Projector Suggestions

Discussion in 'Displays' started by David_sabreman, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. David_sabreman

    David_sabreman Auditioning

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    I would like to get some opinions of a good projector for my HT room that I am planning.... the room is aprox 14.5 wide...18.5 long....and probably 9' ceilings.... I would like to project 8' wide on the front wall....a friend suggests I go DLP....the room will have no windows...so ambient light is no issue here....I would like to find a good projector unit for under $3K.....if less even better....I am just trying to watch my overall budget knowing that I need to buy a ton of stuff to complete the room.....

    thank you

    -Dave
     
  2. frankinG

    frankinG Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow. Your room is almost a mirror image of mine, but I have 20' front to back with the same 14' width and 9' ceiling height. Replies to new threads are light right now because of the summer months keeping people outdoors especially up here in the north where we have to take advantage of our short summer season. I am sure you will get some more ideas from the large forum base but I will give you some insight myself for a start.

    Yes, budget is important as the projector is just a link in the chain of products you need to have but it is a large and important one. If you have total light control and I mean total light control then contrast ratio,s over 2000-1 will not be a huge factor. The difference between 3000-1 and 2000-1 is minimal in the perceived viewing environment. The big factor here is if quality high definition viewing is important to you. This will require a 720p projector first of all. You will most likely want a projector with the following criteria.

    720p performance

    At least a 2000-1 contrast ratio

    1000-1200 advertised lumen output (300-450 calibrated)

    To get all this under 2000$ is driving you towards LCD projection. A DLP projector with these features is 3000$ and up. I do not want to get hit on the head by the DLP crowd so I will refrain from saying that LCD is better but just a better way to get the features you need for the price you want to pay.

    Your theater will need a screen as well as the projector and screen is like husband and wife. One does not get too far without the other [​IMG] .

    If high definition is not as important to you as standard dvd viewing then the matter changes completely, as there are lots of good 480p DLP projectors out there as well. Your long room length will allow you to sit back far enough from the screen to make almost any projector look good regardless of resolution. The infocus 4805 and optima 480p models are priced around a 1000$ and perform well.

    My Panasonic 700 LCD projector provides all the criteria you need at under 2000$. This leaves you with extra funds for a good screen up to 110" which is what I would recommend with the panasonic. I have a 106" diagonal screen and I sit 14' back from it. HD sports look amazing on it. Scaling for dvd sources is excellent. Sony and sanyo also make projectors in your price range and requirements.

    I am sure other forum members can suggest their opinions as well an I am sure they will. [​IMG]
     
  3. David_sabreman

    David_sabreman Auditioning

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    FrankinG...Thanks for your info....I would like to have a nice high def picture.....I guess I could spend more or less than my target price if I know there is a good reason to go in either direction. My friend swears by DLP, but is unable to tell me why it is any better than LCD projection... as for the screen,I have read on the forum of people making the screen by applying a special paint...I cannot remember what it is called...but my question there...is painting the screen on the wallthe wrong thing to do? Are these people settling for this because they do not know how much better it can be with an actual screen? either way my room will only be used for HT, so I do not need a fancy screen that retracts or anything like that....your thoughts?
     
  4. frankinG

    frankinG Stunt Coordinator

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    Paintable screens like the GOO system are reported to be quite good for next to no cash. Projector central has a good review article on film screens that include the GOO paintable screen and the performance it had compared to the more expensive fixed screens. Retractable screens are problematic for wrinkles and never portray a perfectly flat image as they obviously are being rolled up constantly. Serious theaters always use permanent tension screens as they are always flat and look more professional for a committed theater room.

    The paintable GOO screen if applied to a perfectly flat surface should satisfy you until you step up to a permanent tension screen. I would put a black felt border around the painted area to give it a great look and help absorb any overscan. This system would cost you extremely little.

    There are different GAIN measurements with the GOO system and would recommend somewhere between 1.0-1.3 gain with the majority of front projectors. With a completely darkened room anything more will really be a waste with a projector of 2000-1 contrast ratio or more. More gain is required for projectors with less contrast ratio and light output.

    There are many different fixed screen manufacturers ranging from 500$ to over 1500$ for a typical 100-120" size. It all depends on your budget of course but even the lower priced screens will rival the top makes.

    DLP projectors have there issues as most makes in the lower price ranges have the highest chance of rainbow effect and dithering in black areas. Dithering is the crawling movement in the dark or blacker portions of the picture. It is quite annoying to me and distracting as well. Some lower end DLP machines also have undesirable fast panning motion artifacts which is also annoying.

