Projector poll (well at least feed back)

Discussion in 'Displays' started by MikeMon, May 25, 2005.

  1. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    I wanted to do a poll to show which projector is the best one out of these, however I don't see that as an option for this thread so can you guys post feed back on the ranking order of these projectors.

    All projectors should be 16:9 and to my knowledge they are all the best entry level projectors out there. I also would like HD as an option. I know nothing about projectors but I am learning, I am still 2-3 weeks out from getting one so I hope I find what I want. My room is 15 wide and 22 long with an 7.5 ceiling I can mount the projector anywhere but the farther back the better I guess. My screen wall is recessed and the viewing area is 6 foot tall by 12 foot wide. Any help would be really cool.

    Here they are:

    Optoma H31
    ScreenPlay 4805
    InFocus X3
    BenQ PB6110
    NEC HT410
    Sanyo PLV-Z3 (not really an entry level projector but I like this one as well).
     
  2. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    From everything I've read, the 4805 is probably the best of that group of 5. The X2 probably should be on the bottom of the list, because it is more like a business projector.

    The Z3 is in a different class. If you were viewing more HDTV than DVDs, it would maybe be a better choice.

    Jason
     
  3. Todd Hostettler

    Todd Hostettler Second Unit

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    Love, love, LOVE my 4805.
     
  4. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason do you have screen shots of the 4805? If so can you give me a little more detail on the unit? Is it HD ready? and is it 16:9 and also how big is your screen and how far back is it mounted?

    I have plenty more to ask if you don't mind?

    [​IMG]

    thanks guys
     
  5. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    It's HD-ready, yes. It'll take in a 1080 signal and downconvert it to 480 (don't let the resolution fool you -- only the most expensive HDTV sets go over 720 yet anyway, and NO projectors). It's 16x9 native and I use it for HDTV via DirecTV. It looks terrific, and the best 1080i programs from Discovery HD and HDNet blow away DVD. And the DVD looks fantastic, so that's saying a lot.

    You might also want to do a search in this forum on the 4805, and check out this thread over at the AV Science Forum:
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=414103
     
  6. todbnla

    todbnla Screenwriter

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    4805, 4805, did I say 4805?[​IMG] See my pics in my gallery, in particular the Star Wars pics on page 3, they were taken from a 1080i feed of Discovery HD theater, the picture was stunning. My setup is NOT calabrated using any formal manner. Considering these can be purchased in the $1000-1100 price range now I suppose, why would you want to spend any more money? Really, how much better can it be, really? That was why I could not justify a plasma, can the picture really be $1-3k better, I don't think so. I can buy a lot of dvds with that extra money. [​IMG]
     
  7. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    Can more people show me screen shots and tell me how far from the screen you sit and how far from the screen you mounted the projector and last of all how big is your screen?

    Thnx... I saw they recommend a 90 inch screen and I want a bigger one if possible so I am just looking for feedback.
     
  8. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    OK You have helped me to decide to get a 4805, thnx guys....

    Next round of questions:
    1. I see it needs to be ceiling mounted about 13 - 15 feet back in order to get 90 - 100 inch screen. I need to know what other people have experienced with this?
    I want as close to 100 as I can get my seating area is about 12 feet for the first row and 16 feet for the second row. If I have the screen at 100+ will I see artifacts in the images?

    Any help would be grate...

    from projector central:

    Ideal image size. Even though projectors such as the SP4805 can throw quite large images, the combination of lower lumen output and low resolution mean that the best image quality is achieved with a smaller image size. We would encourage users to think in terms of a 90" diagonal 16:9 screen size for optimum results. Though this is not as large as many projectors can handle at peak efficiency, the beautiful contrast, shadow detail, and color saturation you get with a 90" screen is amazing. It looks essentially like a 90" plasma TV. Of course they don't make plasmas that big, but if they did they would be many tens of thousands of dollars. Yet the SP4805 delivers essentially the same image quality for a mere $1500. Can you go larger than 90"? Of course you can. But we are thoroughly impressed with the sparkling and beautifully integrated image we get from this unit at 90".
     
