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post #1 of 13 Old 11-14-2019, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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An Expensive Projector For A Poor Person

Hello forum full of people with nice projectors. I have long envied you all. I'm sure you get posts like this from time to time, but I wasn't really sure exactly which thread to put this in, so I just started my own. Like the title says, I am a poor person. Or as some people would rather say, 'constantly broke'. Either way... limited budget.

Got into home theater about ten years ago on a shoestring, and have been using a Panasonic 4000 for the past 7 years. I'm finally making my leap into the next level (I hope) with a well-cared-for used rs45. I was hoping to be able to hold out a little longer to afford one of the later models, like an x500 or something, but couldn't swing it. I figure this will give me a nice taste, and inspire me to start saving up more for something nicer in a year or two.

So with all of that uninteresting back story out of the way... I am curious to hear advice on maximizing this new old projector's capabilities. In the past seven years, I haven't kept up as much with new developments in tech and so I'm trying to play catch as I overhaul my theater.

I have always used an HTPC, but I know a lot of you guys have HDFurys and Lumagens and other stuff to do processing. Should I consider trying to find used equipment like that to pair with this, or should I focus on saving more for better HTPC components? I always figured HTPC could sorta replace some of the external processing, but am I wrong about that at this level? I know this projector doesn't have the e-shift, but I do see it's max data resolution at 3840x2160... does this mean I can push that resolution from an HTPC? I haven't been able to find much information about this. I typically stream content, and do not dabble in 3D.

My screen is a DIY ALR screen that I painted when I got the Panasonic. I think the rs45 has about the same level of brightness, but I still want to redo the screen. Seems like a lot of people go with HP screens? What is the ideal gain for this projector? Room is totally light-controlled, but sometimes a lamp will be on while people watch. I'm really hoping for excellent black levels and shadow detail.

Basically... if you were buying this projector and setting it up 7 years ago, what would you have done? Or what did you do? Appreciate any response!
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-14-2019, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Moore View Post
Hello forum full of people with nice projectors. I have long envied you all. I'm sure you get posts like this from time to time, but I wasn't really sure exactly which thread to put this in, so I just started my own. Like the title says, I am a poor person. Or as some people would rather say, 'constantly broke'. Either way... limited budget.

Got into home theater about ten years ago on a shoestring, and have been using a Panasonic 4000 for the past 7 years. I'm finally making my leap into the next level (I hope) with a well-cared-for used rs45. I was hoping to be able to hold out a little longer to afford one of the later models, like an x500 or something, but couldn't swing it. I figure this will give me a nice taste, and inspire me to start saving up more for something nicer in a year or two.

So with all of that uninteresting back story out of the way... I am curious to hear advice on maximizing this new old projector's capabilities. In the past seven years, I haven't kept up as much with new developments in tech and so I'm trying to play catch as I overhaul my theater.

I have always used an HTPC, but I know a lot of you guys have HDFurys and Lumagens and other stuff to do processing. Should I consider trying to find used equipment like that to pair with this, or should I focus on saving more for better HTPC components? I always figured HTPC could sorta replace some of the external processing, but am I wrong about that at this level? I know this projector doesn't have the e-shift, but I do see it's max data resolution at 3840x2160... does this mean I can push that resolution from an HTPC? I haven't been able to find much information about this. I typically stream content, and do not dabble in 3D.

My screen is a DIY ALR screen that I painted when I got the Panasonic. I think the rs45 has about the same level of brightness, but I still want to redo the screen. Seems like a lot of people go with HP screens? What is the ideal gain for this projector? Room is totally light-controlled, but sometimes a lamp will be on while people watch. I'm really hoping for excellent black levels and shadow detail.

