Budget for FP $10k, what/when should I buy?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Kim D, Aug 15, 2003.

  1. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been wanting a Projector for ages. My husband is fine with our Mitsubishi 55805 but I would love to have a 100" screen.

    So I've been reading up a bit and Sanyo's PLV-70 looks pretty good. Especially the price. MSRP $8995 but I see it for half that price on various websites. I love getting a bargain and that's definitely part of the attraction.

    With a max budget of $10k (but I would prefer to spend ~7k), what should I buy? Or should I wait to see what comes out of CEDIA?

    Any suggestions other than projector central for researching?

    Thanks
    - kim
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Use your time between now and Cedia to do your research. Prices may come down too. For now though, I would personally be looking at the batch of HD2 DLP's like the Toshiba MT8U, Sharp XVZ1000U, Infocus 7200 and combine either with a nice Stewart Firehawk Deluxe screen.
     
  3. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you for the advice. I seem to remember reading about the HD2 when it was first announced and it had since slipped my mind.

    Off to research!

    - kim
     
  4. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Hi Kim!,
    I'm a very happy PLV-70 owner and can highly recommend it. I had the chance to put it up against the Infocus 7200 in a dealer's showroom onto a Stewart Grayhawk and everyone present preferred it's picture (to judge by the sudden silence on the parts of the sales guys [​IMG] ). It was literally night-and-day better. From all the posts about the 7200 and other HD2 based PJ's over at AVS, I have to believe that the dealer setup was flawed somehow. The PLV-70 can't be THAT much better. [​IMG]

    The PLV-70 has come down to the low $4K territory (I paid $5.3K in April), so it's a great deal! Remember to factor in the screen. If you can't swing a Stewart Grayhawk ($$$), look at the DaLite HiPower for this PJ ($$).

    All that aside, try to see as many as you can - perhaps in fellow enthusiasts homes in the Chicago area. Post here and at AVSForum asking for auditions in the Chicago area in the subject line. Drag your hubby along. He'll catch the bug, then you'll be off and running!

    It would not hurt to wait till after CEDIA, we've seen PJ prices tumble, that may indicate some new stuff being announced soon that will either be attractive in it's own right, or cause prices to descend even lower soon.

    Good luck!!

    Gordon
     
  5. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    One projector to consider, although when all is said and done it will probably be well outside your price range (but what a nice price range) is the JVC SX21, the projector I would highly consider had I 10G burning in my pocket. This is an LCOS projector, which JVC also calls a D-ILA. LCOS is kind of like a combination of LCD and DLP technologies. I haven't seen this particular projector but I have seen previous models and I was very, very impressed. It has become my dream projector. LCOS projectors are described as producing the most "film-like" display of all the digital projectors. It has the highest fill ratio, the best color, no (or nearly no) screen-door effect and no rainbows. Although it's a 4:3 projector, it's 16:9 mode has as much resolution as a dedicated 16:9 widescreen projector, so you get the best of both worlds. Check out this article and this SX21 review from Projector Central.

    Downside is a contrast ratio that is much less than DLP, unfortunately, so this projector is just short of video nirvana, and cost - it lists at $9,995 and there's a $10,995 model also (I don't know what the difference is). I haven't gotten serious enough to check out what actual street prices are but I wouldn't expect as big a discount as other projectors simply due to many fewer dealers. Adding a screen and cabling will put you over your stated budget. Bulb life and cost have always been a sore point with LCOS projectors, but JVC claims a bulb life of 2000 hours for this model - good enough for me, if true. If you want to go nutso and really break the bank, you could add a anamorphic lens to the package for the ultimate in digital projector resolution (don't even think about this right now).

    As I write this I'm trying to figure out where to get $10,000 - damn lottery keeps going to some fool who doesn't know what to do with his money. I would make an effort to check out this projector before deciding on something else (those Neil pointed out are really fine projectors).
     
  6. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    Gordon,

    I keep reading that the Stewart Grayhawk is pricey but just what does that mean? $500, $1000, $2000? I have no idea. If it can't be posted here, can someone PM me with a price range I can use for budgeting?

    I can't access AVSForum from work and with a dialup connection at home, it's just toooo slow to access. (I had DSL but my ISP went out of that business and I haven't gotten around to finding another provider.) It's been so long since I've visited that site, I can't find the info I need quickly enough on my connection.