  9. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    You might want to push that front row back another foot or two if you can -- that may be right on the edge. The problem's not really "artifacts" per se, but the "screen door effect" -- like looking at the image through a screen door because you can see the rectangular pixel elements clearly defined.

    SDE has a tendency to appear very suddenly as you move closer to the screen -- it's not really a gradual thing, but rather a sharp demarkation. I have a 72" screen and at that size I can just pick them out at about 9 feet. At 10 feet I can just catch a hint of it. At 11 feet it's perfect.

    Unfortunately the exact distance where you can make out SDE varies by person (eyesight). My wife can't see it at 9', but to me it's disturbing at that distance.

    The good news is that it doesn't ramp up from width as quickly as you might think (perhaps because as you enlarge the image it also dims, but the black line is always black, so as the image gets larger the difference between the two becomes less significant). So you may be fine at 12 feet/100". But this is purely subjective territory here -- you're just going to have to play around with it and see.
     
  10. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    I can move it back a bit Ill just need to cut the riser back is all. I would feel better if someone that has a 100" screen would chime in and let me know what specs I need in order to get what I want.


    Thanks
    Mike
     
  11. DonRC

    DonRC Stunt Coordinator

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    If you don't mind adding a bit to your budget, you might also consider some of the 720p projectors that are available at very reasonable prices these days so you can have high def.

    Some options in that category are:

    LCD: Panasonic AE700U, Sony HS51
    DLP: Toshiba MT700, BenQ PE7700, Sharp XV-Z2000 (the first two are essentially clones - both made by BenQ)

    For what it's worth...

    Don
     
  12. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    man I wish I could swing any of those, there at leasat 3 times the cost of the 4805 though. Anyhting in the 1500.00 price range?


    [​IMG]
     
  13. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    Any thoughts on the Sanyo PLV-Z3 ??? The more I read about this the more I like it. How does it compare to the 4805 better or worse?


    I am going to make these my 2 candidates one or the other....
     
  14. DonRC

    DonRC Stunt Coordinator

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    You can't get quite down to that, I don't think, but the Panasonic currently has a $200 rebate going on it. If you shop around a bit you can get pretty close to the $1500 mark if you talk about after-rebate cost.
     
  15. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    Which is a better deal between the Sanyo PLV-Z3 and the Panasonic AE700U? The z3 i can get for less than 1700.00 might even find it for 1500.00.
     
  16. Gerald LaFrance

    Gerald LaFrance Supporting Actor

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  17. PaulDF

    PaulDF Second Unit

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    Wow, he makes the Z3 look pretty good! Any comparisons to the Panny 700?
     
  18. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    I went w/ the 4805 and glad i did! Click on my link for screen shots. My screen is 88", i sit 17ft from the screen, and from the lens to the screen 11ft 10 inches.
     
  19. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    Im still up in the air but I have a week to figure it out. I like the price of the 4805, I like the quality and throw of the AE700, The Z3 seems to be as nice as the AE700 minus throw and its a not as bright.... 200 or so less as well. I guess it all depends on the botom line, if I can get a Z3 or an AE700 for the 14-1500.00 or so range Ill take one or the other.... Other wise even if I get the 4805 it sounds like I will be happy.


    [​IMG]

    Review from the projector site:


    Panasonic AE700 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z3
    Evan Powell, October 19, 2004
    ProjectorCentral.com

    Having posted reviews of the Panasonic AE700 and the Sanyo PLV-Z3 and listed them both on our Highly Recommended list, readers will want to know how they stack up against each other. They are both great products for the money, and each has features the other does not. If you are looking for a low cost, high resolution LCD projector, read on. Hopefully this comparative write-up will help you decide on a product that is just right for you.

    Before getting to the differences between them, we should say that the AE700 and the PLV-Z3 have a lot in common. Both are native 1280x720 resolution LCD projectors, with high contrast ratings of 2000:1. Both have HDMI and component video inputs, and both take the wide array of common video, HDTV, and computer signals people are using these days. Both units are small, portable, and have reduced fan noise compared to their respective prior generation products. Both have zoom lenses with horizontal and vertical lens shift, and both have vertical keystone adjustment in case you need it (which we always hope you won't).

