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buying dilemma – but money is money

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by andylorenz, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. andylorenz

    andylorenz
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    This is a long ‘un, I would apologise but I think I have a story to tell which others will relate to and maybe – just maybe – get that ounce of help from.

    Every room in our house was dominated by a TV. It gets annoying having such a big thing in the corner, so when we redecorated our lounge and bought a very expensive suite, we also decided to banish the widescreen TV (gave it to the kids and chucked their own one out) and just use the room to sit in, chat, and generally contemplate our navels.

    Hhmm; we barely go in the room anymore. Why? Cos it hasn’t got a TV ! What a laugh this is, we spent £5K on a suite and only the cats get to enjoy the luxurious sofas.

    So I decided we’d put a nice LCD or plasma TV on the wall; something less obtrusive, on the wall and ‘out of the way’ until we fired it up. Sorted. Latched almost immediately onto the Video7 26”, £650 at ebuyer and getting rave reviews. But would 26” be big enough? And how would I get all those nasty cables up the wall without chasing out the plaster and having to re-decorate (again)? Now to HDTV, and the does it/doesn’t it debate – too much talk of being “ready” and not enough of “truly compatible” – I’m talking here of course about HDMI.

    In steps the world of PJ. Geez, why didn’t I think of these before. 26” not big enough? The worry about projectors is the picture being TOO big! Obtrusive? No way, a projector can be put away when not in use. Now I’m really sorted :thumbsup:

    Avforums then gets the hit of a lifetime; I’m in every forum, every thread, reading avidly about this/that/other model and seeing the word “wow” more times than you could shake a stick at. This time I latch almost immediately onto the Optoma H30A – a great sounding DLP from a UK-based company and just look at the warranty (3yr collect/return). I’m like 5 minutes away from ordering one. But wait – rainbow effect. I might get headaches, I might see it – and if not me, then what about the wife, the kids, our friends …. Now look at the resolution of LCD compared to DLP. But what about colour richness and dust plagues? So its from the Optoma to the Panasonic AE700 or Sanyo Z3 or Hitachi TX100. Oh no, I’m there aren’t I, totally sucked in – the eternal DLP and LCD debate; the trade-off between resolution and colour tones. Am I somewhere over the rainbow or opening the screen door? And my budget – around the £1K mark – is where so many others have got to it seems, and then floundered in the sea of comparisons courtesy of the excellent avforums.

    Hold on - I was going to spend £650 on a TV, now I’m gonna spend over £1,000. Sanity check time. This is a lot of money for something we aren’t going to worship. Yes we watch some TV and an occasional movie, but we have other things to do in the evenings beside couching. Projectors are great sure, but hey too much money, so its back to the Video7 LCD TV.

    So then we go off to Currys to see the Video7 clones (Goodmans etc) in action before making the purchase on ebuyer. Hhmm, nice picture (ish), but then it’s a crappy shared coaxial feed and most of the TVs are – as usual - being displayed well below their best. Walk around the rest of the bunch, and suddenly something stands out and we are drawn to it …. A DLP rear-projection beauty coming in at 50”, with the kind of picture that MAKES you stand and admire it and never want to leave. I mean this picture was seriously impressive, totally 100% blow-away. Quick discussion with wife. Quick check on the spec, which is next to the price - £3,000 for a 3-way DLP projection unit. Now I’m starting to get this projector lark. This is the way to go, the place to be. We need the 3-way of LCD but the method of DLP. We need the technology to move along, and the prices to come down. We don’t need HDTV kit today, we need it in 2 or 3 years time. Wife tells me to get a projector – she wants the quality, but she wants it hidden away. She persuades me to treat myself with the £1,000 kit, and the kids will just have to starve for a month.

    So back to avforums and review all my research. I’m still unable to make a decision. Help !!!! :confused:

    Last night I made a decision. Out of the AE700, Z3, and TX100 I’ve decided to buy …. the Epson TW10H !!

