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How Cheap Is Too Cheap?  

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at spending about $600-$800 to upgrade my monitor (currently have a 25" Sharp POS TV). I would love to be able to get a front projector, but realize that a good one costs three to four times this amount.

But, I also loath the idea of simply buying a bigger TV--I would really like a home theater feel that a projector would provide.

so, I've been checking on ebay to see what kind of used projector I could get in this price range.

A couple of days ago a Zenith DSV-100 sold for $760.

But, I'm wondering if this low-end of a projector would make me wish I had my 25" TV back?

I realize the picture won't be great, but will it be watchable?

FYI: I'll be using it in a very small (8.5' x 11.5') room that will be completely dark.

Thanks!


edit:
lumens= 800
contast = 230:1
power zoom = 1.5:1
display= dlp SVGA
noise = 45 dB (how noisy is that?)
full details here
post #2 of 20
Same as the Davis DLS-8, made by Davis.

Very good indeed with HTPC, poor on Svideo input.

2 problems: expensive bulbs, Davis is bust. Zenith may provide service for you since you're in the US, for us outside the US, it's much more of a problem (no repairs anymore! In spite of Davis' promise, I was told by a dealer that they no longer would sell their stock of Davis PJs because they couldn't get them repaired under warranty or otherwise anywhere at all)

J-kun
post #3 of 20
The gang over at Slashdot had this article about building your own LCD projector. Sounds too good to be true if you ask me.
post #4 of 20
I know of a few places that will service Davis in Europe... Bulbs are still plentiful (and last 6000 hours on the DL450) and cheap...

If you care to put me in touch with that dealer I may help him out with his stock if he just wont sell them I know people who want them at 'realistic' prices..
post #5 of 20
45db sure isn't very quiet. Depends on your sensitivity to ambient noise. You would certainly have to build a hush box. Anything above 35db drives me nuts, my present PJ is 28db, and that is just barely audible when ceiling mounted.
post #6 of 20
Maybe you can get something on the CRT side. I know the interesting part begins at about 1500 USD on the CRT side maybe lower, but you need to get educated and know what you are looking for.

You will find all your answers in the CRT forum and good stamina holding out all the reading.

I was reading for about two months every night before I bought my projector. If you are willing to do the same. The deals are out there.
post #7 of 20
You might look at the Compaq mp1600. This can be had for <$700 on ebay. I had one in my HT and it gave a great picture for the money (80" wide 1.3 gain screen). However, it needs a HTPC.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Phat Phreddy
I know of a few places that will service Davis in Europe... Bulbs are still plentiful (and last 6000 hours on the DL450) and cheap...

If you care to put me in touch with that dealer I may help him out with his stock if he just wont sell them I know people who want them at 'realistic' prices..
I'll forward your message to him. He may of course simply not want to sell Davis anymore because of hassles, but we'll see.

In the mean time - plentiful bulbs? www.projectorcentral.com, lamp dealers, select Davis. Only one dealer. I emailed them and got this back:

Thank you for your request. I am sorry to inform you that Davis may not be making these lamps any more. They are currently on backorder and we have been told they may never come in. At this time we are not accepting any backorders on this lamp.

Yikes...

No word from Bridgewater and Zenith yet

DL-450 may be another matter. Many many OEM versions of that projector out there, which should help.

Is there any email address for Davis Denmark that one could email and ask about the bulb situation?

J-kun
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Forgive my ignorance, but what does an HTPC do for a projector that makes the projector better?

So, am I understanding you guys right, that if I bought the Zenith I would not be able to replace the bulb when it burns out? That would definitely be a problem.

What about in terms of specs. Would another projector with similar specs be watchable, or should I just keep squinting at my small TV until I can save more money?

Thanks!
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by sladewatts
Forgive my ignorance, but what does an HTPC do for a projector that makes the projector better?
The short answer is that a HTPC can display an image in your projector's native resolution bypassing any scaling done by the projector (generally poor at this price point). Software DVD products on a HTPC can produce very nice images with most material (the exception being some anime).

It will also be a pretty nice scaler with the use of a program called dScaler and an inexpensive TV card. Some folks are turning their HTPC into a reasonable pre-amp with high end sound cards.

The long answer is spend some times pecking about the HTPC forum here. :)

As far as opinions on waiting or buying, it may be a reasonably good time to wait and save for a little while to get a good feel on which older projectors are a good starter machines and what is a good price for them.

Plus you might have a chance to see a few units as folks seem to have little gatherings from time to time.

Nigel
post #11 of 20
I will mail my guy for Davis lamps and see what I get....