Basically... if you were buying this projector and setting it up 7 years ago, what would you have done? Or what did you do? Appreciate any response!
Hi, and welcome to the forum,

I think I may be among the best people here to compare to your situation. You see, I also had a very low budget, and I'm constantly searching the web for good deals on used projectors. So I've managed to find an RS50 (same as X7) with a dead ballast for $300. I've got the ballast fixed for $100 and I've been enjoying this projector a lot. Then I also found an X30 (RS45) for $400 on a second-hand shop. It has an issue where it will occasionally show vertical red lines, some kind of bad contact, but it has a 2-year warranty. From any private seller out there, that's the kind of price you should pay for a used and working RS45, in my opinion.

What I did was this:

I bought a cheap pull-down white screen, 1.1 gain, 107", covered the 1st 2 meters of ceiling with black velvet, as well as the screen wall, and on the sides I have hung 1,4m of black felt curtains; on the floor there is a black felt roll which I unroll when it's movie time. Finally, I've hung black polyester curtains on the wall at the back of the room opposite to the screen. When you say "totally light controlled room" I hope you mean your room is entirely covered in black. You don't need an ALR screen in this situation unless you really want to have that lamp on. Either your ALR screen is excellent or it will desaturate your colours. If you do need that lamp, try to minimize its impact on the screen. About the screen gain for this projector, I would say it can be from 0.9 to 1.3, depending on its size too, and making sure it does not cause shiny hotspots.

With the room set up the way I described, the black levels on the RS50 aren't excellent, but they are very good (with the iris closed all the way down). I still need to try my RS45 in this room, but, from what I've tested, it's a few shades "less black" than the RS50.

I don't think the RS45 can take a 4K signal, as you mentioned, so make sure you verify that. You'll need a device capable of converting 4K to 1080p signal, or just use 1080p content. In my case, I use an old MacMini from 2010, because it's very quiet. I've been looking for a cheap Sony UHD X700 in order to process UHD and 4K signal and get the best I can from my content. But as it is, I'm very satisfied with the image I now have. I think you should start with what you have and then plan to get a good image processor.

Another thing to notice is that these projectors aren't as bright as your PT-AT4000. As I said, on my 1.1 gain 107" screen it is plenty bright with the iris closed, low power mode, but I like a soft-looking image. The projector is mounted as close as possible to the screen. If you crave high brightness and still want the black levels, you really should save for a newer generation JVC.

For 5.1 surround audio, I bought a hardly used PioneerVSX-520 receiver (for half its original price). It's nowhere near the quality and power of most sound systems in this forum, but for my small apartment room it's plenty.

Finally, if you're usually broke, consider lamp costs too. Decent lamps for these projectors can be bought for $100. Other people here might say they won't take risks and buy those at $300, but if that's what I spent on the projector then it's unthinkable for me to spend that much on its lamp.

4,3 x 2,8m semi-blacked out media room | 2010 MacMini > Pioneer VSX-520-K > JVC RS50 (X7) > 107", 1.1 gain, white screen | Planar PD7150

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post #3 of 13 Old 11-14-2019, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Moore View Post
Hello forum full of people with nice projectors. I have long envied you all. I'm sure you get posts like this from time to time, but I wasn't really sure exactly which thread to put this in, so I just started my own. Like the title says, I am a poor person. Or as some people would rather say, 'constantly broke'. Either way... limited budget.

Got into home theater about ten years ago on a shoestring, and have been using a Panasonic 4000 for the past 7 years. I'm finally making my leap into the next level (I hope) with a well-cared-for used rs45. I was hoping to be able to hold out a little longer to afford one of the later models, like an x500 or something, but couldn't swing it. I figure this will give me a nice taste, and inspire me to start saving up more for something nicer in a year or two.

So with all of that uninteresting back story out of the way... I am curious to hear advice on maximizing this new old projector's capabilities. In the past seven years, I haven't kept up as much with new developments in tech and so I'm trying to play catch as I overhaul my theater.

I have always used an HTPC, but I know a lot of you guys have HDFurys and Lumagens and other stuff to do processing. Should I consider trying to find used equipment like that to pair with this, or should I focus on saving more for better HTPC components? I always figured HTPC could sorta replace some of the external processing, but am I wrong about that at this level? I know this projector doesn't have the e-shift, but I do see it's max data resolution at 3840x2160... does this mean I can push that resolution from an HTPC? I haven't been able to find much information about this. I typically stream content, and do not dabble in 3D.

