Projector Recommendations - Outdoor Film Series - Under $1k - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by codyunderblood View Post
Do you feel something like an Optoma EH416 that has 4200 lumens and a higher price point is significantly better than the HC1040? I.e. worth shelling out more money? Looking to make sure that some of these differences between price points/specs aren't negligible.
Speaking strictly in terms of getting a good picture for a good price, I would still recommend the HC1040. I wouldn't use it in my home theater, but for outdoor use there are a lot of quality trade-offs due to less controlled conditions. I've been renting outdoor screens for seven years and I own Epson 730HD, HC1040, and HC1440 projectors as well as a few Christie units for big screens. Brighter is always better, but the additional lumens make less of a difference once you pass a certain threshold. In my own testing of these projectors in actual usage scenarios, I've found that the HC1040's are perfectly usable for screens up to 200". I've attached a photo of an HC1040 projecting on the Loch 200" screen for reference.

Buy the brightest you can afford, but 3000 lumens will be good enough for your usage if you want to keep costs in line.

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post #32 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
<$1,000 is your problem. It's not realistic for your needs. It's like shopping for beach front property at swamp land prices. At minimum you really need something like the $1,499, 5,000-lumen Epson PowerLite 2250U that from 24' will illuminate a 240" screen to 26 fL.

epson.com/For-Work/Projectors/Meeting-Room/PowerLite-2250U-Wireless-Full-HD-WUXGA-3LCD-Projector-/p/V11H871020

projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_2250U-projection-calculator-pro.htm
No. 5000 lumens would be nice, but it's certainly not the "minimum" necessary for OP's 14'x8' screen. I use 3000 lumens on the same size screen and it looks great.

The US distributor for Airscreen ships EH500's (4700 lumens) with their 24'x13' movie screens and it works just fine as well although they're only getting ~10fl at the surface. I use a HC1440 or Christie 5000 lumen on my 24' screen and it also looks great.

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post #33 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by parawing742 View Post
No. 5000 lumens would be nice, but it's certainly not the "minimum" necessary for OP's 14'x8' screen. I use 3000 lumens on the same size screen and it looks great.

The US distributor for Airscreen ships EH500's (4700 lumens) with their 24'x13' movie screens and it works just fine as well although they're only getting ~10fl at the surface. I use a HC1440 or Christie 5000 lumen on my 24' screen and it also looks great.
The OP said he has no control over ambient light. He needs reserve lumens for when ambient light is higher. Also, projector lamps lose 25% of their lumens in the first 500 hours of operation so that needs to be accounted for with reserve lumens. If he has 150 people showing up for a good experience he should not be on the ragged edge of minimum lumens. It's already been noted that a 200" screen is small for an audience of 150 and that 250" would be better.

If you have used an Epson 1440 then you will appreciate that the Epson 2250U is an improved, brighter version of the 1440 for the same price. It will serve the OP well in lighting conditions where the 1040 would be marginal and also accomodate a larger screen size.

By the way, if you find ~10 fL acceptable in anything but total darkness I don't think I'd be interested in attending any of your outdoor theater presentations.
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post #34 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
<$1,000 is your problem. It's not realistic for your needs. It's like shopping for beach front property at swamp land prices. At minimum you really need something like the $1,499, 5,000-lumen Epson PowerLite 2250U that from 24' will illuminate a 240" screen to 26 fL.

epson.com/For-Work/Projectors/Meeting-Room/PowerLite-2250U-Wireless-Full-HD-WUXGA-3LCD-Projector-/p/V11H871020

projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_2250U-projection-calculator-pro.htm
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post #35 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
By the way, if you find ~10 fL acceptable in anything but total darkness I don't think I'd be interested in attending any of your outdoor theater presentations.
That's the difference between technical data and practical data. You are imagining that 10fl looks awful, but in practice it looks great. There are hundreds of outdoor movie rental companies getting similar results. As I pointed out, Airscreen (one of the best outdoor screen manufacturers) ships a 4700 lumen PJ with their 24'x13' screen. These packages are used by many professional operators all over the world. I own several of these screens and they are far larger than what OP is using.

