Are projectors still a secret? - Page 6 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #51 of 114 Old 02-07-08, 09:30 PM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

A friend of mine purchased a sammy dlp tv and it looked ok for a rptv,
What I did was buy an entry level dlp 720p fp which i use on weekends which I
use on the weekends and my projector looks so much better .
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post #52 of 114 Old 04-27-08, 05:08 PM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

This is a great thread that deserves to be a sticky.

Just would like to mention projectors are not widespread as other display types are more versatile. They can be used with ambient light, the can be turned on and off without making calculations , no bulbs, relatively "plug and play", no installation skill required....whatever. But I honestly do not think it is a matter of picture quality. While it is true a flat panel will be much sharper and clearer than a FP setup, it often lacks the size & details that can be generated by a good FP.
As opposed to common display types, a projector needs "attention and respect" when played, and it has its qualities and can create a special atmosphere no other display type can provide.
Getting back to the topic of that thread... For me the answer is definitely yes, projectors are unfortunately still a secret for most, but I guess this is changing slowly but surely

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- "you can never have too big a screen" (talking about still pictures)


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post #53 of 114 Old 04-27-08, 06:57 PM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

I wouldn't have considered a projector if I didn't have a dedicated space to build a home theater. I don't think it's so much a secret as many realize, as we did, that the projector cost is only a fraction of the cost of going front projector. I'm going to use a HT receiver I already have, but after speaker upgrades and getting a blu-ray player, I'll be dropping an additional $2.5K in electronics. That's not chump change.

When we built our house five years ago, we planned in an area in the basement that's totally light controlled. We haven't felt we watched TV enough to shell out the money to finish out the area. I also feared if we did, we'd end up spending too much time in it just trying to justify going to the expense.

We're not typical TV watchers. We watch mostly rented movies and Turner Classic Movies, with some PBS thrown in. I think they're all perfect for the home theater, especially if TCM goes HD.

In addition, we plan to buy an LCD TV to watch standard TV fare to save on bulb expense. I understand it's pretty common.

When I was trying to decide about going with front projection, I just couldn't find a setup to demo. The first time I saw what I consider a good demo is when I temporarily set up my projector and projected on a wall primed with Kilz2. It wasn't anywhere close to a proper setup, but I was completely blown away with IQ. Can't wait to finish!

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post #54 of 114 Old 04-27-08, 09:46 PM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

I had set up my projector before getting my HT done. I just projected it onto a wall to see how it would look. The wall was painted with a beige paint. Not nearly the idea surface or colour. My jaw still hit the ground when I saw the PQ from my HD-DVD player. The projector was nothing extravagent either, just an Epson 550 that only does 1080i max.

I've also tossed around the idea of getting a small TV for my HT to save bulb life, but figure that it's only $350 for a new bulb that will last for 2000-3000. 3000 hours would be 8.2 hours of use each and every day for 365 days. I'm not a couch potato so in total I probably watch at most 16 hours of TV and movies in a week but typically half that amount. So even if I split the difference and said I watched 12 hours a week that would mean I used about 600 hours of bulb life in a year. That would take me about 5 years to burn the bulb out.

To buy a TV that would make me happy enough to watch HD cable on would probably cost as much as a new projector anyway (with a new bulb inside).
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post #55 of 114 Old 04-27-08, 09:48 PM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

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Instal wrote: View Post
That's kinda what I thought too. But lets say that more people did know about them and they were as prevelent as TV's are today, how would that change how you feel about being a PJ owner? I have to admit with a smidge of shame that I would miss the feeling of belonging to a community that has made a discovery that few know about. What would I do without that smug smile when someone is telling me about their new TV with the "massive" 50" screen? Then to be able to enjoy the look of dismay when you explain that you could fit four of those on your screen. Am I petty and shallow? Perhaps, but it is a guilty pleasure that I would surely miss, and I'm sure I'm not alone!
Boy thats a bit of a shame if you ask me, any true enthusiast would champion as many as he knows to do exactly what he has done and not enjoy looking down his nose at others who have not yet or dont have the ability to do something similar. Anyone who comes over gets a pitch on how cheaply it can be doone and my offer to help as much as I can even scouting good deals on the internet. Maybe if more would try to grow awareness then the numbers would come down and we would all benefit from more affordable superior technology.
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post #56 of 114 Old 05-23-08, 06:16 AM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

Are projectors still a secret?

Yesterday, I invited 2 collegues (highly ranked engineers) from work at home. I tried my best to describe my room and equipment to them before we decided to get home. I focused on picture quality a lot. They told me they knew about LCDs, Plasmas... but letting alone cinemas, they only saw business projectors in action.

They stayed in my theater from 6 PM till midnight. They were BLOWN AWAY. But they told me they could expect everything in my theater but PQ. They told me they didn't guess a projector PQ could be that high.

