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Should I buy a DLP projection system or a tube TV  

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm currently considering upgrading the video of my home theater system. I've already invested quite a bit of money in a Dolby Digital 5.1 system with very nice speakers and components, but I'm currently limited to watching through a 27" TV (and not a very good one at that). I'm now trying to decide how to move forward... The two options I'm considering are the following:

1. New tube TV. I'm looking at the 32" Wega's. I'm limited to the
size of the TV I can purchase as I have an entertainment center
that can hold only up to around 32" TV's (I know, I know, I
could replace it, but it's less than a year old and it's
a very nice Sanus unit).
2. Leave my current TV as-is for casual TV viewing, and purchase
something like an InFocus 340 for movies.

Obviously there is a vast difference here in price. The InFocus 340 is currently around $2700, and the 32" Wegas are $999-$1299. I currently live in an apartment, so any front projection system I get needs to be mobile so that I can set it up and tear it down at will. The way my room (16"x18") is situated, I also sit fairly close to the display (around 6-8 feet).

Is it worth investing in a DLP system (I'm thinking about my future home here as well, beyond my apartment), or will I be completely unsatisfied using it here? If so, are there other units in the same price range as the InFocus that I should consider? Will prices be dropping on the XGA units anytime soon? Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 14
You're posting your query in the DLP/LCD/D-ILA Projectors forum, so be prepared for a lot of responses like mine:

Get the projector. Projector! PROJECTOR PROJECTOR PROJECTOR!! Projector.

Seriously, though, you said that you were thinking about the future. I guarantee that once you've experienced a true home theater with a ten-foot wall-sized image, you will never want to look at a 32" picture tube again. When we have movie nights my house is ALWAYS the destination because of the magnificent picture and sound my home theater offers. Size does matter.

As for the size of your room, there are a lot of home theater owners in this forum who would love to have a 16' x 18' space with which to work. My home theater room is only 14' x 15', half the seating is less than ten feet from the 104" screen, and I find the sizing to be just right. Six to eight feet might be a bit tight... think about ways to reconfigure your seating, if possible.

Finally, you mentioned mobility. You can't get much more mobile than a ten-pound projector! In fact, that's how I got into front projection technology in the first place--a quarter-ton RPTV simply wouldn't fit through the door to my attic home theater! And if (God forbid!) something were to go wrong with my projector, shipping it back to the factory is a simple matter. Try shipping several hundred pounds of TV when it comes time to move!

Good luck!

Scott Gammans
Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I can't really change my seating arrangments... my room may be a good size, but it's also my dining room http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif Gotta love apartments in the Boston area. What are my image size options on the projectors? Can I just make the image a bit smaller because I sit closer to the screen, or is that completely dependent on the throw? I'm kind of new to these things, do they have some sort of a zoom feature?
post #4 of 14
By all means, get the PROJECTOR!!

We've all had to make that same decision at one time or another and for all the reasons Scott mentions above the experience is completely different with a projector. If I were hunting for a good bargain I would even choose a used Sony W400Q over a direct tube in a heart beat, or any other DLP unit in that price range. All the fuss over rainbows, pixels, noise and heat are minor when comparing a front projector to a tube.

Remember you can narrow the size of the image quite a bit to get more brightness with any projector you choose -
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I guess these are the responses I should have expected to receive from this group http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif I'm definately leaning towards projection, should I wait and get the XGA model over an SVGA unit? The price for the Infocus unit is about $1500 over the SVGA (which in projector terms isn't bad, but lets face it, it's a lot of extra $$$). I may eventually want to use my PC with the projector (which already has an ATI all-in-wonder radeon card in it, and I'd like to make use of that DVI connector). I'm not exactly sure WHAT I'dbe using the PC for (does DVD look better using the PC over a standard player?)... Does the resolution significantly impact video quality? If so, is there a unit that offers XGA at a better price?
post #6 of 14
OK, here's a quick stab at your questions:

-Does resolution matter?

Yes, and maybe. Are you planning on watching any HDTV? If yes then I suggest at least an XGA projector. If you aren't and you plan on only watching DVD's then an SVGA will suffice as long as you are using an anamorphic lense (unless you are using either a Sony W400Q or 10HT which have 16x9 panels). I have a SVGA DLP unit from Seleco with an anamorphic lense and I love it. An anamorphic lense will set you back at least a $1000, maybe less for a used ISCO I. Also remember that the total cost of this adventure rises as you have to get a screen as well...

-Is DVD better on a PC than standalone?

Yes, if you are talking about a standalone interlaced player with no external scaling. Please visit the HTPC forum on this website and you'll have enough info for a good week's reading. The PC's ability to scale sources is on the bleeding edge as you can always mix and match components...once you get into this there is no stopping as the picture can "always get better!"

-Good prices for XGA?

