Assistance required



I’m just beginning to explore the mysterious world of home cinema projectors. To be frank all the technical jargon is starting to fry my little brain! So all things considered I thought it worthwhile to put a few basic questions to the forum about projectors, in the hope of getting some unbiased feedback.
Budget : Around £3000.
Use: Primarily for playing DVD and video, with a minor role for games.

·What is the better projection mode; LCD or DLP. and why?

·Does the lumen output influence: the distance the projector is placed from the screened image, the ambient lighting levels, the quality of image being projected?

·What part of the specification determines contrast levels

·What causes ‘dead pixels’

·Are all projectors prone to dust problems.

·What are the common projector problems/pitfalls I should be aware of?

·Can replacement lamps be obtained from ‘Pricejapan’?

Grateful for any advice. Thanks


Peter Parker

Distinguished Member

·What is the better projection mode; LCD or DLP. and why?

Each has their own pros and cons, so what may be (in my opinion) the better of the two, may not be for someone else.


Can suffer from dead pixels,

the gaps between pixels on the LCD display panel can be seen as a screen door pattern if sat too close, (approx less than 2 times screen width).

Dark greys instead of black.


Rainbow effect from the way it produces its' image (rotating colour wheel and lots of tiny moving mirrors)

Dark greys instead of black

Screen door if sat less than 1.5 times screen width.

I personaly prefer DLP technology, but others prefer LCD. Different models produce better images than others, so it can't always be a black and white answer as to which type gives the best picture. For instance, one particular LCD may produce a better image than a particular DLP, but then you'll probably be able to get another DLP pj that looks better than both.

Lumens can affect how close you put the pj to the screen, especialy if it is a low light pj, but these are quite rare now, so shouldn't be a problem. High lumens can produce a reduced contrast ratio/washed out image, so unless you need a huge picture from a long way away, 1000 lumens is probably not a bad figure.

If you can't watch in a totaly light controlled room, then a higher lumen pj may be the only answer. A grey screen would be the best screen in this case, so as to reduce cross reflection of ambient light and improve contrast ratio and black level.

Not all pjs are prone to dust, but most can suffer from this. Some newer models have a completely sealed optical path so no dust can get in. Others may have cleanable filters.

As mentioned, each type has it's pros and cons, but if you're spending around £3000, you should really see some for yourself.

Currently the latest NEC DLP machine, the HT1000, looks like an excellent machine and can be had for just over £3000. Meva has just bought one and is putting it through its' paces, so we should soon get an idea of its' performance. It has 2000:1 to 3000:1 (variable) contrast ratio which is the best of any digital projector so far, and it has 1000 lumens (reducable to 800) so is not too bright. It's xga too, so has enough resolution for full resolution dvd playback.

Other good looking machines are the Sanyo PLV 70 which at around £1400 is a cracking price for a good performer. Obviously not quite in the same class as the NEC, but damn good for the money by all accounts.

The Panasonic range get good reviews such as the AE100, AE200 and AE300.

This is just a tiny selection, but there are a great many more out there. Resolution starts from around 800 x 600, and this I would say is a bare minimum, and can produce excellent results.

Many pjs don't have very good internal scalers, so images produced from a standard dvd player may not look particularly good. Scan lines can show up and edges may have a stair step look to them. Quite often using a suitably equiped PC (HTPC) can produce results that are so much better, you wouldn't think it was the same projector.

If you're not a PC person who likes to build and tweak, then an external scaler such as the ProV, Iscan or Quadscan will line double/triple/quadruple and produce an image that is line free and far more film like.

Getting the right projector for your room can be a problem. You may need it to have a certain 'throw' distance, so that it can be placed in a certain place such as a coffee table or on the ceiling. Too long or too short may mean the pj you like can't be sited where you want it.

Screens can be a can of worms too - high gain, lower gain, grey screen, white screen for example. What size? Permanently fixed or an electric/manual screen that comes down from the ceiling.

With LCD always try to see the one you buy due top dead pixels, or if buying unseen, make sure the company has a good dead pixel return policy.

Not sure about lamp prices, but they are generaly quite dear (AE100 has a cheap lamp however). Not sure if price japan do them, but you never know.

I've rambled a bit, and I'm hoping someone else can be a bit more specific than I've been, but hopefully I've pointed out a few things for others to add to at least.

Also try for a far greater coverage of pjs and related topics. More reviews over there so may help you decide which ones to consider.




Standard Member
If you want the best quality at affordable prices (who doesn't?), then you should bear the following things in mind -

1) The Sony HS-10, along with the Panasonic PT-AE300 are the 2 most anticipated and talked about projectors at this time. They are both currently being released to the public. I suggest you monitor opinions and reviews closely. The Sony HS-10 will cost about £1900, the Panasonic PT-AE300 will cost about £1300. Note - both projectors are LCD based.

