Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bucks County, PA
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I'm posting this for those who have a 4805 (or similar) and are looking at this PJ as an upgrade to 720p. I just received my 4001 yesterday and fired it up last night. Bear in mind that my 4805 broke (light tunnel, color wheel) about two weeks ago and I installed my old X1 to hold the spot until a replacement arrived. I was moments away from a Mitsu 1500 when this thread appeared. I read for a few days then started searching uBid for one. Eventually it appeared and I got one uncontested at the base starting price.
My viewing breaks down to ~this (just had to use the ~):
50% DVD (SD for now)
25% HD (OTA receiver)
25% ps2 (kids)
I propped it up on its own box and cranked it up. I expected to be impressed (especially since I was using the X1 the last two weeks), but what I saw was absolute shock and awe. My basement is ~30' deep, the front 15' has recessed lighting on a dimmer, the back 15' has 4' fluorescents in a drop ceiling. My walls are light blue, ceiling is dropped and white. My screen is 106" of Sherwin Williams Luminous White eggshell painted on drywall. Far from ideal, and not exactly an ambient light killer. I describe all that to let you know that it is not the best HT environment even though there is total light control. My daughter was in the back area crafting, so the bright fluorescents were on (which reflects light everywhere) and I had the recessed lights on full to set up the PJ. I fed it an HD image from the OTA receiver using the serial port (no HDMI cable yet). When the bulb fired up I couldn't believe my eyes. The image this thing projected with all the lights on looked like a huge plasma TV! Granted, the default settings on the PJ are 'wide' iris (highest lumens) and 'dynamic' picture (brightest colors), but it was incredibly bright! Football season is here, and we regularly have a group over to watch the game. People are all over the room, some very close, others way in the back where the food inevitably is. The fluorescents are always on and the recessed are on too, but usually dimmed to keep the image from getting too washed out. This beast is gonna have jaws dropping this Sunday! Yes, blacks suffer in that environment, but as we all know it's perceived as darker when the image around it is brighter. In a word ... WOW.
Then I turned off all the lights to see what we had for movie viewing. After burning my retinas with the PJ in its out-of-the-box settings, I closed down the iris and changed the picture setting to 'theater'. The bulb went to eco, the fan dropped some speed (and noise) to low. The image was instantly transformed into deep, detailed blacks and vibrant colors. This is with no other tweaks, just OOTB settings. Totally embarrasses the 4805 (and I thought that was pretty good, especially in the dark). I can't tell you how the 4001 compares to others in it's class/price range, but I can tell anyone who is considering upgrading to this from a 4805-class PJ that it's an absolute steal at this price. Is there a better value out there? Dunno, haven't seen the competition, but I can certainly say that this is a GREAT value. If you are looking for some viewing flexibility (i.e. sports/TV, game console, movies) I don't know how this thing can be beat. Retina-burning bright when you need it, theater-dark when you want it. I should also qualify my review by saying I am not the most discerning of viewers. I don't pixel-peep, screen door doesn't bother me, rainbows - don't see 'em. I've had PJs since the X1 was $999.00 and I'm still amazed every time I see that huge image (though 106" is starting to look like just a big screen instead of a theater screen - yikes). If you've read this far you've already seen chexi1's great in-depth review and several others that followed, so this isn't really news. I just wanted to come from the perspective of the 4805 (or similar) owner who is eyeballing a 720p upgrade. If you're that person, I hope this helped.