Is a projector worth it for my situation? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-15-2014, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I am not looking to set up a dedicated home theater. I want to add the projector for occasional tv/movies/gaming to the basement. The room is primarily a play room for the kids. As such there are a couple of couches against the wall and the floor is left open for playing. The room is long with stairs on one end and a doorway to another room on the far side right. Ceiling hight is 7'6".I want to project on the far wall. But there is a built in shelf with 44" between shelf and ceiling. It seems I can only get around 70" diagonal image.
Currently I use a 32" craptastic lcd that is not viewable from the other side of the room where the couches are. Especially when gaming.

When considering the limitations of projectors (rainbows, light, noise, lamp life, mounting off on ceiling, running power & hdmi) am I better off going with a 60" lcd? I naively though a projector would be a no-brainer for this room when I started my investigation.

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post #2 of 19 Old 01-15-2014, 01:34 PM
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Is it possible to ceiling mount a pull down projector screen in front of the shelves, if I read you right I think its the shelves that are a main restriction.

 

Frankly 70" projector screen is small, and TVs of a similar size are becoming cheaper and they are more reliable ... but if the room is a play area for kids do you really want a dirty great TV dominating it ? The nice thing about a projector is that when its not on people don't see it at all. We had an Infocus X10 on our living room ceiling for over two years, which resembles a big black UFO, 90% of guests didn't see it until I mentioned it !

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post #3 of 19 Old 01-15-2014, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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It's difficult to get all the facts in one post... The shelf is only a foot wide. About 2-3 foot below that is a countertop . Hanging a screen in front of the countertop would bring it too much into the room. But in front of the shelf is doable. So let's say I gain another 24" that would be about 68" minus offset and getting picture far enough from the ceiling (not willing to paint ceiling black as it is already low). How big a screen would I get then?
You raise a good point. Projector would be less obtrusive than a lcd. And the shelf space could be used for other stuff instead of a TV.

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post #4 of 19 Old 01-15-2014, 02:08 PM
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Sounds like it does hinge on whether you're willing to have a large TV in there. Most people here will say even my 77" is too small, but the living room is long and narrow, the wall has a door to one side and a TV in the other corner, so it works for me and everyone who visits is amazed at the size.

 

I'm thinking it is worth it for the neatness of it, but explore maximising the size as far as you can.

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post #5 of 19 Old 01-15-2014, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually I think price is the biggest factor. As the tv/pj would get minimal use, I'm not willing to drop a ton of money on it. The big tvs are not cheap. And I was hoping a projector would give me a big image for cheaper. Of course a screen, mount, long cables etc. adds to the cost

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post #6 of 19 Old 01-16-2014, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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How about the Epson 725HD. On sale at bb for 440. It's 720p and 4:3
Or would it be worth it to pay the extra for entry level 1080 and 16:9

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post #7 of 19 Old 01-16-2014, 02:37 PM
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Personally, if on a budget 720p would not actually bother me much, but 4:3 would, even on 16:9 most films are badly letterboxed. Get a demo if you can and take one of your films with you.

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post #8 of 19 Old 01-16-2014, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swedish cook View Post

Personally, if on a budget 720p would not actually bother me much, but 4:3 would, even on 16:9 most films are badly letterboxed. Get a demo if you can and take one of your films with you.

+1

720p--yes

4:3---NO!

Ed
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-17-2014, 06:20 AM
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The 725HD is actually WXGA (1280 x 800); 16:10 not 4:3. So at 16:9 you will have a 5% bar at the top and bottom. If you do watch any old 4:3 content, there’s enough zoom (20%) that you can fill a 16:9 screen (with 16:9 content) and zoom out to fit 4:3 in the same screen height.
If you want true 720p (1280 x 720), there are no LCD currently produced. The Optoma H180x or Acer H5370BD are a couple DLP that would work. The 725HD would likely be brighter and have better contrast. And I believe the DLP in that range will have 2x color wheels with a white segment and be more prone to RBE.
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-17-2014, 07:05 AM
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How far of a throw distance are you planning on with your proposed mounting. Most people new to projectors aren't aware that budget projectors often have very limited zoom lenses. Projector Central has a basic calculator to show you the range you can place a projector you want and get the size screen you want. If the room is large, I highly doubt a 1.2x zoom projector is going to get you a 70" diag screen.

