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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What reasons might one have to choose a front projector instead of a plasma monitor, provided money was NOT an issue?


From what I understand, plasma offers a far better-looking picture than what any projector is capable of producing. Is that true? If so, why a projector? :confused:


Thanks.
 

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Regardless of how good a plasma may be, it is still a "TV". Only with a projector can you begin to approach a true cinematic experience. There at least two reasons for this.


First is size. While you can get arbitrarily close to a smaller screen for a wide viewing angle, your eyes will not be as comfortable, and for some reason a screen viewed from far away seems bigger than a smaller screen from close up, even if the viewing angles are the same.


Second is the effect of viewing an image through a piece of glass, this tends to create a more contrasty appearance that is , in my view, less natural.


The advantage of a plasma is that you can get a reasonable picture in a room that would be too bright for most PJs. This makes the the Plasma a better "TV" but a worse screening device.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Scottsol,


You have a point there about plasma still being a "TV". Never thought of it that way!


So, it all boils down to SIZE, then?
 

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I'd say the top end projectors put out a better picture than Plasma TV's.


Marantz 12s2, Sharp Z10000, Seleco HT300+, Infocus Screenplay 7200, NEC HT1000,


My opinoin all of these will knock the socks off a Plasma for a better movie experience.


If moneys no problem buy both. Use the plasma for watching the news during the day. Use the projector for watching movies at night.
 

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Quote:
If moneys no problem buy both. Use the plasma for watching the news during the day. Use the projector for watching movies at night
If only life was so kind ;) .
 

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If money is no object, then buy a 120" plasma. ...oh yeah, they don't come that big. Front projection is the way to go hands down. The picture from a high end machine is just as good. AND don't forget versatility. I can move my 6 pound projector easily outside and watch it in the hot-tub. Can you do that with a TV?
 

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Apples-to-apples, I agree that nothing tops a 50 inch plasma (the 60+ inch units aren't there yet; 50 inches is the sweet spot in plasmas). It's the finest OVERALL video display device of any kind...in its size category. Perhaps if you could get a Sony G90 to project a tiny 50 inch diagonal picture, you'd equal or better the two best 50 inch plasmas' image quality(Fujitsu and Pioneer). But then again, maybe not.


The discussion's not over, however. The problem is no movie is ever satisfying (to me) on such a small screen, no matter how great the image quality. I have two plasmas myself, but when I want to watch a movie (not TV, not sports), I fire up the projector. There's just no way around it: You need the size to recreate the cinematic experience, as someone said above. Along with passable image quality, cinematic real estate is an essential, integral part of movie viewing.


When the day comes that plasmas that look good can be had in an 80 inch, or more, diagonal, then I'll dump these dim (relatively) projectors. But until then, ideally you'll just have to have one of each to cover all your viewing bases.
 

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You're asking a group of projector owners which one to buy, so take everything with a grain of salt.


I just went through this decision myself and ended up with a front PJ with a standard TV behind a roll-down screen. For daytime and news, etc. viewing, the 36" Toshiba HDTV I have is more than adequate, but at night when we want to watch a movie or I want to play XBOX, my 92" screen cannot be beat. (Plus, I can play all I want without destroying my PJ, which you can't do with plasma.)


Reasons for a Front PJ:


- Picture quality is an order of magnitude better than a plasma... hands down. For $10-15k you can get a so-so plasma screen or an amazing top-of-the-line PJ and an amazing top-of-the-line screen.


- Screen size is variable. All screen manufacturers will make custom sizes to fit you exact space. Most people here have 100" or greater screens.


- Digital front projectors will not burn in. Plasmas--even good ones--will show burn-in within the first year, sooner if you watch TV with static images or play video games, etc.


Reasons to buy a plasma:


- You can watch a plasma in daylight with the shades open. Sure, you'll get reflection on the screen, but it's still watchable. Front PJ can only really be enjoyed in a fully darkened room.
 

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It is wrong that projectors have order-of-magnitude better picture than plasmas. Many would argue that plasmas have better PQ. Regardless, though, it's certainly not an order of magnitude one way or the other.


It's also wrong that plasmas will show burn-in within the first year. Not one plasma-forum member who has used his set at all properly reports any burn-in with a current model.


Mark
 

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Manendra.


I have just bought my first projector (sharp 10K) and was indeed asking myself the same question just a couple of months back. From my Investigations on plasma the picture quality does vary quite a lot and the cheaper units on the whole I found disapointing. I preferrred LCD screens but that may have been due to smaller picture size. I did look at projectors but nothing very expensive and really was not impressed. Plasma screens take up a lot of room and I liked the thought of an electric screen that gives the space back when viewing is finished. Then I found out that Plasma screens have to be kept upright and if they are laid flat the will not work anymore. Somehow this put me off altogether, even thoughI know its not lightly to happen. At this point I decided to stick with my TV.


Things changed when I saw a SIM 300HT projector. The picture was so film like it had a photographic quality that I had never seen before. I then found this (excellent!) forum and began to read and learn. I looked at plasma screens again but having seen the projector they looked slightly jerky and somehow fuzzy in comparison.


