me very excited -- and my wife very nervous. I love the picture of my teensy-tiny Tosh 42H81, but I could certainly imagine being seduced by the super large picture provided by a FP system. I haven't decided on my exact spending limits yet, but it will probably be less than $3,000. My concern is in finding out whether a FP system will even work with the dimensions of my HT room.

    Here's a .pdf of my current setup: My humble HT

    I'm currently sitting a very distant 9' from my 42" Tosh, so the good news is that I probably won't need to adjust my seating position much when I double the screen size. :grin: The screen of my TV is about 2.5' from the wall, so my current seating position would be 11-12' from a screen placed against the far wall.

    The potentially tricky aspect here is that I have a drywall-covered I-beam that goes across the width of the room, and sits directly above the current seating area. The wood/drywall frame that surrounds the I-beam protrudes 10" down from a 7.5' ceiling. The rearmost end of the frame is 4' from the rear of the room, and it reaches forward 19". When seated, my head is about equidistant between the most rearward and most forward portion of the frame.

    Sometimes a picture can help, so here are a couple...the first is from the rear of the room:

    [​IMG]

    And this one is from in front of the sofa, looking back towards the rear L speaker:

    [​IMG]

    So my questions are:

    (1) Are the dimensions of my room suitable for a FP? i.e., with the available seating position -- I'd really like to keep the sofa in front of the rear L/R speakers slightly, which gives me about 12' to the front wall -- would a FP be able to produce a large image without too much screen-door? My HT is in my basement with zero ambient lighting if I choose, so I shouldn't have problems with contrast.

    (2) I'm leaning towards ceiling-mounted. I'm worried that a large image (80"+ diagonal) can only result from placing the projector behind the I-beam frame (12+ feet from the screen), and that would mean the I-beam could get in the way of the projection. Is this concern valid?

    (3) The picture from my Tosh looks almost crystal clear from 9' away. Will a twice-as-large picture at 11-12' be significantly less detailed to a fairly picky eye? Keep in mind my $3,000 limitation -- I'm sure a $10,000+ projector can produce a beautiful image at that size/distance.

    (4) I'm using my TV at the moment as follows: 50% DVD, 40% TV/HDTV, 10% Xbox/GC. Is a FP projector in my price-range capable of performing well for those duties?

    Feel free to answer any subset of my questions that you can...or none if you prefer. BTW, I'm just dying to be sold on the FP idea, and I can't wait to conjure up a good argument to convince my wife. [​IMG]

    Thanks for your assistance.
     
  2. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Yes! FP is way cool, and does not have to be that expensive! With your setup, you could have a fixed screen mounted up against the lowered part of your ceiling. For your seating distance a 100" (Stewart) or 106" (DaLite) screen would be great, or make your own by painting the wall or getting a Parkland Plastic sheet.

    Only problem is that to get the image to the top of the the wall behind the lowered ceiling, you'd have to have the PJ mounted lower - perhaps on a table at your seating position or shelf on the back wall - depending on the throw lenght of the PJ you select. There are several PJ's in your price range that should do good for you!

    Gordon
     
  3. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Oops, I did not get the layout right. Didn't look at the pictures closely enough. At 12', I'm guessing a short throw PJ (like many out there) will give you bigger than 90", while a longer throw (like Sanyo PLV-70 or Sony HS10)will max out less than that. You'll have to surf some specific PJ's to get a feel for that. The Sony HS10 is in your price range and is supposed to be a great PJ! The Sanyo Z1 or Panasonic L300U would be significantly less and are shorter-throw PJ's. For a really low cost option, the X1 (there's a long thread about it on this board somewhere -I forget the mfg) is a good DLP unit. There are a good number of good options in your price range.

    Gordon
     
  5. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Gordon -

    After reading your post, I checked out the Panasonic 300u, Infocus X1, and Sony HS10. Wow, the X1 seems to be a real value for the $$, but I really like the sound of the 1/4 HD Panny. I've read a few reviews that claim the 300u actually outperforms the HS10 in most of the important categories too, although I'd like to see this for myself.

