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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK -


Just suppose I have $10-12 K to spend on a home theater for the next 3-5 years. My use will be 90% home theater with groups of firends (up to 10) DVD, in light controlled environment (no DLA due to rainbow) onto an 96" to 120" (width). DVD is a mixed batch of 4:3(25%) and widescreen (75%) due to love of old movies.


The other 10% will be to show my own DV movies in larger venues to 100+ with less light control (again no DLA to avoid rainbow) and a bigger screen. These will be 50% 4:3 and 50% 16:9.


Of the following option sets - what would folks recommend:


Option 1 - buy cheap now, buy better later:


Purchase a used Sanyo 21N for around $3,000 (w/one year warranty and new bulb) and a cheap screen (DIY or Dalite).


With bulb replacements etc I could save around $8K for the next generation of projectors/screens in 2-3 years and upgrade.


Option 2 - buy middle now, upgrade to the new middle 2-3 years from now


Purchase a Hitachi 5500 and an ok screen (Dalite) spend around $6,000 now save $5-6K for two years from now upgrade to similarly priced (but obviously better) tech


Option 3 - buy a JVC 150CL or G15 and a nice screen (Stewart), spending 10-$12,000 and not save much of anything for newer tech in a few years and not look at the internet again for 5 years ;) because all I will do is watch movies all the time. I'll still check in here occasionally of course! ;)


Some people seem to think we're on a cusp of a big shift in tech which would point toward Option 1 - get something I will like fine now and start saving for the next big thing which will really be THE THING (and will put the 21N to shame!). Others think the JVC DILA is just flat out great and it won't need to upgraded until the fancy strikes me or I win the lottery.


Just so you know my mentality - I am not a total image nudge (I think at this point most of these projectors look cool with decent calibration)- I like things to look all around solid (JVC!) and I will need brightness (Sanyo!) for the bigger showings with less light control, and I would like to avoid screendoor as much as necessary to not be distracting (Hitachi!).


If the Hitachi didn't have the purple push and QC trouble I would have bought one yesterday and assumed I could get something better for the same price in three years - i.e. the middle-of-the-road approach. But I am nervous about spending that much and not getting a good product and in 6 months drooling over the new LCOS projector that works better and has better QC (the Christie!?).


Hoping to hear some opinions despite not putting in any intentionally incendiary remarks (which seems to be the best way to get responses sometimes! sigh).


Thanks all - I love the forum.

Doug
 

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Doug,

I think most of us are faced with these sorts of decisions. The problem is made worse by the fact that it's just too difficult to do a thorough visual comparison of projectors on one's short list. People who bought the Sony VW10HT are probably wondering if they should have held off a while, because the Sanyo PLV60 and VW11HT followed a short time later and are considered to be improvements. But the fact is such improvements are not all that great in any case. I think in the development of a new technology, the biggest improvements are made early on and later improvements become increasingly more marginal. The big improvement in front projectors that is yet to appear at a reasonable price (and brightness) is full HD resolution - 1920x1080P. In the meantime there'll be marginal increases in contrast ratio and brightness with each new model, but picture quality will still be more dependent upon such factors as calibration, tweaking, screen type and light control. I mean, I haven't even explored the benefits of the DVI input on the Hitachi yet. That's my 2 cents worth.


BTW, you can fix the purple issue on the SX5500W provided it's not too bad. For me, a CC30Y filter works fine with a compensatory increase in the BLUE gain in the service menu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
barryz -


thanks for your thoughtful...er...thoughts! I agree that these decisions are tough! ;)


Yes the Hitachi 5500 - sigh - I am convinced that we are 6-12 months away from a breakthrough LCOS projector that doesn't have anything OBVIOUSLY wrong with it that I pause in spending the $5K...(it may even be a Hitachi "5500Z" or something...). Also I pause to encourage a company to put out such poorly QC'ed equipment. Its like they were sooo close to putting out the perfect projector at the perfect price point. You make a good point though - this could be a 5 year keeper with a minor filter adjustment. It just screams - "wait until they fix it" from a consumer advocacy/long term money commitment standpoint. Does anyone think they will fix it? is anyone scrambling to capitalize on the moment (I hear Sony is making an LCOS move)?


The Sanyo 21 seems to be the "cheeseburger" (don't even have to think about it - everyone loves cheeseburgers) of the $5K market because it doesn't have anything QC wrong with and it throws up a solid image with reasonable color accuracy, contrast and great brightness. The screendoor is more or less indemic to the technology and not "bad engineering."


