Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: New Braunfels, TX
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
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I was in a same dilemma trying to replace my aging Panasonic PTAE4000U projector. I had the Panasonic over 10 years with its 3LCD lens system. One of thing that I hated about this projector was that the dust blubs accumulate inside the lens system and it is visible during the light background scenes. It is PITA to remove the ceiling mounted projector to clean off the dust blubs every once in awhile. I got tired of it so last three years I didn't bother to remove the dust blubs and just live with it. So I wanted to try out the DLP projector with sealed lens system but many that I considered didn't have enough lens shift for flexible installation.
So after many months of researching, it came down to two models, Epson 5050UB vs BenQ HT5550. My screen size is 110" 16x9 with manual horizontal masking system when viewing extra widescreen sized movies. The distance from screen to projector is about 14 feet. So having a motorized lens memory was not a factor for me since I haven't used its feature in Panasonic projector. If you have scope 2.35 screen, there is no discussion which is better fit for that situation, Epson 5050UB is the clear winner with better black level along with brighter light output. I ended up purchasing BenQ HT5550 for following reasons. First, it gives sharper picture vs Epson. Second, I don't have to worry about dust blubs since it is suppose to be sealed lens system in DLP BenQ projector. Third, the replacement bulb is much cheaper and it is said to have 10,000 hours in eco mode. With that kind of life of bulb, I can use projector daily for many years to come before replacement and its cost is only about $150. My last Panasonic only lasted 3000 hours and that was eco mode with price tag of $300. This BenQ HT5550 is the only reasonably priced DLP projector with enough lens shift to satisfy my installation requirement. The only thing that I wasn't sure about is DLP's potential rainbow effect and whether it is going to bother me or not.
Well, it has been about two weeks since I replaced old Panasonic projector with BenQ. And I am happy to know that I made the right decision for my situation. In my darken room, BenQ gives me beautiful plenty enough bright picture even with eco mode. The picture quality is extremely sharp with vibrant colors. So far, there is no visual rainbow effect for my eyes. When you first turn on the projector, it gives off some noise while settling its lens to proper position setting but once it is settled in a few seconds, it is very quiet in my room. I have 10 feet high ceiling so that might have contributed to its quietness. The surprise to me is how well this model renders 3D movies. I have never quiet satisfied with other projector's 3D movies so this was never enter my decision process but it is welcomed surprise. Now I have to start collecting 3D movies now!