Thought I had Picked Out a Projector... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-15-2014, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Before I start the story, if you want to refer to my original thread that includes a discussion on projectors and has all of my room dimensions and everything, please see the following link: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1494812/need-advice-first-time-projector-buyer-room-dimensions-inside

After asking everybody here for a lot of advice, and receiving a lot of good advice, I thought I had made my mind up on a projector. I had originally decided on a BenQ W7000 due to the sharp picture and the clarity of DLP's. As I looked more and more into it, I still liked them, but felt I would be missing out on the black levels of the newer LCD's and from everything else I've read, the clarity is going to be great regardless - especially since my only reference for projectors is the movie theater.

So after much thought, I had decided on a Epson 5020UB due to the ultra good blacks. But then I realized I might game on this and wanted something with lower latency so I switched my mind over the Panny AE-8000U. This was also going to be nice since I was initially going to go with a CIH screen set up for a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Then I read an article on, I think, Projector People about how a 2.35:1 screen is great, but it's essentially the smallest screen you can put in a room and if you're already somewhat limited you should look at just doing a 16:9 screen and having horizontal black bars rather than vertical ones. So, since I'm creating a DIY screen with spandex, I made the frame and it's 56" high but was made to be a 16:9 screen giving me roughly a 115" diagonal for 16:9 and 108" for 2.35:1 movies. Seems like the best of both worlds to me.

I had picked the Panny due to the lens memory and the fact that it could automatically do everything for me by just clicking an Action button on my Harmony remote. I thought this was great and would workout perfectly with a 2.35:1 screen that would also be shooting 16:9 a lot during the week. Well now that I have a 16:9 screen, I guess my question is, do I really need to have the auto zoom feature? Or will it not matter since I'm not going with CIH screen? If that's the case, does anybody have any suggestions at that price point and lower? The Panny was kinda pushing my budget and I'd like to keep it cheaper, but if it's really worth it, I'll make it work. If it's not really worth the extra money, I'm all ears for any suggestions you guys have. The projector will be ceiling mounted and it's a 1 story house so I have a ton of attic space above me to run wires and everything for it.

Thanks for the input again guys, you've already been a great help over in the DIY forum and here as well!
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-16-2014, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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The Mitsubishi HC7900DW looks like a pretty good projector but how is this projector in regards to ambient lighting in the real world? I see the specs say it has 1500 lumens, whereas the Panny I was looking at is 2400 lumens. I'll probably have a lamp on in the room most of the time when the wife and I are just watching TV. The only time I'll have it completely dark is for movies. Also, I will be watching this during the day for sports (it's in a light controlled room, but the door will be open so some ambient lighting will be present).
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-17-2014, 08:24 AM
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I've got an HC7900DW en route to me, so I can't post direct impressions yet, but I expect it will have more brightness than my LG PA70G LED model.

I have no problem running the LG at medium lamp mode (probably 375-400 lumens give or take) on a 110" 1.2 gain white screen with a 40 W lightbulb in the room that's not directly hitting the screen, which does make it a little brighter in the room, but probably what most would call "dark" considering the dark walls and ceiling really don't reflect much light aorund. The LG has modest black levels, so it doesn't impact the image a huge amount, but it still raises the black floor on the screen noticeably. I still rarely use the lights in the room, as I'd rather enjoy the best image the projector can put up if I'm going to watch something on it. Otherwise I'll just fire up the trusty Panasonic plasma and watch something on that with great contrast ratio with fairly bright lighting in the room.

Throwing another 80-100 lumens on the screen by bumping the brightness up just barely improves the image with ambient light. Since even a small lamp probably raised the black floor by at least double, adding on another 15-20% more lumens of light hitting the screen just doesn't change the image (i.e. contrast ratio) much.

If you're going to have enough light to read something where you are sitting, the image will be pretty washed out unless you have something like 2000+ lumens on the screen to still give you a barely respectable contrast ratio. That will probably be too bright if you have the same light output with no lights on (at least it would be for me).


