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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting close to getting a front projector but I want to make sure I am making the right decision. I figured that the best place to get recommendations is right here with you folks! First a little background, I currently own a 50" Hitachi RPTV that is about 6 years old. My viewing preferences break down like this, 45% Sat TV non high-def receiver (although, I plan on going high-def one of these days), 45% DVD (right now I have the Panny RV-80 non progressive scan DVD player but wouldn't hesitate at purchasing a progressive scan player if it would make whatever projector you guys recommend look noticeably better.), and about 10% PS2 gaming. The room that the projector will be placed in has a couple windows, but I plan on hanging drapes as soon as I get the projector so that I can control the light. I will be sitting about 12 feet away from the screen which will be 52" X 92" (at least that is how large the space where the screen will go can accommodate.) The projector I get will either have to be sitting on a table behind my couch which would put it at about 13 feet away from the screen or I will have to mount it overhead from whatever distance it would need to be at.


I have recently viewed the only digital front projector in my town, as far as dealers are concerned anyway. He had a Infocus Screenplay 110 setup, I wasn't overly impressed by it, blacks weren't very good and I immediately saw rainbows without trying. I imagine that this dealer didn't have it set up optimally and I am fairly confident that he hadn't done any calibrations to dial the video settings in. However, I am hoping that the Screenplay isn't the kind of quality I can expect from a front projector because it just wasn't very good, IMO.


I would like to get the most bang for the buck I can...I really would like to stay under the 2K price range. If the Screenplay is any indication of my propensity to see rainbows then I suppose DLP's are out of the window. However, if Screenplay is noted as not being very rainbow friendly and newer DLP's have corrected this then they still might. I am also hoping that screendoor won’t be an issue since I will be 12 feet back from the screen.


Well, I guess that's all I can think of right now. Are there any other factors I need to consider before purchasing a projector? Will the projectors of today blow my old RPTV out of the water? Would I be better off waiting for the next models? Where is the best place to buy since there aren't any decent dealers in my area to buy from? Anything else I left out?


Any information, assistance, help you all can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Yes, I would say current projectors should look noticably better (and larger) than your 6 year old RPTV *IF* (very important) the room is dark.

In a brightly lit room, the RPTV will look better. In other words, you have to be willing to watch your projector in the dark. Most of the people in here take that for granted but it is something to think about.

For "under $2000" your best options are: the Panasonic L300U Widescreen 16:9, LCD, screendoor minimizing technology. Slightly under 2k

The Infocus X1: 4:3 SVGA DLP, 2x color wheel, 1000 Lumens (Take with a grain of salt) and upto 2000:1 contrast ratio. Better blacks and contrast ratio than the LCDs, but at 2x could bother the rainbow-sensitive.


The PLV-Z1 has the same panels as the L300U, but is slightly brighter and does not have the screendoor reducing technology. Also a few hundred cheaper than the L300U.


You are fairly close to your screen, so consider throw and screendoor effect. It may be an issue on the Z1 although the slight defocus trick comes up often.


A new under $2000 player is the Dell (forgot the model no.) XGA DLP for a little under 2k and the SVGA DLP for the $1000 range. The dont have preset color balances as good as the 3 I mention above but some people on these boards still like them.


If I remember right the screenplay 110 has a fast 4x wheel to reduce rainbows. I can't imagine that the 2x X1 or Dells would look any less rainbowed. All things considered you should probably be looking at the L300U or the Z1.


Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info! Concerning having a dark room for projectors, do you mean completely dark? The room doesn't have an overhead light, instead there is a floor lamp and a table lamp...the light wouldn't be directly on the screen as the lamps are in the back of the room. What kind of effects would having a lamp or two on in the room create? Is a front projector still watchable or can I hang up even having a lamp on in the room?


Also, if the Screenplay I saw has a 4X wheel and I easly noticed rainbows, then I would be very scared to try out the X1 with only a 2X wheel (same goes for the two Dell's you mentioned). Looks like an LCD pojector for me (sounds like either the Z1 or 300). How are black levels on these two projectors? Also, will a front projector (namely, one of these) give me a 3D image? I don't mean 3D as in wearing 3D glasses etc. but just the perceived 3D look that one gets at the theater. Thanks for the help!
 

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Pinkeye,


I wouldn't be quite so quick to run from the rainbows -- I bought my X1 sight unseen, expecting to see them.


and I do, but less as time has gone on. I don't mind noticing the infrequent rainbow ... doesn't diminish my viewing experience.


my .0002 is that rainbows have been blown 'way out of proportion -- just my .02.


as far as lighting goes, you'll do best by building your theater in stages -- project on a blank wall; play with lighting until you get a handle on the amount and where they should be placed so you can navigate the room, see to eat dinner (it's what we do ...), then start playing with a screen.


If you do it in stages it'll come out fine; If you try to preplan every detail, something might just bite you ...


Mark
 

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My theater room is 12 x 22 with the first row of seats back about 12' like yours. I had a 65" mits. wide screen tv for about a year but that wasn't big enough. I sold my wide screen and started learning about front projection, mostly from avs forum. I ended up buying(sight unseen) the panasonic pt-l300u. For the money, I don't think you can do any better. My screen is 48 x 90and love every minute of watching it. The movies are so much better on the bigger screen. My viewing is about 60% dvd's and the rest is hdtv from a dishnetwork 6000 receiver with an ota tuner. CBS is really good in high def.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
mpilon,

Gotcha! The only thing is I live in the butthole of the world and there aren't any "serious" dealers in my neck of the woods. There is the one dude who only has the Screenplay so that is all I have to go by and since I will be purchasing sight unseen I really hate to take a chance on a DLP and find that I can't enjoy it because of the rainbows. I thought that perhaps the Screenplay I saw was an older model and that the newer ones had corrected upon that. But if the Screenplay has a 4x wheel and the X1 has a 2x wheel it makes me think rainbows will be even worse. However, I defintely like you idea of going in stages and will definitely keep that in mind, sounds like the best plan.


TBevill103,

Can you compare your front projector with your RPTV. Sounds like you had a very nice RPTV. How does the 300 compare to it? Black levels? Contrast? Color? 3Dish quality? etc.. Are you happy with the quality of the projector when compared to your RPTV? Not just when taking the size of the picture in consideration but the quality of it as well. How do lights in the room effect the projector? How much light is in your room?


Thanks for all the responses!
 
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