Mitsubishi HC3800 upgrade path for under $1k....BenQ W1070?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-24-2014, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all

Haven't posted (or prowled) this section for a long time. Been happy with my HC3800 with all these years and it's still going strong though hitting 2800 hrs on the 2nd bulb so looking at upgrade options (OR buy 3rd bulb and run it down to ground cool.gif).

Got a small work bonus recently so thought of jumping to 3D now. Budget is around $1k (can go higher if needed be).

Current setup:
- 120" DIY screen
- HC3800 ..short throw from approx 12-15 feet away.
- Some ambient lighting in from one side of the room/hallway during daytime
- Non 3D HTPC (will upgrade to 3D capable video card)
- Xbox One
- Pioneer AVR

Looking for :
- Same if not brighter PJ (the HC3800 was considered a light cannon back in the day)
- Good sharpness (my past PJs have been DLP so I prefer DLP)
- Good bulb life (I've been averaging about 4000 hrs on my HC3800 and I use it A LOT!)
- Under $1k
- Short throw similar to my HC3800
- GOOD FOR GAMING (I'm a veteran COD player and currently wasting my adult life on Titanfall and Ghosts)

So far, the W1070 seems to fit my bill. Optoma HD131X seems to have a slower color wheel and more lag times. BenQ1500 appears to be a better PJ overall but lag times are again average compared to W1070 (??).

Most of my primary content would be 2D (and gaming) and 3D would be secondary due to lack of content (but still nicer to have for a HT room).

Or should I simply get a 3rd bulb and run my HC3800 down to dust and pieces ;-)? If there's something (DLP wise) better out on the horizon for under $1k and 3D, I wouldn't mind waiting for another 3-4 months.

I know we had tons of HC3800 owners here back in the day (when I was active in that owner's thread) so wondering what yall have upgraded to? I keep saying "DLP" as I've only had one LCD pj (Epson) and had severe convergence issues and returned back and have never bothered with LCD based PJs since then...not sure if things have changed now in 2014..

Thanks!

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post #2 of 11 Old 04-24-2014, 10:51 AM
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The question for any upgrade path is: "what do I gain?"

The HC3800 is still pretty respectable. A W1070's blacks will be similar to it; and color reproduction will be similar too. (A weakness with the Optoma.)

Your only real gain would be brightness (though once calibrated, they may be closer than the numbers might suggest), and lag times would be a bit better. Oh, and 3D. Which is nice, but not a necessity generally with current content availability (or lack thereof, as you've noticed :-)

With replacement bulbs for your Mits so cheap - and since tech in this bottom-segment hasn't moved all that much forward since it's release - I'd say just get a bulb for an eighth of the price; and re-evaluate when it dies!

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post #3 of 11 Old 04-24-2014, 02:11 PM
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I agree. I have the HC3800 also, and I doubt the W1070 is an upgrade in image quality. The only reason to do it is to get 3D.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-24-2014, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks both.

Yeah...I think I'll just burn this thing to ground and hope to have a better upgrade by end of this year. I s'ppose with all the 3D hype going on currently, I did get taken by the craze and hence the whole thought of upgrade popped up (not to mention the spare $800 I have at my disposal right now..haha!)

Now that I think back, it's like deja vu for me....I started off the VP4001 (720p) and loved it....when came 1080p and everyone and their mothers here were upgrading to 1080p so I flipped mine and got the HC3800 (well..the Epson before that). I love the HC3800 but there are times when I wish I had kept the VP4001 as the picture quality and black levels+shadow details on that puppy (albeit low resolution/rightness) was jaw-dropping!

Ah..the upgrade sickness!!

Cheers!

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post #5 of 11 Old 04-27-2014, 03:13 PM
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I contemplated upgrading from my 3800 back in December and after all the reading and researching found that neither the w1070 or Optoma HD131 would be an upgrade over the 3800. I ended up buying an OEM lamp for $250 and will just wait until something that is an upgrade comes out and then purchase that.

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post #6 of 11 Old 04-27-2014, 04:42 PM
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I also have an HC3800 with about 2500 hours on the bulb, and I got a W1070 a month ago. I use both.

The W1070 is significantly brighter and noticeably sharper. 3D aside (I have a 3D gaming PC so it gets a lot of use for that purpose), for 2D it's great when there's ambient light. However, in a dark room, I prefer the HC3800. The W1070 is brighter than necessary in that case. While many people use an ND filter to lower the W1070's brightness, I think the HC3800 also has better single scene contrast.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-25-2014, 01:55 PM
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Funny this is being talked about now when I too am contemplating upgrading from my 2009 HC3800.

My problem is it just does not pop anymore. Funny how that happens. lol It has so much more to do with what becomes the norm than the projector itself. I bought a 70 inch LED Sony tv almost a year ago for the bedroom and now I can't stand to watch the projector. It just does not have the pop (black levels, color saturation and overall brightness) of the current displays.

I have a 144 inch screen and I totally understand the issues with going BIG and still getting a great picture. But here's the thing, in 2009 this HC3800 was amazing. In 2006 or 7 the Optoma projector I purchased for $4700 was amazing on my then 8 foot screen and that's why I decided to go up to 12 feet. But,..... both of those projectors got "dull". Or put more accurately, my expectations got higher as I saw better images elsewhere, albeit not as BIG.

