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2nd hand projector for a PC gaming centre

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Hotblack, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. Hotblack

    Hotblack
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    Hi

    I'm working with a colleague in setting up a PC gaming centre and we would like to install a projector connected up to a server. We're both new to PJ's and we've been searching this forum and there seems to be a hell of a lot to consider. What we need is to:

    keep to a budget of £1500
    work in a low light environment
    Doesn't have to be the best picture quality (displaying PC games)
    ceiling mounted
    viewable from 8' up to 16'
    8' screen minimum up to 12'
    not be too expensive on bulbs, as it will get a lot of use.
    and lastly, is it wise to buy a second hand PJ?

    any suggestions or recommendations appreciated?

    Thanks

    Have seen a Sony VPL-CX1 XGA going £600 (at the moment) on Ebay, would this be suitable?
     
  2. jrwood

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    Even though the bidding is at £600 the reserve is not met, your talking more like £1000. I have that projector and it is very good but at 36db it is fairly noisy and bulb life = 2000 hours and bulb price is about £270. It is a great projector mainly because of its low 550 lumens which means imho blacks are just as good as DLP from what I have seen of DLP's. However out of the box the contrast looks very poor, you have to tweak it in the factory/service menu but it does make a significant difference. You cannot ceiling mount it either.

    There are a few budget projectors coming out in the next few months, my advice would be to demo the Panasonic AE-100, the Philips Garbo (out very soon?) and then wait for the new projectors in Sept/Oct and demo them. It's important to demo the projector in the environment that you are going to use it, most places will loan you a projector for the weekend/day to try out before you buy.

    If its going to be used in a gaming centre then I doubt you will be all sitting in darkness, to be honest you are going to need to spend more money if you want any decent kind of image. I personally would get the new Sanyo PLV-70 or the Boxlight Cinema 20HD clone (basically the same as the PLV-70 but much cheaper) for a gaming centre. A projector providing 1500+ lumens would be ideal with a native resolution of 1024x768 (XGA).

    I take it you will be using the projector to show off LAN competitions so the spectators can see what is happening?. It might be worth speaking to some companies about sponsorship/advertising to get a discount on a projector.
     
  3. Jonny1973

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    XGA (1024x768) is vital.

    For your budget of £1600, the selection is going to be limited.

    I only know of 2 models (can't remember model numbers), a Toshiba and an InFocus that meet the criteria.
     
  4. Hotblack

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    Noise won't be a big problem, 2000 hours and £270 for bulbs is about average isn't it?

    I was wondering about the ceiling problem. Can we not just build a box for it to sit in? (bit simplistic huh?) It would be sited over a large coffee table but there will be people behind it (shouldn't be impossible should it?)

    The AE-100 has a 25% failure rate (survey on this site) so not too keen on that one to be honest but I take on board your advice re a demo first



    I thought we'd be looking at a 3k PJ to do the job so thought the best thing is to pick one up 2nd hand for our 1.5k budget. I'll keep my eye out for any 1500+ lumens but as you say, I might have to up my budget.

    hmmm, yes you are right. I hadn't thought about sponsorship, I don't know how receptive they'll be but it's worth a try (but again it means buying new :( )

    Thanks for your advice. Can you think of any 1500+ lumens that have a good reputation but not necessarily an earth-shattering image?


    Hotblack
     
  5. jrwood

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    Yeah thats the average, its always a good idea to check prices though as some projectors have crazy prices for bulbs. I actually use a Projector Table from Jessops, the projector sits about 5 feet off the floor on the projector table and projects the display over the top of the sofa...works very well and I prefer it this way than having the projector in front of you.

    I do not know how your room will be setup, you need to consider quite a few things though, if its easy to get to then do you want kids/gamers being able to get to it?!. If a projector is ceiling mounted then its less likely to be involved with someone trying to steal it/accidentally break it and your guests looking into the projector lens! etc...but I dont know how you planned to have your room setup. All projectors have different throw distances, some are long and some are short throw. For example the Panasonic is a short throw projector, I think www.projectorcentral.com has a projector calculator where you can see what size image you will get depending on your projector.
    [/QUOTE][/B]

    Yes hopefully the new batch of Panasonic AE100's have better reliability. I think you said yourself that you need reliability, with a new projector you may be able to do a deal where if your new one fails under warranty you are loaned another one while its being fixed. On my Sony I have a 1 year swap out warranty and another year RTB. With a second hand projector I doubt you would get any warranty...so if it breaks down then your left with probably quite a high repair bill depending on the problem and at least 1 month without your projector.