    It’s only £561 delivered from komplett.co.uk. It’s a lower spec than the others for sure, but then its only half the price. It’s not the best PQ we could get, but then its still big and its still excellent. Its not HDTV/HDMI but then I don’t care (for the next 2 years) – the picture quality is still blow-away (so the owners tell me). Its actually cheaper than the 26” Video7, and its got all the benefits of a projector. The bulbs are cheap too, and look at the warranty – 3yrs NEXT DAY collect and return (that’s 3 years piece of mind). This is like the “third way” – we get the projector convenience but the TV price-tag.

    Let’s get real, we don’t watch TV 24x7. We aren’t videophiles, we are just people who like to watch a nice, decent picture. When we spin up a DVD, we’d like it to be reasonably immersive, but we’re not about to order black-out curtains and turn our comfortable lounge into some silly home cinema !

    So I’m ordering the Epson tonight; interested to see before then if anyone posts back on my ramblings. Particularly keen to hear from anyone who owns the Epson to (objectively) extol its virtues or otherwise – NOT in comparison to other projectors (done to death already, and how many people own more than 1!) but in comparison to the last 10 years of traditional CRT or even modern-day LCD and plasma.

    Have fun and take care
     
  2. sainthalo

    sainthalo
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    interesting reading all that, thought i better say that it sounds like you know your stuff having read widely and so you should be fine whatever you decided.

    like everything pjs are overpriced here except for the epson tw10 which has roughly the same price in japan. the z3 in japan is now around £700 on t'internet - ww.kakaku.com

    if i had to get one in the uk i would definitely not get it from a dealer because i am quite upset that they/and the manufacturers have been getting away with overcharging for so long.
     
  3. Dog with 3 legs

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    Go for the Epsom. It's cheap, it gives you a watchable big picture, its portable. It's obviously not your only viewing device.

    One word of caution. Once you buy it - stop reading AV Forum. You will start thinking "well what if I would have paid a bit more, what if I try the latest new thing, what if ....."

    Just sit back, enjoy. Oh, and spend plenty of money on new viewing material.
     
  4. theritz

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    Good research, good decision.


    Sean.
     
  5. PJTX100

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    Have a look at the pics of the Toshiba ET1 on another thread - as you say, money is money, and for £360 the ET ain't a lot of it!

    Entertaining post by the way. :thumbsup:

    ...PJ :)
     
  6. Maff et1

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    Speaking as the (still enthralled) owner of an ET1, picture quality is supposed to be similar between the Epson and the Tosh (I've not seen the Epson running myself, speaking from reviews only), however the Epson is supposed to be brighter which will help if your watching in low light. 'course it is nearly twice the price.
     
  7. SJGIL

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    Nice Post - I too am a very happy ET1 owner and money was my driver for its purchase as I wanted a big screen but didn't want to pay for one! At £360 how bad could it be I thought? Couldn't resist after reading reviews and ordered one and when I switched it on for the first time out of the box with no change to the settings I was amazed at what I saw and haven't regreted the purchase one little bit.

    If it isn't too late and you have not already ordered your epson :lease: do have a look at the pics I posted of my ET1 in action on the "FAO TOSHIBA ET1 OWNERS" thread which PJTX100 refers too. I am sure the Epson is just as good a machine if not slightly better but at £360 the ET1 just has to be considered as like you say money is money. :smashin:
     
  8. andylorenz

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    guys, thanks for the feedback, and glad some of you found my story entertaining! I think my predicament is/will be played out many times by others in the next 12 months. I still find it incredible that projectors are not to be seen (apart from rear pj) in any of the high street stores - in fact I went to the "SmartHomes" exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham only 2 weeks ago and there was ONE - yes just ONE - projector on show! Countless plasmas and LCDs, and some beautiful HDTV demos on them, but just the one DLP, and roughly 5m from its screen projecting a wholly washed out image to an unimpressed audience. Methinks this exhibition will be slightly different next year ...

    Anyway, to respond to the feedback, yes I have placed my order for the Epson as I threatened :thumbsup: And got it for a cracking price too - £539 delivered from projectorscreen.co.uk. Sound like a nice bunch.

