Help with buying first projector and screen under $1,200 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-19-2012, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I’m in the process of finishing our unfinished basement and will be adding a home theater – my first experience into this exciting world. We have like one week to get the screen and projector until the drywall and taping is complete. I really appreciate any direction and help that you experts can provide in helping me find the right screen and projector setup! Here are my specs:

ROOM:
- Ceiling height, before carpet and drywall, is only 7’ - but, the projector could be recessed into the ceiling (floor joists) to get it up more
- Wall for screen has 9.5 feet for the screen casing
- Seating distance will be 11’, but the room is 25’ wide (total room dimensions are 13’x25’)
- Lighting is 100% controlled – one small window facing shaded area that will be blacked out during daytime use … but we’d like to be able to have some lights on to one side of the room if the kids (currently 23 months and 3 months old) are playing over there while we are watching something on the screen.

OTHER NOTES:
- We will mostly be using this setup for TV – both over the air and downloaded (bit torrent), downloaded (bit torrent) movies – occasionally in 1080p/Blu Ray, and also a very small amount of Wii and Xbox gaming.
- Use is relatively low – maybe 12 hours/week on average
- I have no idea if any of us would be susceptible to the RBE effect, but we aren’t overly discerning viewers.
- 3D is not a concern, but may be a bonus as the kids get older.
- We will just have a couple of couches in the room, no tiered seats.
- Don't vertical lens shift anymore, since will be mounting it straight on from the ceiling

From my extensive research on these forums, I gather that these are the ones I should look at, but ultimately I’ll go with whatever you all suggest for my situation:
- Viewsonic Pro8200
- Optoma hd20
- Epson 8350 (don't need lens shift anymore)

Screen & Mounting Questions:
- We want an electric screen, and I’m looking at the “Favi” and “Elite” manufacturers on Amazon. Any opinions or others to consider?
- What kind of mount should I get for the recommended PJ?
- Do I want a 16:9 or 4:3 screen? (going with 16:9 per suggestions below)

I really appreciate everyone’s time in helping me figure this out!
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-19-2012, 11:01 AM
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Others can answer your other questions but if you have never had a projector before, 4:3 sd material looks awful at large screen sizes. No way should you not have a 16:9 screen. You won't be watching much sd content, trust me.


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post #3 of 19 Old 08-19-2012, 12:16 PM
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A lot of TV shows are in 16:9 format these days so I would go for a 16:9 screen. 4:3 will have black borders on the sides and some movies deppending on ratio will likely have have black borders on top/bottom.
Only other Projector I can think of with lens shift and use to be in your price range and may be found now and then is the Panasonic PT-AR100U . http://www.projectorpeople.com/projectors/projdtls.asp?itemid=26856&sid=GAPA&gclid=CIanq7-y9LECFYPrKgodwQsAnA .
May find some good deals on refurbished Epson 8700UB or any Epson UB really.

What size screen are you looking to do? recomend playing with display calculators as some of these projectors may not do what you hoping with a 7' ceiling.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-19-2012, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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With the framers coming tomorrow to start on the basement, my wife has just decided to have the projector trowing across the short width of the room instead of longways, so we have eliminated the need for horizontal lens shift but shortened the throw distance. As such, I have edited the post to put in the new room dimensions and take off the Epson PJ.

I'm still all ears on projector suggestions, as well as feedback on the screen questions.

I'm liking the Viewsonic more and more, but it looks like I might be pushing it to hope for a 100" screen if the distance from the front of the lens and the screen is only 9'6". Which raises another question about the throw distance on the calculators ... is that calculated from the front of the projector lens, the middle of the PJ, the back, or what? Also, does the Viewsonic (and others that don't advertise horizontal shift) have vertical shift to accommodate my recessing the PJ into the ceiling? Or would I just aim the PJ down slightly?
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-19-2012, 08:30 PM
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im looking to get something similar and am deciding between the favi or elite screens as well

looking at this one
http://www.amazon.com/FAVI-HD-100-16-100-Inch-Projector/dp/B0017S37IG/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-20-2012, 04:37 AM
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Acer 6500 is another good choice at just under $800. You can look at Visual Apex screens, which are good. But you can find used screens at a good discount. I bought a couple of $1200+ screens for $400 or less. Just have to find someone selling theirs
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-20-2012, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrcarl View Post

Which raises another question about the throw distance on the calculators ... is that calculated from the front of the projector lens, the middle of the PJ, the back, or what?