2) To obtain the best possible quality from a projector setup, you should strongly consider investing in a Home Theater PC. You can build a decent one for about £500, and use it to output 1:1 pixel perfect native resolutions to whatever projector you purchase. To sum up Home Theater PC ? It's fairly cheap, and is usually better than any scaler under £1000. You can also use the Home Theater PC to output Playstation 2 or X-Box sources, again using the native resolution of the projector. And if you purchase a TV Capture card, you can also output cable or satallite sources to the projector, again with added quality due to the PC's ability to scale and de-interlace images.

3) Before you buy a projector, take note of the screendoor issue. It's probably the most talked about issue regarding LCD projectors. Generally a rule of thumb is to make sure you sit at least 1.5x (2x ideally) away from the screen when watching a movie. So if the width of your screen is 72" (6 feet), then you should make sure you are able to sit around 140" (11 feet) away from the screen. The screendoor issue then will become non-existant.


Ex Member
Maybe you have considered this option already, but CRT would offer a better picture on your budget. You could get a very nice machine from Roland and he would come and install and set it all up perfectly for you so you wouldnt have to worry about it.

If you have the space (and a kind wife) i'd definitely take a look at this option.



Thank you all for your help and advice. The world of projector technology is certainly clearer to me now than it was a few days ago. Thanks Garry for your very informative reply. As you so correctly pointed out, the best way forward is for me to get out there and experience a variety of projector demonstrations. That said, I still maintain that this forum is perhaps the best way of obtaining unbiased opinion, after all, you are the ones field testing the various projectors and associated equipment, and your not trying to sell me anything!
With regard to picture enhancement using a HTPC, is this a matter of obtaining and fitting a new motherboard or ‘Home Theatre card’ into an existing PC, or is a HTPC a self contained piece of kit dedicated for this one purpose?

Bun; Why do you consider a CRT projector a better option than LCD or DLP?

So tell me why it is,that you, the members of this forum, favour the projected image for your viewing pleasure, with all its quirks and apparent requirements for ancillary enhancement hardware? Is it a size thing? After all, for the same amount of money you could get a decent sized Plasma tv (not that they are without they’re problems). Or is there nothing to compare with the visual and audio experience it provides except for a visit to the cinema?
Perhaps I should temper my enthusiasm obtaining more information about this particular technology until I have at least committed myself to a widescreen tv!!

Regards to one and all.


My main reason for a projector was to save space. I simply couldn't have a decent size tv in my room. Projector is mounted on the ceiling and I have a nice 6ft wide screen on the wall. I would only have posters on the wall anyway so that's no lose. Plus it was significantly cheaper than a plasma screen.

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
A HTPC is a computer, but one (normaly) fitted with a Radeon graphics card due to the excellent image it can produce from DVDs. The main advantage image wise is that by using the vga output to the projector (which is replacing the pc monitor), you'll be feeding it an rgb signal as deinterlaced picture (progressively scanned) and one that is scaled to the resolution of the projectors imaging array.

It also has to have a sound card that can produce full DD/DTS surround for an external amp.

Software players such as WinDVD and Power DVD are common players used for playback, but there are others out there, including Zoomplayer which is a front end for an existing player. It has lots of other features such as playing trailers automatically before the DVD starts and image positioning on your projector screen.

The HTPC can also be used as a music server, and play all your stored tracks however you like. It's a pretty flexibale machine that does a gret many things a standalone player can't do, and is very configurable. It can be set-up to be as easy to use as a stanalone player, and can even be remotely controlled.

Size does matter ;) and there's nothing like a big screen and full surround to immerse you in a movie.

CRT projectors are better than digital in a few areas, and worse in others. CRT produce better blacks - you can't project black so you in fact get dark grey. This is projector dependant, as some are better than others. more importantly (for me) is contrast ratio - a CRT will have a cr of thousands to one. The best digital can do currently is 3000:1. CR can often be demonstrated in detail in dark areas of the image - they'll be lost in a singular black mass in digital but seen in CRT. The tubes last many thousands of hours too, but digital lamps last 2000 to 3000 at most before thay need replacing.

Downsides of CRT are size (often 3ft x 2ft x 1ft and weigh in excess of 100lbs) and convergence - they do need some regular maintenance that has to be done by an expert unless you learn how to do it yourself. The tubes are very expensive too, and are prone to screen burn.

Digital wiegh a few pounds and are easy to set up. All have their pros and cons, so you have to decide which suits you better.




Ex Member
CRT's may tend to be large, ut the seleco I have is nowhere near as large as that.If you want, it is possible to get a moderately sized crt, but of course sacrificing other things. If you want the ultimate in picture quality, crt is where you should go, but if space is an issue, then go for a digital machine.


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