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Advice to a (potential) new Projector owner.

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Celtic, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. Celtic

    Celtic
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    Hi All

    I hope you can help.

    Essentially, I am in the process of having a new extension added to my house, which is to include a living room and a kitchen. During this process I am keen to improve my home cinema experience, and have been reviewing the different technologies available, including plasma screen vs lcd screen vs projector.

    My requirements are thus:

    1.My room will be approximately 3.8m deep by 7m long, with the display being roughly in the middle of the long wall. There will be single windows on either side of the display, with a main 2-2.5m window along one 5m wall, and french doors on the opposite. (I hope this gives some indication as to the lighting environment)

    2. This room is designed to be used primarily in the evenings, as we have a second reception room for during the day, which houses our current 32' wide screen tv, and will be used by my children (4yrs and 3yrs)

    3. It is estimated that the main seating will be approximately 2.5 - 3m away from the display wall.

    4. As this is a 'living room', it will not be ideal to black out the room, though of course on an evening/night - this would not be a problem.

    5. I envisage the display being used mainly on an evening, possibly weekend days, and for movies, tv and some gaming.

    6. I wish to maximise my movie experience, without adversely affecting the normal watching of TV.

    7., I had originally imagined a plasma solution would be best suited, and this then moved to lcd (both around 42') which I saw a having less inherent flaws, and possibly a longer lifespan.

    However, I then came across the concept of home projectors, and was pleasantly surprised to see that they are now much more reasonable in price, and seem to give the experience I want.

    Here comes my lack of understanding. Due to the use of my room, I am uncertain if a projector would work sufficiently during the day (I am sure I can limit the light in the room to some extent if required, but not a blackout). I am also concerned as to the running of cables to the unit.

    Essentially, I saw all my av equipment (dvd, sky+, surround sound, xbox etc) sitting at the front of the room under the display, with the projector possibly at the back of the room, either on a ceiling mount (or more likely a shelf due to the high ceiling). I don't want an eyesore, and nor does my wife.

    The projector I have considered, after reviewing many sites is the Hitachi PJ-TX100 LCD Projector, which comes highly rated.

    I'm sorry to waffle on, but as this is a major investment, I was hoping you could advise:
    • Is this (or any projector) suitable for my environment and usage
    • Is this a good projector in your view
    • Is there a reasonable cabling solution

    Thanks in advance.

    Celtic
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Hi :hiya:,

    IMHO the usage you expect to get from it doesn't seem to suit a projector, front projection systems really don't like ambient light and while you can get away with some the 'experience' rapidly deteriorates.

    I know some people use their projectors 10+ hours a day so what suits one doesn't suit another but I think a plasma is the solution for general purpose viewing, or maybe LCD but I know little of that technology in large-scale form (ie. bigger than PC monitor) .. alternatively rear-projection TVs are larger quid-for-quid and I don't think suffer ambient light problems nearly so badly (if at all).

    The Epson is a good choice, several people here have them and I don't recall reading of any bad experiences .. not sure of the throw distance, that'd have to be checked if you haven't already done so.
     
  3. mr ooops

    mr ooops
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    Your set up seems to be same as mine, and PJ fits in with this fine, I have a sanyo z2, wall mounted on a 14" telly stand on the back wall and a screen secured to ceiling about four foot in front of the opposite wall that pulls down in front of our 32" telly,

    Cables from the dvd player / sky / games console go into a joytech av center (4 scart in 1 out) when I want telly on the out goes into the tv, and when i want anything on the pj i just plug the scart from the PJ into the joytech av center out. which means i have 1 lead running from the one wall to the end wall running around the skirting board in white conduit, which u cant see.


    As for daytime viewing we just close our curtains and this darkens the room more than enough to get a decent picture :)

    hope this helps

    jason
     
  4. MAW

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    The key to a good daytime picture with potential moderate light is to not exceed the screen size guidelines. Remember the inverse square law, therefore a bigger screen needs a brighter projector. The Z2 or any near equivalent is fine on say a 6ft screen, maybe push that to 7 if the curtains are think. This is achieved with about a 2.8m throw, so the PJ will need to be ceiling mounted. You've been to the new www.projectorcentral.com website? Now has suggested screen size in the throw distance calculator. You could find some projectors you fancy/can afford, and try them for size.
     
