Projector time, need expert opinion! - FMVperformance.com : The site for all your Ford Mazda and Volvo needs
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-23-2006, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Projector time, need expert opinion!

Hey guys, Its time for me to buy my first projector after my first pay check. My budget is less than $800, and while i know i cant get something great, i do want something that will look good, have good brightness with no ghosting, and possibly DLP . I want to get it from costco because i can return/replace it anytime with their outstanding warranty. Currently, im looking at the Optoma EP732H ($599 after rebate, great specs (including 1500 lumens and DLP) but lack of user reviews makes me question the projector, at no fault of the projector itself), Epson Powerlite 76c (reviews have this projector as great image quality but lacking in sharpness and brightness, plus its non-DLP), and the Infocus X2 (good reviews all around about this, but its apparently really noisy and extremely bulky, but has DLP and otherwise looks like the best out of the 3 IMO).

What can you guys tell me about these 3 projectors and these 3 only? I will be using this for watching TV, movies, playing games on both console and computer. Lemme know asap, thanks!

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-23-2006, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

wow... not a single person on the forums knows about projectors?

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 08:24 AM
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

I personally don't bother with them. Image quality and contrast just aren't nearly as good as a halfway decent CRT or flat panel and you have the disadvantage of not being able to use in a well lit area. I would personally rather sink a grand into a 32" LCD then $500-800 in a projector (so what if I have 4 times the image area or more, I would perfer that smaller image that is much higher quality).

My 2 cents on the issue. However, no I can't tell you what is or is not a good projector for what you want. I barely stay abreast of what is going on with them at any given time.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 09:37 AM
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

I've been using projectors as my primary 'TV' for over 8 years now. Here's my 2 cents.

DLP is wonderful, unless you are one of the few people who can see the rainbow produced by the colorwheel. To see this effect, look at a most black background with white text scrolling over it, if you suffer from this problem, you'll see red and blue edges on the white text. Faster colorwheels help with the issue, but rarely solve it for me.

LCD is not so good when it comes to lots of action. So watching sports or action flicks you'll see smearing. This has been improved upon with the latest technology, but in your price bracket I think you will still see smearing. Also, with LCD you run the risk of dead pixels. Which usually manifest themselves in a projector as bright green dots. And one last thing with the LCD, the larger you make the screen the more noticable the screendoor effect will be. That's the gap between pixels.

Another thing you should consider is that fan noise is a big thing when using a projector. The crappy little PC like fans they throw in the cases are rather annoying when they squeel.

All that said, try out every projector you can have demonstrated, and pick whichever one you like the most. You can't really go wrong, they're all about the same in that price range.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask. Or you could always visit the AVSforums... they're a great source of audio/video technical gurus...

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-25-2006, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

cool... i couldnt quite figure out where to go on avsforums but as of right now, im most likely getting the optoma EP732H.... Looks like a good buy for the $$, although the native resolution is a bit weak (SVGA 800x600), otherwise the contrast ratio (2000:1) and 1500 lumens looks good to me, what do you think?

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-25-2006, 07:00 AM
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

In that price range you're looking at the Optoma H31. I would suggest the Infocus SP4805, but they are about impossible to find.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-25-2006, 03:28 PM
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

One other important thing to look at is the scalar chip with the projector. It's what's responsible for taking an NTSC or HDTV signal and making it fit on the 800x600 (or whatever native resolution it is) display.

If you've ever looked at a computer LCD monitor that wasn't running at native resolution and thought, my god that's fuzzy, blurry, and otherwise crappy, you are seeing the result of a poor scalar.

So if you can, try and see multiple video sources on the projector before making your final decision. Standard NTSC from a DVD player, and a 720p and 1080i HDTV signals are what I used, as they are the most common signals I view. But if you're going to be watching 90% NTSC signals on it, and it does a poor job on scaling, you may be better off with a different model.

Good luck with your purchase!

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-25-2006, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

# Brightness: 1500 ANSI lumens
# Display: 0.55" DLP™ Double Data Rate
# Native Resolution: SVGA 800 x 600
# Contrast: 2000:1
# Projection lens: 1.2x manual zoom
# Projection image size: 32.5" - 337.5" (diagonal)
# Projection distance: 4.6 - 39.4 feet

* Color System: NTSC, PAL, SECAM
* Signal Compatibility: 480i/480p/1080i/720p
* Supported Resolutions: VGA, SVGA, XGA (compressed), SXGA (compressed), MAC


those are the specs, would any of those have scaling specs in it?

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-25-2006, 04:44 PM
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

I have been using projectors for about 3 years now. And I have to say once you experience the theater like screen size in your own home its hard to imagine spending money on a tiny display again. I recently upgraded from a BENQPB6100 (800x600 native) to an Optoma HD70 (1280x720 or 720p native). The 800x600 projector actually produced a beautiful picture. You just had to sit back farther for the pixel structure to disapear. I am sensitive to the rainbow effect to the point that I can see it during the credits... but it has never bothered me while watching the movie itself.

I feed my projector exclusively through a computer so its always running at its native res and the computer does all the scaling. If you can afford to go this route, the quality is superb. For DVD's I use FFDshow for upscaling to HD res and it also has some cool features like cleaning up motion artifacts and enhancing edge sharpeness etc. I do however download all the TV shows I watch, and they are all in 720p or 1080p. DVD's still look excellent.

If you are plugging in a cable box I would reccomend you try to find a unit that has HDMI as the scalers in the lower end projectors are generally pretty bad. And you're getting a cleaner, clearer signal with HDMI vs Component video anyways. I find all the component video sources (When I have tried them) on both projectors to be much darker and muddier vs the same content fed through HDMI/DVI on the Optoma and VGA on the BenQ.

My reccomendation would actually be hold off a while and save another $200 and get the Optoma HD70. Its DLP, 720p native and it retails for $999. The step up from the BenQ PB6100 which is pretty comparable to the projectors you are looking at, to the Optoma is HUGE. I only sit about 13 ft back from a 100" 16:9 screen and the pixel structure is not visible and the image quality is just astounding for the money.

To save money you can also build your own screen for next to nothing. A roll of matte white screen material big enough for a 150" 16:9 screen cost me all of $45, and then the frame you can build easily with 1X4 lumber wrapped in black cloth. Its literally only a couple hours to build and I think my final cost for the most recent screen was about $65 all told. VS several hundred for a pre-made fixed frame screen. If you cannot accomodate a fixed frame and need a pull down then yea, you are probably stuck buying a screen. Mountsandmore.com has pretty good prices.

Good luck on your purchase, I'm sure you'll be happy with whatever you purchase. There's definetly nothing like a projector for recreating that cinematic experience in your home! .

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-25-2006, 05:44 PM
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Re: Projector time, need expert opinion!

Sorry, never heard of costco, is it an electronics store?

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