Epson 720 Needs Bulb, replace or upgrade? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 12-10-2010, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi -
I haven't been very active here since finishing my HT ... but I knew this was the best place to come for this kind of advice:

I'm really enjoying my Epson Home Cinema 720 projector. I use it in a dedicated home theater on a 120" 2.40:1 screen. My screen is DIY Center Stage material from Seymour. It's a perf screen with speakers hidden behind.

My projector has over 1800 hours now and it's telling me to replace the lamp. Picture still looks good, probably has lost some brightness but theater room is completely free of ambient light.

I watch 60% DVDs, 40% football / HDTV / blu-ray. For DVDs, I like everything about the picture quality except plugged up shadows. I've tried calibrating it, and I'm happy enough but that's the main area I'd like to improve when I get a new projector.

My question is, have there been major changes in projectors in the past 18 months? Particularly to black level? Noise is the other area I think my HC 720 could be probably be improved upon.

I know at some point I'll probably want to upgrade the screen too, but I like the look of the current one installed in the room and not itching for another project at the moment.

Whats the best course of action, with an eye on bang for the buck?
1) Replace the lamp and wait another 18 months for projector evolution?
2) Spring for a new projector? Possibly Epson Home Cinema 8350
3) Replace the screen?

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post #2 of 22 Old 12-11-2010, 12:00 AM
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The Epson HC 8350 is a very nice upgrade from the HC 720; I just did this 1 week ago with my HC 720 that has 1700 hours on it. Everything about the 8350 is better than the 720...better black levels, better color, better resolution, better motion handling - it just looks plain better, and that's with the 8350 set to economy power and cinema mode. Avatar and Kung Fu Panda Blu-Ray discs are simply stunning to watch on the HC 8350. I do notice the same banding issues on certain anime Blu-Ray titles, but that is a media issue not projector issue.

A 120" screen seems kinda large for optimal image in 720P; a 1080P projector would do much better at that size. I do like how the DVD of Grand Prix looks on the 8350 as well on my 92" screen.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-11-2010, 06:52 AM
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If the majority of what you watch is DVD then I would just get a new bulb and enjoy the HC720 all over again. A new bulb WILL make a difference. If you're looking for a more than slight upgrade and want LCD then you should be looking at the 'ultra high contrast' ones.
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-11-2010, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Vracer, those are encouraging statements about the HC 8350. It's looking like a worthwhile upgrade.

I did read a review of it at Projector Central, which raved about it. Only problem, they compared it to the Panny AE-4000 and mentioned some features I hadn't even know about. Particularly the AE-4000's power zoom and focus, and it's memory to quickly switch between settings (ie 16x9 vs 2.40:1) ... but, it's almost 2x the price. I can probably tolerate standing up and manually zooming a while longer and hope this feature can come down to the $1000-ish projectors.

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post #5 of 22 Old 12-11-2010, 04:34 PM
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bmcent: what color/light mode are you using on your 720? I'm getting ready to put up a screen in my HT (also Seymour) for my 720. Also, is you room a dark color? I don't see any pics on your build thread.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-11-2010, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I love my Seymour screen. I'm sure there's probably another small percentage you could wring out with a really high priced screen, but the performance has been great for the price and it was a pretty simple DIY project after polishing up my handy skills on the rest of the build.

My previous web host (1&1 Internet) lost my entire website last year. For over a month they promised restoring from various backups but in the end, they couldn't recover the data. I had a lot of my HTML pages stashed locally but not all the photos of my build so they are wiped out of my build thread. "Someday" I might dig up the original photos and summarize it, because I did take a lot of pics, but there are so many other projects plus a HT to enjoy now

My room is almost completely black. It wouldn't be for everyone but I really like the look. It's modern and clean. I went with dark gray carpet and a dark gray ceiling. My walls are floor to ceiling Black GOM. No windows. Light is totally controlled. To make it look nice when the lights are on, I went with 8x 4" can lights in soffits with nickel trims.