IMO, trying to get something that does dark movie watching and super high lumens for "high" (for a projector) levels of ambient light is an exercise in futility. Some projectors can do a somewhat decent job at both, but none are truly great dual-duty projectors really. Aligning your thoughts with a "reasonable" level of ambient light is fine and accepting the picture being washed out to varying degrees, but you'll never have say a plasma-like picture with ANY ambient light. For most here, I doubt we watch our projectors frequently with much ambient light. Maybe a small lamp on not directly hitting the screen during sports viewing MAX for most HT projectors.



Sorry for the long winded response, but just trying to give you an idea of what a projector is like. It doesn't take much light to kill your black levels and consequently the contrast ratio, so IMO it's pointless to try to fight it as you quickly find out that any ambient light needs huge lumens to still appear decently high contrast. Most guys new to projectors don't really realize this, and get caught up trying to watch a projector like they watch their currently panel TV. It just doesn't work that way.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-17-2014, 08:44 AM
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BTW - saw in your other post you're in Houston. So am I (west of Houston at least - Katy area), so you're welcome to stop by and see my very very modest setup if you want to get an idea of what I'm talking about. I should have the HC7900DW up by the end of next week which is probably more pertinent to what you're looking to do.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-17-2014, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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For movie watching, I'm not going to have any ambient light as I can control the light completely in the room. My only concern was sports, and I'm still going to have my trusty 50" (I know, it's tiny haha) Panasonic plasma going in the other room when we have company. What it sounds like is I'll just have to keep the doors mostly closed for the theater room even for sports viewing. I'm OK with some wash out and I've accepted the fact that ambient light, no matter the PJ is going to negatively affect my picture quality.

I keep looking for "the best of both worlds" but it sounds more and more like you either get rockstar, kickass performance with dark room setups in regards to PQ and contrast or rockstar kickass performance in ambient light in regards to a watchable screen. I think I'll order the HC7900DW from B&H for $799 and try it out for a few days since they have a 30 day return policy. My movie room is essentially finished and I've just been waiting on the projector. If it turns out it won't work for me during the days on weekends, I'll send it back and look for something a little brighter.

I'll be sure to update this thread and try to get some pictures of how the Mitsubishi handles moderate ambient light and my dark room.
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-17-2014, 11:36 AM
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I think the Mitsu will handle the occasional low wattage lamp that's not pointed right at the screen, but the room will still seem dark if you don't want it really washed out.

The HC7900 seems like a bargain to me, so I just had to pick it up. I bet after a little bit of time with a projector with decent blacks you won't want too much ambient light on. You just get mesmerized with a huge, awesome looking screen.
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-17-2014, 01:20 PM
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I'm going to game on my projector (haven't bought it yet, as I just moved into the new house) and was going back and forth between the Panny AE8000 and the Epson 5030 for the past few days. Even though the Epson has more lag (only slightly in fast mode), I think I'm going to pick it over the Panny (picking it up at best buy plus financing available was what pushed me over the edge finally in one direction). I think I'm only going to go with a 92" screen because of the size of my room and seating distance though. Given that, I don't expect brightness to be an issue for me, even in 3D.

RPS, I actually just moved to Katy, so nice to see other people in the area on this forum (I haven't posted in a while).

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post #8 of 14 Old 01-18-2014, 07:12 AM
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Good to see other Houston folks here, even if you are the same people cramming up I-10 that I curse during rush hour. biggrin.gif

We've been here coming up on 2 years now and are really enjoying it (came from DFW, was never a huge fan for a variety of reasons).


Is there a reason you're only looking at LCDs pjb16?
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-18-2014, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by RPS13 View Post

Good to see other Houston folks here, even if you are the same people cramming up I-10 that I curse during rush hour. biggrin.gif

We've been here coming up on 2 years now and are really enjoying it (came from DFW, was never a huge fan for a variety of reasons).