    A detailed listing of every feature these products have in common would require a duplications of both Owner's Manuals, which is beyond the scope of this article.

    In terms of installation, you have four options for setting up these units for front projection. These projectors may be table mounted, stand mounted behind your seating area, bookcase or shelf mounted on a rear wall, or ceiling mounted. With both units you will be better off if you can position the projector so that the horizontal and vertical lens shifts are used to their minimum in order to use the sweet spot of the lens. Usually either rear shelf or stand mounting behind the seating area will help you achieve this. Table and ceiling mounting will often require more lens shift to hit the desired screen location.


    Noteworthy Differences

    The AE700 is inherently brighter than the Z3. There is no way to state how much brighter since user options for setting up the picture heavily influence lumen output on both units. For example, the Z3 has a Theater Black lamp mode which cuts lumen output to gain better black level performance. In this mode the Z3's color saturation is maximized and black level is marginally better than the AE700. However, in Theater Black mode the Z3's lumen output is about half that of the video-optimized AE700. Thus the AE700 delivers a brighter image with crisper highlights. Taking the Z3 out of Theater Black mode increases its lumen output by about 1/3, but the image is not as high in contrast and color saturation. When the Z3 is not in Theater Black mode, the AE700 has the better overall contrast, black level, and color saturation in addition to higher lumen output.

    Despite the edge in lumen output offered by the AE700, buyers should not assume that its brightness advantage will make it more suitable for use in ambient light. Yes, for any given screen size the AE700 will be less affected by the presence of a limited amount of ambient light. But both of these units require a dark room for best performance. The additional brightness of the AE700 will enable the user to go to a larger screen without sacrificing as much overall image snap—say 100" to 110" diagonal. If the user is intending to use the Z3 in Theater Black mode for optimum image dynamics, we would suggest a limit of about 90" diagonal in order to avoid too much light dilution on the screen. (By the way, this is a matter of personal taste—some people are not as bothered by contrast reduction in ambient light as others, and can be quite satisfied to watch the AE700 with lights on.)

    Color performance is another area where these two units differ. Overall the AE700 has incrementally better color processing. Both look good standing alone on the screen, but side by side the AE700 has an edge in natural color reproduction. Flesh tones in particular have an incremental realism that we cannot get from the Z3.

    On the other hand, the AE700 has a couple of flaws as well. The AE700 manifests much more signal noise than does the Z3. The Z3's image is smooth and clean, whereas the noise on the AE700 can produce a slightly grainy, unstable effect, and smaller details in the image can appear ill-defined. However, the AE700 has a noise reduction (NR) filter to compensate for this. It normally defaults to the Off position, but the NR filter cleaned up the noise artifacts quite effectively without appearing to compromise the picture in any negative way. With the NR filter on, the AE700 delivers as stable an image as does the Z3.

    Some subtle vertical banding (VB) is also present on our AE700, while it is entirely absent from the Z3. As reported in the review, for the most part VB is not visible on the AE700 with normal video material on the screen. Though not dramatic, it can be detected in low contrast mid-tones. It is most visible in gray field test patterns in the 30 to 60 IRE range. The Z3 displays these patterns without any hint of banding.

    In practical usage, the VB phenomenon is not visible on the AE700 except when low contrast, untextured mid-tone values comprise a large percentage of the image. For example, we saw it appear in passing from time to time on The Lion King, since the animated material lacks the typical texture of real world video and film. We saw it also on an HD soccer broadcast when the entire green soccer field filled the frame and the camera panned across it. So for the most part the AE700 is free of this artifact, but it can appear on occasion, whereas it is absent entirely on the Z3.

    Due to the high resolution of their LCD panels and small interpixel gap, there is no screendoor effect on either product. Of the two, the Z3 has a slightly more distinct pixel structure. Therefore pixelation is less visible on the AE700 than it is on the Z3 from any close viewing distance. However, pixelation is so muted on both of them that it is not a factor from typical viewing distances.

