What front projector for my home theater?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Billy Gun, Oct 11, 2001.

  1. Billy Gun

    Billy Gun Stunt Coordinator

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    I want to be in the $3000-$5000 range, and I want the ability to do HDTV down the road.
    I would also consider a used one..........
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Huey

    Huey Agent

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    No need for used in that price range [​IMG]
    For $2300 you can get a XGA (1024X768X60Hz) DLP (the famous LT150) by NEC with 800 lumens (needs darkened room for best image), 800:1 contrast (this is what makes image really good), 4:3 panel, 1000 hour bulb ($300--price just dropped on bulb), 2 year NEC Instacare warranty (36 hours loaner or turnaround guaranteed!). It accepts 480i/480p for interlaced/progressive STB DVD player (one of the rare business projector that will) and 720p or 1080i for HDTV. I have one and love it (upgraded from Sony VPL-CX1--XGA LCD, 550 lumens, 2000 hr bulb, $1500 now new). I run mine with HTPC and picture is awesome. Goto www.avsforum.com/ubbcgi/forumdisplay.cgi?action =topics&forum=DLP,+LCD,+D-ILA+Projectors&number=10&DaysPrune=2&LastLogin= for end-users details and reviews (do search for LT150 and you'd see).
    For $4000 you can get the Infocus LP530 XGA DLP(2000 lumens, 2000 hr bulb, 4:3 panel, 400:1 contrast). The main advantage of this unit over LT150 is brightness, better processors (for Svideo and composite sources), longer-life bulb, and zoom lens. This price can be had ad Dell if you apply their 20% small business accessories discount (retail $5K).
    For slightly less than 5K you can get the Sanyo PLV-60HT (Wide XGA--16:9 panels, 1000 lumens, 400:1 contrast--pretty good for LCD), Toshiba MT7, Sony WH10T, or Cinema 13HD. The advantage on these units are native 16:9 panels so no or minimal black bars on widescreen DVD movies (2.35:1 will still have thin black bars), better colors (LCD always is), but worst contrast (blacks may be dark gray).
    LCD also tend to risk dead or stuck pixels over time (may be consider in spec if dead pixel is not in center or not noticeable). DLP may have rainbows unless you get the newer DLP (over 7K) which have faster color wheel or more color segments to minimize (but not necessarily eliminate) rainbows. Rainbows are streaks of lights on fast moving objects on high contrast scenes. 10% of people may see it with varying severity. LCD also tend to be more quiet due to no spinning color wheel. Unless you spend the dough, DLP tend to be a better value for image quality.
    [Edited last by Huey on October 12, 2001 at 08:39 AM]
     
  3. AaronNWilson

    AaronNWilson Second Unit

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    Huey what ratio of screen do you use with your LT150?
    I understand that the native ratio of the panel is 4:3, so what would happen if you used a 16:9 screen?
    Would it project black bars onto your walls above and below the screen, or would it just shut those black pixels off?
    Aaron
     
  4. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    Why do people only recommend digital projectors in here? YUCK!
    For the best picture quality you need a CRT projector. You can get an excellent 8" used projector (like a Barco 800 or Marquee 8000) with 70% of its life left for 2-3K and have money left for other upgrades.
    You need to come to the CRT Projectors Forum at www.avsforum.com where the projector gurus hang out.
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    Vic Ruiz
    STOP HDCP/DFAST/5C
     
  5. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    I'm with Vic; if you want a more 'film like look', CRT projectors are the way to go, IMHO.
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    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/bbs/equipment/28687.html
     
  6. Jon_Mx

    Jon_Mx Agent

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    >>Why do people only recommend digital projectors in here? YUCK!
    Because you can get brighter more vibrant images without all the hassles of maintaining and operating a CRT.
     
