Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northern Virginia
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I've owned an Epson 8500UB since late 2010 and project onto a 100" screen in my living room. I went with front projection for the theater feel and the logistics of setting up a large screen TV in that room. The only suitable location would have been above the fireplace, placed much too high. A retractable screen allows me to have the screen drop down as low as I need it. I've loved owning this projector. The THX mode looks great, and after calibration it really looks superb. Even with white walls, the projector delivers impressively deep blacks with very good shadow detail. I also find the projector very bright in its more accurate, dimmer THX modes, even with a little ambient light from nearby lamps. In its Living Room mode the image gets very bright and I find that suitable when guests are over to watch sports. As the bulb ages, however, I find that controlling ambient light becomes more necessary, especially in THX mode. Once it's time to replace the bulb, it's like getting a new projector. The brightness difference is extremely evident.
Now that we're in the process of finishing our basement, I just bought a Panasonic TC-P60VT60 plasma to put in there. I have it set up in the living room temporarily and have messed with it for a few days. Its image quality is objectively better than the projector's. In a darkened room its black levels are incredible and get much deeper and darker, and the bright areas are of the screen are capable of getting brighter. Color saturation is excellent across the board. Fast motion shows less blur. And of course the plasma combats ambient light much more effectively. Direct light sources will still cause spot glare with the plasma, but it doesn't wash out and get dull in the same way a front projection screen does. Viewing angles are basically unlimited with both.
So which screen do I like better? Man, that's really hard to say. I'm in my plasma honeymoon period right now and I'm seated a bit too close to it so it feels impressively large. When it's finally downstairs and I'm sitting farther back, then I'm not sure which way I'll lean. They're both excellent. The plasma is a more versatile display and is capable of producing a "better" image, but there's just something really cool about having a front projection system and the drama of watching on a truly wall-filling screen. One is among the finest televisions ever made, and one is a home theater screen.
Upstairs: Epson 8500UB | Onkyo TX-SR805 | DVDO Edge | DefTech PowerMonitor 700 | ProCenter 2000 | BP2X | AV123 MFW-15 | Onkyo DV-HD805 | Sony PS3 | Pro-Ject 1Xpression III
Downstairs: Panasonic TC-P60VT60 | Onkyo TX-NR818 | Pioneer SP-FS52 | SP-C22 | SP-B22 | MartinLogan Dynamo | Sony BDP-S5100 | Xbox 360 S