Best sub $500 720p projector? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-25-2014, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Best sub $500 720p projector?

Im looking for a good price/quality 720p projector. only purpose is HDTV which is native 720p and last gen PS3 gaming ( also around 720p ).
But i got zero expertise when its about projectors. Amazon search gave me these 2 which have great reviews are and sub $500. I dont know what else to look for spec wise. Which one is the better choice? Or maybe none of the 2? Thanks in advance guys.

www.amazon.com/Digital-Galaxy-Projector-1280x768-projector/dp/B00CPDSJEY/

www.amazon.com/Optoma-H180X-Lumen-Theater-Projector/dp/B00F0DI8LK/
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-25-2014, 07:06 AM
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The Optoma has been recommended before in this situation. There is also the Acer 5380 which holds a similar title and can be read about here:
http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-500-projector/

If you can hold off and get around $700-750 that will buy you arguably the best projector under $1800-2000, the w1070. Sounds like more than you need, but a really good choice for a couple hundred more nonetheless.

If you are okay simply tabletop or tripod mounting and won't be bothered by a projector sounding like a hotter laptop, there are several LED/lampless projectors around your price-range as well.
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-25-2014, 07:27 AM
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Skip the Digital Galaxy. It’s a single TFT LCD that won’thave the PQ of a DLP or 3 LCD PJ.

The Optoma is a better PJ and has received some good reviews.I believe there are also some BenQ and Epson WXGA models in that range.

This http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8526295&SRCCODE=WEBGOOPA&cm_mmc_ o=mH4CjC7BBTkwCjCV1-CjCE&gclid=CJKh8t-clb8CFSsSMwod4WoA7Q&gclsrc=aw.dswould work.

Sometimes Epson has the 705HD refurbished for around $350.
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-25-2014, 07:36 AM
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Spec-wise, for projectors under $1800, DLP has a noticeable contrast advantage over LCD and tends to be the cheaper option per resolution as well. The w1070/1080 is the most color accurate DLP you'll find ANYWHERE near its price, but the Optoma 131 and Acer 5380 aren't bad. Others can be slightly less accurate than the Acer/Optoma and have weaker, washed-out colors.

Brightness/lumen specs aren't really important for most because any decent projector will have enough output to fill your 100"-135" screen in a fairly darkened room..and even the brightest projectors won't look very good with too much light/sun hitting your screen/wall.

Contrast specs are not controlled or policed at all so manufacturers are literally allowed to post whatever numbers they feel like and usually do. On average the measured contrast is much lower, which is the same case for your television as well. Most DLP projectors will give a similar contrast and slightly higher brightness than your hometown indoor movie theater. Many LCD projectors in the same low price range will have anywhere from half to 1/10 the contrast which is why they aren't recommended except as a last resort if you can't use a DLP. That Epson 705 LCD has a measured contrast around 200:1 which is very poor.

The other important thing will be your room dimensions, seating distance vs screen-size, and how far the projector will need to be in order to make a certain size. This is also where ceiling-mount vs tabletop becomes important again.

Last edited by Ftoast; 06-25-2014 at 07:44 AM.
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-25-2014, 08:04 AM
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As already mentioned.

The Digital Galaxy is garbage, avoid this.

Optoma is a well respected brand, but on top of that, it delivers a quality product in the H180X which is a recent design and supports almost any resolution you throw at it, as well as allowing for frame packed 3D content.

I'm with others in saying that you should consider spending $250 on the BenQ W1070, but if you are on a budget, you are on a budget.

Still, most HDTV is 1080i, not 720p. Almost all Blu-ray Discs (playable on PS3) are 1080p and provide the best movie watching experience you could hope for. Games certainly are mostly 720p from what I've heard, but there are some 1080 versions.

Still, this is your money, and your decision to make.

Keep in mind, replacement lamps for projectors will set you back $200-$300 for a factory branded original lamp (recommended).