  7. Huey

    Huey Agent

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    I use 16:9 screen as it looks cooler than 4:3. Plus most of my movies are in 16:9. For 4:3 sources you can shrink image using 'native' mode which smacks the image in center of your 16:9 screen or 'cinema' mode to stretch image to fit. The 4:3 panel will project black bars above and below the image which may or may not need masking. I don't mask as it's ugly and not necessary as LT150 gives such good blacks that the black bars are not noticeable. There is a halo (2-3" around the 4:3 image and an arc of light on ceiling that can be eliminated with masking at screen with black cloth, masking at projector lens using black poster board, or darkly painted walls/ceiling. Light leakage is minimal for LT150 compared to other DLP. LCD has very little light leakage but its blacks and contrast are not as good.
    As far as CRT vs. digital, it's a personal preference [​IMG] I'd rather spend time watching the movie rather than tweaking CRT. CRT is dim (400-500 lumens, needs high gain screen and very dark room), huge (size of a car plastic roof carrier, wife may not like it, needs high ceiling), heavy (200#, needs 2 people to mount), requires professional installation and calibration for projector and image to look nice, has more knobs and settings to confuse 'regular' people, can have burn ins (especially for used CRT), needs regular maintenance and convergence (to match the RGB images). YMMV but I prefer digital [​IMG]
     
  8. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    Already covered above. Anyone else have other misconceptions we can help clarify?
    Also, Billy stated he wants HDTV down the road. Currently CRT is the only technology that can display HDTV without having to convert the signal to the native rate of the projector. Take the LT150 mentioned above for example. It's resolution is only 1024x768, so it has to use its internal scaler to downconvert the 1920x1080 HDTV signal to its native rate. This can introduce ugly artifacts. It's a well known fact that internal scalers are not of very good quality. Yes, you may get a good HDTV picture on a digital projector but, unless it's a real high end one like a G20 or something like that, your picture will not be as good as it could or should be.
    For the record, I paid $2000 for my Marquee 8000 (8" tubes, 950 lumens, 130 Khz scan rate, $23,000 list price) with 3000 hours on the tubes (7000 hours left) and no burns. It gives me a fantastic picture on a 92" 1.5 gain 16:9 screen ($200). Add $1000 for an HTPC (or $300 if you already have a suitable computer), $500 for an HDTV receiver (even less if you subscribe to satellite), and $500 for set-up, and I now have a theater that's the envy of anyone that sees it (and who thinks I spent a fortune on it), without compromising an inch of picture quality (as you would with a digital projector), all for only $3500 total. Sorry, but this is a no-brainer.
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    Vic Ruiz
    STOP HDCP/DFAST/5C
     
  9. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Ditto to what Vic said. It would be nice if people would post about what they know and not conjecture about what they don't know. [​IMG]
     
  10. Billy Gun

    Billy Gun Stunt Coordinator

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    My theater room will be in the basement of our new home.
    (No need of having to please the wife......Finally!)
    There will be no windows in the room.
    I want the best pic for the money:
    The $3000 to $5000 range has to include everything I'll need to display a TV picture, Progressive DVD, HDTV, and in a 16:9 format (Do I need a separate tuner for the Television or is that built in to the projector?)
    Forgive me if some of these questions sound ignorant, I'm not real familiar with what it takes to do front projection. I've always had either a tube or rear projector TV.
    Help please.....?
     
  11. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    Dedicated basement room, no windows, no wife approval needed. Sounds perfect for a CRT setup! [​IMG]
    With your $3000-$5000 budget you should be able to get an excellent mid-level CRT theater setup that you wouldn't have to worry about upgrading for another ten years. Like I said before, mine only cost me $3500 with everything included. Depending on what components you already have, yours may only come to a little bit more.
    First of all, how big is the room and what size screen are you looking to get? Mine is a 80"x45" (92" diag.) 16:9 screen, which is perfect for my 10'x20' room.
    Progressive DVD will not be enough resolution for a front projector. Do you have a computer with at least 500Mhz CPU, 128MB RAM and a DVD-ROM? Preferably with no onboard audio and video. If so, you can turn it into an HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer), which will allow you to scale your DVD's to the higher resolutions needed for a front projector.
    Where exactly is Lock Haven, PA? If it's near Philadelphia with all its digital stations, HDTV should be a no-brainer for you. With a satellite subscription you can get substantial discounts on HDTV receivers. Your satellite carrier of choice would depend on what kind of programming you like: If you like movies choose Dish Network, if you like sports choose DirecTV.
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    Vic Ruiz
    STOP HDCP/DFAST/5C
    [Edited last by VicRuiz on October 13, 2001 at 11:43 PM]
     