Always from the lens to the screen.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Movies

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-20-2012, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the help. We'd love to get a 100" screen in there, but will only have about 9' throw distance. Looks like the Viewsonic and Epson may not work to give 100" screen with 9' throw. Questions:

- If I got a 100" screen but only used, say, 92" of the screen, will the extra 4" on each side look bad?
- are there others PJs I should look at with a short throw?

Also, any input on the electric screens?

Thanks!
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-20-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrcarl View Post

Thanks so much for the help. We'd love to get a 100" screen in there, but will only have about 9' throw distance. Looks like the Viewsonic and Epson may not work to give 100" screen with 9' throw. Questions:
- If I got a 100" screen but only used, say, 92" of the screen, will the extra 4" on each side look bad?
- are there others PJs I should look at with a short throw?
Also, any input on the electric screens?
Thanks!

I had a projector not fill the screen and it bother me. I wouldn't do it.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-21-2012, 01:39 PM
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The Viewsonic has a lot of offset so it wouldn't be a good choice with a 7' ceiling, unless you don't mind the bottom of the screen being near the floor.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-21-2012, 02:05 PM
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If you are absolutely set on your mounting position, then I'd probably get the Panasonic ar100u and then just buy a cheaper screen at first. but you'll need an ND FILTER with it.

The problem is most short throw projectors that are in your budget are going to be way shorter throw than what you are wanting, like many will do 100" screen from less than 6 feet back, and many have no ZOOM so you up stuck within like one foot of mounting (6 to 7 feet as one example). There are some "slightly shorter throw" projectors than some you have mentioned that do have a bit more flexibility. For 1080p projectors, the Panasonic ar100u and the Epson 3010 (3d) have about the closest compatible distance AFIK for projectors near your price range that are TRULY still usually considered 'home theater' projectors, but they are a bit more than you wanted to pay, that said the throw is still going to be VERY close at 9' for 92", but they both will probably do it. The Epson 8350 is almost as short of a throw, but not quite, the 8350 might do it but I have doubts.

You can buy diagonal adjustable arm mounts and slant the PJ farther back from the ceiling, even though the screws into the ceiling board will still technically be where you want it. It isn't as aesthetically pleasing though and it sounds like this room is heavy on looks. You could always use a wall-mount or shelf somewhere in the back or side of the room or just change your mounting position entirely and go back to getting an LCD with Lens Shift.

If going purely by 2D picture quality for movies and TV watching, the Mitsubishi hc3800 and hc4000 beat these others in this price range, but you'd have some difficulty mounting as they need a higher ceiling or lower your screen near the floor, or you can use Keystone, or just recess the PJ into the ceiling like you noted, but either way you'll probably be left with some mounting error if you went with the Mits. DLP is generally better for TV watching IMO, actually I'd say the Mits is the best low-cost DLP at TV. If it were me, I'd mount the Mits hc4000 and use keystone, but that's because I think the hc4000 is just a good bit ahead of these other PJ's in this price range. All this said, the MIts probably needs a little more mounting distance from the screen, I have 9' 4" as the minimum, but it might be 9 1/2 feet back for a 92" screen (not 100% sure, keep in mind MFR tolerances).

Although I did recommend something, to be honest I don't really know what to recommend in this situation. I don't like designing projector installs around aesthetics, I think the aesthetics can be designed around the projector and the room will still end up looking just as good.


