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post #1 of 13 Old 03-27-2015, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Newbie Questions about Epson 8350 versus BenQ 1075

Greetings,

I am in the market for our first projector. We are planning to finish our currently unfinished basement with a dedicated theater which will end up being about 15’x 21’. The basement is 9’ deep, but I estimate the finished ceiling will end up about 8’ above the slightly raised floor. My guess is that our primary seating distance will be about 10 feet from the front wall/screen – maybe a little less since we plan on eventually having two rows of seats. I plan to ceiling-mount the projector. There are always many needs for any spare money we have, so the theater project many take a while to actually complete, so we hope to enjoy our “theater in the rough” as we go along.

To get the process started, we have decided to buy the projector first and erect a temporary blank wall (painted white or gray) with the primary intention of figuring out for ourselves what size image we prefer, then buy a screen of that size. To this end, I narrowed my choices down to the Epson HC8350 or the BenQ HT1075. Based on reviews, I think both projectors can create enjoyable images. We would use the projector for movies (Blu-ray and Netflix) and some limited game playing (Wii). I really like the adjustment options (long zoom and generous lens shift) of the Epson, but have been put off by complaints on this forum and elsewhere about seriously short bulb life. Having to constantly replace bulbs will slow down progress on the project over the long term. The BenQ is relatively new, so I can’t find much info about its actual bulb life. Maybe it would be similar to the W1070? I can see us living with whichever projector we buy for a few years until the rest of the theater equipment gels and the permanent walls get erected, so a projector that’s easy to live with is a consideration.

The way I figure things, I can mount the Epson projector anywhere from about 152” to the back of the room and adjust the image from 100” to 130” using the zoom. The lens shift would give me a large adjustment range for image distance down from the ceiling. I like that I can mess with size and height, so we can see what we prefer. For the BenQ projector, I think I can get the same picture sizes if I mount it 130” from the screen, but I will have less range of zoom and height adjustment due to the smaller lens shift range. I suppose I could always drop the projector farther down from the ceiling, but the distance to the screen means that projector would be just about over our heads, and it has more fan noise than the Epson (but that may be why its bulbs last longer). So, I like the flexibility of the Epson, but wonder if I would be disappointed in the long-term ownership because of the bulb life issue.

I appreciate any comments or suggestions on my rambling above.

Have a great weekend!

Steven
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-27-2015, 01:56 PM
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You pretty much know all the pros and cons of each projector. If 3D is absolutely no interest to you (you go out of your way to avoid it at the local theaters as these projectors exceed that experience) than the 8350/45 would be a good choice for its greater placement flexibility. Of course you are comparing LCD to DLP so they do look somewhat different. The bulb life on the 1070 (recomended over the 1075 because its cheaper) is known to be close to manufactures claims.

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post #3 of 13 Old 03-28-2015, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Sartori42 View Post
Greetings,

I am in the market for our first projector. We are planning to finish our currently unfinished basement with a dedicated theater which will end up being about 15’x 21’. The basement is 9’ deep, but I estimate the finished ceiling will end up about 8’ above the slightly raised floor. My guess is that our primary seating distance will be about 10 feet from the front wall/screen – maybe a little less since we plan on eventually having two rows of seats. I plan to ceiling-mount the projector. There are always many needs for any spare money we have, so the theater project many take a while to actually complete, so we hope to enjoy our “theater in the rough” as we go along.

To get the process started, we have decided to buy the projector first and erect a temporary blank wall (painted white or gray) with the primary intention of figuring out for ourselves what size image we prefer, then buy a screen of that size. To this end, I narrowed my choices down to the Epson HC8350 or the BenQ HT1075. Based on reviews, I think both projectors can create enjoyable images. We would use the projector for movies (Blu-ray and Netflix) and some limited game playing (Wii). I really like the adjustment options (long zoom and generous lens shift) of the Epson, but have been put off by complaints on this forum and elsewhere about seriously short bulb life. Having to constantly replace bulbs will slow down progress on the project over the long term. The BenQ is relatively new, so I can’t find much info about its actual bulb life. Maybe it would be similar to the W1070? I can see us living with whichever projector we buy for a few years until the rest of the theater equipment gels and the permanent walls get erected, so a projector that’s easy to live with is a consideration.

