Please help me replace my beloved BenQ PB8240 4:3 HT projector - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I have for some time been considering replacing my BenQ PB8240 projector which I purchased about 8 years ago. While I love that it lets me make full use of my 60x80" 4:3 screen for classic movies (which was the main reason I purchased it), while still doing a decent job with 16:9 movies, I came to hate how badly it did with nighttime scenes (you can barely tell what is going on in any scene taking place at night, even with full light control in the room). But, despite its flaws, I decided it for now since I figured that 4K projectors are on the horizon.

Well, my projector seems to have made my decision for me as it a couple of days ago suddenly started making a loud rattling sound like someone stuck a cardboard piece into the fan, and the lamp light suddenly dimmed by half and turned brownish. I am guessing that I won't be able to repair it for less than the cost of a new lamp ($400) and additional repairs. So it may be time to replace it.

My knowledge of projectors is now about 8 years out of date, as I've not kept up on recent developments. I'm starting to look into my options but wow! The options have multiplied! Does anyone have anything particular to recommend? My specific details are as follows:

Like I said, I have a 60x80" 4:3 screen. My universal projector mount is 11½ feet from my screen. I like older movies, but also new ones. I don't care about 3D but would not turn it down as an option. I'd like a projector that does a lot better with nighttime scenes. HD would be nice for blu-rays (the BenQ was XD) but all I have going to the projector is component cable (going through a 3/4" conduit; I don't know if that will accomodate an HDMI cable). I have full room light control. I'd love to keep the price under $1,000, but I am somewhat flexible if spending more will get me dramatically better results.

Thanks for any help the experts here can provide!

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post #2 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 07:59 AM
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For what you paid for the BenQ PB8240 many years ago you can do much better today.

To bring yourself up to speed try reading through Coderguy's Top Projector Picks, a subjective listing of today's projectors but still good information.

If you can get component cable through your 3/4" conduit it can be easily replaced with an HDMI cable.

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 09:48 AM
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HDMI guidelines call for a housing which is 7/8" wide, so no, a typical HDMI cable will not fit through 3/4" conduit. I gave them hell about this several years ago since most conduit is 3/4" and HDMI typically won't fit. So, you will need to be very careful to check the outside diameter of the head of any HDMI cable, OR - you may go with a HDMI over cat-x solution which works with standard cat cable which will fit into your conduit easily.

For a projector, the JVC DLA-X30/RS-45 models have lens memory which means you can maximize your screen with 4:3 material, while zooming in as necessary for 16:9 material.

The hard part is that from 11', you can't get a 100" 4:3 diagonal with the JVC, so the mount would need to move back.

Unfortunately, the same is true with the Panasonic AE8000 which also has lens memory. The projector would need to be at least 12' lens to screen.

At the end of the day, 4:3 is dead, and it may be time to update to a 16:9 screen. Almost all new projectors are wide aspect ratios, and certainly for the last few years home theater projectors have exclusively been widescreen. This is obviously a tough road to walk down if your room wasn't designed for 16:9 and can't support it easily, but may be a choice you want to make.

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post #4 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Yes, I noticed the same thing with the HDMI heads: too wide. I think some cable makers make a cable that you simply pop the head onto after running the cable. I'll see if I can recall which companies sell those.

I spoke with the people at projectorpeople.com, which is where I bought my last projector and they always seem very helpful, and they recommended the Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector as a replacement. I only have an 80" wide screen, so as nice as a 100" image would be, I can't go that wide anyway. I am off to research the Epson.

Has anyone experienced the problem I am having with my current projector? It sounds like someone popped a playing card into bicycle spokes the way it rattles. Odd that it suddenly started rattling loudly, at the same time that the image browned-out and went to half-brightness, and the lamp light came on. I can't imagine why the lamp having a problem would cause such a rattle. So I assume that fixing the problem would require both a new lamp and additional projector repairs . . .

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

Thanks for the info. Yes, I noticed the same thing with the HDMI heads: too wide. I think some cable makers make a cable that you simply pop the head onto after running the cable. I'll see if I can recall which companies sell those.

