Originally Posted by Dennis Moore
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.