The JVC DILA's (150CL and G15) - screw the revolution - amazing picture now!


Your point about the next big moment is well taken - but I doubt I can wait for it! Or can I? Is it closer than I think?


It looks like the 5500 has really taken this forum by storm and in general people think that its worth buying, torturing and tweaking to fix the bad QC. By the way - impressive how quickly the members here isolated and "fixed" this projectors "idiosyncracies."


i guess now that I have talked it out ;) the questions really are big picture:


Does anyone think the revolution is close on price/quality? or When will the LCOS projector hit that is a "cheeseburger"? If its more than two years, I am going with the 5500, if its a year or less I am going with the Sanyo, and if I freak out and go for the gold I am going for the JVC!


Industry insiders/long-time projector market gurus - what would you buy today if you had $12,000 and it had to last you around 5 years (and no DLA)?


I WILL be projecting by August 2002 gosh darnit! ;)


Doug
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ddemay


It looks like the 5500 has really taken this forum by storm and in general people think that its worth buying...
Doug,


Yes - this forum periodically gets hijacked by a given projector. First it was the JVC D-ILAs, then the NEC LT-150,

then the Panasonic AE100, now the Hitachi 5500....

Quote:


Does anyone think the revolution is close on price/quality? or When will the LCOS projector hit that is a "cheeseburger"? If its more than two years, I am going with the 5500, if its a year or less I am going with the Sanyo, and if I freak out and go for the gold I am going for the JVC!


Industry insiders/long-time projector market gurus - what would you buy today if you had $12,000 and it had to last you around 5 years (and no DLA)?
It's a losing game trying to time "THE revolution". It's like buying a computer - which revolution? - the Pentium III

revolution, the Pentium IV revolution, the Apple G4 revolution.... breaking the 1 GHz barrier, breaking the 2 GHz

barrier... it just keeps going.


If you can deal with their problems - heat, noise, and bulb cost - the JVCs are hard to beat. They've been at or near

the top of the heap for some time now. JVC-Hughes did some damn good engineering.


Dr. Gregory Greenman

Physicist
 

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Doug,

I can understand the thought process you are going through. The question for me also was when should I plunge into this hobby. I also thought of Sanyo 21, Hitachi 5500 and JVC 15. I did not want to buy DLP because of rainbows. I had seen JVC about 1 year before my Hitachi demo and was happy (even though it was callibrated) and knew it can be improved from what I saw. I demoed bothSanyo and Hitachi at my home with couple of other forum members. We all could see the screen door effect on Sanyo from about 20' on a 11' screen and just about none on the Hitachi (also no screen door on JVC), so couple of us opted to buy Hitachi. I did not want to buy a used pj so for me the cost penalty was not as big.

JVC is a very good pj to buy so if you want something better and can live with heat and noise, than go for that, but Hitachi is not that far behind. Yes, it has problems which, as of now, Hitachi has been very positive about it and have exchanged the pj without making a fuss (atleast I have not heard of anyone having difficulty in exchanging the pj). Most of the people who have bought the Hitachi PJ have been happy. If you are not a videophile and just want to watch a movies, you will be happy with it, but before you buy any pj, please see the pj, understand what you are getting into and then buy it from a reputable source who can work with you in taking care of any problems. If you do not go with hopes to getting an ideal pj then you will be happy with any of the 3 pjs you have mentioned.


DP
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Many Thanks to DP and the good doctor for their thoughts - seems like 2 "votes" for the Hitachi (barryz and DP) and a vote for a JVC (Morbius). No votes for the Sanyo.


I am starting to see the wisdom of a cautious Hitachi buy (right dealer, right price) - with a commitment to tweak and live in this forum ;). Then in two years I will upgrade to the next $6000 projector that kicks butt (maybe the JVC 150CL will be that cheap in two years! ha ha).


Hitachi owners - has ANYONE actually received a good 5500 without purple push and/or dead pixels from the get-go? recommended places/vendors to look at?


Is everyone using a yellow filter with blue adjust to get this thing looking good (or is it really a tweakers problem)? I watch a decent number of black and white movies so will be bummed if they are actually purplish.


Anyone have an opinion as to how well the Hitachi would hold up projecting a big image (up to 15'-20' wide) in a dim, but not dark, art gallery?


