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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've set aside about $1500 for a projector/tv for my new apartment. It's for the living room, and while it can be pretty well light-controlled from sunlight, I don't want it to be a dark cave all the time, especially if I'm playing some games with friends.


I'm really excited about the possibilty of a projector for my main display. The room is fairly small (12'x15'), with 8' ceilings, and I will be projecting across the 12' depth. I will be putting a high shelf on the back wall, so throw distance is effectively 10.5' and seating distance will be 10' or closer. Sources will be BluRay/DVD from a HTPC, Xbox 360, and AT&T Uverse. Like I said before, light control isn't a big problem, but I want to be able to keep some lights on while I play games sometimes. My options, as I see them, are the following:


1. Get an budget-minded but bright projector and use it as my only display until it's broken a few years down the line due to panel degradation or other issues. At that point, I am sure there will be many new and great choices for me to waste my money on. A Panasonic AX200u seems to be my best choice here.


2. Get a cheap projector and a cheap tv concurrently - a 720p projector and a tv for under $700 with cloned inputs. The TV would be used for casual viewing (weather, check what's on tv, etc) while the projector would be cared for and used for longer sessions with the lights dimmed/off. Here, I'd be leaning towards a Sharp DT-510 for around or under $700 and whatever TV deal I can find.


3. Get a 1080p projector and a larger computer monitor (24") for a similar setup to option 2. I'd prefer having 1080p since my main source is a HTPC, but this depends on my finding a cheap computer monitor with 1080p or greater resolution for under $200 in order to have mirrored inputs. A Sanyo plv-z1080 seems logical here, plus a cheap off-brand 24" computer monitor.


4. Get a bright 1080p projector and use it as my only display until it fails outside of warranty. The Epson 6100 fits the bill here, but it is a bit out of budget.


I'd really like to have 1080p because I plan on keeping my setup for as long as possible, and I don't know how long I will be happy with 720p. With a HTPC main source and the fact that people will often times be sitting closer to the screen, I think 1080p would be warranted. However, given my choices of 1080p projectors, I have issues spending that much money on 1080p projectors that have organic panels and will inevitably fail outside of my control.


Since I am completely new to projectors, do you guys have any insight or advice, or is there anything I am overlooking? I don't know if the choices I've come up with are sensible - if they're not, correct me! I'm here to learn. Thanks!
 

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Well from reading your post, it looks like your heart is telling you to get a 1080p projector. "Best Buy" currently has the Sanyo 1080p on sell for $1399. To me that's probably the safest way to go, if you're looking to go 1080p and save money. That would be my choice. The way I see it, if you're not happy with the PJ you have 30 days to return it, without the hassle of having to ship it through the mail. I do own the Sanyo 1080p, and I like it very much. It's inexpensive and does a great job displaying blu-ray movies. Blu-ray viewing was the number one reason I bought this projector.


I haven't hooked it up to my PS2 or Wii yet, mostly because I don't have much interest in gaming on a projector. For me, it's my movie projector, and for big sporting events....ie Superbowl, World Series...


I too had my heart set on a 1080p projector. But didn't want to spend a lot of money. I figure over the next few years there just going to get better and cheaper so why blow a lot of money now? But that's just my opinion. For those who have the dough to blow on a more expensive projector, go for it. But if you want to just get your feet wet, by dipping them into the 1080p pool, I think this is a good projector to start with.
 

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Personally I was in the same boat as you. I was initially leaning towards the ax200u and other 720p units. What I ended up with was a Mitsubishi HC5500 1080p unit.


I know this is beyond your budget but bear with me as I will now tell you why it is worth it imo.


In relation to your questions/concerns.


#1 - Initially I thought about budgeting and getting 720p but the 1080p units available now are superb. I came from a SP4805 (480p unit) and I thought that was great. Now with 1080p, I was sold.


#2 - If you get deep into projectors, you might end up upgrading sooner than you think knowing that your 720p can look better with a 1080p replacement.


#3 - This route sounds decent to me but I would hold off on the sanyo 1080 - step up to the epson 6100 if you want to go this route.


#4 - Solution - buy the HC5500. Reasons below.


The HC5500 delivers a nice image, some say it's better than the epson 6100. The projector is considered one of the quieter models compared to others. It is a 1080p unit which should have no problem giving you many years of enjoyment out of it (I plan to keep mine for at least 4 years). There is a deal going on for the 5500 - $300 rebate + free extra lamp (one major reason why I went with it).


Another thing is the Mack warranty that I found out about. The cost of the warranty is less than the price of a lamp. Warranty comes with 3 years lamp (up to 2 replacements) and additional 4 years on top of manufacturers warranty for the unit itself - total of 6 years warranty.


