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Repair or replace (1 Viewer)

OldGold360

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Hello, I am new here and seeking some advice from you all. I have an older projector, a Sony VPL-HS20, that we’ve had since new and we never really used it too much. Now that our kids are older, they’ve been bugging me about watching movies in the theatre more often. Over the weekend I turned it on and played about 30 minutes of a movie. It worked fine. I turned it off for a few hours, came back to it to turn on a movie and the projector wouldn’t even power up, no standby light either. I’ve tried unplugging it for awhile and that did nothing. This same projector has been a little problematic in the past. It would randomly shut off in the middle of a movie and not power back on for awhile, but this is the first time it hasn’t turned back on at all. I have done a lot of reading online and this has been a common issue with this model of projector.

I am wondering if it is worth fixing a 15 year old projector, which was a good projector at that time, or if I should move on and buy a new one. Money is always a factor in decisions like this, but I also don’t want to waste money repairing a projector that isn’t worth fixing.

Thank you for the help.
 

John Dirk

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Hello, I am new here and seeking some advice from you all. I have an older projector, a Sony VPL-HS20, that we’ve had since new and we never really used it too much. Now that our kids are older, they’ve been bugging me about watching movies in the theatre more often. Over the weekend I turned it on and played about 30 minutes of a movie. It worked fine. I turned it off for a few hours, came back to it to turn on a movie and the projector wouldn’t even power up, no standby light either. I’ve tried unplugging it for awhile and that did nothing. This same projector has been a little problematic in the past. It would randomly shut off in the middle of a movie and not power back on for awhile, but this is the first time it hasn’t turned back on at all. I have done a lot of reading online and this has been a common issue with this model of projector.

I am wondering if it is worth fixing a 15 year old projector, which was a good projector at that time, or if I should move on and buy a new one. Money is always a factor in decisions like this, but I also don’t want to waste money repairing a projector that isn’t worth fixing.

Thank you for the help.
Definitely not worth repairing. Projector prices have plummeted since you likely purchased that one. You can either buy a new one our check out classified section here for even better deals.

 

OldGold360

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If it’s not worth repairing, do you have any recommendations on which projector I should look at? One of them that I was looking at is the Epson 4010.
 

OldGold360

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Do you know how it would compare to my older Sony VPL-HS20 as far a picture quality. I really don’t want to spend over $3k on a projector since we don’t really use it much, even though we are hoping to now. Thank you for the help.
 

Josh Steinberg

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In general, anything you buy today will by default be so much better than what you’re replacing because the technology has gotten both better and cheaper in the fifteen years that elapsed.

@Martin Dew just posted an article with projector options at different price ranges. Though I personally don’t have experience with the brand, BenQ has put out several very nicely reviewed machines for less than $1000 each.

You can certainly get an outstanding machine for under $3000 nowadays.
 

OldGold360

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Thanks for the reply Josh.

One thing I noticed in the specs of new Projectors is the distance it can be from the screen. Currently mine is placed at roughly 17’ from the screen. It seems a lot of the projectors I’ve looked at cannot be mounted that far from the screen. I’d rather not remount it since it’a mounted on the ceiling and all wires are routed behind the walls. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I need to make sure that the projector I buy can be mounted this distance from the screen, correct?
 

Josh Steinberg

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Correct, and there’s a very handy calculator at the Projector Central website that will show you the range of each unit. You can even do a sort of reverse search and see what models have that throw range.

But...and this may not be the most exciting thing to hear, and I’m not the be-all, end-all expert on this so seek a second opinion... but if your setup is 15 years old, you may need to upgrade the cables anyhow. The HDMI standard has advanced a lot since then and you may be severely limiting your ability to utilize a new projector to its fullest extent. Do a little research/get a second opinion on that. It’d be a shame to be missing out on what your new machine can do cause you didn’t realize something about a ten dollar cable.

Point being, if you have to change the cable anyway, you might as well give yourself the flexibility of moving the mount if necessary.
 

OldGold360

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What you said regarding the cables is a good point. The cable to the projector is not even an HDMI. It is four cables, maybe RCA or similar. The only problem is that they are probably 40’ long so replacing the cables would not be cheap. Something to think about though. Thanks.
 

OldGold360

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It turns out the cables ran to my projector are component cables, so it sounds like I will have to replace those as well if I want to use a newer projector. Just gotta find a 40’ long HDMI cable.
 

John Dirk

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Blue Jeans Cable, a longtime sponsor of HTF, has a 50 ft "Active" HDMI cable capable of the full 18Gbps bandwidth supported by the HDMI 2.0 standard. That should be all you need for the foreseeable future. Price is $85.00.

 

ManW_TheUncool

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I would suggest to seriously consider moving the PJ setup at least few feet closer to the screen to accommodate whichever best PJ (at the kind of price) you find to your liking. You'll get better light output that way, which is especially important for HDR and 3D, if you care about those things. IF you often enough use it w/ any amount of ambient light on, the option for brighter image would also help. And depending on where your video source resides, you might benefit from a shorter HDMI cable run though a few feet out of 40 might not be much.