    I DID pick up on the pointers to Toshiba ET1, and I'm glad those who own one are so pleased with them, read the thread through (and a bit more!) but I stuck to my guns with the Epson because:

    * the Toshiba has a 3yr warranty too, but its RTB. I like the fact that Epson will come to ME, and repair or replace on the spot. Heard some bad things about them trying to foist previous returns on people as replacements, but that's a usual trick and one to simply kick back on if it ever happens to you.
    * some bad press about Toshiba's bulb life caught my eye; not seen any bad press about Epson and they are very cheap too.
    * only offering 700 ANSI lumens, I worry about ambient light and I hear the Epson does a sterling job in daylight with its 1200.
    * circular - probably perfect for ceiling mounts (like the pics you posted SJGIL ;)) but bad for shelf mount, and that's what I'm heading for.
    * front venting - again perfect for shelf mount.
    * no optical adjustment (zoom) - I'm looking for a variable image size from the same fixed position (smaller for normal viewing, larger for immersive movies), of course Epson isn't top spec here but does offer x1.6 which should be enough

    my kit is due to arrive tomorrow, and then I will post up some (objective) feedback to complete this thread in case it helps others. I can see my next problem will be cabling, considering I am looking to hook up xbox, telewest (5m away in next room lol), dvd (and occasional laptop). more research!! (I love it really)

    Then I need to scour avforums one more time (before heeding "dog with 3 dicks .. sorry legs sage advice to return at my peril!) to find that posting I saw from an Epson owner who reckons he squeezed a 50% improvement out of his PJ with some simple tweaks to the settings - sounds good to me.

    cheers all
     
  9. SJGIL

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    Hi andylorenz

    Based on everthing you have stated you have definately made the right decision as the ET1 does have its limitations especially when it comes to projector placement having no zoom facility. I was lucky having a fixed screen and a fixed position for the PJ and it does look really good on the ceiling and does produce a cracking image for £360 but the room does need to be dark to get the very best from it.

    Well done on getting that deal and good luck with the Epson I am sure you will be very pleased with it.

    Happy viewing :thumbsup:

    SJGIL
     
  10. PJTX100

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    Nice one Andy. :thumbsup:

    And the TW10 sounds ideal for you!

    Anyone who does some thinking/research before asking questions is always welcome!

    Cheers...PJ :)
     
  11. Dog with 3 legs

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    This has got me thinking, Less than £600 for a big screen image. How about one for the bedroom.
     
  12. RichKS

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    This is the perfect thread for me! Yes, I'm one of these people who's in much the same dilemma as you. I want an occasional* projector to supplement my CRT Widescreen TV. I'm thinking that (from what I hear) the Epson or Toshiba might be ideal, and I'm also leaning towards the Epson. I can't wait to hear how you get on with it.

    I have one question though (not that I mean to hijack your thread!). Basically I'm hearing a lot about the Keystone feature on these PJs and that you should try to avoid using it if at all possible. My lounge is roughly 3.8 metres across. I want to project straight onto a wall at first and then buy/make a screen to fit the image when I decide what image I like. I'm thinking that I want to put the PJ on a shelf on the wall opposite the screen. So it projects as near as possible directly horizontally straight onto the screen, so the keystone is not required. It'll be high enough to beam over everyone's heads while they sit on front of the projector, like in a cinema. This gives me a throw of about 3.5 metres and (if I get this calculation correct) that gives me a 1.8 metre screen width at the smallest zoom setting for the Epson. With the Toshiba I make it 2.5 metres, basically far too big I think. Does this arrangement seem OK? I cannot go for a ceiling mount since my flat in rented and also has a concrete ceiling. The other option is to mount the projector on a table in front of the viewers, but this means the PJ is a bit exposed and has to be lower so as to not block the view. This also means using the keystone since the image is projected at a slight upward angle. How bad would that be?