They definitely discovered a secret

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Yamaha RX-V2500, Wharfedale Diamond 9.6 Fronts, Wharfedale Diamond CM Center, Diamond DFS Surround and rear, Behringer FBQ 2496, Dual RL-P18s 625L LLTs, Dual TA-2400 Pro (2 * 2000 W Amp), Samsung HD870 DVD player, Carada BW 16:9 106" screen, Epson TW-2000, 60 Gb PS3
Important HT proverbs:
- "You can never have too much headroom" (talking about bass)
- "you can never have too big a screen" (talking about still pictures)


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post #57 of 114 Old 05-23-08, 09:05 AM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

I do think people know they are out there but I think the impression is that they are more exotic, expensive, hard to setup, and lower quality.

Projectors definitely are exotic and to many the only time they see or read anything about them is in the various Home Theater magazines, which I personally feel are sometimes a bit out of touch with the average consumer. I say that because when they do feature an HT setup, it is usually some celebrity or a high profile installation that exceeds what a person is ready to shell out.

Everyone I talk to has the impression that having a projector means a $50K project of building a dedicated room done by professional installers. So that definitely lends to the exotic perception.

What most don't see or read about is how more and more people are using projectors in multi-purpose rooms that aren't specially designed dedicated 'theaters'.

Then there is the issue that they aren't nearly as easy to setup as an HDTV. I know of no one that comes home with a new projector and are watching it that night. No matter what the room setting, be it a dedicated HT room or a multi purpose room, a projector setup takes more planning than just buying a TV.

Next is cost. Again thanks to a lot of the print magazines people tend to only see and read about projectors that are either a brand new release or some top of the line (meaning expensive) unit. They may not be projector experts, but they do know that a screen is also required as well as mounts, cables, and time. Most people I know think it's more hassle than it's worth.

Image quality and screens- A big perception is that a projector just can't have a good image, at least nowhere near that of a stand alone HDTV. Depending on how things are setup; the screen, and the viewing conditions, that can be a very true statement. The biggest problem is that projectors do not handle daylight very well at all. They can be very surprising with even high levels of man made room lighting, but when it comes to mother nature and sunlight... well the typical setup doesn't usually live up to expectations.

Part of this has to do with screens. Actually a good percentage of everything mentioned has to do with the screen. You can have one of the best quality and most expensive projectors made but in the wrong environment and with the wrong screen it will look bad. Not might, it will.

Screens are a whole other arena that has its own set of problems and stigma. Is a plain jane unity gain matte white screen that costs almost $2grand really better than a $500 matte white unity gain screen? The short answer is no. But it really isn't that easy. We have fixed frame screens, retractable screens, motorized screens, tab-tensioned screens... the list is almost endless. Some people simply do not want a fixed frame screen and others can't accommodate one, or in a multi-purpose room it could be a wife approval thing where she wants it out of sight when not in use. Retractable screens are relatively inexpensive, even for a good quality screen material and even an electric remote controlled one. The problem is most aren't tab-tensioned and they eventually will develop waves in the screen, which will ruin the viewing experience.

Some people turn to DIY, but even that has a stigma. At first glance DIY can often look like a bunch of nuts, and a total lack of standards throughout the online community makes it almost impossible to really get a good comfort level whether they actually work. They do, but again we come full circle to the comment that it all depends on the setting and how well everything is matched up.

I have written about this before and in reality most people are working backwards. It's not really their fault though. By backwards, let me explain- Typically a person sees a projector at a friend's house or in a store with a proper viewing room and they are blown away by the size. Big boys like big toys! Anyway, they look at the price and think 'Hmmm, that's not as much as I thought'. Some models are even a lot less than an HDTV, so visions and dreams start filling their head and they pull out the card and buy the projector. Granted that's not how everyone does it, the main point is at some time or another a person catches the projector fever but not knowing much about them, they usually buy the projector first and then think about the screen.

That is where everything is backwards. I see a lot of people blow their entire budget on a projector without ever even thinking about a screen. Then they start to see that some screens can cost as much or more than what they spent on the projector. Worse, they may have purchased a lower lumen projector suited for a dedicated room and expect it to look good in a family room that has absolutely no light control. When this happens they usually aren't very satisfied with the experience and that's what all their friends hear. Then the perception and stigma grows and a lot of people flat out think projectors mean big image, but poor quality.

The very first thing a person needs to do is sit down and seriously evaluate what it is they want and expect. Part of this step is being totally honest about viewing habits. Will it be used during the day? At night with some, or even a fair amount of lighting on? What are the room dimensions? What is the color of the walls and ceiling and will that create a problem? Once it is determined what the range of viewing settings will be like then a screen type can be thought about. Basically that boils down to two types, gray screens or white screens. Those with lighting issues or that want to have some lights on will need at least a light gray screen. Those that want to watch during the day and can't stop all the sunlight from coming in will need a different type of screen as compared to the person that either has a dedicated setup or only watches movies at night with total light control.

From there, a person can then start looking at projectors and find one that will work well with not only the screen but also the room setting and their viewing preferences. Hence the reason I say things are usually done backwards... typically the projector comes first and the screen is an after thought.

