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Advances in projector technology in the last 3.5 years?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I purchased a Sanyo plv-z700 3.5 years ago. It has served me well, but has several drawbacks. Most notably the black levels are pretty bad. The color uniformity isn't that great either, with reddish and bluish sections of the screen noticeable when the projector is displaying a pure white background. Another issue is that skin tones can sometimes take on a ridiculously bright pink hue, but this is rare.

One thing I really like about it though is the lack of rainbows present with dlp projectors. I don't know how far colorwheel technology has advanced, but I had an optoma hd70 before the Sanyo. Even with its 7 segment 4x color wheel I could see the distracting rainbows.

What is the ~1000 dollar market like now? If I were to buy a new projector would I see a big difference? Or should I wait a few more years until laser based projectors come out?
post #2 of 18
the tech is really all the same with some new color/light sources like laser/led about the only new thing to start in the under 3000$ pjs-but really a blue laser to make a nice bright green isnt all that ground breaking to me.It all just more small tweeks here and there.
post #3 of 18
just noticed the last part of your post-most major pj makers will have a laser/led dlp pj soon(optoma viewsonic,benq, and casio already have shown pjs).there will never be a scanning laser pj probably.
post #4 of 18
If you wanted 3D, then the Epson 3010 would be a step up, but costing about $1500, not $1000. It offers much more color fidelity and more brightness, in addition to 3D. But, surely, you will get a lot more for your grand if you can wait another couple years.
post #5 of 18
You cannot get 3D and good blacks anywhere near this price.

Your best bet is to spend a little more and grab a refurbished 2D unit. For good black levels, the Optoma hd8200's have decent blacks and you can get a refurb for around $1300. IF you can find a refurbished Epson 6500ub, 8500ub, or 8700ub (the 6500 being the cheapest), any of those will do good blacks, although the 6500ub is the only one around your price range.

Other than that, to get significantly better black levels, then you'll have to look at used projectors, but if you do want to go new then I can suggest the three units with the best blacks in this price range:
The Epson 8350, Mitsubishi hc4000, and benq w710 (only 720p) have the best black levels under $1200. There are also some refurbished JVC HD250's or used ones that pop up for under $1500 sometimes (occassionally even close to $1000), and they will do great contrasty blacks.

Forget the Epson 3010 for black levels, I bet my old Sanyo would beat it at blacks. The Epson 3010's black levels are not even known to be near the top in its own price range. There is the Benq w710st, but this has a 3x color wheel and you would see RBE extensively. The Optoma hd8200's have 6x color wheel, and you would probably be ok, but no guarantee.

If I were you, I'd look at refurbs that come with warranties and stick to a 2D projector for now. Refurbs come and go, so you have to keep your eyes peeled.
Edited by coderguy - 7/5/12 at 1:36am
post #6 of 18
I was recently wondering the same thing as I'm about to grab a Panasonic ae4000 which was released in '09 I believe, but I can't seem to find much better than it for the same money. Especially nothing with Lens Memory, has nothing really changed in the past 3yrs? I'm guessing the lens memory thing didn't take off with any other manufacturers.
post #7 of 18
A psuedo-lens memory function is available on the Mitsubishi hc4000 allowing for you to do 2.35 and 16:9 content on a 2.35 screen. The 16:9 content will be re-scaled. The Mits hc4000 produces a really great image for movies and gaming, it would be me GO-TO recommendation right now for under $1200, but it isn't as bright as some others if you want to use a giant screen, and it also has a 4x color wheel which may eliminate it from the list of some RBE sensitive folks.

Other than that projector, the only others with lens memory are much more expensive projectors as below:
Sony vw95
Panny 7000
JVC RS-45 / 55 / 65

Note: You can do lens memory with the right HTPC video player software without needing to have a specific projector, that is if you want to use your HTPC for all viewing (bluray), but no way to get the cable to resize through it unless you add one of those cable card things or whatever. The HTPC can re-size the image for 16:9 just like the Mits hc4000 does.
post #8 of 18
I am in the same situation atm.

I am looking to complete my room in the winter months this year.. Sept oct nov dec one of those months. Thing is Cedia right around the corner of those times. I have a completely dark room and never owned a projector. But leaning towards the Epson 6010 or the Jvs Rs-45
post #9 of 18
You can thank 3d for the last two years of little improvement. I don't mind 3d but I hate the fact that all mid range projectors force you to pay $500 for something most people wont even use. For example the panny ae4000 was about $600 less than its 3d replacement ae7000. Yet the ae7000 non 3d picture quality is virtually identical to the much cheaper ae4000. Im happy I bought an ae4000 before this pathetic generation of 3d projectors.
post #10 of 18
Thanks coderguy that's really helpful, massive difference in price for the Mits HC4000, $2500 in Australia, $1400 from the USA! Seems like a pretty well priced projector ($1400), for $2500 I'd spend the extra for the Pana AE7000.

Didn't end up getting the AE4000, found one for $2000 on eBay then went to buy it and someone else had - argh!

Will research the mits a bit more and see how this Lens Shift works, can go mediapc route but it's a lot more money than a blu-ray player!

