to project or not - puzzled new member

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by jack gilbert, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. jack gilbert

    jack gilbert Auditioning

    Jan 4, 2002
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    I found the Home Theater Forum site through today’s Wall Street Journal article. I’m a new Forum member in need of very basic advice.

    I have a room I want to make into a home theater. I will use it to watch dvds and play my home made digital videos that I edit on a mac computer. The audience will be two or three people most of the time.

    Sound matters very little to me – I suppose I’ll use my old pair of Advent large stereo speakers. Surround sound doesn’t seem important.

    It’s picture quality that I care about, although I’m not a fanatic – up to now, I’ve never had anything larger than a 19-inch TV – without digital cable. I don’t even have a dvd player yet – I’m a real primitive by the standards of this place, I guess.

    What I do have is an empty, carpeted, rectangular room with ten-foot ceilings. It measures twelve feet wide and fifteen feet deep. So the maximum screen size/viewing area is ten feet high by twelve feet wide. In addition, the back of the room is open. There is no wall. It opens into another room. So a video projector can be placed as far as thirty feet away from the screen.

    My threshold decision is what type of viewing hardware to get: a 36-inch Wega, an even bigger HDTV, a 60-inch rear projection TV, or a video projector. The latter fascinates me, but I know very little about it. I will sacrifice the supposedly near-perfect picture quality of a Wega for the impact of filling up an entire wall with the projected image of a projector – as long as that image is reasonably sharp.

    That’s calls for a subjective judgment, but I don’t know anybody with a video projector in their home, so I’m at a loss as to how to make such a decision. I’ve read about projectors, know the replacement bulbs are expensive, and that the cost will be in the range of the above-mentioned alternatives – $3K or more including a movie screen.

    All of that is OK with me. I am assuming that a good projector can be had for around $2K-3K and a screen for $1K. If it takes more $, however, to get a truly decent picture, then I’ll consider that too. But I’m no perfectionist.

    The few local vendors I have talked with (briefly) seem to contradict each other, and seem to have their own agenda: some hate projectors and push Wegas, etc. etc.

    I’m in no special hurry. I probably won’t make a decision for months, so I’m glad I found this site early on.

    I confuse easily but nevertheless eagerly await your advice.
  2. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Mar 10, 2001
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    I'm still a ways away from a projector, but I know that is the way I want to go. From the little I've read it is possible to do a FPTV (front projection) in the the $3000 +$1000 for screen price range. Although their is a significant gain to be made in the projectors if you jump up to the $4500 to $6000 range (this contains a Sanyo and Sony that have true 16x9 panels).

    When you use one of these front projectors, you should budget another $1000 or so for a HTPC (home theater personal computer). This will be a pain to research, build and configure, but can produce the best picture quality.

    For screen size be careful how big you go. It is possible for the screen to be too big. If you have to turn your head from side to side to really see the whole picture it's too big. I do believe a 12 foot wide screen from 15 feet back would fit this bill.

    Finally, don't count out the surround sound. After you have heard a movie with a good surround system you can't (you can it's just very hard) watch movies any other way. To me picture is 50% of the experience and sound is the other 50%. I'd budget almost as much for the sound as I would for the picture.
  3. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

    Nov 6, 1999
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    Here's some basic info to ponder. FPTV (front projector TV's) give the biggest and most impressive picture. The choice here is CRT vs LCD projectors. CRT IMHO give the best picture, but their popularity (not their price) is fading do to the maintance (converging the separate guns). LCD, DLP, etc, are the easiest front projectors to use. But they have problems with use in anything but a fairly dim room. Also it's not real fun to pay the $300-$500 for replacement bulbs.

    RPTV weigh a ton, some have issues with off axis viewing. One requirement for these is to get an in-home service contract. You don't want to lug a 400+lb device in for service.

    Direct view (aka standard TV's) give the brightest pic, and require the least attention. But screen size is basically limited to 40" diag. Sony Wega have without doubt the best picture quality and the worst reliability.

    I wouldn't plan on using your old speakers. Get one of the new 5.1 channel pkg deals that includes a sub. There is truly a tremendous difference having surround sound and a subwoofer for movies.

    Remember that ALL forums have a 'Search' function. So before you ask a ton of questions, check to see if they haven't been answered 100's of times before

    Hope this helps



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