Looking for Some Opinons from the group on an upgrade from 4:3 system... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-08-2010, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all... first I would like to say thanks to the group for the wealth of information I have received over the years in reading this forum.

I have been in this home theater hobby for more than 15 years and gone through my fair share of equipment. I have started with a Kloss Novabeam CRT projector, then to a Barco CRT, a hand full of business LCD projectors, and my last projector being a Sharp Notevision PG-M20X DLP projector.

I have had a really great experience with this Sharp M20X. Initially, I had some problems with the light flickering, but the service and support from Sharp was stellar, and they replaced the unit twice until it was working properly. This 1024x768 DLP with 3x color wheel, 1900 lumens, and 1000:1 contrast has produce very good image in my somewhat lighting controlled environment. Unfortunately at 37db, the cooling fan is noisy.

My primary video source is the HTPC...using now a linux based XBMC setup over DVI connection, displaying ripped DVD and Bluray content.

Alas, my current M20X lamp has expired and now I am trying to decide what to do next. The replacement lamp is almost $500, and I am thinking it could be a good time to upgrade to another projector at this point since the M20X is about 9 years old.

I am currently projecting onto a 100" (60"x80") 4:3 Da-lite Cosmopolitan Electrol motorized screen with hi-gain surface.

Most of the newer HT projectors are in the 16:9 / 16:10 format while my M20X is a 4:3 unit. I don't have too many options for changing the screen due to several issues. I am using Niles in-wall speakers, and they are mounted very close to the edge of where the 4:3 screen drops, and due to the location of the wall studs, there is no option to move the speakers further out to accommodate a wider screen.

So I can either:
- Replace the bulb on my old M20X projector
- Replace the projector with another 4:3 projector
- Replace the projector with a 16:9 projector and reduce my image size to 92" (45"x80") and reduce the drop of my existing screen ... or replace the surface material to get the proper black framing.
- Replace the projector with a 16:10 projector and reduce my image size to 94" (50"x80") and reduce the drop of my existing screen ... or replace the surface material to get the proper black framing.
- Other suggestions?


Regarding replacement projectors, I have been looking at the following, and would appreciate your comments.. I made some comments compared to the existing M20X projector.. trying to stay in under $2000 budget too.

The LCDs, Will they be bright enough due to less lumens? How will I like LCD vs DLP ... I had initially chosen DLP due to less screen door effect, but I assume LCD has made some significant improvements in this area.
- Panasonic AE4000 (1080HD 16:9) - heard that dust is a problem here..true?
- Epson PL Home Cinema 8100 (1080HD 16:9) - do they really achieve that contrast level??
- Epson PL Home Cinema 8500UB (1080HD 16:9) - Is it worth the upgrade over 8100?
- Epson PL Home Cinema 705HD (1280x800 WXGA 16:10) - should I take the 16:10 compromise? - will it be too noisy at 37db?

The DLPs seem to have Similar brightness, improved contrast over the M20X
- Optoma HD20 (1080HD 16:9) - will it be too noisy at 34db?
- BenQ W1000 (1080HD 16:9) .but only 2x colorwheel
- Vivitek H1080FD (1080HD 16:9) - Seems quiet at 26db..but only 3x colorwheel (same as M20x)??
- Optoma HD66 (1280x800 WXGA 16:10) - will it be too noisy at 32db?

- ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS?

Sorry for the long post, but I thought I would share as much as possible about the setup to get the most effective feedback.
Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 07:36 AM
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My only comment is why would you even consider a 4x3 replacement?

I would assume most of your viewing would be HD, or at least 16:9, now. Having a 4x3 screen/PJ would gain you nothing in viewing such material. Any of the newer PJ's will blow away what you currently use. Screen door is a non-issue with the AE4000, and many of us have never had dust blobs even after years and 1000's of hours of use on LCD's. If you prefer the look of DLP's there are many to choose from as well. I don't think you can really go wrong with any of the new tech.

Art
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Art,
Thanks for your feedback! I agree with you... I think the 4:3 replacement does not make sense. I was not sure how practical it would be to change my screen... but after a brief discussion with the Da-Lite guys, It seems that I can just purchase a new roller with screen material and put it into my existing 80" case.