My screen is a DIY ALR screen that I painted when I got the Panasonic. I think the rs45 has about the same level of brightness, but I still want to redo the screen. Seems like a lot of people go with HP screens? What is the ideal gain for this projector? Room is totally light-controlled, but sometimes a lamp will be on while people watch. I'm really hoping for excellent black levels and shadow detail.

Basically... if you were buying this projector and setting it up 7 years ago, what would you have done? Or what did you do? Appreciate any response!

I've been in your boat for years. I purchased a used X55 on Ebay several years ago. I personally would not worry about HTPC or external processor. First, I would make sure to optimize your environment ie dark walls carpet, black out curtains etc. Next ideally a solid surround sound receiver and decent speakers at least 5.1. Next a game console or streaming device like PS4 & Roku. The X500 is the first generation that can accept a 4k signal, so it's a little pointless in getting too much 4k gear right now IMO. 1080p still looks great. Just make sure you buy the right bulb for that generation, because they tended to age prematurely. You may think about buying a screen too.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-14-2019, 05:59 PM
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I'm in sort of the same boat. Mainly, just cheap. I'm using a used, ex military, Projection Design F32, bought on ebay. Basic 1080p DLP and a good lens on a 200" diy screen. Signal is via an HTPC using jriver and madvr for blu-ray and TV. Streaming I do via a Shield and a passthru receiver. Audio is run through jriver for crossovers, room correction, etc.

A bit complicated and occasionally finicky but not too bad. The only bad moment was when the htpc tv tuner would not work and there were 50 people waiting to watch the superbowl.

Cheap can be high quality but at the expense of complexity and fragility. Madvr will give the best upscaling for TV and blu-ray but until they come out with their own device (not cheap) then it is not an option for streaming. For now, I'd suggest keeping your htpc for most content running it through madvr and displaying it at the native 1080p of the projector. If you put a cheap passthru receiver in front of the projector you can get a lot of audio decoding and the ability to switch sources so you can do some streaming. The streaming will default to the 1080p of the projector and will not require processing. I'm using a Yamaha TSR-7810 for the receiver. 7.1 pre-outs and just enough features to keep me going.

You are at the best point on the curve, imho, for very cheap but with good quality. The 20K+ people might have a different curve but older quality 1080p equipment can provide good results.
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-14-2019, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey everybody.

My room is black. I think I will stick with working on a killer HTPC in the meanwhile, since that is my primary source of media anyway.

Is a .9 gain screen not recommended, then?
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-15-2019, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Moore View Post
Hey everybody.



My room is black. I think I will stick with working on a killer HTPC in the meanwhile, since that is my primary source of media anyway.



Is a .9 gain screen not recommended, then?


Since your room is black and your screen is not too big, I think a 0.9 gain will work, but you probably won’t be able to close the iris all the way down. You can think of it as 0.9 x the projector brightness. For watching with ambient light, you can always open up the iris all the way up, since there are no black levels to think about in. That case. It really depends a lot on your personal taste for how bright you like the image.


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4,3 x 2,8m semi-blacked out media room | 2010 MacMini > Pioneer VSX-520-K > JVC RS50 (X7) > 107", 1.1 gain, white screen | Planar PD7150
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-15-2019, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Moore View Post
Basically... if you were buying this projector and setting it up 7 years ago, what would you have done? Or what did you do? Appreciate any response!
I did the same recently with a used RS45, Im also a pc user.

