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Projector recommendations for smallish apartment loft

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I want the largest possible screen for my loft. I don't have one yet but I'd really love to accommodate a 120" fixed frame or larger screen, but I know it might be hard with the 12" 7' wall-to-wall length. Here's a floor plan with the room measurements:

Other info:
-Budget is $2000-3000
-Room is light controlled (can achieve near zero light)
-I plan on ceiling mounting the unit
-Viewing material = 90% Blu-ray movies via HTPC w/ madVR, 5% gaming, 5% HDTV

What I’m looking for
-sharpness (naturally crisp and clear text from a PC)
-black levels (nice and deep)
-True 1080p24 playback (movie playback performance is #1 requirement)

What I can live without:
-color accuracy (doesn’t have to be 100% perfect)
-Anything 3D (I don’t plan on ever watching any 3D content)
-Response times for gaming

Thanks for any suggestions
Edited by eric.exe - 5/18/13 at 6:38pm
post #2 of 10
This is going to be a tough one. If you want really sharp text the general rule of thumb is to stick to a single chip DLP projector and if you want really good black levels you're going to want to stick to LCOS. With that said, there are a few DLP projectors that offer better than average contrast performance while giving you the sharp text you're looking for. Most of those are older DLP units. There are a couple DLPs that are currently on the market that I'd recommend.

Runco LS-1 - the street price is probably a little over your budget, but will offer a a better experience due to a larger DLP chip and better optics. This will also have better native contrast.
Sharp XV-Z30000 - This is a decent choice and is par for the course for a DLP projector in this street price range where optical sharpness is concerned. This is a 3D projector and offers motorized optics if you're interested in that.

Both have really good dynamic iris implementations to get even better contrast and black levels. With the DI engaged on either they'll offer roughly the same contrast performance. The Runco has a decent sized leg up on image sharpness, but the Sharp has some cool features like 3D and motorized optics. If you had the money I'd go with the Runco if not, the Sharp is still a great choice.

In the used market your options are much wider, but you typically aren't going to get a warranty. These are older units all of which have better lenses and use the larger .95" DLP DMD which will yield sharper text and better native contrast compared to the Sharp I mentioned.

Marantz VP-15S1 or the Marantz VP-11S1
Sharp XV-Z20000
BenQ W20000
Planar PD8130 (there's actually one for sale on ebay that I'd recommend buying. the price isn't amazing but it's still a good value)

I've seen all of these go on sale and sell on ebay in your price range. It all depends on if you're interested in something used or want to be safe and get something new.

There is one alternative that I would highly recommend checking out. YMMV because it isn't a single chip DLP and there will be unit to unit variations with convergence. A b-stock or refurbished JVC DLA-RS40 or RS45 would be a great choice. Native contrast on these machines is fantastic and is far better than any DLP at or near your price range. Sharpness is fantastic for a 3 chip projector. I owned a JVC DLA-X3 (which is the professional version of the RS40. Same projector, just some cosmetic differences). It had really good convergence and I even thought it looked a hair sharper compared to a couple cheaper single chip DLPs I had on hand. The JVC has motorized optics and support 3D too. Like I said though, YMMV as you never know what the convergence on each unit is like.
post #3 of 10
I pretty much agree with what Dylan says.
post #4 of 10
I am in a similar situation as the OP. I currently still have a panny AE900, 3rd bulb, 2nd iris, and the iris is having issues again so I am finally looking to upgrade. The PJ works by appointment only so I can't even have people over because it may not work that day. I have an 102' Dalite(sp?) screen with a positive gain - not sure how much. the room is light controlled and the seating distance is about 12ft or so. The projector is mounted on a shelf which comes down from the ceiling at about 2/3rds screen height so I need (relatively minor) lens shift. I'm only using it for movies and have no interest in 3D although I am not against it in any way.
I know that I am/was sensitive to rainbows. once I see them I see them everywhere which is the reason why I went with an LCD rather than a DMD based PJ. Quite annoying although my last rainbow experience was when I was shopping for the panny so that was quite a number of years ago, and perhaps higher segment count and speed may change things.
My guess is that any upgrade to pretty much any projector will be a big improvement although every time I turn on the panny right now I am still happy to see it.
I'm ok with going to used/refurb route as I think that in the somewhat near future - say 3-4 years or so - 4k is going to be the new standard. I have read many reviews on a number of projectors but I think that picking a PJ purely based on reviews may not be the best way to go.
As a slight aside, what bugs me most about my current PJ is that when you pause a movie, or in a scene with relatively few changes, it seems that the picture very slightly goes out of focus and then snaps back. I don't know why that is but it bugs me.

Any suggestions/pointers are very much appreciated.

post #5 of 10
If you want a 120" screen, the only DLP's that will give you good blacks and have that short of a throw would be the Infocus SP8604, Vivitek H5080 or Optoma HD8600. However, they have to have the short throw fixed lens. I believe I remember reading that those were all based on the same chasis and just tweaked by each company with their stuff.

There are a few others but won't have as good of blacks. But it's really all relative to how deep you want them to be or what is acceptable to you.

I didn't look for LCOS/LCD projectors as they may have some w/ a shorter throw. This was beased on a search of PC and using their calculator for screen size and throw distance. The LCD/LCOS would most likely have better blacks but possibly not be as sharp.

Otherwise, w/ a room depth of 12' 7", you would have to go w/ a smaller screen. Figure in a least 1 1/2' from the back wall to allow for projector size and wires.
post #6 of 10
My HT room is smaller than yours & I'm using Mitsubishi HC-3800 (which is now replaced by HC-4000) with a 100" screen.


Edited by Ethan Ong - 5/10/13 at 5:54am
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
All the research I've done points to DLP matching my desires the most. If I got a JVC RS series, or one of Seegs108's suggestions, what would be the biggest screen I could do with 12' 7"?
post #8 of 10
Is the screen on the same wall that is shared by the walk in closet or the opposite wall? My room is almost exactly the same size as yours (10.5'x13') and I have a closet on the wall opposite to the screen. I am planning on putting my next projector in that closet and cutting a small windows for the projector to shoot through. That will buy me an additional foot of distance to the screen.

Is that a possibility for you?
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
The screen will be going opposite the closet wall, but this place is a rental, so I can't be punching holes in walls. That is a really awesome idea though, would have been slick to have a projection room hiding the equipment noise and wires.
post #10 of 10
You can do it as long as you fix the drywall before you leave. If I ever sell this house I will have to fix it also.
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