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-25-2014, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeahOlin View Post
Im looking for a good price/quality 720p projector. only purpose is HDTV which is native 720p and last gen PS3 gaming ( also around 720p ).
But i got zero expertise when its about projectors. Amazon search gave me these 2 which have great reviews are and sub $500. I dont know what else to look for spec wise. Which one is the better choice? Or maybe none of the 2? Thanks in advance guys.

www.amazon.com/Digital-Galaxy-Projector-1280x768-projector/dp/B00CPDSJEY/

www.amazon.com/Optoma-H180X-Lumen-Theater-Projector/dp/B00F0DI8LK/
I picked up the Acer H5380 for now as I am tired of waiting and will upgrade later. You can find it for around $400 if you watch for sales. I am pleased with the picture and I have not even calibrated it yet. It is plenty bright. Very watchable with open shades too. So far I have only used a PS3 to test it with Blu Ray movies.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-26-2014, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeahOlin View Post
Im looking for a good price/quality 720p projector. only purpose is HDTV which is native 720p and last gen PS3 gaming ( also around 720p ).
But i got zero expertise when its about projectors. Amazon search gave me these 2 which have great reviews are and sub $500. I dont know what else to look for spec wise. Which one is the better choice? Or maybe none of the 2? Thanks in advance guys.

www.amazon.com/Digital-Galaxy-Projector-1280x768-projector/dp/B00CPDSJEY/

www.amazon.com/Optoma-H180X-Lumen-Theater-Projector/dp/B00F0DI8LK/
I have the BenQ MW519. It is a 720p 3D Projector. It can play 3D Blu-Rays from a 3D Blu-Ray player without needing an external 3D converter. The picture is good and bright. I have mine set at 50% brightness and I still get a bright image.
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-26-2014, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGTweed View Post
I have the BenQ MW519. It is a 720p 3D Projector. It can play 3D Blu-Rays from a 3D Blu-Ray player without needing an external 3D converter. The picture is good and bright. I have mine set at 50% brightness and I still get a bright image.
So you have the "Brightness" setting at %50.. that one controls how bright the darks areas are.. The "Contrast" controls how bright the whites are. Very counter intuitive. You may want to get a test disk like the AVS 709 which is a free download in the calibration forum to properly set both these settings, you image may even look better!
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-26-2014, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airscapes View Post
So you have the "Brightness" setting at %50.. that one controls how bright the darks areas are.. The "Contrast" controls how bright the whites are. Very counter intuitive. You may want to get a test disk like the AVS 709 which is a free download in the calibration forum to properly set both these settings, you image may even look better!
Don't need the AVS 709. The image is great. The full lamp brightness was too high so I reduce it to 50% and the image in both 2D and 3D is great. Not too bad for alamp that had 1,267 hrs on it plus the 530 hrs added since.
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-26-2014, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGTweed View Post
Don't need the AVS 709. The image is great. The full lamp brightness was too high so I reduce it to 50% and the image in both 2D and 3D is great. Not too bad for alamp that had 1,267 hrs on it plus the 530 hrs added since.
Did you reduce lamp power, or did you turn down the Brightness control?
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post #11 of 19 Old 06-26-2014, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGTweed View Post
Don't need the AVS 709. The image is great. The full lamp brightness was too high so I reduce it to 50% and the image in both 2D and 3D is great. Not too bad for alamp that had 1,267 hrs on it plus the 530 hrs added since.
Though setting it somewhere near the low 50's is probably alright, you are likely crushing some dark shadow details down into black by doing this without looking carefully. I suggest you find a film with black bars and walk close to your screen (with remote) while it's playing. Look closely at the black bar and turn the BRIGHTNESS up until you just start to see little sparkles of movement in the black, now turn it down one at a time just until it stops sparkling.

