First Projector- Budget Edition - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-23-2013, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey all. So, like many others I'm looking to get my first projector. Here's the caveat though- I'm looking to stay under $700 if at all possible. What that in mind, the specs of the room/my needs are as follows:
  • 14 ft throw throw from back wall to the screen. The projector will be mounted high on the back wall, though not quite ceiling mounted. Slightly off center from the screen, but not by much.
  • Room does get some sun, but not direct light to the screen. Blinds will be closed, but projector will hopefully be visible without needing to get room-darkening shades on top of those.
  • Don't need 3-D capabilities, but it seems like everyone and their mother has them these days.
  • Totally fine with 720p, probably won't be running a ton of bluray content on there. Mostly streaming netflix and downloaded movies. Maybe a little gaming.
  • Prefer HDMI input and a USB input. I'd like to be able to run it with a chromecast and have my laptop able to move around. That said, if I have to deal with VGA in order to get a better projector in my price point, I'll do it.

I've been looking at a few DLP's, but I'm pretty concerned about the burnout of the DMD chip. Like most people looking for budget projectors, the Optima HD66 looks pretty appealing, but if the pixel burn is as big an issue as reviews seem to indicate, it seems like there's no point in having a 1 year projector. The other option is the Acer H5360, but again, people seem to bring up the same issue. I also saw the BenQ w700, but their reviews seem to be less sterling than the other two.

So, any advice would be welcome. I'm totally open to suggestions for other models, or help narrowing my search, or people tell me I have no clue what I'm doing. (Which is totally fair, I don't. But I'm learning.) Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-23-2013, 12:12 PM
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You will need a projector with horizontal lens shift to mount it off center.. non of the budget DLPs have this. If you want DLP you will probably need to look at Old High end units from the 2005-2008 vintage such as the Marantz VP12sx but these units are not bright enough for day time viewing..
Good luck and have fun!

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-23-2013, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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If I have to mount a shelf so that the projector doesn't have to do horizontal keystoning, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I was just trying to use what was already there first.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-24-2013, 09:24 AM
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Lens shift is your friend. I think there are sub $1K, 1080p projectors out there that have it in the budget category. Any budget DLP will need to be centered on the screen. Makes them not so versatile. For your situation with the USB? Maybe an ultra short throw in front of the seating areas on a simple stand?

14' is a pretty far throw distance these days. What screen size you shooting for here?
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-24-2013, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Really? How long is the typical throw for a budget projector? I had gotten the impression that most of them were used from one end of a room to another. The wall onto which I'd be projecting is 8ft horizontal. So any screen size smaller than that would work fine.

For the USB, there is an outlet on that wall. I can always just get a converter for AC -> USB and hook that up. Since I'll need to be running power up to the projector, might as well. I actually thought that a short throw projector (I was looking at the BenQ w710st) might require too small a space. at the very least, the projector would still be 6 ft away from the wall.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 02:22 PM
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I would go with the VIewsonic Pro 8200. Its $700, 1080p and comes with a 3 year warranty which is much better than other projectors in its price range. There is no lens shift, but perhaps you can modify the mounting location. As for the DMD chip burning out, I don't recall of anyone with this model experiencing that.

If you get a used high end projector, get ready for high-end costs when the bulb or another part goes. Even if the viewsonic breaks in 4 years, you can spend another $700 and buy the latest and greatest and upgrade to something that rivals a $10K projector today.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuothTheRaven View Post

Really? How long is the typical throw for a budget projector? I had gotten the impression that most of them were used from one end of a room to another. The wall onto which I'd be projecting is 8ft horizontal. So any screen size smaller than that would work fine.

For the USB, there is an outlet on that wall. I can always just get a converter for AC -> USB and hook that up. Since I'll need to be running power up to the projector, might as well. I actually thought that a short throw projector (I was looking at the BenQ w710st) might require too small a space. at the very least, the projector would still be 6 ft away from the wall.

The Viewsonic pjd7820hd could be one to look at, depends how much ambient light you really wish to fight. It is only $700 which makes it cheaper than the Pro8200 (which appears to be over your budget). Though the color and contrast on the 7820hd will at times look more washed out then some of these other HT projectors, but if you are fighting ambient light most of the time, this is the one to get for that purpose.