The way I figure things, I can mount the Epson projector anywhere from about 152” to the back of the room and adjust the image from 100” to 130” using the zoom. The lens shift would give me a large adjustment range for image distance down from the ceiling. I like that I can mess with size and height, so we can see what we prefer. For the BenQ projector, I think I can get the same picture sizes if I mount it 130” from the screen, but I will have less range of zoom and height adjustment due to the smaller lens shift range. I suppose I could always drop the projector farther down from the ceiling, but the distance to the screen means that projector would be just about over our heads, and it has more fan noise than the Epson (but that may be why its bulbs last longer). So, I like the flexibility of the Epson, but wonder if I would be disappointed in the long-term ownership because of the bulb life issue.

I appreciate any comments or suggestions on my rambling above.

Have a great weekend!

Steven
You should know that these two are not really comparable in terms of brightness in the real world. Adjusted for accurate color, the 8350 produces less than 500 lumens, while the W1070 or 1075HT produces 1700 lumens with accurate color. That means even a 120" screen is barely possible for the 8350, and that only if the projector is mounted at its closest distance from the screen. I think 120" is too small for your room size. The Benq, on the other hand, is bright enough for a 160" screen if you like.

Given your room dimensions and desire for a second row at some point, keeping in mind that the second row will need to be on a raised platform 15" tall which will reduce headroom, you are actually better off with the projector mounted above the seat backs of the first row. For a room 15' wide and 20' deep, I'd plan on first row eyes at 12', second row at 18', and screen 150"+. That will leave 2' on each side of the screen for speakers with 1' above and below so the center channel can hang above the screen.

Lens shift and placement flexibility is nice, but if you don't actually need it you are just paying for features that will never be used and sacrificing something else -- brightness in the case of the 8350. The benq will fill a 150" screen with the lens at 13' (max 16') throw and 8" from the ceiling, so no 'flexibility ' is really needed. If you really prefer mounting above the second row instead, the Benq HC1200 ($925) is even brighter than the 1075HT and could throw from 19' to lens for a 150" screen.

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Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
You should know that these two are not really comparable in terms of brightness in the real world. Adjusted for accurate color, the 8350 produces less than 500 lumens, while the W1070 or 1075HT produces 1700 lumens with accurate color. That means even a 120" screen is barely possible for the 8350, and that only if the projector is mounted at its closest distance from the screen. I think 120" is too small for your room size. The Benq, on the other hand, is bright enough for a 160" screen if you like.

Given your room dimensions and desire for a second row at some point, keeping in mind that the second row will need to be on a raised platform 15" tall which will reduce headroom, you are actually better off with the projector mounted above the seat backs of the first row. For a room 15' wide and 20' deep, I'd plan on first row eyes at 12', second row at 18', and screen 150"+. That will leave 2' on each side of the screen for speakers with 1' above and below so the center channel can hang above the screen.

Lens shift and placement flexibility is nice, but if you don't actually need it you are just paying for features that will never be used and sacrificing something else -- brightness in the case of the 8350. The benq will fill a 150" screen with the lens at 13' (max 16') throw and 8" from the ceiling, so no 'flexibility ' is really needed. If you really prefer mounting above the second row instead, the Benq HC1200 ($925) is even brighter than the 1075HT and could throw from 19' to lens for a 150" screen.


500?? the Epson website says it has 2000??
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-29-2015, 12:31 AM
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500?? the Epson website says it has 2000??
Manufacturer specs are all lies. The only one worse than the brightness spec is the contrast spec. You have to go to independent reviews and see what they actually MEASURED for brightness. There are many modes a projector can be in, and some of them can get really close to their advertised brightness, but the question is whether they can do it when they are set for accurate color and gray scale. Go to http://www.projectorreviews.com/epso...350-brightness and you'll see that in Dynamic mode it defaults to 1378 lumens at mid-point of zoom distance and 1640 at closes zoom distance, but in Cinema mode only 463 lumens. Adjusting to eliminate the most obnoxious color errors of Dynamic mode, those numbers dropped by 15%, but they still considered its "best" color mode to be Cinema at less than 500 lumens.

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post #6 of 13 Old 03-29-2015, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
You should know that these two are not really comparable in terms of brightness in the real world. Adjusted for accurate color, the 8350 produces less than 500 lumens, while the W1070 or 1075HT produces 1700 lumens with accurate color. That means even a 120" screen is barely possible for the 8350, and that only if the projector is mounted at its closest distance from the screen. I think 120" is too small for your room size. The Benq, on the other hand, is bright enough for a 160" screen if you like.

Given your room dimensions and desire for a second row at some point, keeping in mind that the second row will need to be on a raised platform 15" tall which will reduce headroom, you are actually better off with the projector mounted above the seat backs of the first row. For a room 15' wide and 20' deep, I'd plan on first row eyes at 12', second row at 18', and screen 150"+. That will leave 2' on each side of the screen for speakers with 1' above and below so the center channel can hang above the screen.

