Which projector to get?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by JasonPM, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. JasonPM

    JasonPM Auditioning

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    I'm intrested in getting a front projector and have been doing some research as to which one would work best for my situation and budget.
    This will be replacing my 53" Sony Rear Projection TV(non HDTV).

    I have a large wall on which to display the image, it could easily accomadate a 92" screen, though I wouldn't mind bigger!
    But I think that the distance away from the wall that I mount the projector will affect the screen size,
    correct? I can mount it about 12' from the wall on the celling. Viewing distance is 10' from the wall.

    I will be using this to watch TV from my DirectTV reciever(non HDTV) and playing xbox games as well as watching movies with my Sony Progressive Scan DVD player. I will at some point upgrade the directtv reciever to an HDTV one.

    Now the big problem here is ambient light. At night this is obviously not a problem, but during the day it will be. We live in a townhouse which is 2 stories. The living room, dining room and kitchen are all one room downstairs. The kitchen has one window covered by miniblinds and the dining room has a sliding door covered with blinds. Both windows are on the North wall, the screen will be mounted on the east wall.
    Closing those blinds does darken the room, but it is nowhere near dark enough I would imagine.
    I suppose an option would be to put some curtains up to block even more light. But i'd like to let some light in during the day. We do also have a 27" TV I could put down there for watching TV during the day, but i'd rather not do that.

    Anyways, i've narrowed the list down to these projectors:

    PROJECTOR LUMENS CONTRAST NATIVE RESOLUTION

    Sanyo PLV-Z2 800 1300:1 WXGA 1280X720
    Panasonic PT-L500 850 1300:1 1280x720
    Mitsubishi HC3 1300 500:1 960x540
    Dell 3200MP 1300 1800:1 XGA 1024X768
    In Focus X1 1100 2000:1 SVGA 600X600
    Epson 10 home 1000 700:1 WSVGA 854X480
    BenQ PB6100 1500 2000:1 SVGA 1280X1024

    How would you rate those?
     
  2. Ryan FB

    Ryan FB Second Unit

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    Really what you need in any ambient light setup is lumens, and lots of them (or more specifically, footlamberts, see here for a good explanation). Ambient light kills FP viewability. I have an 1100 lumen projector, and can't really imagine myself using it consistently with much ambient light. On that basis alone I would say to reject the PLV-Z2 and the PT-L500, which in other respects would probably turn out to be good projectors.

    Of the ones you listed, I would go with the Dell 3200MP. At 12', it will put out a 74"-89" image. Edited to add: Darn you, you slipped that BenQ in right under my nose [​IMG]. Note that the native resolution is actually 800x600, not 1280x1024. It would probably be an excellent choice as well, at 12' it will give you a 73"-87" image. And the pricing I'm seeing on it...is pretty good for that nice of a projector. [​IMG]

    One that wasn't on your list that you might give a look, is the Toshiba TDP-D1-US. 2000 ANSI lumens, and it's considered "bright" for a 2000 lumen-rated projector. It also has a 2100:1 contrast ratio and a native resolution of 1024x768. At 12' it will throw a 90"-110" diagonal image (although the "optimum" for a 10' viewing distance is technically 80", usually 1.5x the diagonal size is what's used for the viewing distance...but really you should go with the size you find enjoyable [​IMG]). It runs around $1500-$2000+.
     
  3. huot

    huot Extra

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    Go with the plv-z2 from sanyo . I saw it WOWWW I own the Z1 and it is very good but if you can afford the Z2,go for it.

    I saw the X1 but it got the rainbow effect and the colors are not very punched....I didn't like it

    happy new years
    huot[​IMG]
     
  4. JasonPM

    JasonPM Auditioning

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    Perhaps I should decide first whether I want a native 4:3 or 16:9

    I'm leaning towards a 16:9 because I want it to look good for DVD's. HDTV is broadcast in 16:9 as well right? So, eventually when I do get a HDTV reciever i'll be set.

    But how would movies and TV in 4:3 look on a native 16:9 projector with a 16:9 screen?
    How about movies/TV in 16:9 on a native 4:3 projector on a 16:9 or 4:3 screen?

    I get so confused try to figure that out.
     
  5. Ryan FB

    Ryan FB Second Unit

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    OK, I'll try to explain it as best I can.

    A 4:3 projector will be a "constant width" setup. All 4:3 material (i.e. TV) will fill the image completely. All material with a "wider" ratio (i.e. > 1.33:1) will have black bars at the top and bottom.

    A 16:9 native projector will usually be variable in both height and width. 16:9 material will fill the image completely. Material with an aspect ratio of < 1.78:1 (i.e. TV, "Academy ratio" movies) will have black bars on the left and right of the image (or none if you use stretching...if you can stand it [​IMG]). Material with an AR of > 1.78:1 (which technically includes most "widescreen" movies, since they're usually 1.85:1 to 2.35:1, or greater in some cases), will have black bars at the top and bottom. One of the problems encountered here with non-anamorphic widescreen material is it becomes "windowboxed", i.e. it has black bars on all sides (because the player thinks it's 4:3 material, so it flags it as such, and the transfer itself has black bars on the top/bottom)...some DVD players do have a "zoom" style feature to try to overcome this though.

    The great thing about digital projectors is, you do not have to worry about the black bars causing burn-in like you do with a CRT-based unit. It is impossible.

    You are correct though in that only a projector with a native resolution of 1280x720 or greater is technically capable of displaying HDTV (i.e. 720p) without discarding some of the image resolution.

    A 4:3 can actually be used as a "16:9 native style" projector via a Panamorph or other similar lens which squeezes the full image output to widescreen. But that's rather complex. [​IMG]

    Notes:
    4:3 = 1.33:1
    16:9 = 1.78:1
     
  6. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Neil Joseph

    Just a reminder that the important distance spec is from the screen to the projectors lens. What is the distance from the front wall to the back wall? If this is 12' then you will have to mount the projector closer than 12' unless you intend to project through a hole in the back wall.

    Personally, my preference is for WXGA class projectors in your pricerange over all else. If your blinds cannot make the room dark enough then I would concentrate on the ambient light factor rather than settle for a projector that may put out more light but is not in the same class as far as picture quality goes. That said, of those you listed, the L500 and Z2 would be my pics.
     
  7. Bob McKenny

    Bob McKenny Agent

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    Jason,

    I would add the Sony VPL-HS20 to your consideration list. It is a 1386x788 LCD with 1300:1 constrast ratio and 1400 ANSI lumens brightness. Check out www.avsforum.com for a lot more info on this and the other units you have listed.

    Bob
     

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