Battle of the Budget Projectors: Epson 8350 vs Panasonic PT-AR100u - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 48 Old 07-21-2012, 06:06 AM
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Ya, I know the PT-AE7000U is equivalent to European version PT-AT5000 smile.gif according to what lespurgeon said, it seems that he was refer to AR100U uses the smaller LCD panel, just want to clarify that AR100U uses the larger size panel
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post #32 of 48 Old 10-01-2012, 06:19 PM
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I am so glad I came across this thread because it represents my situation exactly. I have just completed basement renovations and my equipment was just recently ordered. I am now in the position to order my projector and screen. Without going any further, let me give you all the conditions in the basement:

The basement will be a mix between a home theater and entertainment room. There are 2 small windows but light control is very achievable since I plan to put blinds that will cut out maximum light. The ceiling color is a flat shade of grey and the walls are a darker grey. The ceiling almost looks white when you compare it to the walls. I have 94" ceilings and the projector will be ceiling mounted just shy of 15' from the screen. There will only be 1 row of seating and it will be located about 12.5' from the screen. The screen size I have planned for is 125"-128" (16:9). Most viewing will be at night time for movies but I will also have some casual viewing where some recessed lights will be on slightly. Of course, there will also be sports parties (Superbowl and others) so I will be sometimes viewing in daytime or with lights pretty much fully on.

Taking all this into consideration, what would you all suggest is the best projector for me? Please note that my current TV (which I will keep in the den) is a Pioneer Elite Pro 101-FD (50") so I am a little spoiled with amazing black levels and picture quality. Will I be disappointed with any of these 2 models or will the size increase just completely make me forget. If there is one thing that will annoy me, it has to be watching a movie in the dark (majority of the cases) and the lack of black in the bars (assuming 2:35 or 4:3 source), to the point where they seem a light shade of grey. Now I understand that I cannot have it all at this price level and considering the expenses I have had to build the basement and assemble the equipment, there is not much room for an expensive projector and screen. This is also going to be my first projector so I am new to the whole thing, therefore willing to accept something that is not the best right off the bat.

Now you all have my situation in a nutshell, if I have forgotten something, let me know and I will provide the details. All I need now is to get feedback on what people (and hopefully users) think is the projector that best suits my needs. If there are other projectors to consider, I am also open to suggestions beyond the 2 models in question. I am looking to make the purchase in the next 1-1.5 months. Let the fun begin!!!
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post #33 of 48 Old 10-02-2012, 08:58 AM
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If you have total light control as you describe the AR100U isn't the right projector. It is a light cannon ment for places you need more light. Sounds like you will have some sports parties with a lot of light but why sacrifice quality for 99% of the time for a few events a year.

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post #34 of 48 Old 10-02-2012, 09:03 AM
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I have read on other sites that the pana is still quite good even in home theater dark environments. the thing that worries me the most is that the 8350 will not be bright enough for my large screen. As well, if we want to have the lights slightly on (say 20% brightness) to watch movies, will this not work well for the 8350?
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post #35 of 48 Old 10-02-2012, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I went back and forth with my decision. I have been weighing options ever since I got started on finishing my basement, basically since the beginning of March. I was dead set on choosing one or the other multiple times. I actually decided on the PT-AR100U. However, I ended up finding a used 8350 locally on craigslist a few weeks ago. It was a deal I couldn't pass on. I ended up paying $625. The machine is on its second bulb with close to 700 hrs on that bulb. I had severe reservations on buying a used projector. What sold me on it was that it had a best buy warranty that is good until 5/2015. My guess, or hope is sometime in these next 2+ years that it will crap out and I will get a nice new shiny projector.
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post #36 of 48 Old 10-03-2012, 05:37 AM
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The 8350 looks like a solid choice, the only thing that really concerns me about this projector is if it will be able to light up a 128" screen. This is probably not an issue if I am watching a movie in compete darkness (which will probably be about 70% of the time) but I worry baout the rest of the time like watching when TV (with some recessed lights on) as well as sports (with likely all lights fully on for parties like the Superbowl).
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post #37 of 48 Old 10-03-2012, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

The 8350 looks like a solid choice, the only thing that really concerns me about this projector is if it will be able to light up a 128" screen. This is probably not an issue if I am watching a movie in compete darkness (which will probably be about 70% of the time) but I worry baout the rest of the time like watching when TV (with some recessed lights on) as well as sports (with likely all lights fully on for parties like the Superbowl).