Lens shift and placement flexibility is nice, but if you don't actually need it you are just paying for features that will never be used and sacrificing something else -- brightness in the case of the 8350. The benq will fill a 150" screen with the lens at 13' (max 16') throw and 8" from the ceiling, so no 'flexibility ' is really needed. If you really prefer mounting above the second row instead, the Benq HC1200 ($925) is even brighter than the 1075HT and could throw from 19' to lens for a 150" screen.
dreamer/Kirk,


First, an enthusiastic "thank you" for your response. You pointed out something I had missed in my research and will likely help me achieve my goal.


In real-word measurements, the BenQ 1075 has twice (or more) the brightness of the Epson 8350. However, some of my reading causes me confusion. For example, the folks at ProjectorCentral say this: "the Cinema preset is normally 556 lumens, and in Eco mode this drops to 434 lumens. If you have a light-controlled room, this is just about perfect for a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen--the image is brilliant and punchy without being so bright as to cause eyestrain or headaches." So, can an image be too bright? Isn't there a way to dial down the brightness level? Without a doubt, I'd rather have too many lumens than too few, since I suspect that you can tone it down, but can't increase it easily. I do look forward to a day when I can afford a "real" projector without such limitations.


To add to the issue you had brought up, I had kind of decided to get the Epson 8345, since the talk is that it may have resolved the bulb life issue that seems to plague the majority of 8350s. However, it is rated at 200 lumens less than the 8350, which would like exacerbate the situation. So, far now, I'm leaning towards the BenQ 1075, based on this new information. Probably going to pull the trigger on the purchase next week, so I really need to work this out.


Thanks again, Steven.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-29-2015, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Sartori42 View Post
dreamer/Kirk,


First, an enthusiastic "thank you" for your response. You pointed out something I had missed in my research and will likely help me achieve my goal.


In real-word measurements, the BenQ 1075 has twice (or more) the brightness of the Epson 8350. However, some of my reading causes me confusion. For example, the folks at ProjectorCentral say this: "the Cinema preset is normally 556 lumens, and in Eco mode this drops to 434 lumens. If you have a light-controlled room, this is just about perfect for a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen--the image is brilliant and punchy without being so bright as to cause eyestrain or headaches." So, can an image be too bright? Isn't there a way to dial down the brightness level? Without a doubt, I'd rather have too many lumens than too few, since I suspect that you can tone it down, but can't increase it easily. I do look forward to a day when I can afford a "real" projector without such limitations.


To add to the issue you had brought up, I had kind of decided to get the Epson 8345, since the talk is that it may have resolved the bulb life issue that seems to plague the majority of 8350s. However, it is rated at 200 lumens less than the 8350, which would like exacerbate the situation. So, far now, I'm leaning towards the BenQ 1075, based on this new information. Probably going to pull the trigger on the purchase next week, so I really need to work this out.


Thanks again, Steven.
You can dial down the brightness of the 1075 by using ECO mode rather than Normal or Smart-ECO for the lamp. This is likely enough for even a pitch black room if the screen is in the 150" range. I use Smart-ECO on my 122" screen and it only ever seems too bright when the screen is mostly white. But I like to leave light on in the seating area, so the room is rarely fully dark. There are Neutral Density filters for photography that some people have placed in front or the projector lens. This reduces the light output without altering the color. Those run about $50 or so. My solution is just to not watch in full dark and to use a larger screen.

As you surmised, getting extra brightness is not nearly so easy. The only way is to sacrifice the accuracy of colors and grayscale -- which amount to obnoxious flesh tones and neon-colored grass and gray/muddy detail in dark scenes. Or to use a higher gain screen which then is noticeably dimmer from some angles than others and has other problems.

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I think you would be disappointed, most of all, with the image quality of the 8345 vs. the W1070.

I have had LCD projectors for years, and now have the W1070, and it is a significant improvement in overall image quality compared to the LCD models I've owned. The look of DLP is different. It's sharper, with much higher motion quality than LCD. I liked my LCD models, and certainly with nothing to compare against, it's excellent. But, the black levels it delivers with best the Epson, and the sharpness will be higher, and the motion handling will be better, and the response time for gaming will be faster.

Placement?

You have an unfinished space it sounds like at the moment. Set it up, try it out, and find a size that works best for you, then mount it permanently. There's no reason to move things after the fact. I have someone looking at a 134" diagonal from 9' away. They enjoy it. I have a 161" screen I view from 15' or so, which is my W1070 and I can move my chairs around.