    Hmmm...the 300u seems like a great unit, and I see there's a current thread on this. I'll have to give it further consideration. Tough to beat that X1 $1000 price though!
     
  6. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    An 80"-90" 16x9 image from a mount of 12' is a fairly long throw. The Sony HS10 will probably fit the bill as far as that is concerned. The typical digital projector will have a shorter throw thus yielding an image of approx 90"-110" from that mounting distance. With a $3K budget you can get a very decent projector so if it were my HT, I would budget most of that for the projector and cables and make my own screen.

    Screen door will depend on the pj. I can tell you that at 12' I see no screendoor in my setup - Sony 11HT @ 96" with a 1366x768 resolution.

    Keep in mind that if you pick a decent projector and set it up right, it will outperform your RPTV (my opinion)

    Also, some projectors are front ported and others rear ported so you will need adequate space aound the unit for cooling. If you mount the projector behind the I-beam then it may interfere with the Sony HS10 cooling for instance. You could probably mount a shorter throw projector in front of the I-beam and achieve your 90" image.

    With the 50% DVD, 40% TV/HDTV, 10% Xbox/GC, a unit like the Panasonic L300U will be a nice choice considering its long bulb life of 4000 hours. Lots of TV watching will obviously lace more hours of usage on the bulb.
     
  8. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Also make a note do you want 4:3 native or 16:9 native. The infocus X1 is 4:3 native.
    The Sanyo and Panny are both 16:9 native. Something to think about.
     
  9. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Neil -

    Thanks for the input. I hadn't considered the front- vs rear-ported issue. It looks like a short-throw would want to be just in front of the I-beam (possibly causing problems for a rear ported unit), while a long-throw would want to be just behind it (problems for front ported units). Ah well, I can likely work something out with the choices of projector available and various ceiling-mounted heights.

    Now Neil, do you really think that the quality of the FP image can rival/exceed that of the RP? I mean, my standards for quality are probably relatively low since I only have a $1,500 Tosh 42H81, but I'm constantly impressed by how the picture looks on it. For instance, I watched Monster's Inc. DVD last night, and I was just blown away by how sharp the image was. I had just performed a 56-point convergence just prior to viewing, and this particular DVD produced the best picture I've ever seen on my set -- even better than 1080i. If a FP unit, including the budget X1 and 300u units, can match this level of clarity, I'm going to go out and buy one tomorrow. [​IMG]

    Let me ask a simple FP question for anybody to answer: is the size of the projected image only a function of PJ-to-screen distance? Or do some/most/all units have a way to scale the image given a fixed distance from the screen?

    Again, thanks for your patience with my newbie concerns.
     
  10. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Hi again, Josh!
    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the PQ of a decent front PJ! You should be able to buy one tomorrow. [​IMG]

    As for the distance question - all PJ's have an optical zoom funtion that will fill a range of screen screen sizes at a particular mounting distance. Conversely, this also gives you a range of mounting distances for a given screen size (duh!). Projector Central has a distance calculator to get the range of screen sizes. Pick a projector and on it's data page you'll find it. A call to any seller will give you the same info.

    Good luck!!
    Gordon
     
  11. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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  12. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i'm sure the X1 is a 'decent' projector in the $1K range, but i would define 'decent' as under $5K.
    i would say from what i've seen, NECs HT1000 at $3500 is excelant for HT being that it runs whisper quiet, has a faster colorwheal for greatly reduced rainbow effect, has great optics with a decent zoom, renders blacks well, has DCDi, many parameters are adjustable- including powerful keystoning features (which would allow you to table mount the pj outside of the sweet spot and still maintain a perfectly squared up picture).
    the NEC LT240 & 260 are also very decent sharing some (but not all) of the features of the HT1000 and running about $700-$1K less.
    these are all XGA resolution.
    something like the X1 is SVGA.

    if you keep the screen size down, and don't mind the nosie ( which is only a problem during quiet passages), the X1 will probably be fine, but there are very good reasons to budget a little more- reasons you will understand and value once the inital 'wow' factor has subsided.
     

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