Can you up your budget by just about $100 to $150?
That opens up a lot more options, and IMO they are worth it.

I would personally take the Optoma hd131xe instead of the Viewsonic Pro8200, if you upped your budget or found it on sale that is.

Your throw range sounds ok, but I didn't see what screen size you wanted. Their isn't a typical throw for a budget projector, they all vary. The Acer h6510bd is one to watch out for, though you'd have to catch it on sale to get it around $700.

There is a forum category / area in here that is specifically meant for dealing with finding the best deals. The Category is called "Front Projector Great Found Deals". I would avoid the hd66 in this price range, not that it is a bad projector, but from previous owners having moved up one notch to a Benq w1070 or Optoma hd131xe would be a better pick.



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post #8 of 11 Old 09-27-2013, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm sad to say it, but if anything, I'd almost rather downgrade my budget. $700 was really stretching it for me. I was hoping to find something more around $600, with the stretch being up to $700, and that being a hard line. (I started this endeavor saying I would stay under $500. We've already expanded.) Looking at the Viewsonic and the Optima, I'm wondering if it's even feasible to get something decent in my price range. Maybe I should just start looking for used deals?

I'm slight wary of going for something used, but it would certainly make prices better. In the meantime, I've joined that deals sub-forum. Hopefully something there will come through soon. Is there a better place to look than Amazon or Newegg? Newegg is running a deal on the Acer 6150bd right now. It's at exactly 700, with a $50 code discount.. So that looks pretty tempting.

For screen size, I'm projecting onto an 8 foot wall. So anything that size or smaller would be fine.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-27-2013, 12:30 PM
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How close will you be sitting to the screen?

That is really the best price you are going to get, it's actually $650 after the promo code.
I do not know which is better, the Acer or the Viewsonic, but sounds like that Acer is your best bet.

The one disadvantage to Newegg is their return policy is not as lax as some places, the Viewsonic pjd7820hd can be purchased for $699 at B&H Video. The Viewsonic has a 3-year warranty and a 1-yr bulb warranty, + a 1-year advanced replacement policy (they will send you a replacement instead of waiting on a repair). Acer is much more difficult to deal with generally in the warranty area.



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post #10 of 11 Old 09-27-2013, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The couch is up against the wall, which is 14 feet away. So sitting maybe, 12 feet? 10 feet? I'm realizing now that most of these projectors might actually be projecting too large for our 8 foot space, if we're mounting it on the back wall. This is a stupid question, but I had assumed that there would be some way to zoom in to make the image smaller for our space. Does such a thing exist, or am I just making up imaginary features?

I do like the Acer price point. My only issue with it is that it apparently has a 14 degree upward throw. Which, if I'm mounting it above our heads towards the screen, could be tricky. The Viewsonic warranty sounds awesome though. Acer only has a 1 yr limited. Choices, choices. How often do bulbs typically have to be replaced?
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post #11 of 11 Old 09-27-2013, 04:03 PM
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The Zoom function and throw ratio is what determines how big a projector's image is at a given distance. You can make the image smaller/bigger by changing the ZOOM, but it can only go so small.

The smallest image they can produce at 13 feet back is about 120", though this is at the VERY extreme, so you'd have to check this in person (or ask someone their distance in the Acer thread). My suggestion if you don't want to ceiling mount is to find some type of wall mount that can extend itself slightly closer or just rig a board extension over the shelf and scoot the projector up a few inches. You should be able to do 110" at 12' from the lens.

I think the Viewsonic pjd7820hd and the Acer h6510bd are the same basic projector internals except for the light path / lamp and different firmware (and maybe a different lens). I think they are either both manufactured at the same Asian plant or they both used the same DLP kit and schematics to build them out. Why do I think that, well because the throw ratio, color wheel, ZOOM, and the depth of both projectors is EXACTLY the same. Even the width and height are within 0.1" of each other, and the depth is exactly identical. They have a different case but the internals are too closely matched.

These projectors are both 9" deep (8.7" to be exact), and you also need to leave at least about 2" to 4" for the cables. So figure the projector's lens will actually be 13 feet back, not 14 feet back. If you can gain one more foot, you should be fine for a 110" screen. 110" isn't too big, but 120" might be, depends on your taste.

It wouldn't bother me to sit 11 to 12 feet back from a 120" screen, but it might bother some.



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