Is there a reason you're only looking at LCDs pjb16?
Given the size and setup of my room, I think (emphasis on think) I need the flexibility that LCDs offer in regard to placement. That is the main reason.

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post #10 of 14 Old 01-18-2014, 10:37 AM
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Will an HC7900 work for you? It should be plenty bright with a 92" screen. It's really a question of throw distance (I think it'd need around 9.3' give or take) and if your ceilings can deal with offset at your screen height.
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-18-2014, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by RPS13 View Post

Will an HC7900 work for you? It should be plenty bright with a 92" screen. It's really a question of throw distance (I think it'd need around 9.3' give or take) and if your ceilings can deal with offset at your screen height.
I don't think it'll work for me, but I'll look into it further. I have a very narrow area that I can place/mount without taking down a ceiling fan. Also, unless I cieling mount, I have to project from pretty much 11'5" minus the depth of the projector.

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post #12 of 14 Old 01-18-2014, 03:02 PM
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The zoom lens is 1.5:1, so it'll easily do that throw. It'll do 92" diag from 9'3" to 13'10" (that's the lens location from the screen). The only issue you might encounter is the vertical offset. You'll be looking at about a 15" drop (centerline of lens to top of screen) with the lens shift in its neutral position, and probably have roughly 6-6.5" +/- up and down from there going by what it'll do on my setup with vertical lens shift. No horizontal lens shift.


The blacks are supposedly right up there or better than the AE8000, and you get all the DLP benefits (motion handling, 3D crosstalk, superb sharpness etc.). The only reason I'm really mentioning you to look at it is it's a $3,500 MSRP projector (street price of about $1800-2000 from there) that's now going for $800 due to Mitsubishi getting out of the home theater projector market.
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-19-2014, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by RPS13 View Post

The zoom lens is 1.5:1, so it'll easily do that throw. It'll do 92" diag from 9'3" to 13'10" (that's the lens location from the screen). The only issue you might encounter is the vertical offset. You'll be looking at about a 15" drop (centerline of lens to top of screen) with the lens shift in its neutral position, and probably have roughly 6-6.5" +/- up and down from there going by what it'll do on my setup with vertical lens shift. No horizontal lens shift.


The blacks are supposedly right up there or better than the AE8000, and you get all the DLP benefits (motion handling, 3D crosstalk, superb sharpness etc.). The only reason I'm really mentioning you to look at it is it's a $3,500 MSRP projector (street price of about $1800-2000 from there) that's now going for $800 due to Mitsubishi getting out of the home theater projector market.


Yea, vertical offset is the biggest thing I need. I have a fan in the room, and even if I went to like a low profile ceiling fan, I'm not sure i could mount high enough to compensate for a 15" drop (~8ft ceilings). I need the top of my screen to likely be at 75" for it to clear my center channel below.

Also, the Epson is supposed to be a lot better picture in 3D which I want, and I don't have a light controlled environment either which should hurt the Mits more in my understanding.

I'll look into it more today to see if the Mits will work for me. I wanted to buy whatever I'm going to get tomorrow.


Edit: According to the Mitsubishi manual, there isn't enough lens shift available too make it work on my room given my limited mounting locations. Even if I didn't have a fan (which I can remove) it doesn't look like it'd work for me.

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post #14 of 14 Old 01-19-2014, 04:00 PM
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So you couldn't put the lens centerline at 84" high? That's a pretty low ceiling. The ceiling fan doesn't have to be above the lens centerline, just above where the image is at that point in the room. As in, if the projector is 10' away and the fan is 2' from the projector with a 10" drop, then the fan's lowest point can be ~2" below the lens centerline and still clear the image.

That said, the HC7900DW isn't going to be the best with lots of ambient light, while the AE8000 has a lot more horsepower. I really like Panasonic projectors as well (just like I like Mitsubishis - overbuilt Japanese precision), I just wish they weren't kinda pricey and slow to be refreshed.

Sounds like it'll work out great for your room.
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