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post #12 of 19 Old 08-21-2012, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Coderguy, thanks so much for your comments! I'm considering recessing whatever projector I get into the floor joists, as it would fit perfectly in the space - and then angling the drywall from the top of that recessed part down at the appropriate angle such that the downward angling light won't hit the drywall at the floor joists ... sounds crazy, but I think it will help with the vertical offset of any of these, and work.

I think the Viewsonic will just barely fit my distance for a 92" screen. The reviews on AVSForum seem great, and the price is certainly much more appealing. What are your thoughts on this projector for my setup?
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-21-2012, 11:11 PM
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The Viewsonic is a bit too bright for any screen under 110" for about the first 300-500 hours, and for a 92" screen it is WAY too bright to the point that you'd need an ND filter probably for the first 500-1000 hours, so the Mits is a better match for that screen size. The optimal screen size for the Viewsonic is about 110" to 130" or so, and some can go as high as 150".

I also prefer the Mitsubishi hc3800 or hc4000 if going by pure picture quality (and I say that being a current owner of the Viewsonic and a previous owner of the Mits). The Viewsonic is a good projector, but the Mits is better if you are not too RBE sensitive. The reason I own the Viewsonic instead of the Mits now is because of my RBE sensitivity, but for most people I think the Mits is better (especially for small screens), because not that many are as RBE sensitive as I am. The Viewsonic has such low RBE that most RBE sensitive people aren't even bothered by it, I can't even remember a single person in the Viewsonic threads complaining about RBE unless they were just watching it way way too bright.


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post #14 of 19 Old 08-22-2012, 09:35 AM
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I would be interested if Coderguy shared how many hours he put on this HC4000 before he sold it? 200 hours, 1,000 hours , 2,000 hours. His feelings could change about the hc4000 if he put 2,000 hours on it. He is the person with the most hours on the pro8200 in our forum room, 2,000! Maybe he knows someone who has 2,000 hours on the hc4000 and set them up side by side and compare them.

Both are good PJ's. But the pro8200 has 3 years warranty and hc4000 2 years, pro8200 and has 20 watt (10x2) speakers, the hc4000 has NONE.

The pro8200 is 720 dollars on newegg right now, and the hd4000 is 1,127 on Amazon at this moment. 400 hundred dollar difference! wink.gif

p.s. I should add, look at the inputs outputs on pro8200 and then compare them to hc4000, BIG, Big difference, the pro8200 OWN'S the hc4000 in so many ways , it's not funny. hc4000 only 1 hdmi, pro8200 2 hdmi, And the pro8200 has lots of inputs and outputs , including mic input, just compare them and see for yourself.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-22-2012, 11:12 AM
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I am surprised to see no love for the Optoma 22, as this is the projector my minimal amount of research points me to wanting to buy. I am in the same situation as the OP, with the same distances, wall space, and ceiling height. I'm thinking 94" fixed screen, but at first I'm just projecting onto the wall to figure out what looks best before putting up the screen.

Is the 7' ceiling a big deal? I need to do more research it seems.
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-22-2012, 11:54 AM
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You mean the Optoma hd20?
It requires at least 10 feet of mounting distance for a 92" screen, and he wanted 9 feet. That is why I didn't mention it, although so do some of the other PJ's mentioned...

I don't have a problem with the Optoma hd20, but at most online prices it is slightly overpriced right now ($900 to $1000+). If you are going to spend that much, mise well get the MIts, the MIts is better.

The reason I don't often recommend the Optoma hd20 is because it falls in an awkward spot. It is the same brightness as the Mits hc4000 but only has DC2 and costs almost as much. The Viewsonic would be recommended for brighter needs over the Optoma, and if I were going to recommend the Optoma (which I sometimes do actually), but I usually recommend the Mits unless someone is absolutely held at the hd20's price, but you can even get refurb hc4000's for like $900 to $1000 sometimes (almost the same price as the Optoma)...