Perhaps I didn't read your initial post correctly but you stated you had managed to get a component cable through the conduit and (unless you've got a very thin version) the bundle size (red, green, blue) usually totals right around 7/8". So with the 3/4" conduit size can I now assume you feed each color cable through individually? Regardless as AVI stated getting an HDMI cable head through an opening that small is not going to happen and the ethernet cable method is probably your next best option. I also assumed you were going to replace your 4:3 screen with 16:9. The Epson 8350 will work with your 11.5 foot throw.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_Home_Cinema_8350-projection-calculator-pro.htm

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post #6 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 03:27 PM
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Rapid Run is the type of cable with a removable head, but I would go with this instead:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011012&p_id=8122&seq=1&format=2

Which works with a single cat cable.

I was actually talking about using a 16:9 projector which allowed you to FILL your odd sized screen with 4:3 content when you were viewing it, then would zoom back out to properly letterbox it for 16:9 or 2.35 content.

Let's look at the 8350...
http://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_Home_Cinema_8350-projection-calculator-pro.htm

From 11' lens to screen you can get a 16:9 image which is 80" wide, but your image height is 45". At the widest zoom setting, you can only achieve a 55" height from the lens at that throw distance. So, when viewing 4:3 content, you will never be able to fill the screen completely and will always end up with pillarboxed AND letterboxed 4:3 content. As far as I can tell, there is no way around that.

If the mount could move back, so the lens was 12' from the screen, then you could zoom out and get a 60" tall image and completely fill your screen when viewing 4:3 content.

When viewing 16:9 content, you would zoom in so the image width was only 80" wide and the height would be about 45" tall for your 16:9 content.

I'm guessing there is no way to go to something like a 106" diagonal screen (52" tall) which would maximize both your HD viewing content (highest quality) as well as your older 4:3 content?

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reference to Monoprice. They are a good company; I've used them before. And no, I can't go with a larger screen. For one thing, I already own a screen; it seems silly to replace it since it works fine. My room is also not wide enough to fit a 100" screen without partially blocking my front speakers (and I don't want to go to the expense of a sound-permeable screen). I could, however, move the projector back a bit. Perhaps I'll do that.

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post #8 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I actually ordered a special staggered component cable (on one end) from Monoprice. So I managed to fit it through the 3/4" conduit. Getting it out again may be a problem!

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post #9 of 11 Old 07-23-2013, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

I actually ordered a special staggered component cable (on one end) from Monoprice. So I managed to fit it through the 3/4" conduit. Getting it out again may be a problem!

Nothing a pair of wire cutters can't take care of. wink.gif

I'm not going to argue with whatever decision you make as this is your home, but the facts remain that you aren't going to buy ANY new 4:3 home theater projector ever again. No 4:3 TVs, no 4:3 home projectors. That era is gone. So, you have to figure out what compromises you are going to take with your 4:3 screen to deal with a 16:9 projector.

If I were you, I would definitely move to a motorized lens projector with lens memory and move the projector back as needed to fill the screen with both my 4:3 content and have letterboxed 16:9 content as a zoom option.

The JVC DLA-X30 can hit your 60" height from 12'5" lens to screen.
The Panasonic AE8000 can hit it from 12' lens to screen.

I would say the JVC is a better projector (IMO), but both are very good upper mid-level models with similar price.

The Epson 8350 can do both the 4:3 and 16:9 screen from a distance of 12' as I mentioned before, but you will then be forced to manually reset the lens when switching from 16:9 content to 4:3 content and back again... A task I would bet would soon be given up on.

I'm not sure if anyone has any ideas for any more options for you to consider on this.

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post #10 of 11 Old 07-24-2013, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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A motorized lens with memory would be wonderfully handy! But for an added $1,500 for the projectors you mention, I think I will have to pass. I just can't justify it for as few movies as I actually watch. Would be nice though.

And I don't think I could bring myself to cut 25' of component cable. Who knows what great things I could do with it someday! tongue.gif

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post #11 of 11 Old 07-25-2013, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

And I don't think I could bring myself to cut 25' of component cable. Who knows what great things I could do with it someday! tongue.gif
True, Christmas is just half a year away and those trees won't tie themselves to the roof of your car! biggrin.gif

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