    On a final note regarding image characteristics, I want to correct an error in the initial AE700 review in which I reported that scaling of standard definition material looked a bit soft. It did indeed look soft at the time. However, in the days since that review we have worked more with the AE700, in particular doing side by side display with the Z3. We cannot replicate the conditions under which that perceived softness was occurring. The image now looks as sharp as can be expected, and based upon what we see today we would describe the scaling as excellent. As reported earlier our Z3 delivers a very sharp image in standard definition. However in side by side viewing with the Z3 the AE700 actually edges the Z3 in image sharpness.


    Installation/ownership issues

    As discussed in the reviews of these two units, the AE700 and the PLV-Z3 present somewhat different installation scenarios. A primary difference between them is that the AE700 has a 2.0x zoom range that will throw a 100" diagonal image anywhere from 10 to 20 feet. Meanwhile the Z3 has a 1.3x zoom range, and a 100" diagonal image can be managed only within 10 to 13 feet throw distance. This gives the AE700 some additional flexibility to install it on a shelf or bookcase on a rear wall some distance behind the seating area.

    For those whose rooms allow options on projector placement, a longer throw distance is the better choice. That is because you want to create a narrow cone of projected light so that the light strikes the screen from edge to edge as close to perpendicular as possible. This will produce a more even reflection of light from the screen. Ideally, we like to avoid the extreme ends of the zoom range also since lenses tend to be less optically efficient at their extremes. Therefore, as an example if you were planning to install the AE700 to accommodate a 100" screen and you could choose anywhere between ten and twenty feet throw distance, then somewhere in the range of about 18 feet would be an optimum placement for best overall results. (There appears to be a subtle increase in pixelation on the AE700 at the extreme long end of the lens which goes away quickly as you move the lens a bit away from the end point.)

    On the other hand, between the two projectors the Z3 has greater vertical lens shift range—100% of the picture height vs. just 63% of the picture height on the AE700. That means that for those planning a coffee table or ceiling mount installation, the Z3 has more flexibility to place the image at the desired position on the wall. In the case of both projectors you should avoid the extreme ends of the lens shift range if possible, since once again these are points at which the lens is least efficient. Nevertheless, the Z3 has more flexibility in this regard.

    On the Z3 Sanyo has incorporated a unique ability to clear dust that might accumulate on the LCD panels, thus avoiding a periodic trip to the service center. All projectors without sealed light engines may at some point manifest a problem with dust particles landing on the display panels or chips. We cannot realistically assess the propensity for any given projector to be susceptible to this. However, operation in dusty environments or without regular cleaning of the air filter will increase the chances of dust landing on a display panel and creating a soft, indistinct spot on the screen. Sanyo's novel approach to user maintenance on this is a welcome new development. We hope other vendors will follow suit in addressing what can be a periodic nuisance for projector users.

    With regard to lamp life, Panasonic quotes 3000 hours on the AE700. Sanyo does not as a matter of policy quote lamp life on any of its projector products, on the grounds that lamp life will vary based upon environment and usage. This is true of all projectors with high pressure lamps, not just Sanyo products. Furthermore a rating of a certain lamp life does not guarantee that the lamp will last that long. Absent further data, we suspect that the lamp in the Z3 could be expected to last as long as any lamp rated at 2000 hours, and this is the assumption we would make if we were considering the purchase of a Z3 ourselves.


    Conclusion

    The Panasonic AE700 and the Sanyo PLV-Z3 are both excellent products that push the envelope on LCD technology. They are both capable of delivering beautiful HDTV and DVD images in high resolution with their 1280x720 LCD panel format.

    The AE700 sells for a few hundred dollars more than the Z3. Based upon our comparative review, this price differential is justified. The AE700 can deliver a brighter image while retaining excellent contrast and color saturation, and it offers some unique flexibility for shelf mounting with its longer zoom lens.