    My other issue is that the Epson doesn't have a scart connector. While I can go to Component/Prog Scan with my DVD/XBox, I don't think any of my other kit does this. I really don't want to have to use (say) my PS2 via SVHS, since that's a bit crap. Also XBox component leads are a right bugger to find in the UK. What's the best way around this?

    * Currently I'm thinking it's occasional, but y'know, I'm sure it'll get lots of use. Marathon gaming sessions, watching a great many DVDs etc...
     
  13. andylorenz

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    hi Rich, welcome to dilemma world !

    My epson arrived this afternoon (hurrah), and courtesy of a wild expense of £2 at B&Q for a piece of white-faced hardboard to act as a screen, I switched on and soon found myself staring at a 45" diagonal image with the projector a mere 67" (1.7m) away from the screen.

    The picture was a bit disappointing actually ... but read on - the 'screen' was at 90% to a nearby big bay window and it was only 6pm so plenty of ambient light. A little later I turned the screen 45% away from the window and the picture quality improved quite a bit, but still a little washed out. Left it alone while we had tea, then returned at 9pm to fire it up to watch 'Supernanny' (don't you just love watching other people struggling horrendously with their little brats!) and BOY - the picture was totally beautiful :D. colours, contrast, blacks, everything. As an immediate comparison to anything I've seen in mine or anyone's house, CRT LCD or Plasma, I would say it blew them all out of the water with ease - essentially because the picture was both big and of a very high quality. I would also point out this observation is based on the picture I got from the 'out of the box' projector settings, displaying the composite output from an old VCR fed itself by a coax from a 6-way distribution box onto a piece of £2 whiteboard - in other words it don't get much worse than this !! actually if anything the picture was too good (lol) - as in too vibrant and bright, and as many others have said before, I quickly switched to "Theatre Black" - which put the output to a much better level, and of course its good on the bulb and noise levels too.

    So let me say now, if this helps anyone reading this - if you are a CRT owner and buy this Epson projector for the first time you will be EXTREMELY IMPRESSED by the picture - though I must add I bet this statement applies to all projectors!

    Now let me share a couple of immediate 'issues' with my purchase :-

    * the Epson is a bit bigger than I thought it was. Its not emormous, but 40cm wide and 30cm deep. And Epson recommend that its placed a good few inches away from any wall (for venting I guess).

    * its internal speaker is fine for normal TV. Obviously to be avoided for anything else though.

    * the picture is actually too big !! Rich DON'T get obsessed with size, I can assure you my 45" (1.1m) diagonal picture is seriously big as it is! You are right in thinking the Toshiba @ 2.5m sounds too large; I think your 1.8m of the Epson is pushing it too to be honest, but then thats personal preference (what i'm saying is bigger isn't necessarily better). If anything I'm concerned that my original intention to shelf mount on the opposite wall of my lounge @ 4m may have to be subject to a rethink because the picture will simply be too large for routine TV (but obviously fine for immersive movies and gaming).

    * I tried the full range of keystone correction; it adjusted well and I wasn't aware of any particular impact to the PQ - the picture just changed shape! Also something you may not have realised - I certainly didn't - is that the projector lens itself aligns with the BOTTOM of the picture and NOT the centre - in other words the image is cast upwards anyway. This will probably reduce the amount of keystone required.

    * I tried hooking up my laptop with s-Video - very poor! Tried a couple of resolution settings, still awful. I've yet to try monitor connection yet (haven't got a suitable cable).

    * fully sympathise with your comments on cabling, I waited to get the projector itself and try a few inputs out before I make my mind up finally. I currently have no component devices anyway, and so likely to run a s-video plus audio L+R RCA's into a SCART adaptor in Telewest box in the other room, plus local xbox connection (not sure about this one yet, want HQ component as you do).

    hth, keep smiling, keep thinking !
     
  14. keithris

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    Quick note: The Epson TW10 comes with a cable that you can connect a scart plug to. :) Just watched Monsters Inc on it....fantastic :D
     
  15. andylorenz

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    you just watched "monsters inc" at 1:05am - wot no school tomorrow laddie ?? :lesson:

    :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

    sorry mate, couldn't resist.
     
