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Are projectors still a secret?

65821 Views 113 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  chmcke01
I was wondering if you all think that projectors are still widely unknown to the general public? Do you think that if more people knew about them that they would but a projector over a TV? Also would that have a positive or negative effect on the industry and it's customers?
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Well I think majority of people know about them. But I also think that most of them think they are either too expensive or too complicated and what not. Not to mention that most people would not replace their TV with them because of daytime viewing and what not. But they are getting much more popular and we are seeing some pretty low prices on newer projectors now. I was extremely surprised to see 1080p FPTV's for under 3 grand so soon.
Ya 1080p for $3000.00, it wasn't more than 3 or 4 years ago that you would pay $10,000 or more for a 1080p projector. Remarkable isn't it. Now if only all the other cool components would come down as much we would all be very happy HT nuts!
I initially thought "all in ones" would make pjs become more mainstream, and perhaps they have. It doesn't help that the big box stores do little, if anything, to let the general public know whats out there and how they are much more affordable than even 1 year ago...
And still, TOO LARGE a % of the general populace knows too little about even the basics of display technology...so a front pj would be an extreme "extravagance"...
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!
The front projector requires a fair amount of work to set it up correctly in a home theater. Most people think its a big deal to plug in all the cables on their new plasma TV; they are not about to start surveying a room for a projector ceiling mount. I was surprised by the amount of work I had to invest to ceiling mount my pj, and I'm pretty capable. It was still several days work to design the pj mounting attachments, survey the pj mount, install signal boxes in the wall, run cables between the rack and the pj, run electrical service, hang the screen, mount the pj, and aim it. Compare that with put the set down along this wall and plug an HDMI cable into it.

I predict you will remain smug and shallow.
I think you nailed it GS. After even beginning to hear about the amount of work necessary to to get a PJ up and running, most people will say "screw that". However I do believe that there is a small percentage of people that would go with a PJ if they knew this basic fact. There is nothing you can't display on a TV that you can't display on a projector. When I describe my home theater to those that are unfamiliar the question I allways get is "what can you watch on it". It seems they think that it is very specialized or good for only one source. Remember most people don't go any further than thier local brick and mortar for thier home entertainment needs and as rumonkey said they do not do PJ's any justice at all.
I heard that. I couldn't get anyone to demo a projector that cost less that $4000, and that was only one. Projectors in show rooms were $10,000 - $36,000. The same high-end showroom had a dozen HDTV sets for less that $4000, including rear-projection sets.

I don't know why this is true, but I was told that the markup on projectors was very low. The store would only make money on the installation. The average buyer of a <$3000 projector is not going to spend $1500 on an installation; he will DIY. The average $36,000 projector buyer is getting the full home installation treatment. Actually, the $36,000 projector was a Runco, and they are always professionally installed.
I think they are a BIG secret - I've always dreamed of having a PJ but I thought they were just too
expensive. One day I just started browsing in some of these Home Theater forums and I noticed that
people were fixing up their basements for HT, so I looked for what PJ they were using. I figured that
the PJs would be like $7000 - $10,000 but when I looked up the prices some of them were like $1200.
I was floored - that you can get an HD PJ for so cheap. So now I'm a Happy owner of a Sanyo Z5
and could not be happier
That is pretty much what happened to me as well. A friend of mine showed me a Sony VPLHS1 that was $4000.00 Cdn at the time. Pretty expensive but within range so I went for it. I had no idea I could have a 100" picture for that kind of money. For that matter I really didn't know I could have a 100" picture!Two years later I also have a Z5 which I paid half as much for and it is twice the pj. I think if you are not a techy person or luck into the info you will not even know they exist. The brick and mortars aren't going to try to push them as it is too tough a sale to educate a customer from scratch. They would much rather just give them what they expect.
This true with all technology... the initial "prototypes" are going to be expensive, but as the need is created so the prices usually drop over time.
I think most people just don't want a front projector. They want a flat screen TV. Front projectors have been the beneficiaries of rear projection TV sales, because those are what have been the market force. Now with the drop of RPTV sales because flat screen prices have dropped, we may see stagnation in the FP market as well.
Projectors are too cumbersome for a Big Box retailer to sell effectively. A tube/panel TV takes up 5 sqft where as a projector needs to be back a good 10 feet from a big screen in a dark room to be shown effectively.

The good audio specialty stores have dedicated rooms to do this and showcase other HT gear. Of course they don't normally swap out the projector unless you are really serious about buying and set up a viewing time.

I ended up buying an Epson 550 LCD projector off Ebay for $500 (a steal) and $50 for shipping. I built my own screen out of laminate for a cool $70. Nowhere could I get the PQ and screen size for $620 or quadruple that in a flat panel.

It is more complicated to set up and I do agree that many people don't know what the scoop is about projectors. My parent's thought it would be something like an old slide projector. They were flabbergasted when they saw it in action for the first time. In fact most people who've watched a movie on my system are blown away at first. Most people I know haven't actually seen a HT projector in action.
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For myself, the lack of a dedicated room means several windows to deal with, plus the room doubles as a living room and in addition because of a supporting post, mounting a projector would be problematic at best. The short version, some of us aren't fortunate enough to have a suitable environment for them.


The big drawback of using a projector for a TV is that most households use the TV at least 3 hrs a day and given the cost of the projector bulbs it is not cost effective as a TV.
Strictly for movie watching is another story as then most projectors are only on about 6hrs a week substantially lengthening the bulb life.
Tony makes a very good point and I wonder if people with projectors can tell us what affects the bulb most: the number of hours that it's on or the number of times that it is turned on and off. As I recall my electronics, the current surge for a lamp is the most stressful time but I'm not sure that's true with new technology.

I know for a fact that turning on a projector before its been off for at least 2hrs is very hard on the bulb. In our house the TV gets turned on and off many times a day and that would be very hard on a projector.
Bulbs cost around $300-$450 each and last around 2000hrs so used as a TV this could be less than a year of use. Plus the heat generated by the projector and you who live in Hot climates this could also shorten the lifespan.
The bulb problem is real, but also there for rear projection sets and those have been very popular. Front projectors are not TVs. They can't be kept on, just for company, in a bright room. They are home theater.
The cost of bulbs is no longer an issue for a lot of people. There is a growing number of people who do DIY projectors. A spin off of the DIY projector community is projector bulbs being sold for $40 to $60 dollars, depending on what model of projector it is and what type of bulb it takes. If you're willing to do a little work by taking the light engine apart and replacing the bulb,you can save big money. The bulbs are being stocked here.
Any questions regarding a specific projector can be asked here.
"ywh" is suppling the bulbs from China and the store is run by another member in the U.S. by the name of "18wheeler"
I don't wish to sidetrack this thread, but I found this interesting because it made me more aware of a line separating true (dedicated) home theaters (if I can use that description) versus setups that you can casually watch HD TV.

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