So anyhow, I just ordered my 4th bulb. I replace them about every 1600 hours and run 'em on "torch". I'm not impressed with the current projector offerings enough to justify upgrading. So I too am waiting and hoping this holiday season we'll see something worthy up an upgrade in projectors.

Word of caution: I will never buy another Optoma (or any very expensive electronic) again. I paid $4700 for that first one and it only lasted a little over a 1.5 years before the light engine / color wheel blew up. That was just barely past warranty and right after I put in the replacement $350 lamp. Ouch! YMMV. Optoma offered to fix it with prices starting at $1000 and stating that they can't be sure something else wouldn't go out. The HC3800 was $1300. So there sat over $5K in the trash. frown.gif
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-14-2014, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreeturez View Post
With replacement bulbs for your Mits so cheap - and since tech in this bottom-segment hasn't moved all that much forward since it's release - I'd say just get a bulb for an eighth of the price; and re-evaluate when it dies!
1/8 the price? Are you referring to those $100 OEM bulb with generic housing things I'm seeing on Amazon? Or the $300 fully OEM lamps? I did see one at projectorlampexperts.com for $250, but I don't know if that's legit or not. Or are you suggesting replacing just the bulb in the current housing?

I'm a bit new to this. I LOVE my HC3800, but it's my first projector and I've now run through the original bulb, the free replacement bulb that came with it, and... I don't know what to do now.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-14-2014, 06:48 PM
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[quote=bjquinn;24974001]
Quote:
Originally Posted by kreeturez View Post
I'm a bit new to this. I LOVE my HC3800, but it's my first projector and I've now run through the original bulb, the free replacement bulb that came with it, and... I don't know what to do now.
Mits exiting the consumer projection market hasn't helped availability or pricing of their lamps - even Provantage (my standard 'go-to' store for official original lamps with housings) doesn't have stock of originals anymore; and their 'Generic-Housing' equivalent is a whopping $320! CDW (my 'backup' store) discontinued this lamp model 2 months ago.
By the same token, there's lots of availability of 'original-looking' bulb-inclusive housings around from sellers (of varying repute) for around the $100 mark.
The part number is VLT-HC3800LP; it looks like it's an Osram bulb. Skim through both the HC3800 and HC4000 threads (both projectors use this part number) to get an idea of where to turn for a reliable replacement.

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post #10 of 11 Old 06-14-2014, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreeturez View Post
Skim through both the HC3800 and HC4000 threads (both projectors use this part number) to get an idea of where to turn for a reliable replacement.
Yeah, I've read every post on both of those threads going back the last year or so, and I don't really see anyone talking about positive experiences with the $100 el cheapo lamps (chinese housing / theoretically OEM bumb), or replacing just the bulb itself in the existing housing. I don't see any (recent) horror stories either. But I also don't see anyone with any bright ideas on what to buy other than a $300 bulb or a new projector. So that seems to leave 3 sane options :

1. Throw caution to the wind and try the $100 lamp (fake housing / real bulb), as it's so much cheaper than the real thing. I'm out $100 if the lamp's no good, and $100 plus the cost of a new projector if it's not only no good but it blows up my projector. But if there are really no good replacement lamp options, I was looking at a new projector anyway.
2. Buy the $300 real lamp ($250 from projectorlampexperts?).
3. To heck with it and buy a new BenQ W1070 or something for about $750. Seems so sad to spend $300 on a lamp when a new projector of at least equal or better quality's only 2 1/2 times that.

I get the impression you're a HC3800 owner? Your clock is ticking too, then. Any other ideas?

Edit: A quick look at W1070 bulbs and they're $300 as well (I get the impression that's a racket all projector owners have to deal with), so perhaps upgrading to a new but fairly equivalent projector just to get the bulb that comes in it might not be that wise...

Edit 2: Also if I'm willing to risk the cheap $100 lamp, perhaps I could try my hand at buying just an OEM bulb and trying to crack open the housing and replace only the bulb. Has anyone tried that?

Last edited by bjquinn; 06-14-2014 at 08:00 PM.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-17-2014, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjquinn View Post
...
Edit 2: Also if I'm willing to risk the cheap $100 lamp, perhaps I could try my hand at buying just an OEM bulb and trying to crack open the housing and replace only the bulb. Has anyone tried that?
I did. OEM bulb put in my OEM cage myself. I wore nitrile gloves and was super careful. I only got 1/2 as many useful hours from it. It did only cost $75. My OEM cage was pretty heat stressed. I've had that issue in the past. SOMETIMES, you cannot reuse the OEM cage because of it. They can just start falling apart in your hands.

I just put an OEM lamp in my HC3800 (tried an aftermarket and it didn't work). Probably the last time as I don't expect more than another year or two out of the projector. Considered upgrading, but not impressed with the offerings. The HC3800 was an upgrade from 720P to 1080P and great color saturation with alot more lumen. I don't see those kinds of gains in what's currently available. Kinda like the gaming systems. The PS3 was an upgrade to HD. And after 12+ years of advances and the PS4 (and Xbox One) are still disc systems and only 1080P. I really had expected non-moving parts and at least 2K if not 4K. Not that they don't offer improvements. Just that I don't see the same leaps we saw last gen. Same with projectors. I blame the economy

Oh, btw, with a new OEM lamp, the 3800 makes me happy again.
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