    I am going to wait for CEDIA and that's tough for me to do. Once I get the bug to buy, get out of my way! My husband wants me to slow down so we can plan a remodeling project for our media room but I just want to get it and worry about how it looks later!

    - kim
     
  7. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    Alan,

    Thanks for the links. I've printed off the article. It's been a long time since I've heard D-ILA mentioned and I'm looking forward to adding one more possibility to the mix.

    - kim
     
  8. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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  9. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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  10. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    That definitely helps.

    Wow.

    What an expensive hobby I picked!

    - kim
     
  11. Christer W.

    Christer W. Extra

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    Kim,

    Curious why you have picked the price range you come up with. Have you seen these projectors in action? While I can already hear the moans coming, I just wanted to share with you my experience.

    I originally thought that I would need to spend about 10K for my equipment for my HT. I based this on going to a high end dealer here in Salt Lake where I was shown all manner of fancy expensive toys. No doubt, I was impressed with the picture that the 10K Runco put out. The Rotel separates and B&W speakers were also a treat, but the audio side is another matter altogether.

    I then started to do some research and got turned on to AVS forum as well as this forum. What resources these are! Many of the threads dealt with display devices in all price ranges. CRT, LCD, DLP all have their champions.

    My "epiphany" came when I went to a local dealer who handles the whole gamut of gear from commercial broadcast equipment to plain old TV's. I had bought a DV cam from them and my salesperson was excited to show me the latest Sony unit, the HS-10 which was less than 3K! I was amazed! Looked great, and cost less. The real stunner was that they had it side by side with a Panasonic PT-L300 which was even less. It looked fantastic, better blacks mainly.

    Well, that started a total re-evaluation of my priorities. I went back to the high end dealer again and watched the Runco again as well as a Yamaha, both DLP's. They still looked amazing, but now I was less certain. Did they look 7,000 dollars better? It was obvious we were down to splitting some very fine hairs in comparing the high vs. the low.

    For my HT, I have complete light control, and as such do not need to compensate for ambient light, something the Sanyo PLV-70 does an outstanding job of. If your viewing environment is more of a multi-purpose room, that may be a deciding factor in what sort of PJ you will need.


    The long and the short of it was that I re-examined my needs. Determined that I was going to use this for DVD primarily - mostly new stuff. HD is sketchy here in Utah for now. Don't play games. So it came down to a 16:9 unit. Getting back to the PJ's I saw side by side. The Panasonic L300 was dazzling, but it is configured to scale to HD and is a little more money accordingly. They made an L200 which is/was the sales leader in Japan. It is optimized for DVD with a 858x484 panel. For 995 delivered, how wrong could I be? No one who has seen it in action at my home has not been dazzled. My room is not yet finished and so do not have all the pieces in place. Component video cables for one. Even running S-video through the internal de-interlacer looks very good. The screen door effect that people complain about is minimal, and is easily remedied with a slight defocus. Doesn't affect the sharpness of the picture.

    I am running it on a 54"x95" blackout cloth screen. I may treat the surface with a gray paint or perhaps Goo Systems paint, but not because it looks bad, but as something to try out.

    Maybe you have already seen these entry level PJ's in action and ruled them out. On the other hand if you have decided that because they deliver a bigger, better picture than a RPTV, they must cost more too, then you should at least try to see one of these in action. The current faves are Infocus X1, Panasonic L300, and Sanyo Z1.

    They are difficult to find on display. HT shops have no interest in displaying them. No margin, and to the casual eye, look compelling compared to their dramatically more expensive brothers. I am glad I made the effort.
     
  12. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Great post, Chris!!! Right-On!!
    Gordon
     
  13. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Kim:

    The PLV 70 is a great projector. But if you have good room control of ambient light then you can get buy with one of the projectors that does better in a darker room. The afore mentioned Infocus X1, Panasonic 300u and Sanyo Z1 are great places to start. Then you can go up from there and look into the Sony HS10.