  12. Huey

    Huey Agent

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    Thank you Vic for clarifying CRT information. Even with your new information I must say I'll still stick with my $2300 brand new LT150. I'll be bringing it on my vacation to show rental DVDs on my laptop. Would you bring your #140 monster along [​IMG] Oh yeah, another cool thing is I can deduct mine as business expense on my taxes as I also use it now and then for lectures [​IMG]
    As I said, it's a personal preference. There is no need for CRT owners to be so offended. I'm happy for you CRT owners who have great picture and are happy with their set up. I merely presented MY views on digital projection. CRT owners (see AVS forum in CRT section) ALWAYS bashed the digital choice for no reason. It's a personal decision for all which technology to buy as it's a large investment for most. I just prefer my 3.3# lightweight over your 140# monster [​IMG]
    For the new buyers, go see it for yourself before deciding as it's your money [​IMG]
     
  13. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    I'm not bashing anybody here. I'm just trying to clarify some opinions that were presented as incorrect facts. You may have your reasons for choosing a digital projector. However, picture quality doesn't seem to be one of them (at least you haven't mentioned it). Billy stated that he's interested in the best picture quality. Only CRT can give him that.
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    Vic Ruiz
    STOP HDCP/DFAST/5C
     
  14. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    Well said Vic.
    Billy, I agree with Vic...build a HTPC. I just built one with a cost of $650 (P3 1G/Asus mobo/128MB RAM/ATI Radeon vid card/Philips sound card/Toshiba DVD-ROM drive/Enlight case/IBM HD).
    For projectors, I'd look into a used Sony 1292 or a Marquee 8000 series unit.
    Best of luck whichever way you decide to go.
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    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/bbs/equipment/28687.html
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Well stated, Vic. Huey, CRT people on AVS do NOT "bash digital for no reason". The simple fact is that digital has considerable catching up to do to match CRT picture quality. Even the digital forum at AVS acknowledges this, since they are always using CRT as the benchmark against which they compare the latest digital projectors.
    Is digital more convenient? Yes (but it's not nearly as big a difference as you imply). But some of us care most about picture quality. I get black levels that are even better than what I typically see at movie theaters.
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  16. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    What struck me up there was the assertion that you don't need to tweak your CRT machine "more than once or twice a month"... well, some people prefer to install their projector, calibrate it once and then just proceed to use it without having to worry about whether or not it is calibrated. [​IMG]
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    /Kimmo
     
  17. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Kimmo,
    A *properly* setup CRT projector does not have to be calibrated every month. Haven't we been over this before? If the projector is setup correctly (mechanically and electronically) it should be quite stable. I touch up my convergence about once every six months. Not because it's necessary but because I have a trained eye and I see errors that others often don't. Regards.
     
  18. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    That is correct. I was trying to portray a sort of worst case scenario. I have seen rock-solid CRT projectors that go for months without need for any touch-up.
     
  19. Luis Gabriel Gerena

    Luis Gabriel Gerena Second Unit

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    quote: "Why do people only recommend digital projectors in here? YUCK!"
    Maybe some people don't want a T-Rex hanging from their ceiling or a not that big image or a not so perfect convergence and geometry...(insert bashing final word here)!
    quote: "I'm not bashing anybody here"
    I think that the word "YUCK!" is not very polite is it? Wouldn't it be better to say "I would also like to recommend trying CRT projectors" or something like that which makes your point and do not bash any digital owners. The thing is my friend that almost all the time is CRT owners the ones that ridicule digital projectors whch like it or not are a very viable technology (and I know CRT still has the upper hand in image quality) which is selling real good. So why is it that digital owners don't mind if others use CRTs but CRT onwers think is a sin to own anything but CRT?! If you don't like it its your choice but many people do like digital and I think they deserve some respect.
    Regards
     
  20. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    We're sure feeling defensive today, aren't we? The word YUCK was directed at the digital picture quality, not at the people that recommend it. I can't see how anyone would see it otherwise but, if you did, then I apologize.
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    Vic Ruiz
    STOP HDCP/DFAST/5C
     

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