  16. keithris

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    LOL...the poor neighbours ;-)
     
  17. RichKS

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    Thanks, Andy! I figure I've lost enough sleep over this, so I'm taking the plunge and making a decision.

    This is what I wanted to hear! My usage for the screen is likely to be atypical since I never watch TV. I don't even have an aerial, except on the 14" in the bedroom. So I never turn on the TV unless I have something in mind on DVD to watch or unless I'm gaming. And I tend to play videogames in 1 hour + sessions. Getting the lighting right is not an issue unless food is involved.

    I AM obsessed with size, but not with getting the biggest screen I can. I want a screen that's the right size, but I have a CRT TV that's not going anywhere for short viewing sessions. Ideally the right size for both 16:9 and 4:3 programming. This will make the zoom in the Epson really handy so I can zoom in on 4:3 to make the screen bigger. I'm one of those nit-pickers who can't stand to watch anything in the wrong aspect ratio and I want the same kind of screen area for both. More and more games developers are waking up to the fact that 16:9 is just plain better, but still many games are in plain old 4:3.


    Now that I did not know. Very interesting and I think that popping the PJ on the table in front of the viewers may therefore be preferable. Don't really want to be staring up too high. An image that starts (say) 0.5 metres above the floor might be ideally situated.

    You ought to get a MUCH better picture going via the SVGA port on the laptop. At least I hope so. This might give me the dilemma of whether to play DivX video etc via XBox Media Centre as I do now, or via Mediaplayer Classic on my PC. We shall see what's easiest, I'm thinking the XBox will be since it'll be connected anyway. My PC is quiter though...

    So what I've bought is:

    Epson TW10H (last-but-one from projectorscreen.co.uk!)

    Component cables for my DVD player (Pioneer 575a, bought last month as an upgrade for my Wharfdale 750. The 750 will be going back on the CRT TV with RGB scart, and the Pioneer will connect to the PJ via component. Means not having to switch Prog Scan off and on all the time as I shift between TVs)

    Component cables for the XBox (since mine's modded I can run NTSC in progressive mode) and PS2. Got them from consoleplus.co.uk (except they sent a blinkin' S-Video cable for the XBox instead, but have hopefully corrected this oversight). I may need to buy a component cable for my Gamecube as well, but, y'see there's an issue there I won't go into involving some dodgy soldering I did when I installed the region switch a couple of years ago and the component cable might not work. So I'll see what it looks like with S-Video and play it by ear...

    I'm going to start out projecting onto the wall and see how things go. I'm renting so can't do a ceiling mount and don't want to spend loads on a screen that's not guaranteed to be right for whatever house I end up buying later in the year. Will buy hardboard if the wall isn't ideal (top idea that!). Will buy a screen after I move if I decide I want one.

    Now, by the grace of UPS I might even have all this stuff ready for the bank holiday!

    Can't wait to play Doom3 on a massive screen! Might have to have some mates over to play Halo2 on Saturday while the missus is at work :^)
     
  18. lee789

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    Rich alternatively you can put a shelf up on your back wall, and mount the projector on the underside of the shelf upside down, change the option in the projector to ceiling mount, this now inverts the image and the projector needs to be at the top of the screen, to avoid keystone. You will have a long throw so you can have as big imaeg as you like. (the epson has quite a large zoom).

    This way you don't have to move around something in the middle of the room.

    This is how I have set mine up.
     
  19. RichKS

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    Good point. Hadn't thought of that. I'll have to experiment and see what works best.

    Oh, the agony! I'm going to have to spend hours and hours watching DVDs and playing videogames so I can get the position of the projector just right!

    :D

    Edit: I just looked at the manual on the Epson website and it looks as if this PJ has an option for top mounted LRF, which are supplied and can be installed by the user. So it can sit upside down on top of a shelf, meaning I can test this positioning without too much trouble. Ace!
     
