"Best" Sub-$2000 Projector For A Plasma-Lover (Deep Blacks!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Guys, first post in the projector forum. I'm finally going to make the leap to front projection.

I'm excited but nervous, because I'm looking forward to that large, immersive image, but I am quite used to the stellar black-levels of my current plasma (Pioneer PDP-5020FD).

I would like to get a projector that has great black-levels, but also stays below my $2000 budget for just the projector. I am looking to spend no more than $3000 on a screen and projector.

The projector will be mounted in an 18'x11' basement with plenty of light control. I will only be using it for BD/DVD movie watching, and about 80% of that would happen at night in a very dark room. The remaining 20% will be the occasional daytime movie, with some moderate lighting in the room. I would like a screen size of about 115 to 130-ish.

A few I was looking at were the Mitsubishi HC4000, Epson 8700 and the JVC HD250. I would also look in the used market, if I can get great value there.

Any insight and other suggestions would help me quite a bit.

I was also wondering about screen material and the best kind to buy, be it grey, white etc.. Which is better at preserving black levels, and does it make sense to spend as much on the screen as the projector? (What's the projector/screen price ratio?)

So, bottom line, can I get great blacks on a large screen for a decent price of around $3000?

I'll mention that I am in Canada, where our prices are slightly higher than America.
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post #2 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 10:16 AM
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The JVC will suit you well if you can get it at a decent price. It's pretty damn black!

Our prices in Canada are not friendly, that's for sure.

=Tommy v2=
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post #3 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyv2 View Post

The JVC will suit you well if you can get it at a decent price. It's pretty damn black!

Our prices in Canada are not friendly, that's for sure.

Do you know of anywhere that still has them for sale? All I can seem to find is refurbs, which makes we want to check out the used market more-so.
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post #4 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 12:37 PM
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Nothing I can think of. You don't want to cheap out if you're looking for deep blacks - prepare to pay the price!

=Tommy v2=
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post #5 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 04:38 PM
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Some things you might want to keep in mind:

1. Just like with plasmas, bigger is better. Plan for the largest screen size you can accommodate. Which might be assisted by....

2. ...mounting speakers behind an Acoustically Transparent screen (you can make one yourself for a couple hundred bucks).

3. Plasmas like dark (as in unlit) rooms to show off their blacks. Projectors demand dark (as in black) rooms for blacks. Which can be a problem/conflict with many female aesthetic sensibilities.

4. IMHO anyone who doesn't buy a 3-D projector is cheating themselves. 3-D is made for projection. And 3-D is just about free these days in projector land (i.e., glasses are about the only extra cost).
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post #6 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 06:01 PM
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you wont get great blacks at $2000 unless they are used/refurbs. Look for a JVC projector. But remember if your rooms walls/ceilings are not very dark (think of your local theater) it wont matter how great your projector is. If you have ANY ambient light you wont get great blacks.
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post #7 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrimeTime View Post

Some things you might want to keep in mind:

1. Just like with plasmas, bigger is better. Plan for the largest screen size you can accommodate. Which might be assisted by....

2. ...mounting speakers behind an Acoustically Transparent screen (you can make one yourself for a couple hundred bucks).

3. Plasmas like dark (as in unlit) rooms to show off their blacks. Projectors demand dark (as in black) rooms for blacks. Which can be a problem/conflict with many female aesthetic sensibilities.

4. IMHO anyone who doesn't buy a 3-D projector is cheating themselves. 3-D is made for projection. And 3-D is just about free these days in projector land (i.e., glasses are about the only extra cost).


1. Agreed. I will be getting the largest screen that will work for the room. 135"+ is what I am thinking.

2. Might be an option, although it would mean having the screen MUCH closer to the viewing position. I keep my speakers at least 2.5 feet from the back wall, making the screen at least 2.5 feet closer to the seating position.

3. Having a dark room with no light is no problem for me. Painting every wall and ceiling a dark colour WILL be a problem. I was at least going to paint the screen-wall a very dark shade of grey/black.

4. I'm strictly a 2-D guy, I don't much care for 3-D (seen it at a friends, on a 90" projector, it's not my bag), but if it's already built into all the new models, it's no big deal, I simply won't use that feature.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

you wont get great blacks at $2000 unless they are used/refurbs. Look for a JVC projector. But remember if your rooms walls/ceilings are not very dark (think of your local theater) it wont matter how great your projector is. If you have ANY ambient light you wont get great blacks.