  5. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Grey screens deal with ambient light better than white screens with equal gain, and a grey screen with gain is better still. You won't know it's a grey screen when viewing though, as the brain is easily fooled (it will see the brightest grey as white), and it will help improve apparent contrast and black level, so the image will be more viewable than an equivalent white screen. Some can be expensive though.

    White screens with gain help as they reflect the light back more towards where it comes from (as well as making it look brighter), so light from the pj will return along the center of the screen more than the sides, and light hitting the screen from the sides (unwanted ambient light from windos) will return more towards the source (the windows) than to where the pj is and hopefully to where people normaly sit - around the center of the screen more than the sides.

    The more ambient light the brighter the pj needs to be, so reducing the ingress of light as much as possible during the day means less attention has to be paid to the screen requirements.

    If you have a white wall to test against, and you decide to buy a projector, you can try the wall during normal daytime conditions to see what it's like. A good white wall is almost equivalent to a normal white screen, so you will get a good idea what to expect, and know if you need a screen with gain or a grey screen. Some screen samples can be had and used to test prior to purchasing a full size screen.

    Gary.
     
  6. Joe Fernand

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    Hello Celtic

    I hope you've got copyright clearance from 'Paradise'!!!

    Ignoring the ambient light level for a minute I'd advocate a two display system - Plasma or LCD for 'TV'/Daytime viewing and the Projector for 'Movie'/Evening viewing.

    Using the Projector as a 'background' TV in a multi purpose room takes away from the 'Big Screen' effect when you settle down to watch a Movie.

    If you reckon on watching some Movies during the Day (or even early evening during the summer) on the 'Big Screen' using the projector you really should integrate automated 'Black Out' blinds and Controlled lighting as your planning your build/design schedule.

    Blinds need not look hideous - see http://www.silentgliss.com

    Whilst some folk advocate using a Projector in a 'lit' room your not getting anything like the viewing experience your reading about in the reviews of the projectors you've been considering.

    If you don't want to ceiling mount a projector to retain the 'look' of your ceiling and any of the projectors with a long throw lens don't fit the bill for whatever reason you can always integrate the projector into a coffee table in the middle of your seating area - many 'short throw' projectors will deliver a 7'(2.1m) wide 16:9 image at around 2.5m (lens to screen).

    Cabling, Housing and Controlling your AV kit is again best planned now - you can easily integrate everything you require in a 'concealed' installation if you plan carefully before you build.

    These ideas need not cost a fortune :)

    Best regards

    Joe
     

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  7. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I cannot agree more with these comments.

    I'll always advocate this approach - a big screen for everything will look good when you first get one, but it will detract from the movie experience after a short while - imagine Coronation Street looking bigger than a blockbuster movie such as Ben Hur or Independance Day for example. In my opinion, tv should always look smaller than a movie (sports notwithstanding), or the movies will lack the impact a big screen can give.

    Definitley use a smaller display for normal tv, and leave the big screen experience for movies.

    Gary.
     
  8. Celtic

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    To all those that have provided valuable advice on this subject - many thanks.

    From reading the replies so far, it seems to be that a projector would be suitable in my room, although the ambient light would have to be controlled during the day.

    However, I can understand and appreciate the concept that using a projector as a main TV would detract from the overall movie experience. I wish I could afford a dual solution, i.e. a plasma/lcd backed up by a projector, but unfortunately my budget just won't stretch that far :(.

    I especially liked the advice about the joytech av controller, it certainly makes wiring much simpler, many thanks for that.

    I am still undecided. I really would like to think I could get the large screen size movie theatre feel, but I am starting to feel that for my usage the plasma/lcd option just may be better.

