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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all!


I am getting ready to build a new home. I have set aside a 25' X 24' space in the basement to be my home theater (9'6" ceiling). After using a few projectors at work I decided I want to buy a projector and screen for my home theater. The room will have carpeted floors and walls and will probably not have any windows. The result is that light can be controlled and the projector does not have to have super high lumens.


Like a lot of folks who walk into the store, I want a corvette for the price of a Yugo. I am setting aside $2500.00 to purchase the projector, projector mount, AND the screen. If you folks think I'd be sorely dissapointed with that I'll add another $500 to my budget, but that's about all I can afford on this project for now.


I want a minimum resolution of 1024 X 768 (XGA), low cost replacement bulbs, or long life bulbs. I don't care about size & weight, since it's staying on the ceiling. I intend to mostly watch DVD's on this system, but I will also play an occasional video game off my laptop computer. I don't know how the image size increases when you back the projector up, but I was hoping to at least have an eight foot wide screen. If I can go to ten foot wide and still stay in my budget I'd prefer that. I would hope that with a 25' X 24' room it could be done.


I really don't know what to watch out for, what brands to stay away from, how to tell what the magnification will be, what features I should be asking for, or what kind of screen is appropriate.


Can anyone make some recomendations for a brand/model of projector and type of screen that might come close to my budget?
 

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Panasonic 75U 1024 x768 lcd projector $1895.00

Hoya FL-D 55mm MMC filter $20.00

Dalite Model B 100 iinch 4:3 matte white screen $100.00

Panasonic RP-62 progressive dvd player $160.00

25 foot component to rgb cable $75.00

Cheif projector mount $149.00

6 inch galvanized pipe $3.00


Able to watch a 8 foot wide movie at home with your family for under $2500.00- priceless.
 

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You said that you're going to be doing more DVD viewing than game playing on your pj. If having a good quality DVD image is much more important to you, then I'd recommend the AE300 ($2K) or the Sanyo PLV-Z1 ($1500?). For DVDs and HDTV I don't think you'll find a better image than these give in the under $2500 price range. They are actually 960x540 which is less than XGA, but don't be fooled - video looks very fluid and detailed on them. They will also do a decent job scaling XGA resolution from your computer so you can play games. The 75u mentioned above will give you a crisper image for XGA games, but I believe the DVD/HDTV image will be better on the AE300 or Z1. So, decide what your priorities are and choose accordingly!


Mike U.
 

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I would recommend the AE 300 & a da lite perm wall screen (high contrast cinema seems to work well with LCD projector). I have the older version AE 100 with this screen & the result is awesome. Black snaps that hold the screen to the aluminum frame are not noticeable. Purchased my screen through AVS.....about $560.


Have just had my HT up & running about 1 month, friends, neighbors, & family are in disbelief that my system costs the same as a rear projection "big screen", but mine is 4X as big. Picture is awesome after calibration.


Mike
 

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I bought the In Focus X1 for $1600 and the picture is incredible. See the posts on the head to head comparison we did with a $5000 projector. I am not sure how the AE or the panasonic compare, but I don't think the panasonic can touch the X1. Any one out there with more info????
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You guys are great! I love that "credit card" post SKoprowski. I'll start tracking down all the items you folks have listed here this week and start comparing them.


Two questions for SKoprowski:

What is the galvanized pipe for, and what does the Hoya MMC filter do?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Narnian
You guys are great! I love that "credit card" post SKoprowski. I'll start tracking down all the items you folks have listed here this week and start comparing them.


Two questions for SKoprowski:

What is the galvanized pipe for, and what does the Hoya MMC filter do?
The pipe is for the ceiling mount. The filter is used by some folks to improve contrast and sometimes correct color. The 75u is a nice machine given your total system price. While it doesn't have the AE300's LCD pattern it does have MLA. Both reduce but don't quite eliminate screen door.


It has good processing for its time but the newer projectors like the X1 has better processing.


On the DLP side it looks like the X1 is really the only thing in your price range if you want to include a screen and its not XGA. The first of the XGA DLPs is probably the NEC 240 followed by the M20X (about $2400) in price. Personally I have the M20X and like it a lot. There is one potential quirk with this unit...in power saver mode it seems to not like starting up.


There was a reason I choose the RP82 over the 62 and now I can't remember what it was. If you have one of the latest laptops with a higher end radeon you might first try a software DVD player (Theater Tek for around $70 is reputed to be the best. It worked better for me than WinDVD).


One thing that I'd suggest over his recommended setup is not to use a pull down screen if this is a permanent theater. Get a permanent wall screen for an extra $300 and use a masking system (at this price, it'll have the be DIY) to get the right screen ratio. I'm also surprised you can get the Model B for as low as $100...the last quote I heard was around $200.


The thing about 8 feet (96" width, 16:9 format) and 10 feet (120" width) is it seems that 96" is about the max length that UPS will handle. To go above that increases shipping a bit.


My 96" screen sits on a 20' wall and dominates it...so it's plenty big. The room is sorta an L shape...without the cut out it would be 20x20.


Remember also the larger the screen the further back you'll have to sit to minimize screen door. At 96" I'm a hair too close at around 14'...even on the DLP I can slightly see the pixels (screendoor) on very bright scenes. At 15-17'ish I cannot. With LCD it will be somewhat worse.


As far as bulb life...pretty much everything seems to be 2000 hours plus and runs a high percentage of the projector cost. My current project uses bulbs that will run around $450-500 to replace someday. I don't recall what the 75u bulb cost to replace...my old projector used $250 bulbs for 1000 hours. My plan is to buy the cheapest projector that would fit my minimum requirements and buy a new one when the bulb neared its end of life.


Based on my old projector I watch about 1000 hours of DVDs in about a year and a half. This one, now that I have HD cable will probably see slightly higher usage but I'm more limited by viewing time than lack of material to watch.


If you have kids, well, 2000 hours is 666 three hour movies. Hmmm...that's not an auspicious number. :)


Regards,


Nigel
 

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If you want to save a few bucks on your screen do a search on this board for "Parkland". Parkland Plastics is a company that sells plastics sheets ("Poly-Wall" bright white) who's matte side is said to make a great screen. (Trim with door/window moulding painted black and voila!)


Parkland knows all about this and is used to shipping 1 sheet matte-side-in to protect it. The 4' x 8' sheets are around $13 and they go up to 5' x 10' in size for around $26. (I think they might also be available at the big box hardware stores.)


There's lots of info about others who have done this including pictures of the HT setups.


Useful links:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=196704
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=198805
http://www.parklandplastics.com/residential.htm
 

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hey narnian, i did a side by side with the panasonic 75u and it kicked the dogshit out of the ae100 imhop. i also liked it better than the m20x. it needs to get talked about more.
 

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I picked up a used Infocus 730LP (1024*768 native) LCD for $600 shooting onto a Parkland based screen.... would def. recommend it as a first projector.. I am not overly picky, but with my HTPC driving it I am very happy.. its only 400 Lumens, but seems to be adequate with normal room lighting, and great with the lights turned down... bulbs are rated for $2000 hours, seem to be a variety of places that have replacements in the $200 range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sounds like I should limit myself to an 8' screen. That sound right?


I looked at the parkamo links. I think I will try that. It would allow me to spend a little more on the projector itself. Even if it turns out that I don't like it, I can at least use it as a screen temporarily. One question though, is a 4X8 screen going to be a problem with the aspect ratio? Do I need to hunt down a 5X10 sheet?
 
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