Please do follow up on the Davis units as I have had 3 people asking in the last month for a <1k DL450 and now this new Matrox card can do 3 display views for surround gaming... Personally I would love to have a 3 video wall gaming room from my HTPC and I am just about nuts enough to do it :D !!!
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by sladewatts
So, am I understanding you guys right, that if I bought the Zenith I would not be able to replace the bulb when it burns out? That would definitely be a problem.
I wouldn't go that far. Sofar only one dealer claimed that bulbs were out of production. Zenith still sells this PJ, so they must have bulbs!

If you're in the States, the Zenith is a good solution, but I would not wait too long to get a spare bulb just in case. And keep tabs on the availability of these lamps while you own the PJ.

I got a reply from Zenith on the bulbs btw, I am to call an international sales number. It would seem they're willing to sell abroad! No reply fro Bridgewater or Davis Denmark (if that is an official rep there).

BTW, Europeans can check out that address: www.davis.dk. They are selling off some new Davis DL450's at fair prices and claim to be able to give 2 years warranty. Site's in Danish, I hope they can read my English email :)

J-kun

PS: Nigel, "some anime"? Which looks poor, which looks good? Or are you referring to interlaced material in general?
post #13 of 20
Phreddy, I'll try but <1K I think will be impossible (these PJ's are new, not used or refurbished, if I got his meaning correctly.)

Considering his second reply to my email, he may be telling fairytales of course and have no Davis on stock - he's really pushing the Plus Piano, at quite a high price I might add. And he disses the Panny AE100 rather violently, maybe I should post his addy here :D

www.davis.dk has some new DL450's for 2500 Euro ($2000 appr.)

J-kun
post #14 of 20
Phreddy, you have a PM!

BTW, what does a DL-450 bulb cost these days? Just curious to compare with the DLS-8 bulbs...

J-kun
post #15 of 20
First, if you have good light control in your room, you may be able to go with a used CRT. The entry price point is a little higher than you stated, but you'd be suprised about the low cost of a data grade machine. Do a search (located on the main page of the forum) in the CRT section for a member by the name of Curt Palme from Vancouver, Canada. Probably want to limit the time frame. He specializes in used machines, and rebuilds them. He has an excellent reputation. He has an e-mail newsletter that shows his ongoing selections. There are several other reputable dealers besides Palme on that Forum. Do your homework and you will then know what is possible at each price point and what you may actually need to save to obtain a workable machine for you. Good luck.
post #16 of 20
Well my brand new Davis unit (viewsonic clone) was $1500 about 2 years ago !!! I know the guy from Bridewater Group sold a 30 hour demo machine for $950 and my thinking was if he had stock and was not selling (eg writing it off as a loss) due to warrantee fears I would make him an offer for no warrantee just not DOA... Going price on a clean one would not be much now....

Bulbs last time I had any were $414 from Bridgewater Group.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Jkun

PS: Nigel, "some anime"? Which looks poor, which looks good? Or are you referring to interlaced material in general?
Um, honestly I dunno...I just remember some folks using dScaler and a skyworth over the various software DVD players for anime. I'm guessing some OVA title with bad flags that confuses some of the software DVD players.

Here are a couple of quick links:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ighlight=anime

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ighlight=anime

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ighlight=anime

It may or may not be an issue anymore...Li On is probably the resident expert.

As always YMMV.

Nigel
post #18 of 20
Thanks Nigel, very informative discussions!

J-kun
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input guys.

nigel_ht said, "As far as opinions on waiting or buying, it may be a reasonably good time to wait and save for a little while to get a good feel on which older projectors are a good starter machines and what is a good price for them."

Yes, I don't think I was very clear, I'm not buying right away. I'm just begining to gather information. It will probably be about 6 months out before I buy (which is when I'll have the $600-$800). I'm just constructing my HT room in the next month and want to wire it appropriately if a projector is going to be a reality in the near future.

Thanks for the ideas about the CRTs, I just assumed they'd be way out of my price range. I'll have to look into them.

Any ideas (other than these forums) for reading up about projectors?
post #20 of 20
You should wire for a projector anyway.

I think you will find a projector that fit ,if you are willing to go the CRT route or a used digital.

It is not without risk, but in my opinion worth the effort.

Price versus performance is stunning on some CRT units. The picture should be much sharper than most RPTVs even when the picture is 80".

The drawback is light control be prepared to learn to know your remote without seeing it. CRT needs a really black room.

Be prepared to use a HTPC whatever you do. It does a major difference.

Just think of the screen shots often posted here at forum. I was thrilled the first time I saw them. Could it be true? The truth is in reality it looks even better.

I was also amazed when I saw the plus piano. So sharp, good colors, screendoor no issue, but with rainbow. It is a good machine no doubt about that. The price of the plus piano is about 3000 USD so out of your price range.

A datagrade CRT should be comparable in picture quality, but without the rainbow. Start training your tweaking muscle.
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