    I got back from watching a great new DLP projector, the Infocus 5700 at it goes for about $5,000 list. It has an absolutely stunning picture and is very bright. This was shot on a 20 foot wide screen setting in the middle of a friend's back yard. Talk about going back to the drive in! Everyone that saw this puppy in action were blown away by it. One of the guys, that saw the Infocus, owns a Runco CRT based projector and he told me that it looks at front projection all day long and the picture that he was looking at from the Infocus rivaled his Runco. Not bad, eh?

    Also, I would look into DIY screens too. Ric P, Neil Joseph and others here on the board have built their own and have great suggestions on how to do so for little money.

    The bottom line is that you can get a great front projection system at about half of what you were willing to spend. You have come to the right place to get great suggestions and assistance with putting it all together.

    Parker
     
  14. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    Now that is an excellent question.

    A few years ago my husband wanted audio equipment and I wanted video. We had to start from scratch.

    The first question asked was always "How much do you want to spend?". Our answer was always "What's does it cost for a great system?". We had no idea what anything cost so how could we come up with a budget?

    I decided on the Mitsubishi 55805 and the Toshiba Progressive Scan DVD play (I remember it cost $1500).

    My husband decided on B&W speakers (I wanted him to get 802's but he bought the 601s I think). I know the rear speakers are different than the front/center. I have completely forgotten what the sub-woofer is.

    For his birthday, I bought him a Proceed Amp (I think it was $8k).

    So, looking at what we've already spent, $10k sounded right. $5k would be better.

    - kim
     
  15. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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  16. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Kim:

    It sounds to me like the Sanyo PLV-70 is the one to get then. It can be had for $4,399 from Projector People. They are a great group of people to deal with on top of that for before and after the sale.

    Jeff McNeal with The Big Picture DVD did a great review of the PLV 70 on his site with a lot of screen shots to show you how it looks in ambient light.

    Also check out Gordon Groff's Home Theater for pictures of his PLV 70 in use.

    Parker
     
  17. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    Parker

    I haven't finished looking at Jeff McNeal's review because I had to say THANK YOU. Yes, that's what I want! We never get total darkness and we want to be able to leave the blinds open now and then. When I play with my X-Box or PS2, I close all of the blinds because there are some games with such dark scenes that I can't see to play otherwise.

    The room is 20.5'long. The end of the room with the tv has a wonderful flat wall but it's narrower (by a critical 12" I think -- have to measure to be sure) because of the stairwell leading down to the first floor and up to the third floor. With a 100" screen I might have to move the speakers closer to the walls and my husband says that would be bad for the sound.

    On the other end are bookshelves flanking a fireplace that we don't use because our couch is three feet in front of it. We are thinking of putting the screen on this side and then we get the added bonus of someday using the fireplace.

    I believe the beams run lenghtwise so I won't be able to get the screen built-in unfortunately. I'm hoping there's something that can be done so that the screen can retract though and stick out below the ceiling (I'm willing to make some sacrifices). I obviously have not spent a lot of time researching screens but that is definitely next.

    Parker, you're making it so difficult to resist the urge to buy now! After all, could prices go down that much between now and November 17 (TTT EE)? I am so psyched to have something in place by August 26 (TTT TE).

    Thanks again!

    - kim
     
  18. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    Gordon,

    Your setup looks awesome. The screenshot of Frodo really pulled me in and it's just a screenshot of a big screen! I hope to not have to imagine how great it will look in person for very much longer.

    You did a great job!

    - kim
     
  19. Christer W.

    Christer W. Extra

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    Kim,

    Your western exposure kills the lower end PJ's as an option unless you opt for some extreme light control solutions. Too bad. When I put on Die Another Day last night with my newly acquired component cable running out of my Panasonic RP-56 DVD with the Faroudja processor, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Not only was the picture unbelievably good, I couldn't get over that I had spent less than a grand ($5 less, anyway) to get that picture!

    In my room which runs 23' long, I have my first row at 12' back. When I first got my L200, did not have component cable. S video looked great, but the screen door effect was noticeable, but not really objectionable either. The component cable really smoothed out the SDE. Unreal. So for me, the rule of thumb of 1.5x screen width for minumum seating distance holds true. Up on my riser three feet further back it is not noticeable at all.

    Good luck with your PJ. Check out the screens forum on AVS. Many creative solutions offered for a wide variety of problem rooms.
     
  20. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Chris. I haven't totally (well almost totally) given up on a
     

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