So now the choice is if to do 16:9 or 16:10 setup. I was hoping to not loose too much screen area... Changing my 100" 4:3 to 16:10 changes my viewable space 94" (reduction of 10" of height) ...and to 16:9 to 92" (reduction of 15" of height).

Considering that most of my material is wide screen it shouldnt be too much of a compromise, but I still do use some 4:3 material as well.

At this point, I think I have mostly ruled out the replacement bulb or a replacement 4:3 projector.

Any other thoughts? Thanks Again for your help and post.
regards
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 07:57 AM
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Grab the Vivitek D825MX for < $500 and keep on with your current setup

OR

Rebuild your room to facilitate 16:9 / 21:9 format and move up to a 1080p PJ.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 08:05 AM
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If I had to replace my projector today this is where I would go.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Sharp-XR-32X-L.htm

I have seen several of these used in HT and as a 4:3 option it is very good.

No one can tell what someone else needs. I'm split between 4:3 and wide formats also about 50 / 50

Wont go into all I do on 4:3 , what counts is what you need.


Bud

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post #6 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 06:30 PM
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I love my surround sound rig and I think I know it would be hard to rip out a speaker set that is working great. But, I urge you to find a way to put in a bigger 16:9 screen. You have known and enjoyed projectors for some time, so you know what the next step up could do for enjoyment. 1080p projector, biggest screen your room will accommodate, and then "just" find a way to mount speakers - either floor standing (angled upward from beneath your screen), on the side wall next to your screen, or something.

I wish acoustically transparent screens were affordable, so we could just drop one down in front of our speakers, but those things just cost too much, especially if you want it to look good at 1080p.

I have heard of a guy who reportedly used a bed sheet as an acoustically translucent screen, and he is an audio guru. But I'd want a screen that helped the video more... So back to speaker placement.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-09-2010, 07:32 PM
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I am in the process of undergoing a similar upgrade. I presently have a 80" x 60" Da-Lite screen and my old 4:3 projector just bit the dust. I plan to keep my old screen for now and set the new 16:9 projector I ordered to project 92". Since I mostly watch 16:9 content, it will be exactly the same size I am used to seeing on the screen. Still haven't decided if (and how) I will mask the existing 4:3 screen to 16:9 dimensions. Since I leave it down all the time, it shouldn't be hard.

Is your exising projector mounted in the ceiling? If so, be sure that the new one will work from the same throw distance. Some of those you mentioned would have to be positioned a couple of feet closer than your old M20X. You may also want to make sure the zoom range will accomodate a large screen in the future. Also, I decided I wanted lens-shifting which really narrows the field down in the sub-$2000 price range. The only DLP w/lens shifting in that price range is the Benq W6000.

BTW, I went with a 720p LCD model w/ lens shifting and a wide zoom range (Panasonic AX-200). I'm not really hardcore into my theater (yet) like some of these guys on here, otherwise I would have splurged for a 1080p model.
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-10-2010, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all again for your great feedback.


@reconlabtech
There really is not much of an option for re-engineering the room. I think I will just compromise on a less complicated solution. I am just now learning about the Vivtek... are they good units? never heard of them before.

@bud16415
I think at this point I have convinced myself that if I am replacing the projector, I will do an upgrade to one of the HD solutions which are not 4:3... but thanks for the vote of confidence!

@TrickMcKaha
I hear ya!!! BIG=BETTER!! but unfortunately, there is no way to re-engineer the room or speaker placement. I have the screen dropping down in front of a large window (dual purpose... save space and block light) and due to the wall studs, there is no other positioning of the in-wall Niles speakers. Furthermore, when the screen is rolled up, the area immediately in front is a high traffic walking area from the entrance to the room then passing through to the kitchen, so I cannot put anything on the floor or _on_ the walls that will stick out. Going higher on the walls, is a curtain that would also block the speakers... So I am really kind of stuck.
I am planning to simply change the roller and screen material in my existing 80" wide unit and drop down a few inches to 94 or 92 inches. Now I just need to decide if 16:9 or 16:10.