  20. Maff et1

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    Most PJs seem to be designed so that they project an image correctly if they are aligned roughly between the middle and bottom of the image (top for ceiling mount). And in these cases keystone correction is not required (certainly the case on my ET1). They do tend to be more forgiving of vertical position then you'd think (or maybe your eyes are).
     
  21. andylorenz

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    way to go Rich ! glad I helped you get your pj for the best price currently available (some places are still trying to shift the Epson for £899). I've also spent a few quid at consoleplus.co.uk to get a component lead for the xbox (also modded, also looking to play divx via media player) - very spooky that, are you my doppelganger ?!

    ps. a mate told me today that in order to invoke HDTV output on the xbox you might need to write-enable the EPROM, and/or write-enable the disk, or both. As and when my component cable arrives I'll try it. Drop me an email at a.lorenz@blueyonder.co.uk and I'll gladly let you know what is required (apparently you need to use configmagic and the dashboard - I use Avalaunch - to set write-enable).

    Personally, I'm having to rethink my entire projector location strategy! Last night I experimented and found that against the back wall of our lounge, 4m away from the other wall, at zero zoom, I was getting a picture around 2m wide - whoa! This was way too big, and too big for the screen I have my eye on. So now I'm on the tack of a ceiling mount, which might be cool anyway, but of course you need to get the cabling routed through the flooring above, so I'm pondering my options. For now the projector is on a table in the middle of the room. Currently watching Titanic! with the kids, fully enjoying the big screen experience ;-) but can't get the sound to reach the stereo so it don't sound big screen!

    cheers
     
  22. RichKS

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    My lounge is 3.8 Metres wide (my girlfriend is a bathroom and kitchen designer, and knows every dimension of the flat down to the nearest cm). Once I take the depth of the projector and the clearance at the back into account, I'm looking at a maximum throw of 3.1 - 3.2M. Meaning (and I might have this wrong) a 1.6 - 1.7 minimum screen width and a 2 metre diagonal. That SOUNDS alright, but I won't know until I test it. And I might have it all wrong anyway!

    I'm going to have to move all the furniture in the lounge this evening to face the other way. There's a radiator on one wall which I really don't want to be in the way of projecting. I'd ideally like the screen to be lowish, which seems like a more natural viewing angle. Might as well move the speakers while I'm at it, and probably the Amp. I dunno, as I keep saying, I won't know until I try this.

    I thought all you needed to do to get an XBox to run progressive was to put it in NTSC mode and connect the Component cable. Then the progressive options ought to appear in the XBoxDash. Again, have to try it to find out.
     
  23. Giblets2

    Giblets2
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    Sorry if I'm being a bit thick RichKS but how do you 'put your XBox in NTSC mode?' Mine offers PAL 60 or PAL... is this a mod thing or out of the box PAL XBox?
     
  24. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    sainthalo

    Just a small point if I may - more a cumulative reaction to a lot of 'Rip off' posts that seem to liberally pepper the Projector Forum!

    If it wasn't for UK Dealers and UK manufacturers paying for banner adds this site would not exist. It must be nice to get all the Free advertising the sites you link to receive - possibly you could convince them to splash out a couple of hundred quid a month to support AVForums with a banner add!!!

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  25. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    Hi ,
    I'm just looking into possibly buying my first PJ on a limited budget and noticed this thread. I was wondering if you still feel after 4-5 months of use that this projector is still very good value for money. I see that it can now be picked up for £522 inc VAT and falls within my budget of <£550. My Room is relatively small (15ft long by 13 ft wide) and I would be wanting to wall mount the pj on the rear wall giving a throw distance of around 14ft. I'm complete noob when it comes to pj's so I do not know what the implications are on screen size etc. What would the min picture size be from that throw distance as I'll be watching the image from about 11ft away.
    Is the TW10 a good candidate that will suit my requirements or has a newer model hit the market place that will better suit my needs for similar money?

    any help would be appreciated thanks.
     
  26. PJTX100

    PJTX100
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    The TW10H from OYYY.co.uk was less than £500 IIRC...PJ :)
     
  27. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    yeh £468 inc vat thanks but will it suit my room?
     

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