    If I was buying a projector for 'daytime' viewing I would probably go for one of the Sanyo's, if I had lots of money to spend the PLV-70 otherwise the Sanyo XP-18 or XP-21. However I would try out each of the projectors along with some budget projectors with lower lumen ratings. You will be surprised how some manufacturers inflate their lumen rating, I have tried some other LCD projectors (aswell as DLP) and even though my Sony is rated at 550 it was quite close to some 900 lumen rated projectors !!.

    You can pick up some good bargains if you do some research on the internet. Quite a few companies are reducing the prices of high lumen projectors which are quite noisy, as the AE100 has shown people want a quiet/widescreen projector at home.

    uk.pricerunner.com and www.pricewatch.co.uk may help you finding the best price. Also when you demo each of the projectors make sure they are PC friendly, not all projectors are such as the Hitachi which has tearable tearing problems yet it is an excellent projector hooked up via component in with a dvd player. Some projectors might be better at displaying fast paced games like RTCW/Quake3. I also think the Radeon has a better display compared to the geforce, so a Radeon 9700 would be best to drive it :).

    /James

    p.s even though the Sony VPl-CX1 retailed only a year ago for £2400 a lot of us here bought it a year ago from PC World Business Direct for £1299 inc vat. I think PC World Business Direct sell some projectors at very competitive prices, they must bulk buy or something.
     
  6. Dodgey

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    Hotblack... The PTAE100 has a 25% failure rate on a survey here? Come on man. We all know that the vast majority of people who visit these forums are here because they have a problem with their kit (granted there is a proportion of the likes of me who just likes to keep in touch with things and contribute help here and there) - forums are mainly for help. Most of the feedback from people is going to be of a negative nature. Adding to which, when people are happy with kit they don't tend to say much (or contribute to surveys). The 25% unhappy respondents are probably 25% of 75% of unhappy owners who access this forum. All the happy owners either don't find the need to access a forum for help, or simply can't be bothered to vote. Unhappy owners will be sure to vote.

    I guess the amount of owners of the Panny compared to any other projector on this forum is very high? They must have sold shed loads...

    Not being arsey, I just don't value the way survey results are used on forums like this. They are always weighted in the negative.

    And yes, I have a PTAE100 and had no problems at all, and at £1300ish inc vat for widescreen and low noise - well, what can you say??

    As for the application, the PTAE100 will not be right here as it is widescreen and the chap wants it for PC games (800x600 or 1024x768). There again, at the cost, he could just ignore the black bars on the right and left.

    Anyhow. Just putting my point accross.

    Regards

    Roger
     
  7. Hotblack

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    I know what you mean Dodgey about people getting bad service and telling ten others but when they get good service they only tell one but when a projector gets it's very own sticky post asking about how many people have had problems, it does make you think twice. Interestingly, the first four replies were positive so it doesn't always go to plan. I am, in fact, the chap who'll be using the projector in the gaming centre and any other advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated
     
  8. jrwood

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    This is going off-topic again :devil: to be honest what you say is flawed. There will be people who have had no problems with their projectors and there will be people who have. Also to say that people who do not have problems would never post here is silly. Every year a new projector is spotted as being the next breakthrough in features/price. Naturally a lot of forum members buy this from reading this forum, obviously the poll's do mean _something_. Every month I see posts like this http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=168584 and http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=167442 and http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=164723 and http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=150911 etc are just a few I picked out randomly not to mention some of the posts on this forum.

    Im not knocking the projector just saying that some projectors have proven to be unreliable, maybe there was a bad batch or a production line problem which hopefully has been sorted now.
     
  9. Chris Frost

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    O.K. Lots going on in this thread, but I think the answer to Hotblacks search isn't going to be a low ANSI Lumens second hand projector or a budget 16:9 projector.

    I'm sure I have already posted similar advice in another forum, but here goes again...