You should try different sizes to find what you like, but view from both seating locations, and watch a few movies to figure out what really makes you happy, but there is no way I would recommend the 8345 over the W1070.

And no chance I would buy the W1075 over the W1070.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-30-2015, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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First, a couple updates for anyone who has kindly followed my thread...

The measurement from basement floor to floor joist above is 105.75", so I didn't get quite the 9' basement I thought I had. I plan for a raised floor of about 5" (basements in the Midwest sometimes get wet). Once I put up a couple layers of drywall for sound deadening on the ceiling, I can estimate that the finished ceiling will be right at 96".

However... I had forgotten about an I-beam that supports the floor above. It runs parallel to the front wall, where the screen will be located. It hangs down almost 12" and is about 3' from the front wall. That means that the projected image has to go under this beam, so it will inhibit me sliding the projected image closer to the ceiling than that.

With all this in mind...


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Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
You can dial down the brightness of the 1075 by using ECO mode rather than Normal or Smart-ECO for the lamp. This is likely enough for even a pitch black room if the screen is in the 150" range. I use Smart-ECO on my 122" screen and it only ever seems too bright when the screen is mostly white. But I like to leave light on in the seating area, so the room is rarely fully dark. There are Neutral Density filters for photography that some people have placed in front or the projector lens. This reduces the light output without altering the color. Those run about $50 or so. My solution is just to not watch in full dark and to use a larger screen.

Maybe we could just wear sunglasses in the theater room. When I look at the size of a 150" diagonal 16:9 image, it's HUGE. Since I can't get any closer to the ceiling than 12", and that size screen is 73.5" tall, the bottom of the projected image would come within 10" of the floor. I think that might be too big for us. Maybe... I'm still planning to try different sizes to see what we like, but I'm thinking we're going to want about 135" or so (about 18" bottom of image to floor).


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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
I think you would be disappointed, most of all, with the image quality of the 8345 vs. the W1070.

You should try different sizes to find what you like, but view from both seating locations, and watch a few movies to figure out what really makes you happy, but there is no way I would recommend the 8345 over the W1070.

And no chance I would buy the W1075 over the W1070.

Exactly what we plan to do. However, I'm curious about your comment of the W1070 over the HT1075. Besides price, is there some advantage or feature the W1070 has that the HT1075 doesn't have? I thought they were nearly identical, except for a few updates to the HT1075? I have no doubt that the W1070 currently has higher performance per dollar, but for me there is some extrinsic value in the newer, quieter, updated model. YMMV.

Finally, I was looking at screens. If I get a 158" diagonal 2.35:1 screen (62" tall), does that mean I can enjoy same height images regardless of the format? I understand that when watching a 16:9 film, the sides of the screen would go unused, but I think I would deal with that better than black bars at the top and bottom of my 16:9 screen when watching a 2.35 film and having the image shorter than a 16:9 film. Am I off base here?

With the screen taking up most of the front wall, where would I put the center channel speaker? I can't go above the screen because of the I-beam. I'd have to set the speaker on the floor. Are acoustically transparent screens a good option? Are they really acoustically transparent? Do they have any image trade-offs?

Thanks again for taking the time to give me things to consider in my project.
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The W1070 and W1075 sound the same and look the same. There are a couple of added features on the W1075, but that's it. It's not quieter or anything else. The W1070 in low power mode can nicely fill a good sized screen and saves a few bucks. If I wanted quiet, I would get the Sony HW40ES which is a much nicer overall model.

For screen size, I would not get a 2.35 screen unless you plan to get an anamorphic lens (A-lens). The W1070 can't be moved forward/backward to fill a 2.35 screen properly without having the entire projector on a sled, and readjusting where it is pointed. The 8350 can do this, but isn't nearly as bright, so it really can't handle that size, and must still have the lens adjusted in/out to hit the screen properly.

I would get a 150" or so 16:9 screen, which the W1070 can handle without any issues. The 8350 would be struggling at that size.

AT screens allow for most audio to pass through them in the same manner that a speaker grill allows. It's not impactful enough to matter. Most AT screens have a bit of light loss as the light penetrates the AT screen, but typically about a .9 gain is common. So 10% light loss.

Putting the speaker very low, under the screen, is common. Put the front of the speaker up a bit to point at the front row of listeners for best sound quality. You get a better screen for less money with standard fixed frame screens.

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post #11 of 13 Old 03-30-2015, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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The W1070 and W1075 sound the same and look the same. There are a couple of added features on the W1075, but that's it. It's not quieter or anything else. The W1070 in low power mode can nicely fill a good sized screen and saves a few bucks. If I wanted quiet, I would get the Sony HW40ES which is a much nicer overall model.