    Nevertheless, the Sanyo Z3 may be the better choice for those who want to ceiling mount or table mount their projector since the lens shift affords more range of image placement. Setting the unit on a table between the viewing seats or on a coffee table is a simple way to get started in home theater, and it is easy to remove the projector from the room when not in use. Those who have a dark viewing room may wish to take advantage of the Theater Black operating mode to maximize the black level, contrast, and color saturation potential that the Z3 is capable of.

    These are great times for projector buyers. We've never had so many great, inexpensive home theater projectors on the market. It is not surprising that consumers are moving past the big-screen TV and going for the larger scale theater experience at a more rapid pace than anyone had ever expected.


    Follow these links for dealers and specs for the products mentioned above:

    Panasonic PT-AE700U (dealers on ProjectorCentral)
    Sanyo PLV-Z3 (dealers on ProjectorCentral)




    [​IMG]
     
  20. MikeMon

    MikeMon Stunt Coordinator

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    Also the 4805:


    InFocus Screenplay 4805 for Home Theater
    Evan Powell, September 3, 2004
    ProjectorCentral.com

    At a retail price of just $1499, the Screenplay 4805 is Infocus' current offering in the economy range of home theater and home entertainment projectors. Though it has a few incidental flaws, it delivers a beautiful, very high contrast image for the money. It represents an excellent value in today's market, and it is another strong model in Infocus' formidable line up of high performance video projectors.


    Product Overview

    The 4805 features a 16:9 format DLP chip in 854x480 resolution, and a six-segment, 4x speed color wheel. As is typical with many home theater projectors these days, the lumen output is relatively low, rated at a maximum of 750 ANSI lumens. However, contrast is a very high 2200:1. Therefore, for best results the unit should be used in a darkened viewing space with little or no ambient light.

    Lens and throw distance. Manual zoom and focus with a 1.2x zoom range. A 100" diagonal 16:9 image is obtained in the range of about 13 to 15.5 feet (based upon our measurements, as of this writing the throw distance calculations for this model on the Infocus website are off by about a foot at 100" diagonal).

    Lamp. Dual mode 160W/200W SHP with up to 4000-hour lamp life in low power mode.

    Compatibility. DVI (HDCP), component and RGB HDTV 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i, and computer resolutions up to XGA (1024x768). NTSC, PAL, SECAM.

    Connection panel. Located on the rear of the unit. Inputs include one set of 3 RCAs for HDTV and component progressive and interlaced signals; one M1 port that takes DVI (HDCP), HDMI (with adapter), RGB and component HDTV; one S-video port; one composite video jack. In addition there is one set of stereo RCA audio inputs and a 12v trigger for screen drop.

    Brightness uniformity. Very good, with illumination perfectly even across the left two-thirds of the screen and fading no more than 15% toward the right edge.

    Warranty. Two years.


    Performance

    Contrast. The single most remarkable performance factor on the 4805 is its contrast, black level and shadow detail which is more than ample to produce that enthusiastic "WOW!" response that everyone wants from their friends when showing off their new home theater. This unit is rated at 2200:1. However the 4805 is noticeably higher in actual contrast than other projectors rated in the 2000:1 range. We continue to be amazed at how super high quality video that was available only in products of $10,000 or more at the turn of the century is now within easy reach of the average consumer. The image is beautiful at any price, but at under $1500 it is an outstanding value.

    Color balance. Color is represented in the marketing literature as being precalibrated to D65. While the color was fairly good and certainly watchable coming out of the box, we found that some simple adjustments were needed to get the beautiful color balance that the projector is capable of. We've been requested to provide calibration data in this review. We don't normally do this since calibrations vary by unit, by screen, by sources, etc. So our calibrations may or may not be helpful with your unit in your environment.

    With that as a caveat, we can say that out of the box at factory defaults our review sample had a subtle greenish bias. So we made some minor adjustments in gain and offset that produced a more balanced and satisfying color image. The factory defaults on RGB gain and offset are all 50. The changes we made to color balance were as follows: red gain, 54; green gain, 48; blue gain, 53; red offset, 52, green offset, 48; blue offset, 50.