Here's a photo of a 17'x10.5' wide screen paired with a HC1440 projector (4400 lumens). Please critique the video PQ and explain how 10fl would make your movie experience bad.



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post #36 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by parawing742 View Post
That's the difference between technical data and practical data. You are imagining that 10fl looks awful, but in practice it looks great. ...
No, I've seen 10 fL on a screen with my own eyes back in the day when all affordable home projectors were dim and it doesn't look great. It looks dimmer than I would expect from a professional movie presentation and I didn't find it very impressive in my own home.

You just posted images of a 240" screen illuminated by an Epson 1440 after I suggested a 240" screen paired with an Epson 2250U which is essentially an updated 1440. Seems to me like you are making my case.
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post #37 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post
Agreed, it does if you just divide the lumens by screen area. What's missing is the loss from throw distance, point source to screen.

Projector Central's calculator seems to take this into account. I don't know how accurate it is, but it seems to be in the ball park.
The projectorcentral ftL "info" on their screen-size calculator is VERY inaccurate and warns users via colored text warning that it isn't accurate.

The 1040 only loses about 8% if it's brightness at the dimmest reaches of its zoom, but many projectors on the PJC calculator default to the older 2.2:1 zoom 8350's and similar model zoom drop-off of about 44%.

Even at the longest end of its zoomrange, the 1040 should be outputting around 1950lm...cutting the ftL down to 14ftL-16ftL on a 200" screen.

I agree a different, even brighter LCD within budget would be a better option.

Easy $25 DIY black (or any color) ALR paint +$40-$50sprayer screen mix smooth/clean and very easy to learn spraying with little/no mess.
Simple $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
Quick <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room "A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415

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post #38 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 02:07 PM
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241" screen with Epson 1440 = 11fl
200" screen with Epson 1040 = 11fl

You said around ~10fl would be unacceptable brightness to you and I posted pictures of exactly what it looks like. Do you think 11fl is still bad as you originally claimed?

Does OP need a 5000 lumen PJ at "minimum." No, of course not.

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post #39 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
No, I've seen 10 fL on a screen with my own eyes back in the day when all affordable home projectors were dim and it doesn't look great. It looks dimmer than I would expect from a professional movie presentation and I didn't find it very impressive in my own home.

You just posted images of a 240" screen illuminated by an Epson 1440 after I suggested a 240" screen paired with an Epson 2250U which is essentially an updated 1440. Seems to me like you are making my case.
If the case was what to pair with a 240" screen, yes. But OP is talking about a 200" screen. That's a size difference of 52 sq ft smaller.

This is a case where compromises have to be made due to a budget. If OP had 10k to spend, I'd obviously make different recommendations than a 1k budget. You're minimum recommendation is 50% OVER budget. That money would be better spent on a nicer screen or upgraded sound equipment in my opinion. He's gonna have to spend another $1k just to cover that crowd size outdoors at a reasonable volume.

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post #40 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 02:43 PM
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If the OP is going to stick with a 200" screen and absolutely cannot budget $1,500 for the projector alone then an Epson 1040 would be OK but not great. The difference between 3,000 and 5,000 lumens is significant. For a crowd of 150 viewing a 200" screen those sitting 40' away in the back row will have a similar experience to viewing a 50" TV from 10' away in their family room. But if thousands of people are enjoying outdoor movie experiences like this across the country maybe I'm just being too picky. I suppose it's better than watching movies on a 5" smartphone screen.
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post #41 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 02:57 PM
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Not my event, but the local zoo here in Nashville does outdoor movie events with a 220" screen and their crowd size tops out with around 1000 viewers. Outdoor movies are as much a social event and a reason to be outdoors in my city. As long as the quality is good, nobody complains it's not THX-spec'ed gear. I don't judge.