Then we have to mount everything and figure out how to run the cables! Most people have no idea what all is involved with a projector, but they know it is a lot more work than taking something out of a box, plugging it in and firing it up. So with that I don't think projectors are a secret as much as I think they are viewed more like an exotic sports car. Most guys would love to have one, but think they are either too much work, or cost way too much. Well... what if I told everyone here that you can buy a Porsche that gets 32-34MPG and only spend around $4k? I'm dead serious about that, or buy a BMW for $2500... No gimmicks at all and I'm not being funny here. My point is if a person educates themselves first and then learns where to look and what to look for, projectors are not some exotic thing out of the grasp of us mere mortals.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

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post #58 of 114 Old 05-23-08, 09:23 AM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

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I had set up my projector before getting my HT done. I just projected it onto a wall to see how it would look. The wall was painted with a beige paint. Not nearly the idea surface or colour. My jaw still hit the ground when I saw the PQ from my HD-DVD player. The projector was nothing extravagent either, just an Epson 550 that only does 1080i max.

I've also tossed around the idea of getting a small TV for my HT to save bulb life, but figure that it's only $350 for a new bulb that will last for 2000-3000. 3000 hours would be 8.2 hours of use each and every day for 365 days. I'm not a couch potato so in total I probably watch at most 16 hours of TV and movies in a week but typically half that amount. So even if I split the difference and said I watched 12 hours a week that would mean I used about 600 hours of bulb life in a year. That would take me about 5 years to burn the bulb out.

To buy a TV that would make me happy enough to watch HD cable on would probably cost as much as a new projector anyway (with a new bulb inside).
I have a multi-purpose room so we also have a 55" HDTV there for our casual viewing.

It was fun when I was shopping for the set. They guys in Best Buy knew I was going to be buying something that day and I let it slip I just got my annual bonus, so they were pointing me to the 60" plus sets and were surprised when I told them I only wanted a 55" or smaller. I explained why- so it wouldn't interfere with the projector screen, they understood but the fun part was when they started asking me questions!

Anyway, I hear what you are saying about bulb life and viewing. One thing to keep in mind is yes you can get 2000-3000 hours out of a bulb depending on the projector, bulb, and which mode you use... but you start losing image brightness fast once you hit the 50% life point. At first it's not much, just a slight drop in the 'punch', but it goes downhill from there.

You sound a lot like me as far as projector viewing habits, but some people out there treat it like a big TV and others only have a projector and the entire family uses it daily. I know of some people that went through a bulb in way less than a year. Projector bulbs also generate a lot of heat, and after a couple of bulbs all that heat can start having an effect on the optics in the projector. I agree though that with most people a bulb will last a long time, but I fully expect to have to buy a bulb for my projector long before I have to for my HDTV starts showing any signs of wear.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"If all else fails, spin the cat."- Grzboken
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post #59 of 114 Old 05-23-08, 09:35 AM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

My wife's cousin came over on the weekend. He had just bought a 46" LCD HDTV for about $2500. He thought the PQ of my projector was great and asked how much I paid for it. When I said $500 for the projector and $70 in materials for the screen his jaw dropped. I think I got lucky on the projector, but even at twice the price it beat the pants off his LCD and at double the screen size to boot.

One thing he said was that I needed a receiver and speakers though so it probably cost a lot more. I replied that a decent HTIB would probably cost no more than $800 and give way better sound than what comes out of the TV's stereo speakers. His jaw dropped again.

I couldn't agree more with you wbassett. The setup for the average user would be daunting and not every guy/gal is a DIYer. This would tend to kill the sale for most people.

I'd also like to add that after buying the projector, cables, screen and installation by a pro the costs would approach that of LCDs and Plasmas. You'd get a bigger screen however. But just like building a fire you sit close to a small one but need to sit back far with a bonfire.
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post #60 of 114 Old 05-23-08, 09:52 AM
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Re: Are projectors still a secret?

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I couldn't agree more with you wbassett. The setup for the average user would be daunting and not every guy/gal is a DIYer. This would tend to kill the sale for most people.

I'd also like to add that after buying the projector, cables, screen and installation by a pro the costs would approach that of LCDs and Plasmas. You'd get a bigger screen however. But just like building a fire you sit close to a small one but need to sit back far with a bonfire.
I honestly think the average joe can handle a projector installation, it just takes some planning and a little bit of self education is all.

Cables... ugh! I'd say a professional installation will far exceed the cost of an LCD or Plasma. We all know were to buy cables, and I only spent $40 on my 50' HDMI cable. I know some people that spent more than that for a 6' HDMI cable! And we also know that most (can never say all) pro installers probably use the same cables at the same price we get but charge much more. Cables are a source of quick profits when it comes to installation work and often make up for 'deals' and cuts made in other areas.

I am definitely a projector fan and depending on whether we stay in the house we have now or move, I plan on building onto this house and making a dedicated theater complete with a lobby and games!

I got my first projector back in 1989 or so, it was a tank of a crt projector. A couple years ago I got back into projectors with a refurbished Sharp I paid around $400 for, and like you said, people were blown away at how it looked. I'm up to a 720p projector now and the image just keeps getting better and better looking! It 'almost' rivals my SXRD and when you throw in the size factor (106" vs 55") there is no contest.

Still, we use the TV for casual viewing and the projector for big epic movies and events.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

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