I started to see as many top end projectors I could find and the difference became clear. Plasma at the moment does not compare.


I chose the Sharp xv-z1000 but all the HD2 projectors I saw leave Plasma in the dust! For daytime use I am going for an LCD screen when prices have dropped a bit.


Roger
 

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If size matters to you in watching movies and tv then projector is the way to go. I don't know if this is an issue but I feel more comfortable switching my tv on and off regularly rather than a projector. I don't usually leave my tv on. I just sit down, turn it on flip a few channels to see what's on and then shut if off and go do other things. Then come back and turn on my tv again. From a convenience standpoint the Plasma might be better. I don't care too much about size or even sound when I'm watching a sitcom so I do feel that tv on a plasma would be more convenient.


For movies I would definitely go with a projector unless you don't care too much about size and would want to be in an environment with enough ambient light that you'll see your food and drinks clearly or perhaps even read. If your family doesn't like to sit down in a dark room and watch movies for the duration of it you might be better off with a plasma where you can just go off and do something while the movie is playing.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by xkode2002


Reasons for a Front PJ:


- Picture quality is an order of magnitude better than a plasma... hands down. For $10-15k you can get a so-so plasma screen or an amazing top-of-the-line PJ and an amazing top-of-the-line screen.


...Plasmas--even good ones--will show burn-in within the first year, sooner if you watch TV with static images or play video games, etc.

Quote:
Originally posted by rogerft
Manendra.


Then I found out that Plasma screens have to be kept upright and if they are laid flat the will not work anymore. Somehow this put me off altogether, even though I know its not lightly to happen...

Roger
Where do you guys get this misinformation? All three comments are simply flat out wrong. As Mark pointed out above, burn in does not automatically occur after a year. And one of the best 50 inch plasmas you can buy for any amount costs just $5995, plus shpping. Compare that to your $8K - $9K or more Sharp Z10000 or Marantz VP12S2, not to mention the even more expensive SIM2 HT300+. And you still have to buy a screen. Add another $1K, or much, much more if you go with a high quality electric Stewart Filmscreen.


The last comment is especially ridiculous. Where does this stuff come from? It reminds me of the electronics discounter salesman who talked my sister out of a plasma by telling her that they are filled with a plasma "liquid" that has to be re-filled every few years. I still haven't convinced her that that simply isn't true.


Don't get me wrong: projectors have their place, and nothing tops their size and picture quality IN THE DARK. But for all-around viewing all the time, nothing beats a plasma. Yes, you need a bias light to get the best from them, but in terms of brightness, sharpness, color accuracy, three dimensionality, etc., they are un-matched.


They're just too small for movies, unfortunately.
 

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To put it in perspective from my customers. They come in looking at the plasma's. They say they like that they could be hung on the wall and that it looks like a picture frame. Then, when they go into the theater (with the infocus 7200 projecting onto a 150" diag screen), they are awestruck. I plug in a DVD for the plasma, the picture is very nice, they say. Then when I plug in the same movie for the PJ, they want to sit down and watch the movie and comment they no longer want a plasma. And I do believe that the PJ has just as good a picture than the plasma. Then they start trying to picture the room they want to have it in and how to block light from windows.

This is 99% of all my perspective customers.


On another note, I do have a friend that has a pioneer 50" plasma screen. He wanted me to help him setup a HTPC to attatch to it for DVD playback and websurfing. I asked him to come to my house to show him how I have mine setup to the 7200. When I popped "The Lord of The Rings" in, he cursed me for taking the joy of having a plasma out of him.


I am not trying to say that the front PJ's are superior, but if your primary use of the display is for movies and sports, and you have a room where you can control much of the ambient light then the PJ will give you more enjoyment. Like one of the first posters here has stated, a plasma is just a fancy TV, and like it or not, after a while that's what you are going to consider it (after the excitement wears off).
 

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I agree with Tom, but it all comes down to expense. I paid less for my sharp PJ than the price of a 50inch plasma screen in the UK.


PF - as for my "ridiculous comment" about plasma screens having to be kept upright. I got this same information from two different dealers when I said I wanted to mount a palasma screen on a swivel so that it could lift it up against the celing when I had finished using it. I had no reason to doubt this info. I also found the following info below at dtvcity.com :


Check for any visible damage to the box and packaging before signing for your plasma screen. There is normally a "tip and tell" indicator attached to the outside of the plasma display box. This indicator will "tell" you whether the plasma TV box has been "tipped" sideways. It is important that plasma displays be kept upright in shipping. Therefore, if the "tip and tell" indicator is activated with blue sand, it is essential that this be NOTED on the freight bill. Sign for the plasma display shipment, but NOTE any damage to the box or activation of the "tip and tell" indicator


and promax.com the panasonic sub advises :


1. Never lay the Panel flat on the floor in shipping or in operation; always keep it upright. Even in it?s shipping box, it?s important to keep the Panel upright.


I thought this confirmed what I had been told, maybe you could explain this for me as you as you probably know a lot more than the guys in the shop.



Roger.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
It is wrong that projectors have order-of-magnitude better picture than plasmas. Many would argue that plasmas have better PQ. Regardless, though, it's certainly not an order of magnitude one way or the other.