Don't need 3D in my PJ, have a 3D TV and rarely use it, great for BF3 that's about it but like TV's I guess they'll all go 3D eh.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

A psuedo-lens memory function is available on the Mitsubishi hc4000 allowing for you to do 2.35 and 16:9 content on a 2.35 screen. The 16:9 content will be re-scaled. The Mits hc4000 produces a really great image for movies and gaming, it would be me GO-TO recommendation right now for under $1200, but it isn't as bright as some others if you want to use a giant screen, and it also has a 4x color wheel which may eliminate it from the list of some RBE sensitive folks.
.

Hmmm, interesting. I've heard repeatedly that the HC4000 is pretty much the bang per buck leader. It does have a few downsides. ( I could be mistaken by some of these )


1. Biggest downside ? The Offset - One of the most severe offset's that I've ever heard of. My ceilings are 8 feet, 2 inches. For me to use a projector with this offset would require me to somehow cut a hole into my ceiling for part of the initial pathway of light. I'd have to cut into the ceiling and raise the projector to a level even higher than the ceiling, and I would also have to cut into more of the ceiling to deal with the light path. Even then, my screen might have to drop a few inches, which is something I'd be hoping to avoid. The crazy thing is... I could actually cut into the ceiling and the light pathway if I really, really, really thought it was worth it.

2. 2nd biggest downside ? No 3D - Ok, we all know that 3D isn't going to be ANYWHERE near the big deal that we all thought it was going to be. Still, it would be nice to have the option. I have a Playstation 3, which has a number of 3D games, and I have a decent gaming PC that could play tons of 3D games. So, no 3D does kinda suck. 3D Blu Rays are less of an incentive, because I can't rent them anywhere without paying a king's ransom to rent them. I'm not the type of guy that buys movies. I rent them 95 percent of the time. Only time I buy a movie, is if it's a kids movie that the kids have been wanting, and I can get it for like 10 bucks or something. So, not a lot of value in the movie category. I'm a member of the "cut the cord" clan, so I don't have a 3D cable or satellite.

3. The 2:35.1 to 16:9 switch = a loss of picture quality for 16:9 material - This is a HUGE dealbreaker. Having the ability to switch between 2:35.1 and 16:9 via a button, without getting up and doing the manual zoom trick is a very nice feature, but not if I'm sacrificing picture quality for 16:9 material. The only thing I'm doing with 2:35.1 is the widescreen movies. I'll be using it for normal 16:9 stuff MUCH more often than 2:35.1 so sacrificing that picture quality for that button just isn't worth it for me.

4. 4x color wheel - Is this true? I had no idea that it was only 4x. That's pretty weak for such an outstanding Mitsubishi projector (in it's price range). Kinda bizarre they'd use a 4x color wheel. I don't notice rainbows too much, but I'd be kinda worried that I might notice them slightly more than I already do.



The thing that really sucks, is that there isn't anything that could really fufill all my needs without going into a much more expensive projector. I'd be willing to spend 2 grand to get EVERYTHING I want, but there isn't anything out there that has it all for that low of a price.

My dream would also be a 3D projector that has dual DVI or a new HDMI chip that can handle the full bandwidth of 1920 x 1080 at 60 frames to each eye. Right now, if I'm using my computer and a special dual DVI monitor, I can get the full 1080p to each eye with computer games. Right now, PC games are watered down on current 3D projectors because of the limits of HDMI. You have to lower things down to 720p. At that point, you might as well just be playing PS3 games. Kinda lame.
post #12 of 18
I would suggest the Optoma hd33, or a refurbished JVC RS-45 or RS-40 if another one comes available from AVS, although the Optoma hd33 has better 3D than the JVC, but the JVC is much better in 2D.

The Optoma hd33 compared to the Mits hc4000 has half the offset (allows 8" or so lower ceilings), it includes 3D, it's brighter, and it has a 6x color wheel. It does not have CIH (but see below) and the Mits does have darker blacks, but to a regular projector user the Mits and the Optoma hd33 are really close in PQ. Forget 1920x1080 @ 60hz in 3D gaming, that's a dream spec for now. You will most likely only want to use 3D in certain games and you can still do 1920x1080x60hz in 2D gaming, so it's not as big of a deal as you think. Also 3D mode has a huge inherent Anti-Aliasing effect to our eyes, so 720p looks smoother in 3D than 2D (less jaggy than normal).

There are no other projectors with 6x color wheels near this price range, even the $2000+ Benq w7000 operates in 4x color wheel mode in most presets (some claim 6x in dynamic mode for the Benq, but I have doubts).

I do not believe the 16:9 / 2.35 re-scale issue applies for you, if you want to watch mainly in 16:9, then stick to a 16:9 screen. Regardless of which projector you get, if you are doing 16:9 on a 2.35 screen you will get black bars on the sides (or left over white space). Inversely, if you are doing 2.35 on a 16:9 screen, then you will get black bars on the top or bottom. The fact the Mits hc4000 rescales 16:9 is not that noticeable because the image will be smaller on a 2.35 screen anyhow and the left-over space on the sides is more noticeable than the loss in re-scaled resolution.