The 5500 comes with inorganic panels.


This goes way beyond your budget (before rebate) but its probably one of the best there is given you can run the projector at standard mode (2000 hours lamp life) and just get replacement through Mack.


If you plan to use the projector as a tv on a day to day basis, I would go with this route.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by echow87 /forum/post/15540247


The HC5500 delivers a nice image, some say it's better than the epson 6100. The projector is considered one of the quieter models compared to others. It is a 1080p unit which should have no problem giving you many years of enjoyment out of it (I plan to keep mine for at least 4 years). There is a deal going on for the 5500 - $300 rebate + free extra lamp (one major reason why I went with it).


Another thing is the Mack warranty that I found out about. The cost of the warranty is less than the price of a lamp. Warranty comes with 3 years lamp (up to 2 replacements) and additional 4 years on top of manufacturers warranty for the unit itself - total of 6 years warranty.


The 5500 comes with inorganic panels.


This goes way beyond your budget (before rebate) but its probably one of the best there is given you can run the projector at standard mode (2000 hours lamp life) and just get replacement through Mack.


If you plan to use the projector as a tv on a day to day basis, I would go with this route.

The 5500 does seem by all indications to throw a terrific image, but there are a few very glaring disadvantages that completely put me off purchasing one. Perhaps mine is a special case, but I do the poor man's CIH, and the 5500 makes that impossible for me to do.


The thing has a measly 1.2:1 zoom capability, which in these days when the vast majority of LCD projectors are 2:1 is a serious limitation when it comes to projector placement. To make matters worse, it has NO horizontal lens shift, and even in that department, vertical lens shift is considerably smaller than most others. Yes, the 5500 does have motorized zoom, focus and lens shift, but that matters little when zoom and lens shift are so severely impaired.


Mind you, if these issues don't concern you, in all other respects, the 5500 looks like it's a dandy projector.
 

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I should add that I currently use a Sanyo Z4 thatI have used for the last 2 years. I have put 7300 hours on the thing,and it still looks great with no image degradation. I put 2700 hours on one lamp,then replaced it with the spare I got when I purchased the PJ, and it STILL looks great after 4600 hours on it. Inorganic panels be damned.


I swore that no matter what, my next PJ purchase would be a 1080p one, and now that the prices have come down to the $2000 level, I've decided on the Epson 6100.


EDIT: I expect to be getting the 6100 in the next couple weeks.
 

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I have the epson sitting just like you plan (on shelf about 10 ft from 92" screen). You didn't mention screen, but can save money by going with a painted on screen. Search black widow in the diy screen forum. The epson really excells with ambient light. I can have 2 overhead 40 watt bulbs on and still enjoy gaming in dynamic mode. This pj isn't perfect (the blacks aren't super) but for the money it's probably the best 1080p for ambient light. I also have a 50" panny downstairs but only use it for my kid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input guys. I initially wanted to spend under $750, then doubled that, and now it looks like I'm barely staying under $2k. I suppose that's a pretty typical experience here at AVS, and it's definitely deja vu from when I was looking for speakers.


So right now, I think I'm trying to decide between the Epson 6100 and the Mitsubishi HC5500. After rebates, coupons, and taxes, the final cost will be just about equivalent (but the HC5500 nets me a bulb, which is awesome).


So, I just need to decide based on image quality, brightness, and placement options. I was going to pair a screen with whatever projector I ended up choosing, but it's looking more and more like I want to go with a laminate, probably a Wilsonart designer gray or white. I could paint if I really wanted to, but I just finished working on some furniture (desk and a/v rack) and I'm tired of sanding/staining/painting/finishing at this point. I'm just looking to take the easy way out



I don't anticipate the limited placement of the HC5500 to be a problem for my setup. Really, the main benefit of the 6100 over the HC5500 would be the increased brightness for performance with ambient light. However, the HC5500 is quieter, has the inorganic panels (don't know if it really makes that big of a difference, I suppose it's more peace of mind really), and I think it would throw a better picture too from what I've read.


If the HC5500 performs decently well with some ambient light (room lighting, not sunlight), the free bulb that comes with it right now makes it the more attractive of the two.


Speaking of ambient lighting, any advice on how to light a room without ruining the screen? I know the basics are to avoid direct light on the screen by using recessed lights, etc. However, the best models I've seen involve lights installed in the ceiling/on the wall. I'm working with an apartment living room with zero built in lighting, so I'll be buying all the lamps myself. Any suggestions here?
 
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