I would look into one of the older XGA DLP's from Plus and the sort...do a search and you'll find plenty of suggestions.
post #7 of 14
If you want to stick with a direct view crt set you
might want to consider the rca f38310. It may fit.
Looking forward to the future including HD, instead
of buying a set from the past...
post #8 of 14
I was in exactly your position one year ago.. I live in apartments move house (and country) fairly often but was looking to maximise the HT experience...

I managed to get a good deal on a Davis clone SVGA DLP and run it with a HTPC.. My initial plan was to make / buy a pull down screen in front of my regular TV for DVD viewing... Once that started I stopped watching TV at all and the screen never went up !! Then dTV was coded and now my PAL SDTV is scaled to SVGA and looks very watchable so TV is back on the menu.

In the end I have made a permanent fixed screen (bought better drapes http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif) and ditched the direct view totally... I live with the compromises in light control etc but couldn't be happier with the setup and experience..

I have to really control myself not to dive into G11 or G15 territory everytime I see a bargain !!! I just keep repeating.. The Panamorph will make this like a new projector.... The Panamorph will make this like a new projector.... etc

You already have the makings of a HTPC and a anamorphic lens is not required (just desired)...

DO IT !!!!!

HTPC without using windows... GUI Front Ends for Home Theater
post #9 of 14
Drop me a line privately (goldfarbdan@hotmail.com)
I went through the same dilemma as you a coupla months ago, and live in nearbye Chelsea.
I'll happily tell you what I know, or you are invited to come by if you want to see another projector (Sanyo XP21n) in my home (and save me thr trouble of typing my answers).

I would say go projector, and either
1. go for the absolute best things you can afford to suit your needs for a long time to come
2. go budget and get something to amaze you for now, without putting you in debt, so you can upgrade again in a few years when you have a big house or something.

You really gotta get farther back from your screen. As others note, your room is fine, the seating distance is a bit too close.

how is your room lighting? do you have control of ambient light?

Personally I went whole hog, spent way more than I thought, and ended up with a projector I would put against Anything for the money. The big payoff for the high price I paid (specifically over the Infocus models you mention, is VASTLY improved color, and VASTLY improved brightness).
Only thing I really crave is more resolution for HD, but I can wait until there is actually a bit of programming for that. I was inches away from going budget on a Davis as well.

If you possibly can stretch your budget up, you really gotta come by and check out the Sanyo.

post #10 of 14
As the owner of two Wegas and a small projector, I can tell you that projectors are far more portable than Wegas, even though they mold handles into the Wega cabinet - 165 lbs for a 32" screen, versus a 10 lb projector.

The small screen still has a place for SDTV, which looks mucho crappy even when scaled and line-doubled to suit the projector. Also, I frequently watch S-VHS on the tube, because the projector makes the flaws of tape playback readily apparent.

I appreciate DVDs on the bug screen, and someday soon HDTV.

post #11 of 14
While this is completely off topic, I would say this:

My first suggestion would be to make sure you demo the DLP you plan to purchase, and definitely test for the rainbow effect. Why do I say this?
Because if you are gonna be sitting that close to the screen, you are gonna be moving your eyes around while watching the movie, unless you are getting a very small screen. This will definitely provoke the rainbow artifact if you are sensitive to it.

I say this only because it is becoming common that people by DLP projectors without knowing about this artifact, or even trying to look for it. However, once you find out you can see it, it may not be pleasant. There is another thread going on regarding the brand-spanking new DWIN and a forum member who has been disturbed by this. Just check it out. But you should do that with ANYTHING you buy anyways http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

David Mendicino
Sharp xv-s55u (Don't laugh) :)
post #12 of 14

I am going to be a little shocking here but I would suggest going the direct view CRT route and wait on getting the projector.

There are a lot of 32" monitor type tv's available that can do up to XGA resolution (1024*768) for under $2000.

You will be getting a reference quality image on a decent size screen.

Princeton Graphics has a few models. If you send Thumper a private message, he can suggest a couple for you he uses them frequently. Robert Wood is also trying to sell some 32" Mits for a reasonable price.

The longer you can hold out on the projector purchase the better while CRT's due to there bulk are about as cheap as they can ever get.

My 2 cents. Nothing beats a good CRT. The only thing you lose is screen size which can be made up for by sitting closer.

-Mr. Wigggles

Ps. The lp340 is a great projector as well.

The Mothership is now boarding.
post #13 of 14
Let me second David's off-topic (but very important) suggestion to audition anything in which you are about to invest more than a few hundred dollars (or be sure your seller has a generous and easy-to-live-with return/exchange policy). Single-panel DLP projectors give many people (yours truly included) a headache from the dreadful "rainbow" effect, while other people are not affected at all. (Side note: I wonder if susceptibility to this phenomenon can be correlated with a person's tendency to experience motion sickness... disturbances to my middle ear definitely make me queasy at the drop of a hat... hmmm...)

Get the projector. Projector! PROJECTOR PROJECTOR PROJECTOR!!

Projector. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Scott Gammans
Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
post #14 of 14
Scott G, I don't think so on the motion sickness subject. I get sick on a teeter-totter but can't see the rainbow!

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