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Discussion Starter #1
Just how good are the front projectors in the $3000 to $6000 or so price range? I am just starting out redoing a basement room into a dedicated HT. I am not sure yet if I will go HDTV rear projection (if so it will be as large as I can get so 72 to 80 inches or so) or front projection. I am leaning heavily towards front projection but I don't want to compromise image quality for coolness factor.

So, I have seen lots of links and ads for front projectors in the $2500 to $6000 dollar range, but I am wondering how good these ones really are, especially in sharpness/resolution. If I go front projection, I am hoping to actually have a budget of closer to $10K to possibly $12K for the projector and including screen so comments on projectors in this price range would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #2
All right, 57 views without a reply. My apologize, please ignore my repetitive request for any additional comments on FPs in the $10K to $12K range, I now there are an endless number of archived posts that will satisfy this question that I can go back through.

So, what I am really looking for is just a few "general" comments on how good image quality is on these low-end FP systems. Not looking so much for reviews on specific FPs, I am more trying to understand the technology and it's limitations. There is such a HUGE price range difference for FPs that I can't help but think one selling for less than say $15K couldn't possibly be decent if others average in price for more than $30 thousand dollars. So, I'm just looking for reassurance from those who can speak from experience. I think I will have a $10 to $12K budget, but just asking myself how good of an image are the ones that cost less than $10K capable of. Thanks folks.


Jim
 

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Sorry, if you see $3000-$10,000 as low end I am off the scale...


Sanyo XW-15 LCD, XGA, 800 lums= ~$2000

Panny RP56 prog DVD = $220

Yamaha RX-V2092 (non DTS but sweet anyway) A/V Reciever off Ebay = $400


Purely subjective opinion I realize, but I'm thrilled with my set-up. On a 100" diag image DVDs look fantastic (watched Criterion version of Time Bandits last night, one of my favs and it was superb)


I took screenshots and as soon as I get the film developed I'll post so you get an idea that I'm not blind.


For your budget you'll get a brighter image with better contrast, and probably a better internal scaler, how much better than mine is the question. Unless you're used to viewing a top-end TV with HD, I think you'll be very, very, very happy.


You're asking for subjective input, so there it is!


Kurt

Trenton, NJ

The anthrax thing is messing with my Netflix deliveries! Finally the tragedy hits home....
 

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For uncompromising quality without coolness factor go for a 10K CRT (9" with enough brightness in a dim room). Of course it's big and bulky and require regular calibration. It may require professional calibration and installation initially which may add $500-$1000 to the price tag.


I personally favor digital PJ but they all have their strong and weak points. DILAs may be the best digital has to offer and are in the 10-15K range. They are noisy (hushbox important) and may develop dead pixels over time. Sharp z9000 may be one of the best DLP offered but may suffer from rainbows in rare cases (has new color wheel technology to minimize this). LCD's will include the light cannons of 3000 lumens or more with contrast ratio of 400:1 or more. It can suffer from dead pixels, screendoor (pixelization), and not as good blacks.


You should be able to get a very nice FPTV for this budget. Screenwise if you got the dough, Stewart Grayhawk will give you the quality for digital PJ ($1K for manual, motorized will cost more). Go for a high gain screen ($300-500 for manual, motorized will cost more) for the CRT choice. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks kedelbach. Yes, I am asking for subjective opinions. Like I said, my question is more for general understanding and to hopefully dispel a misconception I had that image quality is inferior and far from above average on FPs that cost less than $15K and up. My misconception comes from the fact that there are so many models that cost upwards of $20K and more that I just didn't realize one costing $3K could do a very good job of it. And if I had that misconception, I'm sure others may have as well. It isn't that I didn't know they exists for $2 or $3K, I was just under the false impression that they didn't display a high quality image. I just don't know any better at this point and I AM reading up on it and attempting to understand, but I still wanted to post the question. I'm not LOOKING to have to spend $10K to $12K on the FP alone; I just incorrectly (I now think) figured that's what I would have to do in order to get a really high quality, above average image.