    Hotblack's main concerns are picture size, running costs and budget.

    More ANSI lumens = bigger, brighter picture. Forget black level - that's only important in a light controlled room - which a Games Cafe isn't going to be purely from the aspect of public safety.

    Advice #1- buy something as bright as possible.

    Picture Size - 8ft is a really big image (48 sq feet to be precise) and that will take a lot of light power from a projector to produce a punchy dynamic picture.

    If the picture lacks kick, try reducing the image size. The light will be concentrated in a smaller area and the picture will look noticably brighter.

    Advice #2 - if a brighter projector cost too much, go for a smaller screen size to compensate.

    Advice #3 - Resolution - stick wth SVGA (800x600) 4:3 panel projectors. You'll have a greater choice of machines that are also bright enough to work well in your venue. XGA projectors are going to cost much more for the same brightness as SVGA.

    Running costs & budget - Remember, the lamp in a s/h projector is already part worn, so a cheap s/h projector might cost more to run in replacement lamps than you save against buying new.

    There are budget long lamp life projectors on the market for around £1400 +VAT. Some have a low power mode to boost lamp life to 3- or 4000 hours. This drops the light power by around 20 -35%. Others are designed for long lamp life without this compromise. Philips bSure SV1 delivers 1200 ANSI from a lamp with an average life of 6000 hrs. The lamp is no more expensive than a typical 2000hr product.

    Advice 4# - weigh up the hidden costs of s/h (replacement lamp, shorter lamp life, lower brightness, no warranty) when comparing against new.


    Regards
     
  10. Hotblack

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    Thanks Chris

    A lot of things to think about. The only bit that confuses me still is the difference between SVGA & XGA. I've read here that my distance (16' and under) would be better suited to XGA but they are talking about video, not computer games. If I do go down the XGA route, it's trying to find a bright one with a long bulb life that's not too expensive (I'm not asking for much am I :) )

    It's strange that the more technology develops, the more we are prepared to accept its failings. I bought a second hand PC for my sister to get her onto the net and she was devastated that it didn't work the moment I switched it on. I was busy installing drivers and she was cursing that she'd spent £200 of her hard earned money on a lemon. It took me ages to explain that PC's are just a little bit crap and you have to accept that. It appears that you have to apply some of that logic to projectors too. It hadn't occurred to me that there would be ongoing costs for replacement bulbs and maintenance. Gone are the days that you switch the telly and it works. 15 years later you give it to your son as a flat warming present and it continues happily for another 5 until he decides to bin it for a black one as the wooden ones are a bit old fashioned. Ho Hum
     
  11. Matinee

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    That's a little bit harsh. The bottom line is that there is nothing more convenient than an LCD/DLP projector.

    You can go CRT (I did), but that means a large, heavy, usually ceiling mounted system that needs light control and occasional convergence - but the tubes last for around 10,000 hours+ or so and it offers the best blacks and variable resolutions.

    LCD/DLP/DILA are much more convenient and have great brightness but exhibit lower lamp life (which it's dangerous to exceed: go past a CRT's recommended tube life and it just gets dimmer, intentionally reset LCD lamp life and continue and it can explode), can be noisy, the blacks arent as good and DLP has a rainbow effect problem on some models.

    It's just a tradeoff like everything in life. In 5-6 years the problems will probably be solved but until then you need to choose.

    Also, computers do a lot more than TVs, and is /is/ possible to get it to work straight away as soon as it is turned on provided you define what it is designed to do. For instance, making a computer work with a specific ISP has been done.

    OTOH if you want the PC to work with any ISP, you're expecting it to be flexible and at that point you have to accept things will go wrong.

    There's also the factor that some people wish to spend sqrt(fa) on a PC and expect gold plated service. If you spend very little, dont expect superior service.

    PK
     
  12. Hotblack

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    That was rather a long reply to a simple comment and you appear to have completely missed the fact that I was talking about my sister's reaction, not mine. I am used to PC's going wrong, (whether they are the latest behemoth or an old 386) all I was saying was that once upon a time you bought something and it worked.... period. Nowadays, you buy something, it breaks down, you get it repaired, it breaks down again and then after 5 years it dies altogether and you are told "that's the life expectancy these days". With the latest "TV's" you have to build in a factor of £300 or so for bulbs every year or two. If that is too difficult to understand, then I want one of those bubbles that you must be living in :)

    So, any advice or just fancied a rant?
     