Most of the time I used "Theater Black 1" IIRC, but now that my projector has over 1800 hours on it, I've switched to "Natural" to boost the brightness a bit.

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post #7 of 22 Old 12-12-2010, 07:43 AM
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bmcent: The Seymour screen gets good reviews and the price is good so I went for it. I'm going to mount mine with tarp clips and bungee cords. It should be pretty easy. I can't wait to have a center channel behind the screen.

That's too bad about your website. You should take some current/new pics of your HT and post them on your thread.

Sounds like your room is as dark as mine will be. I'm going black for the ceiling and the floor, then white/gray/black for the walls and a black curtain for the walls to cover that all up. Right now I have my 720 in a room with all white walls. With an 85" screen I run in Dynamic mode. The other modes just seem too dim.

I have 4500 hours on my 720 and am on the third bulb, although it is a cheapy eBay one. I'm not sure if it is as bright as an OEM bulb. I'm hoping to get a light meter for Xmas so I can calibrate and determine how bright my screen is. I also may be buying a new bulb if the eBay one isn't up to snuff....or upgrading. Going eBay could at least buy you a few months or more before needing to upgrade.

I'm also thinking I might need to take my 720 apart and give it a cleaning. I have mine on the floor and it gets dusty. I'm hoping that will magically make it 50% brighter.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
Andreas' Slow Rotary Sub build
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-14-2010, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm leaning towards the Epson HC 8350, but if I do go for a bulb for the time being, any recommendations on where to buy? I'll check the sponsors, but wondered if there is conventional wisdom about the best outlet for replacement Epson bulbs.

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post #9 of 22 Old 12-14-2010, 06:23 AM
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You can buy right from Epson. I think it is $350 (free shipping -- http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/P...4244&category= ) for the bulb and chassis. I didn't look too hard, but found another place selling it also for $350 plus shipping and they didn't have it for immediate shipment (probably ordered it from Epson!).

You can also buy a bare bulb from eBay for $100-120. Mine is pretty bright, but I don't think it is as bright as OEM....but it is hard to tell without taking a measurement.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-20-2010, 06:53 AM
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bmcent: Did you decide what you are going to do? I ended up switching back to my old OEM bulb and thought the PQ was better (I was getting whiter whites) than my eBay bulb. It's only been a few days and the OEM bulb is noticeably dimmer already. Now, I'm in the same boat as you. Bulb or upgrade?

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
Andreas' Slow Rotary Sub build
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post #11 of 22 Old 12-27-2010, 05:54 AM
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bmcent: I bought a new lamp for my 720. It is like a brand new PJ again! I'm projecting onto a 135" 16:9 screen and it looks great even on the higher quality modes, but I'll be upgrading someday since I really should have 1080 for this size screen.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
Andreas' Slow Rotary Sub build
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-27-2010, 06:38 AM
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If you're happy with your PJ I'd just buy the new bulb and keep on being happy. There is so much going on right now with video entertainment not the least of which is 3D and the projector makers are just now catching on to what the TV makers are already doing which is to make all new models 3D ready.

Our projector is 3 yrs old and still very enjoyable and our plan is to continue to enjoy it - if the bulb failed I would replace it - cause I believe that over the next year there will be a lot of changes in projection technology which I want to wait for before investing in a upgrade to a new projector.
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post #13 of 22 Old 12-27-2010, 06:52 AM
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imjay: I agree. If there was a 1080 3D projector at a reasonable price point, I would upgrade. Since there isn't, a bulb is much less expensive than even moving up to an 8350. My 720 puts out a great image, even after 4500 hours.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
Andreas' Slow Rotary Sub build
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-11-2011, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to say thanks for all the replies! I lurked for a while and also waffled on the decision.

Yesterday I decided to buy a new lamp since I do like this projector and it's a lot less expensive in the short term, I can always upgrade late in the year or possibly next year when I've racked up many more hours on this projector.

