Trying to decide on a projector

Discussion in 'Displays' started by JasonPM, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. JasonPM

    JasonPM Auditioning

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    I can get the Panasonic AE700 for $2000 and the Epson PowerLite Cinema 500 for $3000.

    Which one would you choose?

    If I got the Panny I may go for a DA-Lite Cinema Contour HCCV 110" screen.

    If I get the Epson I will need to save some money and may just paint my wall with screenGoo. But will increase the size to 120"

    This projector will be used as a full time TV. Also to watch DVD's and play xbox.

    Can you also recommend a good universal ceiling mount?
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Jason, I'd go for the Pan.700. Did you read the reviews of both at Projectorcentral.com?
    I made my ceiling mount for less than $15.00 out of a scrap piece of MDF, 2 pipe flanges, 1 pipe nipple, 3 bolts with nuts and washers to fit. It's very easy to build, then I spray painted it black to match my ceiling.
    There are photos and a parts list at Avsforum.com in the Projectors under $3500 section. Search for "Monkeyman's" mount.
     
  3. Tom Kay

    Tom Kay Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Jason

    I have really shopped hard for the right PJ for me, and I love the Epson 200 and 500. I can't afford either right now, but I found the scaler on the Epsons to be excellent. The Panny 700 was the next best of all of the PJ's that I have seen. I'd like to explain my criteria if I may.

    I have seen: Toshiba (model?? the one shaped like a hockey puck), the Sanyo Z2, Hitachi PJ-tx100, the Panny 500, the Optoma H30, the Epson homelite 10, and a few others.

    I watched the same DVD, "2001 A Space Odyssey" on all of these units, just to keep it consistent, and even the same scene. It came down to sharpness of picture in the scene that I was watching, and overall colour "punch." I like bright, vibrant, almost surreal colours.

    There's a scene where the astronaut (David Bowman, if you're a 2001 fan like me) is in his space suit, ready to hop into the little space pod, go outside and fix the ship's antenna. When he says "Open the pod bay door HAL," I watch the edge of the pod bay door door very closely. As the door opens, the edge of the door looks very sharp and crisp on the Epson 500, the Epson 200, and pretty good on the Panny 700. I was impressed. On the others, especially on the Z2, it looked like some soft, rolling thing that didn't resemble a door, or a solid edge at all. WHY??

    It was explained to me that the internal scaler is very important and this seemed like a reasonable answer. So I like crisp, sharp images, and couldn't settle for the Z2, or a few of the others I saw. The Optoma H30 was nice, and quite cheap, but it's DLP, and I saw VERY vivid rainbows when I bounced my eyes back and forth from left to right, in some scenes of 2001. For some stupid reason I knew I'd be unlucky enough to see rainbows !

    So, of the ones you quoted, I like Epson 500, Epson 200, and Panasonic 700 in that order. Black levels and shadow details seemed to be better in the Epsons, but pretty good in the Panny 700, again, better than the others.

    Good luck with the choice. Hope this helps, Tom, Ottawa, Canuckville.
     
  4. Michael Caicedo

    Michael Caicedo Second Unit

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    The scaler can be important but if you can bypass it by feeding the pj the native resolution, it matters less. Then your input device becomes important. Also if you can feed your pj a digital source then it's even better.

    I would go for ae700 and save the 1000 bux.
     
  5. Tom Kay

    Tom Kay Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Michael

    An interesting point that I would not have thought of. But since I am interested in saving $1000, just like the next guy, could you expand a bit on your idea of bypassing the onboard scaler?

    I'd assume (but I'm really not sure) that you'd depend on the scaler, or whatever circuitry, in the dvd player? And then input this to the PJ?

    And is the only way to feed a digital signal to the PJ by dvi cable?
    What if the image coming from the dvd player is not the correct aspect ratio, and it's fed into the PJ ?

    Again, if you could elaborate on what you mentioned, I'd learn something. As you can tell by my questions, I am really not clear at all on what options I have in bypassing the scaler in the PJ. At the end of all of this, I'd just be looking for a 16:9 picture, clear and sharp as possible.

    Thanks, Tom.
     
  6. Elijah

    Elijah Supporting Actor

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    Tom,

    I will still let Michael post his reply as he probably had something in mind when he posted his reply, however I hope I can shed some light on the resolution issue.

