After 20 years....I want a projector! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-29-2012, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been on these forums for quite some time. Put together my first home theater setup in 1993. After all these years, I never, ever considered a projector. In fact, the past two months have been a frustrating time of buying a new Panasonic 55" LED to replace an "old" Sony 46" LCD only to discover that my Sony has a great picture and feature set and nothing out there now for a reasonable price improves on it when it comes to PQ and functionality. So my Panasonic 55" ET5 is going back, with really nothing that makes sense to replace it...except my old Sony. Then it dawned on me, put the Sony back on the wall in my living room and buy a PJ for the basement and make a REAL home theater.

Now I'm up to my neck in research for a decent projector for under $1500. But honestly I have three little kids and just can't do the research like I used to. I'm hoping someone here can help me. Here's the bottom line:

- I have a completely dark, small room in my basement, 14.5' x 13' with 7' ceilings limited by the exposed joists, so it's really like a 6'4" ceiling although I could use the extra 8" for PJ mounting hardware.
- I'm returning the Panasonic ET5 LED because the black levels are awful, handily beaten by my 6 year old Sony 46" LCD. So I want good black levels.
- Use of this system would be limited. We will average a movie a week. Some snowy weekends I'm sure we'll be with the kids down there and it will be on for 16 hours . But that won't happen often. Call it an average of 2 to 6 hours per week of use.
- Want to spend less than $1,500. But if there were some VERY compelling reason to spend more, I could. That should include a screen. I'd like a retractable screen, but would be open to building a simple one permanently mounted on the wall if can be done in a few hours. I have decent skills for that kind of thing.

Questions
1) Given the money and space issues, how big of a picture will I be able to get?
2) Should the PJ be mounted on the ceiling or on a shelf in the back of the room? What height would the PJ shelf be?
3) Recommendations on PJ and screen? I have some in mind, but would like to hear from others.

Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-29-2012, 08:57 AM
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To get a lay of the land so to speak take some time to read through Coderguy's Projector Picks and Awards of 2012.

It's a subjective list but filled with good information.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Movies

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post #3 of 11 Old 12-29-2012, 08:59 AM
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Will you need lens shift?
Do you want 3D?
Do you know if you and your family can tolerate RBE(rainbow effect) from a DLP?
How big of a screen would you like?
Is there a Frys, Magnolia HiFi or a place you can go view projectors in use?
What will be the seating distance from the screen?

2014
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-29-2012, 09:03 AM
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The black level is the biggest flaw in all projectors in that price range and none will be any better than an LCD flat pannel ( the ones with dimmable led back lite for shure). The best is maybe the epson 8700ub if you can find one. Ceiling mount is the best as your seating won't get in the way but you'll need vertical lense shift if you don't want the screen to close to the floor because your ceiling height is so low. For good blacks you need a 5020 or LCOS projector all in the $2500+ range. For 3D and DLP I would look at the Mits 7800 or Ben Q 1070 both are Dark Chip3 and should have better blacks.

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post #5 of 11 Old 12-29-2012, 02:16 PM
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Before you go any further, do you realize you will need a complete sound system also?
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-29-2012, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rekbones View Post

The black level is the biggest flaw in all projectors in that price range and none will be any better than an LCD flat pannel

You could always use a grey screen to increase perceived black level. I don't agree that none will be better than a lcd. Why not start cheap and see how it goes, just read what people are saying about the $300 (when on sale) PA70G Link. It's easy to get sucked into black levels and 3k projectors and 2k screens.
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-01-2013, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McC View Post

Before you go any further, do you realize you will need a complete sound system also?
Yes, as I indicated in my post, I've had a home theater for quite some time. I have a very nice audio system with some great Mirage speakers.

So it looks like I should put my effort into black level research, just like with TVs. As for lens shift I can put the PJ anywhere, except I guess where it would be blocked by my couch/head. I don't know enough about this stuff yet however to understand if there is any ideal place it can go given the size limitations of the room. Thanks for the replies, I'm going to do some research....
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-01-2013, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xwilliam View Post

Yes, as I indicated in my post, I've had a home theater for quite some time. I have a very nice audio system with some great Mirage speakers.
So it looks like I should put my effort into black level research, just like with TVs. As for lens shift I can put the PJ anywhere, except I guess where it would be blocked by my couch/head. I don't know enough about this stuff yet however to understand if there is any ideal place it can go given the size limitations of the room. Thanks for the replies, I'm going to do some research....

Basically, if you want to put it on a shelf, you need lens shift. If you ceiling mount, you may not need lens shift.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-01-2013, 05:21 PM
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Have you considered getting a short throw projector? That should eliminate the need for having lens shift as a config option. Though it is meant to be portable and used on something like a coffee table, but it can be easily mounted on the ceiling too. With 3 kids, a ceiling mount would be a better option.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-02-2013, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I have no problem ceiling mounting it. The ceiling is essentially the floor above, fully exposed, along with the floor joists. From floor to ceiling, excluding the joists, I'm at about 7 feet. The joists come down about 8 inches. I could mount the projector between joists (they run at a 90 degree angle from the direction of projection) and lower it so that the projection is not obstructed. If I do that at about 13 and a half feet from the projection wall, it seems I could get about a 100 inch screen according to some calculator I found at projectorpeople. Does all that sound right? And am I also right that staying around 100 inches allows for deeper blacks vs. a larger screen? As I mentioned above, ambient light will be nonexistent. Being used to a 46" screen for several years, and then a 55" recently, the thought of 100" is pure bliss. Thanks for all the help.
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post #11 of 11 Old 01-03-2013, 09:52 PM
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I'm with you on this.

Started with a 40" Mitsu RPTV back in 1986. Then a 55" ten years later.

Got into HD eleven years ago with a 55" Toshiba Theaterwide and Toshiba DST3000 HD receiver (paid $700 for that). It was pretty much Rudy Maxa and Visions of Italy for a year or so. Plasmas were $9K or so back then.

Helped my affluent friend mount his 50" Pioneer plasma in 2003 that he bought at Costco for $7K. Held on to my RPTV. BY now the Toshiba receiver was fading away, but DirecTV stepped up and replaced it with one of theirs.

Lived with the RPTV for a while longer. Almost sprung for a 50" 720p plasma in 2008 (like my friend's Pioneer but now only $1K). Passed on it, while aforementioned friend upgraded to a 60" Sony LCD and GAVE me his Pioneer plasma.

By now my mom wanted into the action, so we shopped together and she settled on an LG 55" passive 3D set. I gotta say, watching the Olympics in 3D was an eye-opener.

So I managed to get through the whole Plasma era -- yes friends, that era is fading -- without buying one. And by now anything smaller than 70 inches looks -- well, small.

The plan now, with my smallish basement similar in size to yours, is to soundproof it, darken it, and hang an Acer 3D projector (9500). Even though I'll be limited to about a 96 inch screen, the thing that intrigues me about this setup is the prospect of putting the speakers BEHIND the screen and blowing the audio through the screen -- just like a real theater. That's gotta do something for the immersion, aside from the screen size.

When you're dealing with such a small area, you want to maximize your screen size, and placing speakers on each side of the screen really shrinks your available screen width. So, the acoustically transparent screen is a win-win here.
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