-I use 3 presets, film in high lamp with the iris wide open for dark content, cinema in normal lamp with the iris closed down for bright content, and user1 in normal lamp with the iris open.
-Brightness, contrast, tint, sharpening, and noise reduction are set to 0.
-With test patterns you may find one notch up or down on color is beneficial but its not necessary.
-For gamma i used custom gamma at 2.0, but that may be different on your unit.
-For color temp if you dont have a meter you can usually see color shift in a grayscale pattern, i typically set it to 6000k and drop red and blue gains by 5-10 points depending on the preset.
-Set color space to standard.
-There are 2 options for hdmi, set hdmi to rgb standard, desktop to rgb full, and madvr to tv 16-235, or set hdmi to rgb enhanced, desktop to rgb full, and madvr to pc 0-255.

The projector can cover 90% of dci p3 so if you have a meter you can make a lut to use with madvr for uhd content.

I find the mp4 flashing patterns easy to use.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/139-display-calibration/948496-avs-hd-709-blu-ray-mp4-calibration.html
Basic settings: black and white clipping
Misc patterns: additional: grayscale and color clipping


For the room/screen stuff, provide lots of information, room measurements, ceiling wall color, floor type, furniture, where the lights are(how bright they are how much direct light hits the screen), screen size, distance from screen to projector, distance from screen to your eyes.
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I bought a cheap pull-down white screen, 1.1 gain, 107", covered the 1st 2 meters of ceiling with black velvet, as well as the screen wall, and on the sides I have hung 1,4m of black felt curtains; on the floor there is a black felt roll which I unroll when it's movie time. Finally, I've hung black polyester curtains on the wall at the back of the room opposite to the screen. When you say "totally light controlled room" I hope you mean your room is entirely covered in black. You don't need an ALR screen in this situation unless you really want to have that lamp on. Either your ALR screen is excellent or it will desaturate your colours. If you do need that lamp, try to minimize its impact on the screen. About the screen gain for this projector, I would say it can be from 0.9 to 1.3, depending on its size too, and making sure it does not cause shiny hotspots.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-16-2019, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenna Crook View Post
I bought a cheap pull-down white screen, 1.1 gain, 107", covered the 1st 2 meters of ceiling with black velvet, as well as the screen wall, and on the sides I have hung 1,4m of black felt curtains; on the floor there is a black felt roll which I unroll when it's movie time. Finally, I've hung black polyester curtains on the wall at the back of the room opposite to the screen. When you say "totally light controlled room" I hope you mean your room is entirely covered in black. You don't need an ALR screen in this situation unless you really want to have that lamp on. Either your ALR screen is excellent or it will desaturate your colours. If you do need that lamp, try to minimize its impact on the screen. About the screen gain for this projector, I would say it can be from 0.9 to 1.3, depending on its size too, and making sure it does not cause shiny hotspots.


Why is my reply being reposted by someone else?


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Weird.
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Why is my reply being reposted by someone else?
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Weird.
It's a bot.
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post #12 of 13 Old 11-16-2019, 12:02 PM
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I had an RS35 for a few years up until an upgrade to an x770r this year. While the x770 is much better, the RS35 was no slouch and a projector like the RS35 or RS45 is still a very viable unit for a budget theatre.

One thing that gave my RS35 some extra life was using MADVR HDR tone-mapping to output UHD-HDR content as a 1080p-SDR signal. With the limited brightness of a front projector setup, the RS35 could really handle converted HDR very well. Obviously it will only work on disc based and downloadable material and can’t help with streaming or video games but it was a good stop-gap.
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post #13 of 13 Old 11-16-2019, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I had an RS35 for a few years up until an upgrade to an x770r this year. While the x770 is much better, the RS35 was no slouch and a projector like the RS35 or RS45 is still a very viable unit for a budget theatre.

One thing that gave my RS35 some extra life was using MADVR HDR tone-mapping to output UHD-HDR content as a 1080p-SDR signal. With the limited brightness of a front projector setup, the RS35 could really handle converted HDR very well. Obviously it will only work on disc based and downloadable material and can’t help with streaming or video games but it was a good stop-gap.
This is what I want to hear, as that is my main setup and how I was planning to use it. It will compliment the Panny and be used for only serious, hi-res 2D films. Just want to maximize its potential. Think that tone-mapping thread is the place to start?
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