Also be aware you need light control to watch even a fairly bright projector. Some new guys seem to think light control means not full sunlight hitting the screen. It's more a 60 W lightbulb or two max if you want an image that doesn't look like arse IMO. If you have any daylight coming in the room you cannot watch a projector in my experience (unless you think ~20:1 contrast ratio is acceptable).
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post #11 of 19 Old 01-17-2014, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. In my mind it has become clear that I will need to road test a projector first to figure out if it will work. I am not looking for stellar picture and it is not like the kids are going to watch movies in the dark. I have the ability to near-black out the room if I want to, but it is not the intended use case.

The deal on the 725HD is over. So like I said I probably need to find a store with a good return policy and do some road testing first. From there I can decide if it will work and what attributes are most important.

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post #12 of 19 Old 01-19-2014, 05:24 PM
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Consider the newish ultra-short throw pj's. They really make things flexible, and you can stand right in front of the screen with no shadow (or getting blinded). Plus you can have the look of a 100" LCD for cheap. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1512578/powerlite-485w-by-epson-ultra-short-throw-for-bright-t-v-anywhere

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post #13 of 19 Old 01-21-2014, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I picked up a Epson 730HD for $600. The 3000 lumens and 12000 works perfectly for my application. Almost no discernable difference between day and night and lights on or off. But switching to eco mode makes a difference and the image becomes washed out (when lights are on).
In short it works for me!

But on the negative side it's only 720, one hdmi and no audio out. All minor issues for me but it leaves me wondering if I can do better for another Benjamin or 2. Or if I can do the same for a few Benjamins less?

Bonus question: according to Epson throw calculator I can mount the projector 4" from the ceiling. Anybody know of a mount that will fit?

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post #14 of 19 Old 01-21-2014, 09:39 AM
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"But on the negative side it's only 720, one hdmi and no audio out. All minor issues for me but it leaves me wondering if I can do better for another Benjamin or 2. Or if I can do the same for a few Benjamins less?"

Yes, you can do better. For $70 less. Check out the Benq w770st. It's $529 on Amazon. I have it and it's exceeded my expectations. The reviews on Amazon and elsewhere are highly favorable. Also, it has much better contrast than the 730hd (forget the "reported numbers" of 12,000 vs 13,000:1. The darkchip 3 is much better than an entry level epson in contrast) and it has audio out and 2 hdmi ports. Did I already mention it's $70 less? Yep. Just sayin'

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post #15 of 19 Old 01-21-2014, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Yes, you can do better. For $70 less. Check out the Benq w770st. It's $529 on Amazon. I have it and it's exceeded my expectations. The reviews on Amazon and elsewhere are highly favorable. Also, it has much better contrast than the 730hd (forget the "reported numbers" of 12,000 vs 13,000:1. The darkchip 3 is much better than an entry level epson in contrast) and it has audio out and 2 hdmi ports. Did I already mention it's $70 less? Yep. Just sayin'

I too am looking for my first projector on somewhat of a budget. I have been considering the Benq w770st and the Epson 725 vs a few hundred more for the BenQ W1070. I just saw the 1070 in action at a party the other day and I was amazed at the PQ which was just on a wall even with the lights on. This sold me on a projector instantly. However I don't have $1000 to spend. Is the W770 good enough? I am currently watching on a 46" Panny Plasma in my basement and while its a beautiful picture I want bigger. I already have surround sound and everything hooked up, I just need a projector....