    Again, thanks for the advice so far.

    regards
    Celtic
     
  9. Neelix

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    What sort of budget are you looking at? I think you may be surprised what you can get for your money which could make a dual projector/plasma system a reality. This is exactly what I am opting for. If we know how much you have to play with I'm sure we can suggest some packages :)
     
  10. Mr_Sukebe

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    Some additional thoughts:
    - Projectors really do look rubbish unless in darkened conditions. Get some blackout blinds, or add blackout linings to your curtains.
    - If you're worried about cabling, could you mount your DVD Player and AV amp at the rear of the room, nearer to the projector? Personally I found it easier to use longer speaker leads than longer video and interconnect leads.
    - Try to mount your projector so that it's pointing as close to directly forward as possible. Mine does have full keystone correction, but looks obvious better when using it as little as possible.
     
  11. Celtic

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    Hi Neelix

    I am thinking around the £1500 - £1700 mark - but of course, for a single solution probably less.

    I am sure I would give any reasonable dual solution fair consideration.

    I may end up going with a plasma/lcd solution first, followed by a projector add on when I have more funds. On that basis, it is possible I would go for a cheaper projector solution as it would be used almost extensively for movies on an evening.

    Your suggestions/recommendations are welcomed!
    :)

    Thanks
    Celtic
     
  12. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    For that money, a cheap 28" widescreen tv will cost you £200 and be perfectly adequate for normal viewing. A projector for £1300 still gives you some good choices. For £1500 the new Sony HS51 seems a good option.

    Gary.
     
  13. Neelix

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    OK, for £1700 that maybe a little tight although not impossible [​IMG] ...

    Projectors:

    Epson TW10H - LCD (16:9 WVGA 854x480) - £550-600
    Panasonic AE700 - LCD (16:9 WXGA 1280x720) - £1225-1300
    Infocus 4805 - DLP (16:9 WVGA 854x480 - £1280-1300

    The Epson is a good entry level home cinema projector and for the price cannot be faulted.

    Plasma:

    Panasonic TH37PW7B - 37" (16:9 WVGA 852x480) - £1370
    LG PX11 - 42" (16:9 WVGA 852x480) - £1450


    If you are happy with a CRT widescreen tv then you could easily fit your budget with a good 28"-32" tv. If you are stuck on flat screen technology then £1500 will get you a nice plasma in the 42" Panasonic or LG range but you'll have to save a little more for a projector :)
     
  14. cyberheater

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    Or you can get a BenQ BP6100 DLP projector that gives you very similar performance to the 4805 and cost less then 600 quid. Amazing machine for the money.
     
  15. Celtic

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    Great!

    I shall review the projectors which have been recommended. I must say I am beginning to believe the dual solution may well be possible - with a slight stretch to my budget.

    Please fee free to add recomemndations/comments, I am sure other forum users in the same (or similar) situation will be interested, as will I.

    Many thanks for everyones help so far.

    regards
    Celtic
     
  16. CAS FAN

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    One thing I would suggest before taking the plunge with a PJ is to demo the ones you are interested in. DLP PJ's have the rainbow effect (which effects some people and not others). This is where you get streaks or "rainbows" across the image in fast moving scenes or if you move your head (such as if you look to talk to someone or get up from your seat) and can make some people feel quite unwell. LCD PJ's suffer from the Screendoor effect if you are sat too close to the screen. This is where you see the lines in between the LCD pixels and can detract from the natural feel of the image. It's also worth having a pixel check to ensure that there are no dead pixels when you buy the PJ. My 1st Epson had just the 1 dead pixel but once i'd seen it I was always drawn to it and it spoiled my viewing pleasure to an extent. Luckily Technoworld.co.uk replaced my PJ for the one I have now (which works perfectly - touch wood).

    You can also get vertical banding on the image where there are thicker bands which are darker & lighter than the rest of the image runing from top to bottom. I've not experienced this myself but I know from reading these forums that it does exist on some PJ's.

    I personally can't fault the Epson TW-10H for it's £500 ish price tag. Does everything I want and performs really well. One of those and a Panny PW6 Plasma would set you back around £2k and would make for a superb Home Cinema / TV Room. :thumbsup:
     

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