If you've already turned the lamp mode to ECO and turned BrilliantColor OFF and still find it too bright, you should try turning the CONTRAST down a few points.
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post #12 of 19 Old 06-27-2014, 06:46 AM
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I had the MW519 for a day (it was 419 at Walmart), but foundthe RBE intolerable. I guess I’m more susceptible than most, so I stick withLCD. I went to the Epson HC725HD which, to me seems to have a brighter morevibrant image. The Epson definitely has brighter colors and better contrastthan the BenQ especially with colorful, animated content. To me the 519 looked,for lack of a better term, “dim” when watching some of the PIXAR stuff. I use the Epson mostly for backyard theater ona 16’ x 9’ billboard vinyl screen and in Eco mode on the Cinema setting (lowestlight output) I have a decent image just after dusk. I haven’t seen anymeasured contrast numbers for the 725, but I have compared it to the 705 (my bro-in-law has one) andthere is a significant improvement.
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-27-2014, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hovey View Post
I had the MW519 for a day (it was 419 at Walmart), but foundthe RBE intolerable. I guess I’m more susceptible than most, so I stick withLCD. I went to the Epson HC725HD which, to me seems to have a brighter morevibrant image. The Epson definitely has brighter colors and better contrastthan the BenQ especially with colorful, animated content. To me the 519 looked,for lack of a better term, “dim” when watching some of the PIXAR stuff. I use the Epson mostly for backyard theater ona 16’ x 9’ billboard vinyl screen and in Eco mode on the Cinema setting (lowestlight output) I have a decent image just after dusk. I haven’t seen anymeasured contrast numbers for the 725, but I have compared it to the 705 (my bro-in-law has one) andthere is a significant improvement.
I can agree about the 519's Rainbow Effect being bad when I first got it back in December 2013. Right now, I rarely see the effect. If you move your eyes fast in the action scenes, the rainbow effect is worse. So my advice is don't move your eyes fast. The Epsons are a good brand. But, too expensive for me the projectors I looked at in Johnson City,TN.
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post #14 of 19 Old 06-27-2014, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by PJC Bill View Post
Did you reduce lamp power, or did you turn down the Brightness control?
Lamp Mode: Economic. Brightness: 50% Contrast: 0 Brilliant Color: On.
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post #15 of 19 Old 06-27-2014, 01:01 PM
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Mod's edit - Rude post deleted.

Last edited by Bob Sorel; 06-27-2014 at 03:00 PM.
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post #16 of 19 Old 06-27-2014, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PGTweed View Post
Lamp Mode: Economic. Brightness: 50% Contrast: 0 Brilliant Color: On. As for your advice: WHO CARES! I DON'T!
Turning brilliantcolor off will both darken the image a lot AND make the colors more bold and natural without having to fiddle with anything else at all.
It might help sometime if you ever find yourself watching a dark scene and thinking it looks too dark while you still like the overall brightness you've gotten because you can have good dark detail AND less brightness by turning BC off. Then again, like I said, having brightness at 50 might very well be perfect as you've said you enjoy how it looks and it's your display afterall.

I just meant what I said as a tip you could try without needing to buy anything or spend a bunch of time on it. Didn't mean to be pushy.

Out of curiosity, is that contrast control (the one set to 0) one that goes from 0-100 or does it go -50 to +50 or something else entirely?

Last edited by Ftoast; 06-27-2014 at 01:48 PM.
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post #17 of 19 Old 06-28-2014, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I know i came to the right place to ask. Ordered the Benq W1070 to make not only the jump to 1080p but cause it's one of the better projectors also.
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post #18 of 19 Old 06-28-2014, 06:36 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I know i came to the right place to ask. Ordered the Benq W1070 to make not only the jump to 1080p but cause it's one of the better projectors also.
The only thing that could make the w1070 better (but not more expensive) is a second version..third if you count the w1080. I would love to see a lower powered version so folks with modest budgets and really dark+treated rooms could have a slightly dimmer and quieter version. Would probably have cheaper lamps too, Benq's 190-210w go for about $100 less.

Post some pictures in the w1070 thread when you've got it setup in its new home.
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-08-2014, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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BENQ is set up and the whole family is very satisfied with the picture quality. Thanks again guys!
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