@dcdtn
I did some research and spoke to someone at DaLite regarding replacing the roller and surface area of my 100" 4:3 cosmopolitan Electrol... and it looks like for just under $200 the part can be ordered, and the install should not be too complicated. It could be a better solution to get the correct screen masking for you than creating some other masking solution to the old screen.
Regarding the unit placement, it is ceiling mounted, however, I have some felixbility in the positioning. The beams in the ceiling run parallel to the direction to where the screen is, so in theory I could mount the projector almost anywhere along the way... just pop another hole in the ceiling and fill the other one in. I already have the cabling in place with a lot of slack.
What does the lens shifting get you?
I have not yet looked at the AX200... are you happy with it?


Now that i have figured out what I am doing with the screen... I need to make some decisions on the replacement unit.
I have removed some from my review list and added some.

I am interested to: [MY GOALS]
- stay at around the same brightness level (or increase) my old M20x ~1900 lumen;
- improve on the contrast to get that high impact image (looks like most are much better anyway);
- reduce the noise of the fan (37db);
- Prevent visible rainbows (one of the selection criteria in my M20x was its 3x color wheel which was better than most of the 2x which were available at the time)
- Prevent visible convergence issue. Are the 3 panel LCDs subject to alignment problems?
- Stay under $2000 ... I can do a little bit more if it really worth it, but that's my budget.


~$ 700 - Epson PL Home Cinema 705HD (1280x800 WXGA 16:10 3LCD 2500 Lumens 3000:1 CR) - will it be too noisy? How will I like LCD after appreciating DLP all these years?
~$1000 - Optoma HD20 (1080HD 16:9 1700 DLP Lumens 4000:1 CR) - will it be too noisy? Rainbows?
~$1000 - Vivitek H1080FD (1080HD 16:9) - Seems quiet at 26db. Sounds like a good option.. but I have never heard of these guys before... Vivtek any good?
~$1000 - Panasonic PT-AX200U (1280x720 2000 lumen; 6000:1 CR)- I understand its been on the market for ~3 years now, wouldnt I be better off with something newer technology? Specs look very good though..
~$1500 - Epson PL Home Cinema 8100 (1080HD 16:9 3LCD 1800 Lumens 36K:1 CR) - do they really achieve that contrast level??
~$2000 - Panasonic AE4000 (1080HD 16:9 3LCD 1600 Lumens 100K:1 CR) - heard that dust is a problem here..true? Wish it came in a white case Will I be disappointed with the drop in brightness?
~$2300 - Epson PL Home Cinema 8500UB (1080HD 16:9 3LCD 1600 Lumens 200K:1 CR) - Is it worth the upgrade over 8100? Will I be disappointed with the drop in brightness?


I really appreciate your input.
best regards,
Steve
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-10-2010, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdellutri View Post

@dcdtn
I did some research and spoke to someone at DaLite regarding replacing the roller and surface area of my 100" 4:3 cosmopolitan Electrol... and it looks like for just under $200 the part can be ordered, and the install should not be too complicated. It could be a better solution to get the correct screen masking for you than creating some other masking solution to the old screen.
Regarding the unit placement, it is ceiling mounted, however, I have some felixbility in the positioning. The beams in the ceiling run parallel to the direction to where the screen is, so in theory I could mount the projector almost anywhere along the way... just pop another hole in the ceiling and fill the other one in. I already have the cabling in place with a lot of slack.
What does the lens shifting get you?
I have not yet looked at the AX200... are you happy with it?

I think I am going to eventually replace my screen with a permanent fixed-frame model. Right now my screen is offset to left side of the wall to make room for a desk and other things on the right. If I decide to move the desk and stuff out, I can center the screen using lens-shifting without moving the projector. It basically allows you to move the screen (or projector) left, right, up, or down without any keystone effect. As you might have guessed it is going to be a pain for me to relocate the projector.

Re: Panasonic AX-200
It just came in today and I haven't tried it out yet. I know it has been out a few years, but it is literally the only option available for my situation for less than $1000. On the bright side, they should have all the bugs worked out by now.

Good luck on your quest.

David
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