So thanks a lot for the information, that's exactly the kind of reassuring feedback I am looking for, even if it is subjective.


Jim

:)
 

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From my point of view: Try to get a used D-ILA pj, a hushbox and an anamorphic lens (ISCO II?). Let it get calibrated or buy DILARD and a Colorimeter (milori, please send the provision to me (c:= )


Costs

D-ILA = 3.5 K $

ISCO ~ 1 K $

DILARD + Colorimeter = 0.675 K $


Thats just about 5 K $ and the picture you can get is awesome. If you have some more money: Buy an external scaler (Quadscan?)


Get a progressive-Scan dvd-player. ( 220$ - ??? )


Build your own screen. A gain 1 sreen ist absolutely OK with a D-ILA and a gain 1 screen is nothing else than a white wall. I never understood these screen discussions. A gain 1 screen is, when it is completely flat, just a plain gain 1 screen. You can save the money to buy a better pj or a Scaler.
 

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Your budget is not an issue. Whichever display technology you choose, you will be able to afford some excellent equipment. Before you decide on the technology i think you need to prioritize what you want out of your home theater? And what you will use it for.


Things like how many people will be in your audience? How dark is the room when viewing? What type of video sources do you like to watch? Ease of use? (Do you just want to plug it in and turn it on?)


I thought alot about these types of questions before buying an LCD projector. There are definitly some compromises, but I have no regrets. I have yet to see a RPTV that gives me the feeling of watching a movie like i get when we turn on our projector.


I will say though since most if not all of the people on this forum are projector owners the view you get will be somwhat biased. This forum is great for advice on technical issues, but it is impossible for anyone to make a decision for you.


Marc
 

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Joswig's outline pretty much sums up my philosophy, only I bought a used G10 clone, htpc, & IscoI. My next bulb will be a self-installed Elmer-Perkins project.


CRTs are best, when warmed up and tweaked right. Is there a CRT projector that has near zero warm up time and negligible convergence drift for $3500 or less? The constant futzing with my Barco to hold 1280x720 or 1024x768 was really annoying. 800x600 is pretty stable, but scanlines were a problem.


I wouldn't be too concerned about late dying pixels with D-ila projectors. Of all the users here, I've heard exactly ONE have this happen late in ownership. The constant use projectors that Disney uses seemed to me to be none the worse for wear. Crud in the light path might cause pixels to look like dead pixels. I've used a hepa filter in the room and it hasn't been a problem for me yet, knock on plastic.

Jeff
 

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There are a few things that affect the price (features, lumens, resolution, number of inputs...), and if you look at categories 2,000 to a 10,000 you will notice the 10,000 will be better. But one thing is that Projectors are like PCs, and the $2,000 projector of today is better then the $10,000 projector of a year or two ago.
 

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FWIW, I ended up with a new-old-stock Dukane 9000D (JVC G10), Greyhawk screen, HTPC, and Dilard. The combination is fantastic, and it didn't cost a fortune. You might consider a set up like mine.


3090- Joswig might be refering to the one that Ken Elliot has for sale in the classifieds. Ken is an honest guy with a good history on the forum. He would be a good guy to deal with and I would trust him to describe the projector accurately.


At the screen size you are proposing, you should be able to put together a video projector and source device for $3k-$7K that will blow you away. I know that is a big range, but consider the LT150 on the lower price end and one of the other projectors mentioned in this thread at the upper.


By all means, if you have the right room environment, go with front projection. You'll love it.
 

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Jim:


You really should see for yourself how it can look. You may not be able to see an LT150, or a D-ILA, but you can see something comparable by going into a dealer. They most likely wouldn't have even heard of some of the more popular projectors on this forum, but will have something like a Runco or Seleco to show you.


I know Sound & Vision in Arlington, for example, has some nice FP's.


