Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boonville Missouri
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It's been around 2 years now since I purchased this projector and I thought a long term review was in order. This was my/our first foray into the realm of home theater and front projection. It's hasn't all been perfect, but overall this purchase has to rank among the top 2 I have ever entered into when it comes to satisfaction, peer envy (in a good way, not in the "I'm cool and you suck" fashion) and overall use vs. investment. The only purchase that trumps this would be having LASIK done for 3k$ and going from a natural 20/300 to 20/10.
Perhaps one of the best indicators of a success is copycating. Of the people who have seen our theater:
My parents had me purchase and build them one within 3 months of seeing ours.
My S/O's parents, well, her mother is enamored and loves movies. Her father hates any form of video because he considers it time wasting. It doesn't help that he appears to suffer from the DLP headaches. I know there was still some debate as to the existence of these some time back. I can only say that he can watch movies at home on his television in a darkened room without problem. I only recently found out about this effect on him and he was never told of the possibility. He's around 70 and views anything electronic as more of a status symbol than something to actually use.
My brother had one built into his new home upon seeing what I had done for our parents. He designs and markets sound chips for TI and was very impressed with the bang for the buck.
My S/O's Uncle and wife have made me promise to help them design and install the instant he has retired from the military and has his own home for a long term. That will take place this fall.
A few others have seen the image and been awestruck, then the endless questions follow. I have no idea if they ever followed through on their desires.
For the PG-M20x itself, not all has been smooth sailing. Shortly after we built our first version of a theater (we are currently on version 2 and will be creating number 3 later this fall) the bulb literally blew up. I must say that Sharps customer service on this issue was nothing short of miraculous. Within a week I had the projector mailed out and returned to me at no cost and had a replacement/loaner for the time it was gone. All by FedEx Next Day Air.
Later we would hit another problem, this time apparently it was the power supply, but we didn't bother to ask for a loaner given the turn around time. Same result, we had the projector back almost before we knew it was gone and had zero problems with Sharp.
My parents projector had the same power supply problem, their experience with Sharp was identical. Out and back before they knew it. The only other problem either of us experienced involved the projector failing to auto-detect a progressive signal from a DVD player, and Sharps customer service being unable to provide an answer either. The solution came from the forums here and was a simply manual selection. At the time, I simply failed to diagnose the problem.
We each paid around 2500$ for our projectors. At the time, it's lowest listed price was 2500$, however this was from LA projectors. Another answer from this forums was to put it on a American Express card, buy it from a reputable dealer for 2650$ and the request the difference from American Express for finding the item for less within 30 days.
2 Screens have been tried so far. Originally we used the shower plastic surround purchased from a local Lowes store. While we were still using this, I installed my parents version using just the drywall with a coat of light grey paint. Their picture was substantially better and when we rebuilt our theater 6 months ago, we used the same method. Painted drywall, with a frame of 1x4 wrapped in synthetic black felt trimming the edges. This produces an excellent contrast with the picture.
We are not audiophiles, so our sound choices reflected small rooms and people who were more concerned with cost than all the details an audiophile would consider. Keep in mind here that all equipment was purchased sight unseen and unheard. Simply hours of research here on the forums and asking endless questions. My parents and I both use a simple Kenwood HTB purchased for a little over 200$. For small rooms and those of us who are not so critical on the sound, it has been beyond our expectations, with one exception. The subwoofer. That thing is junk, but for 220 or so all told what can one expect.
So far we have spent around 3200$ all told. That's for wire, carpet, 2 different screens, 2 different shelving systems we built to fit, adapters, everything. What we got was a true home theater. I was sparked to return to avscience and start poking around again by the lamp finally giving out. This took place around 1900 hours. Part of me finds this very short, and a 400+$ replacement a bit much to stomach at the moment, but oh the joy we have had so far.
I cannot thank the community here enough for all the help I was given trying to solve problems and pick out components. As I stated above, it has wowed everyone who has seen. More often than not, they have already built their own or are planning on doing so. I cannot help but shake my head everytime I walk through Sams and see HDTV's for more than I paid for my entire setup.
After 2 years we are very happy with our decision and are never going to be without a home theater. The homes we have looked at since building our little home theater were looked at differently than those before. We recently purchased a home we are in the process of remodeling. What was intended to be the dining room will be our home theater room.
After the new lamp (unpurchased as yet) dies I'll be back doing endless research again shopping for the latest bang for the buck model that fits my needs. I do not hesitate to help people I meet with front projection and often send them this way to further their knowledge. It's been 2 years, and I don't know how I ever managed without one.
Craig A. Reynolds
"America: def. Just 200 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anyone who tries to make us uncomfortable.