It's also wrong that plasmas will show burn-in within the first year. Not one plasma-forum member who has used his set at all properly reports any burn-in with a current model.


Mark
Mark:


With all due respect, this is pretty bogus. I'll start with point B. What do you mean by "used his set properly"?? Does that mean stretching out 4:3 material (rediculous that anybody would have to live through this distortion) and not playing video games or watching too much CNBC? I guess the thing is, I can use my DLP and Joe LCD can use his LCD all day long watching the same static image without a hint of burn-in--there's no such thing as proper usage.


As for point A, I suppose this is just a matter of opinion as nobody can truly say what is 10x better for your eye. To my eye, you take any $10k PJ setup (e.g., a Dwin TV3 or Sharp 10k with a 100" firehawk) and compare it to any $10k plasma and your PJ picture will be 10x better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Very interesting feedback indeed. I can basically conclude from all this that, if movies is the prime concern (and mine is), then a PJ is the way to go.


A friend of mine wants to buy a Plasma for his HT. I advised him against it for some of the same reasons you guys have voiced. But he stands by his claim. Oh, well...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
It is wrong that projectors have order-of-magnitude better picture than plasmas. Many would argue that plasmas have better PQ. Regardless, though, it's certainly not an order of magnitude one way or the other.


It's also wrong that plasmas will show burn-in within the first year. Not one plasma-forum member who has used his set at all properly reports any burn-in with a current model.


Mark
They both have their place. But for being drawn in a movie and HD you can not beat a true HD projector (there has to be controlled light). And yes, the picture is that much better. When comparing picture quality of the two, both should be setup properly in it's ideal conditions. And when this happens, I believe that the majority of people will think the PJ will have a better picture (depending on source).

I also think the biggest drawback of a plasma is that you can have a bigger picture (and possibly better picture) from a properly calibrated RPTV for less than a plasma (comparing today's prices).

The burn-in issue is an issue because there are many videophiles who need the correct OAR and to have this you will sometimes have black lines on top and bottom when watching DVD movies in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

Lets not forget that a plasma has a life expectancy. The plasma will eventually fade (not true for digital PJ's, especially DLP). When a plasma has reached it's end you have to toss it and buy something else. Period. A DLP projector really only needs a bulb change.
 

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PF: I defy you to show me a 50' plasma for $5995 that looks as good as any HD2 projector.


The bottom line is that front projection is a no-brainer if the size/quality ratio means anything. For the time being, cost also makes it a no-brainer. I note an interesting point made by Goosey that we feel more comfortable turning a TV on and off as opposed to a projector. I feel this too and in that sense when we use our projector we may be more inclined to not use it for casual on/off use. This may be a benefit to having a tv. But in my mind, if manufacturers would reduce the price of bulbs and not make us scared to turn projectors on/off regularly, this would be a non-issue.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ChaCha
PF: I defy you to show me a 50' (sic) plasma for $5995 that looks as good as any HD2 projector.

Well now. Let's have some fun:


I have never seen a thread with more clear demonstrations of people over their depth than this one. Not many of you hang out much in the Plasma Forum, apparently. If you did, I think you'd agree with my subjective observation that no single group of video equipment owners is more satisfied than plasma owners who've switched from other display types. But few of you "critics" seem to know much at all about plasmas.


ChaCha, for your information, $5995 is precisely what a 50-inch Pioneer 503CMX costs. And you're right; it doesn't look as good as an HD2 DLP. The plasma clearly looks better -- in that size category (be careful not to miss my point now). It's far brighter, has better color accuracy and saturation, and is noticeably sharper and more three dimensional.


But if you, and those naysayers preceding you, had any idea about what you were talking about, and were paying close attention, you would have noted that I did not compare a great plasma's picture quality to mere HD2 projectors, which have obvious image quality limitations, but to a far, far superior 9-inch CRT: The Sony VPH G90U. This assumes that one could even make such an actual comparison since it's an open question whether one could reduce the G90's picture to a mere 50 inch diagonal.


I didn't say that first, by the way. Tom Norton, editor of "Stereophile Guide to Home Theater," did in his review of the Fujitsu 50-incher. And believe me, he's forgotten more than you've seen or know.


As for my bona fides? Well I've had two plasmas, a Marantz VP 12S2 with FireHawk, a JVC G11 D-ILA, a Sony 34HD1 direct view CRT, a Dwin HD700 CRT, an NEC XG 135LC CRT, and a Vidikron Vision One CRT, with Faroudja scalers and Stewart screens. Among others, I should add. Not to mention all the stellar setups I've seen at CES' and multiple trips to and fro across the country over the last half a dozen years or more to almost every Stereophile show. I KNOW what looks good.


And what looks good now in the digital arena is the Sharp 10K, the VP12S2, and the VX1000Ci/5000Ci. But 8-inch and above CRT front projectors are still better. And so is a good 50-inch plasma -- I repeat -- in its 50-inch size category. It's just too small, unfortunately. Hence, a projector is what I also have...for movies. For which, they are simply unsurpassed.
 
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