I own ten screens and have personally compared results between projectors. For me, 3000 lumens is the minimum for a 200" screen and adding more is a bonus with diminishing ROI. You can easily spend 3x as much money and end up with only a marginally better picture to the average observer. The difference between 2000 and 3000 is huge, but the difference between 3000 and 4000 is less noticeable. YOU might see it because you know HT, but 99% of the general public have no context to understand the difference.

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post #42 of 54 Old 08-03-2017, 07:05 PM
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@parawing742 , I can promise you that you will never see me in a crowd of 1,000 people watching a movie on a 220" screen. But I don't doubt that you have the experience in this area to make a recommendation in keeping with what's acceptable to the general public. So if the OP wants to keep a low budget and follow the going outdoor movie formula for screen size and lumen output then a 200" screen and Epson 1040 would seem to make the most sense.
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post #43 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ftoast View Post
The projectorcentral ftL "info" on their screen-size calculator is VERY inaccurate and warns users via colored text warning that it isn't accurate.

The 1040 only loses about 8% if it's brightness at the dimmest reaches of its zoom, but many projectors on the PJC calculator default to the older 2.2:1 zoom 8350's and similar model zoom drop-off of about 44%.

Even at the longest end of its zoomrange, the 1040 should be outputting around 1950lm...cutting the ftL down to 14ftL-16ftL on a 200" screen.

I agree a different, even brighter LCD within budget would be a better option.
Is there a brighter LCD within this particular budget?
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post #44 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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@parawing742 , I can promise you that you will never see me in a crowd of 1,000 people watching a movie on a 220" screen. But I don't doubt that you have the experience in this area to make a recommendation in keeping with what's acceptable to the general public. So if the OP wants to keep a low budget and follow the going outdoor movie formula for screen size and lumen output then a 200" screen and Epson 1040 would seem to make the most sense.
I can afford more lumens, such as the Optoma EH416, and the Optoma EH500 is about where my budget tops out. What I'm trying to make sure is that the difference between the Epson 1040 and the Optoma EH416 is significant enough to justify the increase in cost. With a limited budget and the need to also get audio/screen, diminishing returns are a big deal and that money can be spent elsewhere...but if there's a significant improvement over the video experience, I can afford that particular upgrade.
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post #45 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 10:38 AM
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@codyunderblood , the Optoma models you mention have inflated lumen numbers. Those are business models that in their brightest modes are designed to punch up white levels to 4,000+ lumens for PowerPoint, Excel and Word presentations. In punching up the whites they reduce color lumens to 1,000 or less. This is a general characteristic of DLP business projectors. They are not designed to produce bright colors so they are not great for showing movies in their brightest modes. When set to a more balanced color mode they typically produce a third or less of the maximum lumens, so one rated at 4,400 maximum lumens may need to be reduced to 1,500 lumens or less to get white and color lumens in balance.

In contrast 3LCD projectors produce an equal number of white and color lumens even in brightest mode. So a 5,000-lumen 3LCD projector can produce 5,000 white and color lumens in brightest mode. This is why 3LCD projectors are favored as bright room light cannons. And this is why I would recommend the 3,000-lumen 3LCD Epson 1040 -- because it can produce 3,000 white and color lumens in brightest mode, which will make movies more colorful. A 4,400-lumen DLP business model will have slightly brighter whites but dull and dingy colors in brightest mode.

This is not a knock against DLP, which has many favorable characteristics that make DLP home theater models quite popular. But one thing DLP does not do as well as 3LCD is produce higher lumen levels while maintaining the balance of brightness between whites and colors that is more important when showing movies than making business presentations. For the single issue of producing maximum balanced white and color lumens for viewing movies on a big screen and/or with some ambient light 3LCD has the advantage.
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post #46 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 11:19 AM
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Another factor to consider is replacement lamp cost. Projector lamps typically lose about 25% of their lumens in the first 500 hours of use and then steadily dim at a lower rate until they reach the end of their lifespan. At some point you may decide the movies are too dim for best viewing and want to replace the lamp. For the EH500 you mentioned Optoma charges $449 for a genuine replacement lamp. For the 1040 Epson charges $79, so a savings of several hundred dollars each time you buy a new lamp. Epson has a competitive advantage over all other projector companies in low-cost genuine replacement lamps.