It's looking more and more like the JVCs are the only option for me. Their entry-level model is still over my budget, so I may resort to looking in the used market to get the blacks I crave.

Are there any other new projectors besides JVC, people can lead me to, to get great blacks while staying under $2000?
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post #8 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 10:57 PM
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http://www.projectorreviews.com/acer...mage.php#black

Check out the Ace 9500BD, and read the article in the link. Art says it has the best blacks under 2k and it does well with 3D if you are into that.
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post #9 of 40 Old 04-05-2012, 11:01 PM
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you may also want to check out this ad for a very nice screen at a decent price and the size you are looking for...
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/vbcla...do=ad&id=17261
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post #10 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devo235 View Post

1. Agreed. I will be getting the largest screen that will work for the room. 135"+ is what I am thinking.

It's looking more and more like the JVCs are the only option for me. Their entry-level model is still over my budget, so I may resort to looking in the used market to get the blacks I crave.

Are there any other new projectors besides JVC, people can lead me to, to get great blacks while staying under $2000?

Given the screen size, I would suggest a Benq w6000 instead. Although the Native black levels aren't great, the IRIS does a nice job of fooling you on certain types of scenes. Also, it's really really sharp and produces a nice image, but it does require some extra calibration.

The Acer 9500bd won't be much better in blacks (if any) than the Benq w6000, the Benq w6000 has the better IRIS anyhow. It depends if you want 3D or not. You can find deals on the w6000 at times (or at least you could), sometimes I see it for $1299, Fry's even had some for $999 but they went fast. There are some scenes the ACER might win on, but the IRIS cannot be configured as much as the Benq, and honestly the difference in Native On/Off isn't much between these two projectors. The Benq is also sharper than the Acer.

The Epson 8700ub, JVC HD250, nor the other ones people have mentioned will be bright enough after any lamp wear for a 135" screen.
There are a few issues with doing it like this. 135"+ is really really big unless you have some serious gain, it's too big for most any of these projectors, even the JVC's. At that screen size, you will get good blacks, but you will also have no whites

IME, even the RS-45 (The one I own and the brightest of all JVC's) will not be bright enough on a 135" without 2.0 gain after 100-200 hours in LOW LAMP MODE. It will barely be bright enough with the aperture open all the way maybe until 300 to 500 hours in lamp high. This is an expensive proposition to keep replacing the lamp.

The 8700ub can do it in torch mode, but it won't look that accurate. The Benq w1200 is one option, but no IRIS. The Mits hc4000, well forget it, it's not even BALLPARK bright enough for these giant screen sizes. The Viewsonic Pro8200 is good and ok blacks, but no IRIS and cannot compete with the Benq w6000.

What does that really leave under 2k, I'd say it leaves you with a Benq w6000 as the head contender.


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post #11 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 04:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I'll do a little research into the Acer and the BenQ, but the BenQ is looking really good right now...

coderguy: I really like your 2012 top pics, very helpful to someone who is just getting into the front projector game.

Where is a good place to order the BenQ that ships to Canada?
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post #12 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been looking seriously at the BenQ W6000, and have put it at the top of my list. That decision is based mainly on black levels, and its ability to shoot a 135"+ screen size with ease. Looks to me like the Mits HC4000 would be my best bet, if only my screen size weren't so large.

Three things before I pull the trigger on it;

1. Does the BenQ W6000 NEED a pro calibration to look decent? (note: both my plasmas were calibrated, and it made a fairly large difference in picture quality) Could I simply adjust it myself with the Spears & Munsil Calibration BD, and get good results?

2. What type of screen would be the best bet to preserve the black levels, or deepen them? White/grey, Gain? (for the W6000 or the HC4000)

3. If I simply went with a smaller screen, the HC4000 seems like the clear winner. What would be the maximum size screen I could use for that projector, while still having decent picture quality?

I appreciate all the feedback, as I have been sorting through tons of information on all sorts of models here and elsewhere on the web. All of you have been quite helpful in my search. Lots of knowledge here, guys.
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post #13 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 07:28 AM
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The Vivitek H5080/H5082 is another option. It has some serious torch modes. There's a slightly used Infocus SP8602 on videogon right now. It can do this screen easy and throws a fantastic image.
Heres' another option, Optoma 8200 http://www.consignia.ca/refurbished-...cial-purchase/. This place also carries the Optoma 8600, which is quite a bit more.
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post #14 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 11:17 AM
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hate to burst you bubble, but the Benq black levels will be pretty pathetic compared to your Plasma. Personally I'd get a smaller screen and get a JVC. Sometimes quality is greater than quantity.
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post #15 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 12:04 PM
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Better have dark walls, carpet, ceiling, the best contrast Epson or JVC's, and a gray screen.
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post #16 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 12:09 PM
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What tech is on the horizon for better contrast in projectors? Is it possible to adapt OLED to projectors? How about local dimming either with an array of smaller lamps, or with some sort of micro switching light blocker that block any parts of an array of hundreds of positions?
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post #17 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 01:33 PM
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If you have not been talked out of projectors yet and still are asking about where to buy in Canada for a good price try http://www.pc-canada.com/.