  13. jrwood

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    Just demo a 1000 lumen projector and a 1500 lumen projector and see the difference in your room you plan to have the projector in. Make sure the lighting is how it will be in the completed stage of your lan cafe. Then you can decide which lumen rating you need for the type/size of screen you wish.

    Also I would go XGA for gaming, gamers will get annoyed at the screendoor when watching quake3/rtcw/UT competitions on a SVGA projector imho.
     
  14. Dodgey

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    Hey Hotblack. Chris Frost makes the most sense.

    I reckon it's down to this... Assuming you want to use the projector so your customers can see a large spectator mode of Quake/Counter-Strike etc that all the other customers are playing then you have two priorities.

    1. choose xga or svga (1024x768 or 800x600)
    2. choose brightness

    1 = Take a look at your games at 800x 600 on your PC monitor and see if the level of detail is enough (I reckon it should be, at least for spectating).
    2= Well, that's all model based. You want as much as possible for your money.

    With the advent of widescreen PJs and the desire for businesses to buy xga there are a lot of good deals out there for no-frills, bright, svga projectors. Like, within £1500 inc with loads of ANSIs.

    XGA and very bright = lots more money.

    Personally, I'd take a laptop that goes up to 1024x786 (all do now) with the game in question on it to a PJ shop, set the lights to the level you think your lan cafe will be, the try an svga pj with the game at 800x600 the try an xga pj with game at 1024x768 - both thrown at an image size comparable to what you want. Then see if you are happy with svga - if you are - then bingo, saved yourself a small fortune!

    Up until recently I watched movies and played games on a svga PJ (cheap philips business jobby) on a 10ft x 10ft screen and it looked awesome.

    Don't get too buried in the tech specs. You just need to choose resolution and brightness. Bulbs - if they cost £300 to replace each year - so be it. I have the same type of PJs at work and we have not changed bulbs in any of them for 2 years, and they get used daily. If you were a movie watcher you'd notice degredation in a bulb - but for game viewing - it would take longer to notice.

    Hope that helps rather than confuses.

    p.s. liked the bubble bit. No one is coming near mine - I earnt it.
     
  15. Chris Frost

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    I have respect for the work the Projector Central site has done in making projector research easier to do. However, I don't agree with their proposition that "XGA LCD is always better than SVGA LCD in both data and video applications". It ignores some fundamental information about LCD chip and projector design which has a significant bearing on the final results.

    In your application (driven by PC at native rate) then there is a strong case for XGA. But you also have a budget to meet, and I'm afraid that it is going to be impossible to satisfy the demands of high resolution, high brightness and low running costs without making some compromises.

    Again, Philips has a solution (bSure XG1, 1200 ANSI, 3000hr av lamp life) but it is beyond your budget.

    If the business plan calls for a projector that has a low purchase price, is bright enough and has low running costs then the solution will be SVGA.

    Try to get a demo of the Philips products, I think you'll find the trade off in resolution less of an issue than you imagine.

    Regards
     
  16. Hotblack

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    Thanks Dodgey and Chris. I will borrow the wifes laptop and demo both SVGA & XGA and tell you how I get on.

    Many thanks for your advice

    Hotblack
     
  17. Cas141

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    I find this thread interesting. I am looking for a games ( flight sim ) PJ to use with the PC in a small bedroom - Screen is a rollerblind 5 Ft square-
    So- Where do i find a facility to demo me (with my PC base )in Dorset /Hants area?
    I would really prefer to fly at 1024 x 768 ( XGA )
    Ideas anyone please?

    PS - At only 5ft square, would I still be likely to find rainbow effect with DLP?? - ( Don't like the thought of dead pixels !)
     
  18. Jeff

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    Check out the classifieds. ;)
     
  19. Matinee

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    You're comparing apples to oranges. A projector is not a TV. It's not a matter of older projectors 'just working' once upon a time - they've *always* had these issues, and are greatly improving as of late.