Anyone know where I can see one of these in action in Massachusetts?


Anyone going to stand up for the Sanyo wait-and-see approach? ;)
 

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I am of the buy cheap and enjoy now camp... Also all I am really doing is staying one year behind you guys at the other end of the scale for a lot less $$$...


Eg nearly 2 years ago I bought a Davis DLP clone for 1.5K (new) its had 4k+ hours on it in that time and I am currently haggling a XP21 for a little over 2K shipped... I am guessing I may get about 1k back on my Davis (or close anyway) and so I have had 2 years 4000 hours and now may own a XP21 for total cost of about 2500 - 2750... Thats one hell of a price performance game... All I have done is resisted the latest and greatest but still had a servicable (pretty nice IMHO) image to live with...


In a couple of years I hope to be doing a design and build villa job... At this time I will have a perfect dedicated HT / Listening room and at this point the market may have stableized (but I doubt it) and I will onsider a mega buck machine but for my lifestyle and general use room I prefer the route I have taken...
 

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Buy something used or cheap as a stop gap. Take some money and work on the rest of the theater.


Within a year or two there will likely be a large difference in what is out there now.


Mulitiple manufacturers with 1920x1080 panel LCOS projectors.


10 bit processing instead of 8


Full digital connections and information path


Much better contrast and projectors that come pre-calibrated.


More competition among manufacturers for a peice of the HT market which is increasing very fast.
 

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ddemay,


You should get a demonstration in the art gallery you mention. For $12,000, you can get a Hitachi 5500 for the home and a 3500 lumen LCD projector for the gallery and other large venues. You could rent the LCD projector for $100 a night to defray part of the cost. That would be my approach.


I know you are trying to avoid screendoor effect, but if you are going to use the projector a lot for groups of 100 in a somewhat lit up environment, then a bright projector would be needed.


For example, the Hitachi CP-X990W:

XGA (1024x768), 3500 ANSI Lumens, 500:1 contrast ratio, power zoom and focus. 14.3 lbs.

HDTV: 1080i,720p,575i

EDTV/480p: Yes

SDTV/480i: Yes

Component Video: Yes

Video: Yes

Digital Input: Yes DVI

Personal Computers: Yes

It can be bought from

The AV Guy for $ 5,650 3 Years warranty

New Unit... Free UPS Ground Shipping... or

Multimedia Innovations $ 5,699. This information is from projectorcentral.com.


I have no affiliation with any dealers or Hitachi. Myself, I own a Hitachi 5500 and love the picture. It has no problems other than one stuck pixel at the side which no one but me has ever noticed. No filters or service menu adjustments were required, even though I have played with the service menu. I only adjust brightness and conrast and main gamma depending on the particular DVD. However, I often wish it had more brightness.


At the college where I work we have many different projectors. When it comes to large groups and rooms, brightness is the most important factor in pleasing the audience, even when it comes to viewing projects by film and video classes. As an experiment I brought in my projector and showed the same video on it and a 3000 lumen LCD Eiki projector. People admitted that the 5500 picture was more filmlike and detailed, but found the brighter LCD projector made the experience easier to enjoy in the auditorium.


Noel
 

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Because of your large venue requirement, I would go with the Sanyo.


If screen door bothers you get an anamorphic lens and defocus slightly. The only issue might be HDTV. In that case one has to worry about getting the correct aspect ratio with an anamorphic lens.


My second choice would be the Hitachi.


I'd also recommend the Firehawk as a screen or maybe the Greyhawk with the Sanyo.


I love DILAs, but the price is a bit inflated compared to the Hitachi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all for insightful points.


The point about brightness and larger groups is really helpful and I have experienced the same thing myself - people at a film festival don't really care about screendoor - they want a big bright image. I really have to remember that. This points to something in the sanyo line (XP21 or 30 or 45) and I will look into rental rates on those around here - might be more sensible - and then get the Hitachi 5500 for my HT. I haven't been able to demo one of these yet, but if it looks as good as the 21N without the screendoor I'm in!


Thanks to all - someday someone will make the right projector at the right price! Hitachi is so close with 5500!
 

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Don't forget the Sanyo XP46 - 4,100 lumens. It's the replacement for the XP45. There's some lumens for you! You should be able to find it for under $6,500. I'll echo recommendations for the 5500 for HT.


Chuck Davis
 
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