Having said that, if you definitely want to keep this (very) inexpensive and do not want to move the mounting, you could consider something entry level like the just discontinued, 1080p, 3D-capable, Epson 2100/2150, if you don't care about 4K (and HDR) -- you should probably be able to get a 2100 for as low as $700-750. That should likely work for your 17ft throw distance and probably still be significantly brighter (and higher res) than your old Sony. Doesn't do power zoom and focus at this price range (that your old Sony did) though. For that, you'll need to pay more.

IF you were going to use the setup regularly and would be willing to spend close to $3K, you could consider something like Epson's 5050UB, which is what I recently did (at a great sub-$2.5K, bargain discounted, shipped price from Parker Gwen) to make the 4K/HDR jump... though going 4K/HDR does come w/ a host of other likely needed/desired gear changes (and expenses), so... At minimum, you'd need to upgrade your AVR or prepro to handle 4K... though maybe you could get by w/ just an HDMI matrix switcher, if you don't care about Atmos/DTS:X audio -- I just tried that temporarily w/ mixed results.

Not sure which intermediate level, 1080p Epson PJ would have the power zoom+focus you might need. Epson does seem to tend to offer fairly good zoom ranges for more flexible, longer throw distances. BenQs (and Optima AFAIK) are quite good as well, particularly on tight budgets, but they seem to tend to have less such flexibility than the Epsons... plus they use (single) DLP tech instead of 3xLCD, which have their own diff bits of tradeoffs -- you're already used to 3xLCD w/ your old Sony.

_Man_
 
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OldGold360

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Wow, thanks for the very informative response. That helps a lot. I’m just trying to decide how far I want to take the system. I do currently have component cables running thru the walls from the media cabinet about 40’ away. I don’t want to reposition the projector since I already have the outlet and mount in a position about 16’-17’ from the 120” screen. It looks like I will at least have to upgrade the component cable to an HDMI or find out if there is an adapter. I am weighing options on projectors and will probably end up going with the Epson 2150 or 4010.
 

OldGold360

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Also, my DVD player in the theater is outdated and doesn’t even have an HDMI port. Its actually a dvd/vcr combo, haha. Time to update probably. Everything is as it was when I bought the house 11 years ago.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Yes, to take advantage of what a 4K projector can offer, you will need to look into a 4K UHD disc player (these are backwards compatible and will play DVDs, Blu-rays and UHD discs) and a streaming box like an AppleTV 4K or Roku. A new projector simply will not accept any input besides HDMI.

I know all of this sounds daunting but here’s the thing: any entry level projector from 2020 will be leaps and bounds better than what you have. Which means you can budget less for a projector, and use the savings from that on HDMI cables, new receiver, new disc player, new streaming box.

But I would strongly advise that you consider the possibility that you’ll have to adjust your ceiling mount.

My feeling based on everything you’ve stated about your existing setup and layout is that you can either spend a fortune to get one of the few current machines that’ll give the proper throw from that distance, or you could accept that making that one change will make everything else easily fit into your budget while also providing a quality increase far above what you currently have. If you accept that the mount has to move, all of a sudden everything else becomes a lot easier and cheaper.
 

OldGold360

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Thanks Josh. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about projectors or how best to locate them in relationship to the screen. I did use one of the projector calculators using the Epson 2150 as my projector. When I input 16’6” as the distance, my 120” screen lands in the ok range. Is there something I’m missing as to why I should relocate the projector?
 

Josh Steinberg

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Actually if the Epson will do it and you’re happy with that choice of model, that’s fantastic news and hooray. I love Epson projectors (and their customer service too), so if one of their model fits your existing mount location and size, that’s great!
 

OldGold360

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Oh good. Last thing I needed was another project so I’m relieved I can keep it where it is. Thanks again for the help.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Just remember the Epson 2150 doesn't have power zoom and focus (nor lens memory of course). But I'm guessing you don't really need that if you're using a 120" 16x9 screen (and generally never change the size of the projected image yourself).

You might need to adjust the exact height of the Epson w/ the old mount to ensure the projected image lines up correctly... though the Epson does provide some modest degree of vertical lens shift to help w/ that.

There's also some likelihood that the Epson's lens might not exactly line up horizontally as your old Sony w/ the old mount unchanged -- could easily be a few inches off to one side or the other yielding correspondingly greater offset to the projected image. In that case, you might need to adjust or move the mount sideways (and/or the screen, if possible) accordingly. If you can't get close enough that way, might need to resort to a little bit of keystone adjustment -- use that as little as possible as that degrades the image.


IF, OTOH, you do opt to jump up for the Epson 4010 (or higher), you'll get power zoom+focus+shift and lens memory for much greater flexibility on top of eShift 4K w/ modest HDR capability. Do note that it only has HDMI 1.4 for 10.2Gbps bandwidth that supports upto 24fps for 4K HDR (and upto 60fps for 4K SDR, ie. not HDR), which can be an issue if you want 4K HDR, especially for some (usually subscription) streaming services that even expect full 4K/HDR/60 bandwidth to allow any 4K at all. So yeah, trying to get 4K can be tricky... and you might not benefit that much if you're not prepared to optimize your entire setup, including moving the PJ closer to the screen (to maximize light output) and upgrading your electronics (and even HDMI cabling, which will run into limits for 4K) accordingly...

_Man_
 

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