They have screens and projectors priced very close, if not better at times, than the U.S. stores. There is a shipping fee, but I think it is all inclusive for all prducts on one invoice. They have the BenQ W7000 for a little over 2K, $2160.00 I think, so that is a steal.

It is supposed to have better blacks than the W6000 and a few other upgrades as well. Read reviews and judge for yourself. But be assured, for projector shopping, http://www.pc-canada.com/ or consignia.ca are your best bet for pricing which compares to the U.S. Good Luck and let us know.........
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post #18 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 02:32 PM
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What about the Epson 5010? ...considering the big screen, this one has quite some lumens and according to the reviews I read it seems to be quite good on contrast also...?
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post #19 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 02:35 PM
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I'd be inclined to still tell you to go with a low end LCOS projector of some sort.
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post #20 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 03:08 PM
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I have a HD950 (RS25) on a 138" 2:35 1.1 gain screen and it's plenty bright (not w6000 bright), but I do have a batcave. The JVCs will easily fill that size screen if you don't have any windows.

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post #21 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 03:16 PM
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The JVC's are not good for the screen size he was looking at in regards to his viewing environment, especially for someone on a budget that doesn't want to replace the lamp too often. I wouldn't even run my RS-45 on that screen size, and it's brighter than the RS25. It would just eat up too many lamps. JVC lamps are really expensive for someone looking to spend less than $2k on a projector, even if he did find a JVC.

The poster said $2000 and he said really he wanted to spend much less than that. I was mentioning the Benq w6000 because that is what fits in that category.
If anyone can show me a projector with good blacks under $2000, I'm all for it.

As far as blacks vs. Plasma, no projector will beat the Plasma at this, even the JVC RS-65 will not the beat a Plasma in contrast. The JVC's are good for blacks no doubt, though the JVC's aren't good at gaming or motion (although he didn't mention gaming), and they aren't generally bright enough for what he wants to use it for, and unless he buys used with no warranty or finds a B-stock somewhere, he isn't going to find much in this price range. Most peoples (no guarantees though) can adjust to a picture that has higher black levels. I routinely go back and forth watching my Viewsonic Pro8200 and JVC RS-45, I certainly do not constantly think wow the blacks on the Pro8200 suck so bad it's time to fire up the JVC again (the only time I think that is for very specific movies).

Yes, you cannot get Plasma blacks with a Benq w6000, but you also cannot get Plasma blacks with a JVC.


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To each their own buddy. 138" anamorphic screen zoomed out is 146" 16:9 and it's plenty bright at 500 hours on the bulb and in low lamp mode. I have owned a w6000 and while much brighter, the picture is far less superior. You can get a used rs10, rs15, rs20 for under $2000, that's why I mentioned my setup. i have been buying and selling projectors for 12 years, so this isn't my first take on screen size vs brightness vs image quality. While it might not be bright enough for you, it's plenty bright for others so he shouldn't rule out the JVCs. Everyone that sees my theater, raves about the picture, so don't tell me it's not bright enough. You're entitled to your opinion.

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post #23 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 04:10 PM
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http://www.projectorreviews.com/lg/cf181d/index.php

LG CF181D: It has decent black levels, in your price range, and can fill a large screen. Read the review and look at the part about screens, I stick to what I said before and think you should look at the used Studiotek 130 on the classifieds, it will improve your blacks and gives you some gain.
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post #24 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 04:26 PM
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The LG only has around 1500 to 2000:1 Native on/off, the Benq w6000 beats it in black levels with a better IRIS. The LG is still a good projector, but it has some of the lower black levels of any LCOS. It's because it lacks some of the heavier optical coatings in the light path and other things, the projector was designed for maximum light output for an LCOS, that is its niche and it was the opposite design of what makes for good black levels.

