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Best projector under $4,500?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jack Spencer, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    If I have a ~$4,500 budget for a front projector, what should I buy? I want a minimum of 120" screen (16:9), but would prefer if the projector can throw larger for future expansion.

    My room is 21' x 16.5', screen & couch located to give me about 19 to 20 feet distance between the two. Is 120" an appropriate size for a screen?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Mike Wladyka

    Mike Wladyka Supporting Actor

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    How much light control do you have?

    have you been to www.projectorcentral.com ? lots of good info there. i think the benq8700 is around your price range. it looks very nice.
     
  3. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    I "sort of" have light control. I have five large windows in the room. All have blinds on them, but they are not "total blackout". During the day, enough light comes through that you can still plainly see what is going on. Actually the room turns a grey-ish color due to the color of the blinds.

    I can watch my 65" RPTV just fine like this, but I can see reflections from the blinds off the screen protector.
     
  4. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    Am I wrong to focus primarily on lumens when selecting a projector? I'm looking at projectorcentral and really like the Mits XD300U due to 2100 lumens and 4000 hour lamp life. It seems like these 1000 and 1200 lumen projectors would just be too dim.

    But I don't know a whole lot about projectors, that's why I'm asking for help. [​IMG]
     
  5. Bob Elliott

    Bob Elliott Agent

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    Jack,

    I have been hunting projectors for about 6 months and so far all roads come back to the XD300U. Now I am shopping round for the best price. I think I am going to wind up paying around $2250.

    I am also looking gfor lumens because I don't have a totally dark room to work with. I can't find a better deal than this projector. If you do find something better be sure and let me know.

    Bob
     
  6. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Real Name:
    Neil Joseph
    Do not focus primarily on the lumen output. A lot of them have very high brightness but less than satisfactory black levels and contrast ratio..
     
  7. Mike Wladyka

    Mike Wladyka Supporting Actor

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    Note for those without total light control. Look around your room during the daytime, preferably at a white wall and note that the color of that wall will be darkest black you will get during the daytime. As Neil said, don't focus primarily on the lumen numbers, besides being a lot higher than you will use your projector at, it will hurt black levels during night time viewing.

    I guess the next question would be if you see rainbows on DLP projectors? if you do, then look at such projectors as Sanyo Z2 and Panny 500.
     
  8. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    I don't know if I see rainbows or not. I've never really watched a DLP projector on a proper screen.

    Can someone tell me the pros & cons of the BenQ PE8700+ vs the Sanyo PLV-70? I'm leaning toward the Sanyo now primarily based on the review here (thebigpicturedvd.com/bigequipment17.shtml). I like the nice bright screen even with the lights on... Is this normal for most projectors, or unique to the Sanyo? Everyone talks about how dark things have to be to see anything, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

    Granted most of my movie/TV watching will be at night, but there will be some daytime/evening stuff and I don't want my setup to be useless during these times.

    Edit: Nevermind, looks like the Sanyo is not HDCP compliant... So not a "real" HD projector. Should I just get the BenQ? Will the picture be as bright as that review of the Sanyo shows? Is there something else I might want instead?

    Sorry for all of the questions. I just want to make the right decision here and being my first projector purchase I really don't know what to look for.
     
  9. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Jack,
    If you can find a hi fi store that has some FP's and then look at the following:

    What Screen size do you want?

    Short throw or long throw projector?

    LCD or DLP?

    Inputs? What do you need?

    The benq seems to be a hot buy at the price it can be found....

    Look at this link that compares the Benq,Sanyo,mits

    http://www.projectorpeople.com/homet...170&do=compare
     
  10. Mike Wladyka

    Mike Wladyka Supporting Actor

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    that is what we and this board are here for, to help others.
     
  11. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I've seen the BenQ 8700+ up close and personal at a Denver projector shootout. It has a very short throw and a pretty dim picture in comparison to some DLP HD2+ projectors out there. Quite dim in fact if you use anything but a brilliant white screen on 110" and above.

    If true HD resolution isn't an absolute must for you then the widescreen Infocus 5700 (ask for one with the new color wheel berring) is pretty darn impressive and is streeting for less than your budget. For a large 120" diagonal screen it is plenty bright (you may want to use either a FireHawk or Flat White or 1.3 gain screen rather than anything of high gain to render better blacks).

    If you don't mind last year's technology, but want 1280x720p resolution and ~90% of the perceived quality of a newer HD2+ Infocus 7205, then go with Infocus' 7200 which may be found just over your budget. Also get one with the new color wheel berring. A FireHawk or similar high contrast screen may be best for the 7200 especially.

    Remember, as the bulb life diminishes so does the brightness level, so you want to take that into consideration. The BenQ's bulb was brand new and it would only get dimmer with age.

    Most of the newer Infocus projectors can take a Neutral Density filter attached to the lens to knock down some of the brightness and improve contrast ratios, and then you'd take it off as the bulb ages.

    Infocus also makes fairly long throw lenses so the unit does not have to sit just above or in front of your seating area if noise is a concern of yours. Another benefit of a brighter projector and longer throw lens: adding a horizontal stretching anamorphic lens (like the ISCO-II or Prismasonic H-1000) for 2.35:1 ratio constant height, variable width screens... the ultimate in home theater presentations! [​IMG]

    As you may have noticed I haven't mentioned LCD technology projectors once in this posting. That's because if you don't suffer from seeing rainbow artifacts with the newer DLP units, then you probably won't like all of the problems associated with LCD's like lower contrast ratios, more noticeable screendoor, more motion artifacts, Vertical Banding, a "dirtier" picture, and dead or dying pixels... not to mention misaligned panels.

    I've seen all of these projectors in action, and none of them are anything to sneeze at.

    Another thing to consider is whether or not you want to invest a good deal of cash knowing that there are 1920x1080p projectors heading our way. Of course, this can end up like the quandry of buying a computer with the lastest gadgets or not: there is always something better coming around the bend.

    That's one guy's opinion anyway
     
  12. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    Thank you for the replies.

    The InFocus 7200 and the BenQ 8700+ both put out 1000 lumens, so why would the InFocus be brighter? Is it because it is a "long throw" vs. the BenQ's "short throw"? Wouldn't the brightness be less the farther the image is thrown?
     
  13. Tyson Wetzel

    Tyson Wetzel Stunt Coordinator

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    The Hitichi PJ-TX100 is a great LCD projector option for $3k. We have one in the store and it looks great. Some screen door, but plenty of light output, great color, and the lens system is awesome. Secrets called it the best LCD projector yet.

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...04-part-1.html
     

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