Received my new bulb today and it was easy to swap. BIG DIFFERENCE! I'm back to watching a brighter picture in Theater Black 1 compared to Natural mode with the bulb at 2000 hours. And I forgot how quite the projector is in too. Nice

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post #15 of 22 Old 01-12-2011, 07:39 AM
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What are the prices you guys are paying for your seymour screens? I would really like to have my center behind the screen.
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post #16 of 22 Old 01-12-2011, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scutzi128 View Post
What are the prices you guys are paying for your seymour screens? I would really like to have my center behind the screen.
A bit under 2 years ago, I paid $235 for my 120", 2.40:1 Seymour audio transparent screen fabric, shipped.

That was a terrific bargain based on the performance I've had from the screen ever since. It was a DIY project though, so I had to also buy 1x3s at the local home improvement store and Fidelio black velvet to wrap the frame. I think I bought an upholstery pneumatic stapler and staples (already had the compressor) for the project as well. As I recall, after honing my skills in all the other parts of the build, building the screen was easy.

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post #17 of 22 Old 01-12-2011, 08:26 AM
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I paid $280 shipped a month or so ago from SeymourAV for a 12' long piece of 96" wide fabric. I did a method that uses bungee cords and fabric clips to stretch the fabric (more details in my build thread). I have a 135" 16:9 screen, and maybe 10.5' wide 2.4:1 screen through zooming.

You can get a screen much cheaper if you can go with the narrower fabric.

bmcent: glad you went with a new bulb. I was amazed at the difference too!

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
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post #18 of 22 Old 03-03-2012, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I realize this is an old thread, but I'm going to be in the same situation again later this year, and all the original comments are still relevant: Still using HC720, Seymour perf screen that's 120" diagonal in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Completely light controlled theater.

I'm looking to upgrade my projector this year and I definitely want to go 1080p. In addition to a blue ray player (that I rarely use), I have DirecTV and watch a lot of football, but outside of football season, the vast majority of viewing is DVDs or streaming content via HTPC.

I like Epson, but one thing I was REALLY looking forward to was lens memory and remote controlled zoom and vertical offset for switching between 16x9 and 2.35:1 formats. The Panasonic AE-4000 had that, but I now that I'm in the market, I can't find that projector anywhere.

I have absolutely zero interest in 3D and the premium and complexity it's adding to projectors.

I took a look through Projector Central but didn't find a good fit. Hope I overlooked something! Can anyone recommend a good 1080p projector with lens memory/automatic zooming and great blacks and color?

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post #19 of 22 Old 03-03-2012, 06:18 PM
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Check out the JVC RS 45. Call AVS for pricing.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
Andreas' Slow Rotary Sub build
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post #20 of 22 Old 03-03-2012, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasMergner View Post

Check out the JVC RS 45. Call AVS for pricing.

Thanks, looking into that now. Price range looks on the high side though and it may be due to 3d which I won't use.

Saw some comments that Panasonic may be coming out with 2 more projectors this year. Any new news on that or any likely shows coming up where they would announce?

Other question is, are there any 2.35:1 native projectors yet, particularly in the sub $3500 price range? That would be awesome and would eliminate the need for motorized lens/automatic zooming.

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post #21 of 22 Old 03-03-2012, 07:25 PM
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If you're into watching movies 60% of the time and concern about shadow and black level, you should go for the AVS special sale on the RS40. Going from LCD to LCoS is a big jump in pq, though Panasonic has all the bells and whistles. BTW, I used to have an Epson 400, a predecessor of your Cinema 720.

I enjoy my movie viewing experience and sports 2nd with my JVC.

GL.
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post #22 of 22 Old 03-04-2012, 02:35 AM
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The 45 has motorized zooming and memory. The 40 does not. I would have gotten the 45 over the 5010 if I didn't want 3d as the 45 doesn't have great 3d. 45 goes for for very close to what the 5010 goes for. Call AVS.

Current HT: HTPC-->Epson 5010 projector-->135" screen, BFM TLAHs x7 & THT
Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house?
Andreas' Slow Rotary Sub build
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