@JBN
10 fL is what that projector produces in LOW LAMP mode on a 140" screen, and maybe 14 fL if your lucky in high. Most people would say NO, don't do it, but as you said to each their own. However, I am not going to start recommending people install projectors that do 10-14 fL on brand new lamps. I also have used many projectors, and 12 fL to 16 fL looks better I like to target that point at around 500 hours to 1000 hours as a minimum, you lose POP in the image otherwise.


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post #25 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pok3rpl8yer View Post

If you have not been talked out of projectors yet....


Hehe, yeah no kidding, lol.

There's just a lot out there, and everybody has different needs, room setups, screen sizes, preferences....on and on. Definitely not as easy as choosing a new flat panel. Well, something will fit the bill, just gotta keep at it and narrow it down until I have made a final decision, then pull the trigger and hope I'm happy.

I'll keep you posted as to what I finally decide to buy (if that ever happens! )
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post #26 of 40 Old 04-06-2012, 04:34 PM
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Also check out the Optoma HD8600. This DLP is very bright and had pretty good blacks for it's brightness. It doesn't have the black of the JVC, but its has more brightness, while maintaining good black level and shadow detail. You can find manufactured refurbished units on eBay for around your price range.

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post #27 of 40 Old 04-07-2012, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I'm going to jump on the BenQ W6000. I can get it locally for a very competitive price. I like the fact that it will light up a 135" screen with ease, and that after a fair bit of tweaking, should put out a really decent image.

I have a question about screens. What do you guys use, and what do you think of High Contrast Grey screens for preserving black levels with some ambient light in the room? Do HC Grey screens "improve" the black levels even in a dark room, and do you think my room/the W6000 would benefit from a HC Grey screen? If not, are there any recommendations from you guys?
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post #28 of 40 Old 04-07-2012, 05:12 PM
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Ambient light has two methods to fight it, the gray screen as you noted, and just overpowering the light in the room with shear horsepower.

Depending on how much ambient light we are talking, and the direction of the light, and where the projector will be mounted (if you can mount it on a shelf), then a Da-Lite HP screen will double your light output, but at 135" that's an expensive proposition, and it won't necessarily greatly improve the overall image in ambient light (it will some). For a 135" screen, I don't think you'll find anything in a good budget to fight ambient light, negative gain gray screens will cost you lumens, I would only want positive gain screens at that size (and the good ones cost a fortune). You're black levels will be fine except in ambient light, as you will be on the upper limit of the projector's Lumens capabilities anyhow.

Anyways, you can't really fix black levels in ambient light, the gray screen is more or less just to help overall contrast in ambient light more than the darkest of scenes (although it can help the perception of shadow detail and dark scenes a little, but it's hard to explain). With ambient light, the dark scenes will always look somewhat washed out no matter what screen you use, but the key is getting your peak white levels higher to overcome the worse black levels. That said, people often misinterpret the above, that doesn't mean you need the room to be a perfectly dark 100% bat-cave to see an improvement in black levels from these projectors as both the white peak and black floor rise at the same time in light to some degree (relatively speaking), but it just means there is a point of no return, so at some point no matter what you do --- the darker scenes will look bad.


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post #29 of 40 Old 04-07-2012, 11:38 PM
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I think if you get a 135" screen and a BenQ W6000 you are going to fall in love......but, I say stay away from here for a while after you order and get some time with your new stuff to enjoy it. This place will make your head spin with ideas and opinions............many of which are VERY VERY biased from people who LOVE thier projecotrs but have very limited knowledge. There are many great people here, even very smart people who know what they are talking about, but still can add to the confusion.

You will never get those blacks...............but you will get an immersive experience that is leaps and bounds worth it. Have fun and come back, but not until you got everything set up.....
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post #30 of 40 Old 04-08-2012, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pok3rpl8yer View Post

I think if you get a 135" screen and a BenQ W6000 you are going to fall in love......but, I say stay away from here for a while after you order and get some time with your new stuff to enjoy it. This place will make your head spin with ideas and opinions............many of which are VERY VERY biased from people who LOVE thier projecotrs but have very limited knowledge. There are many great people here, even very smart people who know what they are talking about, but still can add to the confusion.

You will never get those blacks...............but you will get an immersive experience that is leaps and bounds worth it. Have fun and come back, but not until you got everything set up.....

Great advice, even a projector that has decent blacks will blow away a 60" tv. Its too bad you missed the B-stock RS40 sale, that would have been an easy choice.
jmcguire525 is offline  
Reply Digital Projectors - Under $3,000 USD MSRP

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