    Historically your choice has been CRT, a couple of more obscure options and LCD - with much inferior quality, higher unit and bulb prices.

    Now, I'll grant you that some appliances are now generally less reliable than they used to be, which is a side effect of the general commoditisation of appliances. The solution is usually to pay more, something many people are reluctant to do.

    As to advice - I think you should consider Chris Frost's response. Brightness has to be more important than resolution in your case, and black levels shouldnt be overly important in a place with a lot of ambient light.

    On a fairly unrelated side note, it's next to impossible to swap wooden TVs for black ones these days as the current choice appears to be silver, or dark silver (with a few exceptions from Mitsubishi, JVC and Loewe, usually on special order).

    PK
     
  20. jrwood

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    :p
     
  21. Dodgey

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    And Jrwood makes a good case too !
     
  22. Hotblack

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    I've been reading the FAQ's and it says "CRT projectors are popular because they currently produce the best quality video image". Are there any reasons why I shouldn't be looking at these? There's a Barco data 808s on Ebay, the specs are: 1250 ANSI Lumens & 1600 x 1200 resolution. Matinee says these can have a bulb life of 10,000 hours. (haven’t checked this out)

    What I need to know is:

    How much do they cost to install? (Apparently they need a specialist installer)

    How much are the tubes/bulbs?

    What other running costs are there?

    Why shouldn't I be looking at a CRT?

    P.S. is there a site that has a more detailed FAQ and a jargon buster for us newbies? Jargon such as:

    HTPC (home theatre PC?)
    screendoor
    ANSI Lumen (I now know it means brightness but what does it stand for?)
    Contrast ratio
    Sideshot and keystone correction
    Scaler

    There are a lot of others but I think you get the gist. I would have thought that this would have been fairly easy to put together and have a link to it on the home page. At least it would stop the newbies (like me) asking the same old questions.

    Many thanks

    Hotblack
     
  23. Jonny1973

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    CRTs offer the best picture quality (no screendoor , better contrast) but have a few draw backs.

    They are huge beasts. Is your ceiling strong enough???

    They must be permanently installed and calibrated by a professional to avoid convergance problems.

    A CRT has 3 lamps. Each lamp costs around £350. Ouch!!!
     
  24. Jeff

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    Tubes please and the ones for my 1209s are more like £2000 each.

    Hotblack,

    You don't want a CRT, you want a nice little XGA DLP projector. ;)
     
  25. Hotblack

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  26. jrwood

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    A friend organises LAN parties and you certainly do not want a DLP projector unless you like hearing about a third of the people watching complain about seeing 'weird things'. I think DLP is fine when watching a movie but for game viewing at the moment they just dont cut it because usually the people watching the game in hand are moving their eyes over the 'play area'.

    Hotblack just demo a load of projectors and see whats best for your situation!.
     
  27. Hotblack

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    Ok, it looks like some people are getting a little touchy.

    Everyone seems to aboard the LCD boat and if I were looking for my own home cinema, I'd go and demo some right now. As it's for a large open plan gaming centre, I cannot write off CRT without asking a few questions about it first. Having looked around the web, It's hard to find anyone who's selling them (at the bottom end of the range) so the chances of getting a demo on a Barco 808s is going to be slim. I've come here for advice and to be honest, I'm fed up with people who say "go and get a demo”, as it's another way of saying "stop bothering me and go and find out for yourself!” I saw enough of that when I was buying a widescreen TV. I wouldn't mind if I had asked, "which one of these CRT models shall I buy?" as that is a bit of a lame question. I have asked if there were any good reasons for not buying a CRT projector and how much they cost to install and I wouldn't mind if someone could take the time to tell me.

    Thank you very much

    Hotblack
     
  28. MAW

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    I've been V. pleased with my NEC, it's 1200lumens, svga, but will accept and scale xga if that's more convenient, it does it well. It's a VT440, bought from Presentation Exchange for 1400ish. Matt, one of the salesmen is a member here, he might come up with more ideas, he's a gamer too. They have a website, but I can't remember the address. Perhaps he'll see this and butt in.
     
  29. Chris Frost

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    Hotblack,
    Nothing I've read so far leads me to believe that this debate is getting too heated, but there a few different points of view which is what a forum is all about..