    Not all DLP units exhibit these undesirable characteristics but they will definitely be a lot more expensive. I do not want to say too much about DLP artifacts because I will get hit on the head by the DLP fan club.[​IMG]

    Just to be fair I will say that if you sit back far enough from the screen almost any projector will look real good. This will give you lots of flexibility at a wide variety of projectors regardless of make model or technology.

    Your biggest benefit is the totally light controlled room and large viewing distance to the screen because of your long room length.[​IMG]

    20'x14' dedicated theater room
    Panasonic PT-AE700U DLP front projector
    Draper onyx m1300 106" permanent screen
    Anthem avm30 pre-processor
    Rotel rb1095 5 channel amp
    Rotel rb1080 2 channel amp
    Paradigm reference speaker system
    HTPC 1-1 pixel mapped
     
  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Dave,
    i wouldn't worry about a screen at all until after you've had your pj for a while. some people say it makes a difference, but for me, its the least essential part of the system (to start out). to get by you can DIY a screen for under $50.

    this is a very interesting time right now for front projection. i can't believe some of the price drops i'm seeing (the NEC HT1100 is avail for $1800...amazing!).
    there is a 720p DLP out with the latest, greatest chip technology for the highest contrast and lowest black levels and it retails for under $4000.
    4 years when i was first looking at projectors, all i could ever find in showrooms were Runcos in the $17,000 range.
    believe me when i say that the NEC HT1100 is a more robust pj than that Runco was and just 4 yrs later you can get it for almost 1/10 the price.

    after CEDIA in Sept, i expect we will have a clearer picture of what is coming and why prices on some solid value pjs recently dropped so drastically.

    i think there is some big stuff on the horizon (finally) and its going to be more affordable than ever.

    if you absolutely, positively can't wait- i would suggest reading up a little on the NEC. 96" wide is about the largest i would push it though.
     
  6. David_sabreman

    David_sabreman Auditioning

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    Guys....I think that I am leaning back towards the LCD technology....after learning more about LCD and DLP.....I just do not want to take the chance that my wife and daughter have any problems with DLP and eye strain.....I am thinking of the panny 700.....but time is on my side....my room will not be ready for a pj until octoberish.....so I am going to hang tight until then...I hope that I can either take advantage of some new stuff.....or get an even better price on the panny 700.....

    thanks...

    -Dave
     
  7. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Second Unit

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    I'm about 2 weeks away from finally getting my new Projector and screen setup. As long as you get a decent projector DLP/LCD either will work. As far as a screen goes- I was gonna do a DIY till I went to the Carada site. No excuse not too have a nice screen to go with your projector. I spent a total of just under 3k for my Yamaha projector and 92" screen that has a gain of 1.4 - My room is just under the size of yours: 18x12x8...with full control of lighting as well.

    anyway...good luck. You will always hear conflicting advice- so the best advice...is to go with what you feel will suit your needs the best.
     
  8. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    It's your characterisation of those who prefer DLP that will draw flak, not your opinion of the technology.

    I didn't even know until this post that there were fanatics of either technology.

    --
    H
     
  9. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    You don't go over to AVSForum all that often, do you? [​IMG]

    Both technologies have their issues. It is all about what you are willing to live with.

    Since I don't seem to be affected by the dreaded RBE, DLPs are just fine to me and I think I'll stick with it.

    Just to let you know, I think the Sanyo Z3 just took a big price dip at some retailers.

    Jason
     
  10. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    David: have you considered CRT projection in your room, since you have total light control? This is a more labor and time-intensive project compared with a digital projector, but the image quality is no contest superior with a used CRT in this pricerange. May not be at all what you want, but it might be.
     
  11. frankinG

    frankinG Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes Holadem, I am not in any way disrespecting DLP projection and Jason, you are absolutely correct about my statements being influenced by my ( on and off )participation on the AVS forum for many years.

    The members over there are very partial and biased towards either technologies depending on what they own or feel is better. Saying almost anything negative about either technologies is like disturbing a hornets nest.

    I guess my statements make it sound like I am a little paranoid to say anything negative DIRECTLY about DLP. And it is true. I actually have owned 2 DLP projectors in the past. I actually enjoyed there performance substantially but eye strain and rainbows made me an LCD advocate. Once 3 chip DLP comes down to realistic prices, I will jump back onto the DLP bandwagon again.

    Chris, I owned a sony G70 before my jump to digital projection and absolutely loved it. To me personally. ( I hope the digital crowd ignores this statement ), OOPS, there I go again,[​IMG], I believe that the technology to better a properly set up CRT projector has not been invented yet. Lots of tweaking constantly but OH BOY! what a picture.[​IMG]

    Hope everyone has the best of luck in this exciting hobby.[​IMG]
     

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