This should give you an idea. Don't listen to the guy if he tells you that you need to spend $20k on a projector. If you like the dealer, you may even want to buy from them, but you'll have to spend a lot more than if you go the DIY route.


- Dave
 

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I was totally ignorant of front projectors until I borrowed a Proxima XGA, LCD projector from work about 2 months ago (now I'm just slightly ignorant :). Watching football on regular cable TV in 6' wide width blew me away. After lurking on this board for a while I learned a ton, and then demoed a SGA Sanyo and NEC LT150 DLP. The XGA resolution of the XW-15 does away with screendoor unless I'm looking hard and closer than ~7'.


I have a [arguable] problem with DLPs: the spinning color

wheel with filters seems like 1960's era color TV technology. I know it makes a great picture, but a spinning wheel seems inherantly more problem prone than solid-state LCDs. Hey, you've read the posts, some people swear by their DLP and thats great. Bottom line is both technologies now can make a very fine picture.


When I found www.avp-inc.com had XW15s for $2160 with a DVD player (not the panny RP56 but a nice Sanyo) I pounced.

Then statement AnthonyP made that projs. are like computers is so true. My $2000 projector is probably equivalent to a $5000 projector only a little more than a year ago.

Some may scoff at "business" projectors (as opposed to ones that has the words "home theatre" in the model name), but I am 100% satisfied.


Next year $2000 might get you 1500 lumens and next generation scalers/de-interlacers, but I decided that I couldn't wait and what I have is good enough.

Definitely try to demo/view some different models to see whats out there - you'll be impressed! Amazing what comes out of these tiny 5 lb boxes....


Kurt
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow! Thanks for all the advice folks, I appreciate it. I'm trying to dissect it all now, but I'm sure I will have more questions later. I still have a little time read up on and decide what projector to go with, I'm just getting started on the construction of a dedicated HT room now. Tore all the walls down last weekend, will be starting the construction this weekend with a 2inch raised floating floor. Looking forward to joining the ranks ASAP. Thanks again.


Dave T, thanks a lot, I think I will check out Sound & Vision in Arlington for sure, for the same reasons you mentioned, to start getting a first hand look at what the projectors can do.

However, I can't find any company listed by that name in Arlington or surrounding area, can you give me an idea of where they are or a number for them? I even tried Information with no luck. I do see a "Sound Vision" listed as in Wayland, not the same place?

Hey, by the way, I live in Danvers now, but I'm from Gloucester originally, spent 12 years in Magnolia as well, not far from the Magnolia beach. Howdy ho neighbor!


Jim
 

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Hi, 3.5K was just the price I got here in germany a few weeks ago for a used G10E with nearly new bulb (6 hrs) in it.


It was a professional retailer of pj's, he got it from a customer whom it was kind of "too big".


Also included was a ceiling-mount for it. It was a good price but no "one-timer". It is a price you can get for a pj like this. And for this price I can't think of something better...
 

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Pugaboom,


Here is my recommendation... Figure out a way to see the technologies in your price-range: DLP, LCD, CRT, D-ILA. Regardless of what units you look at, you will see the deficiencies of each technology. Rainbows (DLP), screendoor/contrast (LCD), brightness (CRT), and ?? (D-ILA). D-ILA was out of my price range.


Rainbows annoyed me, so I could scratch DLP immediately. Brightness was a necessity, so I scratched CRT. Screendoor doesn't bother me from a reasonable distance, so LCD was my choice. I believe that once people see the technologies, they will have a preference. Mine is certainly LCD for sub $10k.


Then, decide what aspect ratio you want as the native resolution: 4x3 or 16x9. Since I bought the thing for home theater, I wanted 16x9. I can tolerate black bars on the left & right, but didn't want them on top and bottom. They limit screen size for DVD material for my setup.


Once you get this far, you should have a very narrow band of projectors and you can make a very intelligent choice from them. Me? I chose the Cinema 13HD and don't regret it.


Cheers,

Jake
 
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