When you factor in both projector and replacement lamp cost the Epson 1040 is really a great bargain, which is why it has been so popular among those who find 3,000 white and color lumens to be adequate.
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post #47 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by codyunderblood View Post
Is there a brighter LCD within this particular budget?
The only couple of brighter models I'm seeing listed at or under $1000 are only around 30% brighter and are wxga/800x1280 resolution.

The Epson powerlite 2245u at ~$1299 is still 1200x1920resolution and uses a 300watt lamp to push a brightness claim of 4200lm compared to the 3000-3200 claims of the 200watt-215watt LCDs, but I think they only offer the 200watt lamp at the really low price and its not like this projector will be twice as bright at twice the price.

I'd mention refurbs, but in that same breath you could likely afford TWO refurbished 1040's which would still be brighter and cheaper to re-lamp (even both at once) than anything else likely to fall into the <$1000 range via return.

Between the nice resolution and overall price and lamp-price of the 1040, it appears really difficult to beat without increasing your price-range up to around $1300-1500.

As for the DLPs in your budget; keep in mind that ALL of the models claiming over 2200-2800lm are actually the dimmer models for a lot of video because as their brightness claims go up, their actual full-color brightness goes down..perminently.
The real-world brightest DLPs at or near your budget are Optoma HD36, Benq hc1200, Optoma HD37, Benq ht2050/Vivitek1886(i could be mistaken about the Vivitek model number). All of these use more expensive replacement lamps than the Epson1040 and can't significantly beat its brightness...and they often cost more.
The DLPs in your price-range claiming 3200-7000+ lumen struggle to put out over 700-800 lumen for colored content, so you're left with colors looking really dim kind of like the lights are burning out.

Easy $25 DIY black (or any color) ALR paint +$40-$50sprayer screen mix smooth/clean and very easy to learn spraying with little/no mess.
Simple $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
Quick <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room "A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415

Last edited by Ftoast; 08-04-2017 at 03:48 PM.
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post #48 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Another factor to consider is replacement lamp cost. Projector lamps typically lose about 25% of their lumens in the first 500 hours of use and then steadily dim at a lower rate until they reach the end of their lifespan. At some point you may decide the movies are too dim for best viewing and want to replace the lamp. For the EH500 you mentioned Optoma charges $449 for a genuine replacement lamp. For the 1040 Epson charges $79, so a savings of several hundred dollars each time you buy a new lamp. Epson has a competitive advantage over all other projector companies in low-cost genuine replacement lamps.

When you factor in both projector and replacement lamp cost the Epson 1040 is really a great bargain, which is why it has been so popular among those who find 3,000 white and color lumens to be adequate.
Have been following this thread and not to hijack from the OP -apologies in advance. How does Epson HC 3700 stack up for outdoor duties - planning on running 16 by 9 feet Carl's flexiwhite screen?
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post #49 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 07:34 PM
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Have been following this thread and not to hijack from the OP -apologies in advance. How does Epson HC 3700 stack up for outdoor duties - planning on running 16 by 9 feet Carl's flexiwhite screen?
It outputs around 2500lumen with impressive accuracy and contrast, and its fairly long 1.6:1 zooming ability only affects its brightness by about 8%.

It's one of the brightest projectors you can buy..and the only brighter models available anywhere near its price are often only a little brighter (except for a couple) and they all have MUCH poorer native-contrast.

Something like the 1440 or its newer brethren might be a little better if you need even more brightness instead of contrast..if there's a noticeable amount of light washing the screen. Otherwise the 3700 can fill a 16x9' screen with around 17ftL of brightness to start.