8350's do have issues but not having enough brightness for that size screen is not one of them. I have a 158 inch screen 2:35:1 which means 124 inches in 16:9 and I watch with the lights on all the time. Check the link below for pics.
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post #38 of 48 Old 10-03-2012, 05:23 PM
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Carp, other than the screen wall, all your other walls seem pretty light, especially the ceiling. Doesn't this pose a problem as others mention often on this site? Your setup is gorgeous by the way, really like the space
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post #39 of 48 Old 10-03-2012, 07:41 PM
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Thanks man, I actually prefer it over all. I use the room for other things besides movies in the dark (I do that too though obviously) and for me it's worth it not having a bat cave. The picture still looks great to me - sure it's better at other setups I've seen that have dark rooms but IMO not as much as you would think. For me the trade-off is worth it. My plan initially was to paint the walls and ceiling but I realized pretty quickly I wasn't going to have to do that.
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post #40 of 48 Old 10-03-2012, 08:12 PM
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I actually have my walls painted a darkish shade of grey and the ceiling a lighter shade of grey (the ceiling almost looks white in comparison to the walls). I wanted to go even darker but the wife would not sign off on it since the basement will not be a theater room exclusively. I think the colors are good enough overall and should work well. The only thing I need to figure out is the projector to chose and then the screen will follow. My screen size as mentioned before will be 128" and the seating position will be 12.5' away. The projector will be located roughly 15' from the screen and ceiling mounted. The thing that attracts me to the 8350 are obviously all the positive reviews, the good blacks, the long lamp life and the db level which is pretty low. As well, it also seems more tailored to theater use which will consist of most of my usage. But with the lights fully on (or in full daytime), if I take other opinions into consideration, this projector will not be able to handle the situation well and lose too much brightness. That is the reason why I am considering the Panasonic 100U but the downside to that projector is shorter lamp life, not as good blacks and louder operating db level. The plus is that it will handle daytime and full lights on viewing perfectly (for parties and sporting events) and others also claim that it will perform very well in fully darkened theater rooms too. You can see my dilemma, what to do, what to do?
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post #41 of 48 Old 10-04-2012, 02:33 PM
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Well, maybe this will push you over the edge. As much as I like the 8350 it has tons of issues. Look at the 8350 user breakdown thread, those issues are very common. I'm on my 3rd brand new unit, I keep having to send them in for replacements. Good part of that is I keep getting new bulbs. In a year the party is over thought when the warranty expires.
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post #42 of 48 Old 10-04-2012, 03:42 PM
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Another thing to consider, and maybe Steven can comment on this since he has owned both units, is the sound level. The 8350 is rated at 22db in eco mode whereas the 100U is rated at 29db. I'm no expert on this by any means, but I believe that every 3db produces a perceived noise increase of 100%. Therefore, by that logic, the 100U would be at least 2-3 times louder than the 8350. Steven, what is your experience with this and for other users, are your 100U units quiet or loud?
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post #43 of 48 Old 10-04-2012, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

Another thing to consider, and maybe Steven can comment on this since he has owned both units, is the sound level. The 8350 is rated at 22db in eco mode whereas the 100U is rated at 29db. I'm no expert on this by any means, but I believe that every 3db produces a perceived noise increase of 100%. Therefore, by that logic, the 100U would be at least 2-3 times louder than the 8350. Steven, what is your experience with this and for other users, are your 100U units quiet or loud?

That's not how it works. An increase in 10 db gives the perception of a doubling of volume. With speakers and amps a 3 db increase requires a doubling of amp power, that may be what you were thinking of.
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post #44 of 48 Old 10-08-2012, 10:51 AM
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Carp - Where is the link to your pics? Also, I'm wondering... I often hear that CFI smoothing is a nice feature to have... do you guys notice the lack of smoothing when it comes to fast-paced sports or gaming or whatever?
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post #45 of 48 Old 10-08-2012, 11:02 AM
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Nevermind, now that I joined I can see the link. Room looks great! Epson is bright enough for full lights on in your opinion? Also, any comments on the smoothing would be appreciated.
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post #46 of 48 Old 10-09-2012, 04:16 PM
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Nevermind, now that I joined I can see the link. Room looks great! Epson is bright enough for full lights on in your opinion? Also, any comments on the smoothing would be appreciated.

Thanks!

In my room it is plenty bright for sports and tv watching. I haven't noticed any issues with fast moving objects - I notice it on my lcd flat screen upstairs, but on the projector everything looks great. Even with the issues I've had I'm so glad I finally got a projector it's so worth it.
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post #47 of 48 Old 01-02-2013, 03:32 PM
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I'm also deciding between these two projectors and now leaning 8350 for the better black levels and lower fan noise. It will get some use with ambient daylight but screen is only 103" with 1.3 gain. Movies are only at night and gaming mostly at night.

Any problems mounting the 8350 2' above the screen ~12' back? Would like to keep it as close to the ceiling as possible. Any recommendations on a mount?
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post #48 of 48 Old 01-03-2013, 06:56 AM
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I'm also deciding between these two projectors and now leaning 8350 for the better black levels and lower fan noise. It will get some use with ambient daylight but screen is only 103" with 1.3 gain. Movies are only at night and gaming mostly at night.

You can try a personal message (PM) to Steven Kelley who has owned both projectors and created the Panasonic AR100U Owner's Thread.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1428735/the-official-panasonic-pt-ar100u-owners-thread

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Movies

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