Thoughts?
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-21-2014, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southpaw85 View Post

"

Yes, you can do better. For $70 less. Check out the Benq w770st. It's $529 on Amazon. I have it and it's exceeded my expectations. The reviews on Amazon and elsewhere are highly favorable. Also, it has much better contrast than the 730hd (forget the "reported numbers" of 12,000 vs 13,000:1. The darkchip 3 is much better than an entry level epson in contrast) and it has audio out and 2 hdmi ports. Did I already mention it's $70 less? Yep. Just sayin'

OK, OK. Point taken! However I still need to test my affinity to rainbows. I will pick up the w770 for comparison.

But let me ask: how much better would a 1070 or a Optoma 131 be than the w770?

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post #17 of 19 Old 01-21-2014, 01:36 PM
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OK, OK. Point taken! However I still need to test my affinity to rainbows. I will pick up the w770 for comparison.

But let me ask: how much better would a 1070 or a Optoma 131 be than the w770?

In terms of resolution, the w1070 and Optoma 131 would certainly be better. In terms of contrast, the w770 is just as good. The reviewer on trustedreviews.com stated he thought the w770 had better contrast than the w1080st (short throw version of the w1070).

"If you can manage to find an extra £120 or so, then you could consider the BenQ W1080ST instead as it carries a full HD resolution - though actually in some ways, especially contrast, the W770ST’s pictures arguably look slightly better than those of the W1080ST." -Trusted Reviews guy

If resolution is a top priority and you have the cash, why not go for the w1070. If you would rather not spend more, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the w770.

On rainbows, I sold my first dlp projector because I was annoyed by them. I had an Epson 8350 (1080p) before selling that for the Benq. I bought the w770 knowing the color wheel speed is only 2x. Call me crazy, but I "trained" myself to stop seeing the rainbows, and I'm sensitive to them as evidenced by my first projector experience. You might not even notice them, most people don't. If you do, I made my eyes follow the picture being projected and ignored the rainbow artifacts. Eventually, I stopped noticing them.

Hope this helps. Whatever you decide on, enjoy the home theater!

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post #18 of 19 Old 01-29-2014, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I spent a few days with both the 730HD and the w770st side by side, and I am as torn as ever. The BenQ does reds and greens and shadow detail better but the Epson beats it in blues and yellows. In the end for pq I lean towards the BenQ but for other reasons the Epson is better eg if I was going to use it outdoors. The Epson is also much smaller and have a better feel about it. Significant for me is the offset as I am vertically challenged. The Epson will have to be mounted 3" from the ceiling to project up to the ceiling (so a negative offset so to speak). So I will get a 83" image whereas the BenQ with 115" offset if mounted flush with the ceiling will give me 73". I also count the short throw as a negative as I am running cables for a permanent install and it limits my choices for subsequent projectors.
There is also lamp cost and many other things to compare. But in the end the BenQ in my room is just more pleasant to look at. I hooked up the BenQ to the xbox and the Epson to Netflix and ran a tinker bell movie side by side on both and my 4 year old consistently told me she prefers the one on the left (benq).

Speaker on benq is passable but on Epson is useless. Benq has better remote and from pictures on the Web seems to be nicer than w1070. Epson has better adjustable feet. Both are fairly quiet but Epson is quieter but also seem to have the potential to ramp up to a louder volume possibly in summer. Epson lens cover slider is nice. I can go on.......



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post #19 of 19 Old 01-29-2014, 08:57 AM
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I too am looking for my first projector on somewhat of a budget. I have been considering the Benq w770st and the Epson 725 vs a few hundred more for the BenQ W1070. I just saw the 1070 in action at a party the other day and I was amazed at the PQ which was just on a wall even with the lights on. This sold me on a projector instantly. However I don't have $1000 to spend. Is the W770 good enough? I am currently watching on a 46" Panny Plasma in my basement and while its a beautiful picture I want bigger. I already have surround sound and everything hooked up, I just need a projector....

Thoughts?

If you wanted to go the projector route, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the w770st. If you order from Amazon, you have 30 days to return it if it's not what you expected. I enjoy my 770 and have owned a 1080p in the past if that helps. Good luck.

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