    I was going to send the following as a PM, but your mailbox is full. You should delete some of the older PMs).
    Everything written here is from the perspective of you as a business user rather than Home Cinema fan...

    I do get the feeling you haven't settled on a solution yet. You're still bouncing from one idea to the next to find the perfect solution. Trouble is, each has its own compromises. So, where are you going to stop and say "that's the answer for me"?

    I like the forums, but it has its fair share of armchair enthusiasts with no real world experience. You've probably sussed out the real dreamers who try to spend your money on flights of fancy.

    In your PM to me you asked if I am biased? You bet, but not in the way you expected! I'm a big big CRT fan!

    I worked for the Seleco distributor - Owl - for 5 years before moving to Philips. In that time I've specified installations using CRT, LCD and DLP for home, boardroom, lecture theatre, night club and leisure venue applications for just about every serious dealer involved in all those business sectors. So when I make a recommendation for a solution I feel I'm working from a position of knowledge. Given your original budget, the bSure makes commercial sense. However, things have changed for you and now the landscape is different and you've got to look at your options.

    You can get CRT to work, but it needs good installation and maintenance. CRT works differently to LCD, so doublecheck it isn't 1250 Lumens rather than ANSI Lumens. There's a big difference.

    CRT is very good at lighting a small portion of the screen for a long time (like video images require), or lighting the entire screen briefly as you would see in during an explosion. It struggles to light the entire screen to a high level for a long time as you would see with Windows menus. This is exactly what LCD and DLP are good at.

    All projectors lose brightness as they age. It is said that CRT loses 50% in the first 1000 hours. I'm not convinced that this is correct but you can certainly tell the difference between a new and used projector. As a result a s/h projector won't deliver the brightness quoted on the spec sheet, but this is also true for single lens products too. However, replacing a lamp in a single lens projector is often as simple DIY job. A CRT wil need to go to a workshop, be stripped and the rehung and reconverged. An altogether more involved, longer and more costly proceedure.

    Finally, the capital costs may be low, but revenue costs and down time will affect the bottom line P&L. If the product is peripheral to the business success then you should economise. But if it is central to your offer then think hard about alternatives like leasing or diverting budget from elsewhere.

    So, lets summarise:

    CRT can give stunning images in the right applications. Used commercial product is very good value due to big depreciation.

    CRT installation - £400-£600 depending on the room and what other equipment such as scafolding is required.

    Routine maintenance - reconverging every 6 to 12 months, approx £200-£300 a time. This may go higher if you use lots of different resolutions as each signal frequency needs converging independantly.

    Cost of downtime - you need to assess that cost based on your business plan.

    Operational aspects - CRT requires a warmup time for the picture to fully converge. Allow 20 - 30 minutes.

    Tube life - up to 9,000-10,000 hrs but brightness and sharpness will degrade over time.

    New tubes - from 3x£500 to 3x£2000 depending on model, age, availability, plus removal and reinstallation costs.

    On balance, with a good projector and if you don't have to reconverge too often then CRT could work out about the same running cost as single lens projector. If the tubes were to need replacing then it becomes expensive.


    Regards
     
  30. Hotblack

    Hotblack
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    That has really helped to clear a few things up but it has poured cold water on my fire for a cheap, top-notch picture, long bulb life PJ.

    I'm a little confused by your comment "CRT is very good at lighting a small portion of the screen for a long time (like video images require), or lighting the entire screen briefly as you would see in during an explosion. It struggles to light the entire screen to a high level for a long time as you would see with Windows menus. This is exactly what LCD and DLP are good at". And then you say "CRT can give stunning images in the right applications". Everything I've read says CRT gives you the best image, full stop. It doesn't really matter as the rest of the baggage that goes with CRT tends to make it a non-starter (for my purposes anyway).

    So, LCD it is then. Probably best I hang on until the new wave of releases come out in October and see what happens to the prices for the current crop (including your bSure SV1).

    You've been a great help, when it's all up and running you'll have to pop in for a gratis game of CS or something :) (no liqueur license I'm afraid)

    Many thanks again
    Hotblack

    PS, I only had 11 PM’s is that the limit?
     

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