    One way (the most common way I have seen) to send your projector a "pre scaled" image is to use a computer, or HTPC (Home Theater PC). By running your video sources either through, or on the HTPC you can send your projector a clean, Digital, image that does not require any scaling.

    For right now DVI, or HDMI (basically the same thing where video is concerned) is the only choice for digital video. There is also the option for Firewire, however most projectors in the price range that you are looking at do not have a Firewire input.

    Most graphics cards now-a-days have a DVI output on them so you are set for digital video transmission. And when you run your video sources using the HTPC, either by playing your DVDs using your computers DVD player, or running OTA HDTV through your HTPC, you are able to set the resolution of teh HTPC to the native resolution of your projector, eliminating the need for an onboard, or standalone for that matter, scaler.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I have seen, you can NOT beat a computer when it comes to "scaling", either with a standalone, or integrated scaler. So with using an HTPC you get the best of both worlds, Digital Video, and video that does not need to be scaled.

    Now this brings up whether you want a computer in your HT setup or not, and that is for you to decide, however here is a little encouragement. You can buy pre-made HTPC's for under a grand, that will run most all of your HT sources, DVD's, Audio CD's, Digital Media, HDTV... if you are not the most comptuer savvy guy around, and there is a pretty extensive community of online forums and boards to help.

    That all being said, you can go the route of buting a more expensive DVD player that will upconvert the output to HD resolutions, and will have a DVI output. The whole thing about this is that it only goes for DVD's. Since your Projector will most likely only have one DVI input (if you shoose to go the digital route), you will have to have the rest of your sources, in analouge, and rely on the projector again to scale the image.

    Both sides have their pros and cons, so keep up the research, and definitely post what you find, as I am also in the hunt for a projector.
     
  7. JasonPM

    JasonPM Auditioning

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    Zenith does make a DVD player that will upscale to component.

    I went the PC route and hated it. Too much of a hassle to do what I wanted to do. I hated having to break out the mouse and keyboard to do anything. So I just got a Tivo and DVD player instead.
     
  8. Elijah

    Elijah Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, its definitely not for everyone, and like most things technical, can get pretty deep at times. I use the analogy of a standard vs automatic transmission. The standard transmission, will hands down deliver more power to the tires, and give you better launch times, however the automoatic transmission is less to fool with, and easier to operate (generally). So its a tradeoff.

    For me the tinkering, and learning is half of the fun with HT, so the HTPC is right up my alley. But I totally understand where you are coming from. Just a quick note about the keyboard and mouse, check out this page for your solution : ) http://www.moesrealm.com/hometheater/netremote.html
     
  9. JasonPM

    JasonPM Auditioning

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    "Just about every DVD player that I have seen has a component out, but even with component you are still sending an analouge signal to the PJ, and it doesnt mean that the DVD player is scaling at all."

    I realize that. But this DVD player is upscaling and outputing that on component. It's the only one that does so. Zenith has since removed that feature with new firmware. But you can still download the old firmware to enable it again.

    Most people I think are going to use component because most, if any, Surround receivers don't use DVI/HDMI. Well at least that is my reason for going with component.
    Unless if there is a cheap way to switch from various HDMI sources.
     
  10. Elijah

    Elijah Supporting Actor

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    I am with you 100% on that point. I brought up the HTPC in refrence to the question of how you might send a pre-scaled image to your PJ, and about keeping a Digital Signal.

    However that is not what I plan on using in my setup. I started to go down the DVI road, but decided to stick with Component, and a component switching receiver. Right now my combo is a Sony 777ES 400 DVD Changer, and a Denon 3805. I LOVE the Denon, and wouldnt trade it for anything, seps maybe a more pricey Denon : ) I will be running the HDTV through an HTPC, and then sending the DVI Signal to the PJ, sort of a hybrid digital/analouge HT setup.

    So for DVD's, Xbox, and digital satellite I will be relying on the onboard scaler in the PJ.

    I just put out there the most "powerfull" (if you will) solution, but im not even going that route fully.

    Thanks for your dialouge, I am glad to talk with someone else about HT, as my family are more along the lines of, " Just tell me when we can see a movie" : )
     

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