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post #17 of 19 Old 08-22-2012, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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For a 92" screen, The Optoma HD20 needs 10' at minimum, the Viewsonic needs 9'4", the Mitsubishi needs 9'3". All great options.

The price, options (bulb life, warranty, speakers, inputs) and output of the Viewsonic do look better than the Mitsubishi, but I worry about it being too bright as CG mentions. Questions:
- I could put a $10 ND filter on the Viewsonic, but is that going to take care of the extra light output and bring it down to similar levels as the Mitsubishi? Again, price and options is why I'd love to go with the Viewsonic if that will work out
- I may be able to get the projector up into the ceiling and pushed back above some duct work to get a full 10'4" throw, which is enough for a 100" screen on either the Viewsonic or the Mitsubishi. I would leave the back of the area where the projector will go totally open so the PJ can "breathe" better. Question is - the joists are 14.5" apart, and it will be a tight space. Will I have to seriously worry about the PJ overheating? We'd only use it maybe 3 hours at a time max, ever.

Also, I'm only going to use it maybe 500 hours each year, so whatever I have will hopefully last a long time.
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-22-2012, 09:44 PM
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The ND Filter fixes the problem but there is a small loss in PQ with the ND filter.

The Mits and Viewsonic both inhale and exhale out the sides, so YES it sounds like a deal breaker unless you attach some kind of vent modded design to it. You need at least 6 inches to even a foot on each side to be safe in a normal mounting situation with side venting PJ's, but near the ceiling you might need more. That said, you can might get away with it if you turn the LAMP on HIGH ALT mode or increase fan speed and keep the lamp in LOW. Some PJ's do vent out the back/front.

BTW, the Mits fans with the lamp on high is probably quieter than the Viewsonic lamp on high, but I cannot remember. Actually I do know the Mits hc3800 and hc4000 are definitely a lot quieter than the Viewsonic in lamp low.


Quick and Easy Shelf Mount Method for both one projector or dual stacks

Web Calculator v023 & v025
- Quick Peak at the new upcoming calculator
**Current Projector Calculator** -- http://www.eliteprojectorcalculator.com

Coder's Top Projector Picks of 2012 --http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread....

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post #19 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 07:01 AM
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Yeah you do need to give the pro8200 plenty of breathing room, especially on sides, it gets hot.
As to screen size, 80 inches should work, and even bigger. Comparing it to hdtv 80 inch which costs about 4,000 dollars. I get 100 inches or more no problems. Also, the pro8200 would look better than hc4000 at bigger sizes (brighter).

A couple of questions to ask yourself.

Do you want a PJ that will mostly stay in this one room or one that you could move with you, to bedroom, den, porch, friends house, kids room? Do you want to lock it down and throw away the key, or stay flexible, mostly in main room, but pack up and carry when needed. Because the pro8200 would knock the pants off the hc4000 in Flexible placement in many different type rooms, it has MORE lumens for living room and outside, and has more inputs/outputs, and 20 watt speakers that you could add a portable subwoofer for deeper sound. With the hc4000 I would have to carry sound system with me, the pro8200 has built in sound system in a pinch and in many rooms the hc4000 would just be too dim.

Do you want 400 dollars in your pocket or is 1,127 worth it for tiny bit of blacker black at expensive of dimmer picture? Coderguy sold has hc4000 because RBE bothered him so much. And if he then bought the pro8200 and he experiences NO problems with RBE , it means you don't have to worry if you or your wife and kids are sensitive to RBE with this PJ.

Now the downside with buying from newegg is NO return policy, they just exchange it if it goes bad, Amazon has 30 day return policy. So , that is something to take into consideration.

With the Pro8200 you are buying a cross-over PJ, meaning you could do business presentations on it, with mic input. Or use in school, or take to some meeting along with portable screen. The Mit hc4000 is lock into place and throw away the key in BATCAVE. Coderguy is Batcave guy, I'm into portability with option to lock down into batcave , so the little bit of less blacker blacks doesn't bother me for the other gains I get from the pro8200.
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