Easy $25 DIY black (or any color) ALR paint +$40-$50sprayer screen mix smooth/clean and very easy to learn spraying with little/no mess.
Simple $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
Quick <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room "A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415
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post #50 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 10:57 PM
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It outputs around 2500lumen with impressive accuracy and contrast, and its fairly long 1.6:1 zooming ability only affects its brightness by about 8%.

It's one of the brightest projectors you can buy..and the only brighter models available anywhere near its price are often only a little brighter (except for a couple) and they all have MUCH poorer native-contrast.

Something like the 1440 or its newer brethren might be a little better if you need even more brightness instead of contrast..if there's a noticeable amount of light washing the screen. Otherwise the 3700 can fill a 16x9' screen with around 17ftL of brightness to start.
Thanks for the feedback. Also took quick look at epson 2250 and the numbers look good. How is this model for outdoor purpose - little more expensive than HC 3700 but lot brighter!
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post #51 of 54 Old 08-04-2017, 11:57 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Also took quick look at epson 2250 and the numbers look good. How is this model for outdoor purpose - little more expensive than HC 3700 but lot brighter!
I think the 2250 and similar models are the brightest you'll find for consumer single-lamp projection at around 4000lm-4500lm real-world brightness (not terribly accurate, but not super ugly/green-tinted).
There's also a chance they'll use a similar $150 replacement lamp like the 1440, although the 1440 used a different 280watter VS the 2250's 300watt lamp....so replacements might jump up around $250.

The 2250 has a slightly longer zoom-range than the 3700, but lacks the lens-shift and its zoom has a more significant effect on the projector's brightness while zooming the 3700 barely dims it at all.
The 3700 has a lot higher native-contrast so movies will look nicer when the screen area is kept dark, but if you've got lights washing the screen noticeably, the brighter 2250 or 1440 will help more with the extra brightness because contrast won't be very good either way on a somewhat washed-out screen.

Easy $25 DIY black (or any color) ALR paint +$40-$50sprayer screen mix smooth/clean and very easy to learn spraying with little/no mess.
Simple $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
Quick <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room "A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415
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post #52 of 54 Old 08-05-2017, 12:04 AM
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We will be watching movies mostly after sunset - so contrast and PQ quality is important. If the 3700 has enough lumens to light up 16 x 9 screen with good PQ, I will be happy. If I get better PQ and brighter image with 2000 series I can go it as well. Just want to make sure that I get good overall picture and experience with the projector.
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post #53 of 54 Old 08-05-2017, 08:40 AM
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@soundofrockets , just to be clear on replacement lamp costs, while the 1040 lamps are $79, replacement lamps for the 2250U and 3700 are only $20 more ($99) direct from Epson, so still a great bargain.

The 3700 is a better movie projector than the 2250U in every way except maximum lumens. It's designed for home theater whereas the 2250U is designed for business. If you really need 5,000 maximum lumens then there are no inexpensive home theater options and you really have to go business model. But, projectorcentral.com independently measured the 3700 at 3,400+ lumens in brightest mode so it delivers more than its rated 3,000 lumens. Of course all projectors are at least a little less accurate in their brightest modes. But movies can still be quite watchable even if the colors are a little off.

Your 16' x 9' screen is 144 square feet. Multiplying 144 by 17 fL means you need 2,448 lumens. That would give you nearly a 1,000-lumen margin with the 3700's measured 3,400+ lumens and of course the 2250U could go even brighter. If you want to use the projector for indoor as well as outdoor use the 3700 would clearly be the best option as it will have a more refined image. To me the 2250U only makes sense if you think you need more than 1,000 extra lumens for outdoor use with your 16' x 9' screen.
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post #54 of 54 Old 08-05-2017, 11:44 AM
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Thanks Dave. I don't "need" 5000 lumens. The issue is - is it required to have such a bright projector for my needs - view movies after sunset on 16 by 9 screen and get good PQ.

Seems like the choices are narrowing down to either 3700 or 2250 - any other recommendations with similar features and price range?
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