For screen size, I would not get a 2.35 screen unless you plan to get an anamorphic lens (A-lens). The W1070 can't be moved forward/backward to fill a 2.35 screen properly without having the entire projector on a sled, and readjusting where it is pointed. The 8350 can do this, but isn't nearly as bright, so it really can't handle that size, and must still have the lens adjusted in/out to hit the screen properly.

I would get a 150" or so 16:9 screen, which the W1070 can handle without any issues. The 8350 would be struggling at that size.

AT screens allow for most audio to pass through them in the same manner that a speaker grill allows. It's not impactful enough to matter. Most AT screens have a bit of light loss as the light penetrates the AT screen, but typically about a .9 gain is common. So 10% light loss.

Putting the speaker very low, under the screen, is common. Put the front of the speaker up a bit to point at the front row of listeners for best sound quality. You get a better screen for less money with standard fixed frame screens.
Again, I appreciate the thoughtful responses.

After I posted, I thought that maybe I should have asked my screen questions in the screen forum, so if I have more questions in this area, I'll ask there. I'll play with projected image sizes and see what we think. I'll have to seriously consider the case for the W1070. I know you obviously picked that model for yourself, for what you consider are logical and sound reasons. But, I also have no doubt that many have purchased the HT1075. Most must have also considered the W1070 and chose to go how they did. Based on reviews I have read, most owners are happy with their decision. I am confident that either model will work well for my needs.

I'm looking at the Silver Ticket screens, and their AT screen gain is 1.0. Based on the discussion here, I think the projector has enough horsepower (lumen-wise) to work with this material. I'm more concerned about the more open weave of the material showing up in bright scenes (maybe). I like the idea of the center speaker being in the center of the screen, but maybe it doesn't matter. I don't think I've ever auditioned a good home theater with a center speaker mounted so low, and I'm concerned that it would draw attention to itself rather than disappearing aurally as it should.

Again, thank you for your time and insightful comments.
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post #12 of 13 Old 03-30-2015, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Sartori42 View Post

Finally, I was looking at screens. If I get a 158" diagonal 2.35:1 screen (62" tall), does that mean I can enjoy same height images regardless of the format? I understand that when watching a 16:9 film, the sides of the screen would go unused, but I think I would deal with that better than black bars at the top and bottom of my 16:9 screen when watching a 2.35 film and having the image shorter than a 16:9 film. Am I off base here?
To clarify, having the same image height on a 2.35:1 screen is what is called "poor man's CIH" because you are simply zooming out the projector's native 16:9 image and letting the black bars overflow onto the wall above and below the 2.35:1 screen until it fills the width of the screen. This is in contrast to "regular CIH" where an anamorphic lens expands the image horizontally after it has been digitally scaled vertically. This way there are no black bars using up precious pixels on the projector and you get full light output. To do the zoom method, you need a projector with at least 1.33 zoom range and the 1070/1075 falls a bit short -- so if you place it so it's smallest image fills the screen vertically with 16:9 it won't quite fill it when zoomed as big as possible for 2.35.1 content. It also would need to be mounted at different heights depending on content. The HC1200 has a 1.5 zoom lens, so it has the zoom range to do it but it also would need to be mounted closer to the ceiling for 2.35 than for 16:9.

If you want quick and easy CIH, then neither one is really suitable without an A-lens. If you want to show off your projectionist skills with tinkering, or build a mount that allows easy changes in mount height and throw distance, you can make anything work.

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I "upgraded" from a $2k Panasonic LCD projector that died after about 8 years to a $699 BenQ W1070. To say that I am thrilled with the performance of this budget projector is an understatement. Yes, it was a bit of a hassle making the initial installation, as I had to move my Chief RPA mount a couple inches to the right, move my screen 7 inches forward, and then raise the mount 17" to work properly with the BenQ, but the results were worth it. I have a 100" Elite pull down screen and have my center channel sitting directly below the screen angled slightly up, aiming directly at the listening position at ear height. I even used a laser pointer to make this measurement.
The projected image ranges from absolutely gorgeous to mediocre, based on the source. Of course, Blu-Ray is the best, and certain channels on Comcast cable TV are awful but there are others that are surprisingly good. But, the capabilities of this inexpensive projector make me glad that I bought this one.

BenQ W1070 front projector, Definitive Technology BP2002 towers, Def Tech CLR2002 center, Def Tech BP2X surrounds, Def Tech PF15 subwoofer, Denon AVR3300 receiver, Panasonic Blu-Ray player, Apple TV, Roku device, Monoprice HDMI switcher
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