Also, if you have a motorized screen, then I believe you don't have to use the re-scaled 16:9 mode of the Mits, you can just adjust your motorized screen.
Edited by coderguy - 7/9/12 at 5:11am
post #13 of 18
Ah I ended up stretching the budget and got a Panasonic ae7000 instead - extra $800 but ah well if I spent even more hours prowling the interwebs I would have driven myself crazy trying to work out what to buy.

Will just get it and be happy I think! Am going to pair up with a Herma GrandView velour frame 2.4 ratio (I was keen on 2.35 but they don't seem to make them, they push the 2.4 spec and I noticed most of my movies are 2.4 surprisingly).
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

I do not believe the 16:9 / 2.35 re-scale issue applies for you, if you want to watch mainly in 16:9, then stick to a 16:9 screen. Regardless of which projector you get, if you are doing 16:9 on a 2.35 screen you will get black bars on the sides (or left over white space). .

Right now, I have an Optoma HD7100 (720p projector from like 4 or 5 years ago). It's only 720p, and the bulb isn't as bright as it has been, but it's got good quality optics. After all these years, it still puts up a pretty decent picture. It has 1.25 zoom, not 1.33, so I had to create a screen that is both 2:35.1 and 16:9. When I'm using "zero" zoom, I have the picture in the 16:9 area of my screen. (The 16:9 portion of the bottom of the overall screen area is 4 inches deeper than the 2:35.1 area of the screen. ) When I'm watching 16:9 stuff, I have to use masking to cover the side areas of the screen. When I'm watching 2:35.1 stuff, I have to mask a 4 to 5 inch area of the very bottom of the 16:9 portion of the screen.

At the moment, I have to mask some part of the screen either way. This is because the HD7100 has 1.25 zoom instead of 1.33 zoom. If it had 1.33 zoom, then I wouldn't have that extra 4 to 5 inch bottom section of the 16:9 portion of the 2:35.1 screen. Instead it would be a "true" constant image height screen. But, I can live with it for now. I think if I do end up getting any projector, then 1.33 zoom (or more) is an absolute must, so I at least only have to mask the sides for 16:9.

I don't mind having to get up off the sofa and actually do the masking and also manually zooming and adjusting my projector every time I change formats. It only takes about 1 or 2 minutes to switch it around, so it isn't that big a deal.
post #15 of 18
Out of interest - what are you using for your masking? I'm assuming the black borders on the AE7000 will project over the 75mm black frame of the 113" 2.4:1 screen, and on to the white wall behind it, and as I can't paint the wall (it's a large wall with an archway in the middle) I was going to mask a larger border around the screen - which has a velour flocked frame - so was wondering what most people use?
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by wippet View Post

Out of interest - what are you using for your masking? I'm assuming the black borders on the AE7000 will project over the 75mm black frame of the 113" 2.4:1 screen, and on to the white wall behind it, and as I can't paint the wall (it's a large wall with an archway in the middle) I was going to mask a larger border around the screen - which has a velour flocked frame - so was wondering what most people use?

Well, right now, I only mask the bottom part of the screen when watching 2:35.1 content. I have this long, thin piece of wood, that I painted black, and I put some nails at the bottom of the screen (can't see them at all), and I just rest it against that, and it works well to mask the bottom portion of the 16:9 area of my overall screen. When I'm watching 16:9 stuff, I don't have anything to mask that yet. I've always meant to use some type of curtain or something, that I could close just enough to cover the two sides. Sometimes I like to play retro games that were meant for 4:3 screens. Stuff from the 90's. So, I kinda want to have some curtains that I can close enough even to just have a small 4:3 area of the screen for playing the old retro games. I need to get off my lazy butt and figure out how to make a little black curtain thing to mask the sides.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

You can thank 3d for the last two years of little improvement. I don't mind 3d but I hate the fact that all mid range projectors force you to pay $500 for something most people wont even use. For example the panny ae4000 was about $600 less than its 3d replacement ae7000. Yet the ae7000 non 3d picture quality is virtually identical to the much cheaper ae4000. Im happy I bought an ae4000 before this pathetic generation of 3d projectors.

no one is forcing you pay more for 3D....you get 3D PJ for slightly more cost if you want 3D...else go look for tonnes of 2D models out there.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by falafala View Post

no one is forcing you pay more for 3D....you get 3D PJ for slightly more cost if you want 3D...else go look for tonnes of 2D models out there.

it is not slightly more. The Epson 5010 and Panasonic AE7000 are about $500-$700 more than the last generation non-3d model (Epson 8700, Panny AE4000). The 2d performance of both 3d projectors are almost identical to the previous generation. So you are getting charged an extra $500-$700 for something most people wont use (3d). What a joke.

Tell me what other 2d models have simular black levels and features in $2k price range as the old Epson8700/Panny AE4000? There is none. You need to step to $2500-$2700 to do so. What a joke.

I was able to get a brand new AE4000 for $1750. I'm lucky I did since if I waited another day (literally speaking I got the last one) I would need to shell out $2700 for the AE7000.
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