    Brightness. As is typical with many home theater projectors, lumen output has been curtailed in exchange for higher contrast performance. There are two lamp power modes, low and high. In low mode the real lumen output for video content was about 350 lumens, and in high lamp mode it was 450 lumens. In either case the progressive scan input on component video produced about 10% more lumens on the screen than did the interlaced component input. This is plenty of light to produce a dazzling picture in a dark room, especially with its very high contrast. But image quality will degrade if image size is pushed too big, or very much ambient light is introduced into the equation.

    Fan noise. Fan noise is more of an issue on this model than on some competing units. In low power mode the fan noise can be describes as low and not much of a problem, though not as quiet as others we've seen lately. In high lamp mode the fan noise is definitely a factor to be concerned about. We would not operate this unit in high lamp mode for serious home theater viewing. On the other hand, if the kids are using the 4805 for video games, or you are using it as a photographic slide projector to show friends the pics of your recent trek to Machu Picchu, the higher fan noise is irrelevant.

    One related peculiarity on this unit is that a fan continues to run once the unit is powered off. It is much quieter than the fan noise in operation. But in a room where you might otherwise prefer silence, like a bedroom or reading room, it can be heard. The purpose of the secondary fan is to keep the power supply cool in standby mode. The only way to shut off is to cut off AC power to the unit. Thus if you are ceiling mounting this projector and you anticipate the need to turn it off completely, make sure to install it with an easy option to cut the power without having to climb a ladder.

    Keystone adjustments. [Updated 9/5] In the initial posting of this review we indicated that keystone was not working in ceiling mount mode. Several users wrote in to say they thought this was an error. So we went back and rechecked it. Upon further examination we find that keystone adjustments do work in ceiling mount mode after all, but the controls are very slow and not nearly as responsive as they are in table mount mode. Nevertheless, you can use keystone adjust it to accommodate a tilted projection angle if you need to.

    Pixelation. This is an SVGA class projector. That means pixelation is a bit more noticeable at any given viewing distance than it would be with XGA class machines. On this unit, visible pixelation in text and subtitles disappears at a viewing distance of about 2.0 times the screen width. In part for this reason we would recommend a placement of your seating in the range of 2.0 to 2.5 times the screen width.

    Ideal image size. Even though projectors such as the SP4805 can throw quite large images, the combination of lower lumen output and low resolution mean that the best image quality is achieved with a smaller image size. We would encourage users to think in terms of a 90" diagonal 16:9 screen size for optimum results. Though this is not as large as many projectors can handle at peak efficiency, the beautiful contrast, shadow detail, and color saturation you get with a 90" screen is amazing. It looks essentially like a 90" plasma TV. Of course they don't make plasmas that big, but if they did they would be many tens of thousands of dollars. Yet the SP4805 delivers essentially the same image quality for a mere $1500. Can you go larger than 90"? Of course you can. But we are thoroughly impressed with the sparkling and beautifully integrated image we get from this unit at 90".

    Lamp life. One final point worthy of note is the long lamp life, up to 4000 hours in low power mode. No matter what projector you buy, replacement lamps are not cheap (usually $300 to $400). Most projectors need a new lamp every 2000 hours. So a 4000-hour lamp is a significant advantage to consider in your long-term cost of ownership.


    Conclusion

    InFocus has produced another superb video projector. At this rate the company runs the risk of becoming a truly dominant force in the home theater projector market. The 4805 is a strong offering at an aggressive price, and we highly recommend it as an entry level projector. If you are thinking of buying a new 60" HDTV television, save some money and get a bigger picture with the 4805 instead. Note that manufacturers typically do not include all cables and adapters that everyone might need to hook up projectors to their sources. So talk through your intended set up with a knowledgeable A/V dealer and make sure to order the appropriate accessories. That will save you time and aggravation.


    Follow these links for dealers and specs for the products mentioned above:

    InFocus ScreenPlay 4805 (dealers on ProjectorCentral)
     

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