Buying my 1st projector: what should I consider?

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
Hi

I have started researching projectors with a view to buying my 1st one in the next month or two (it seems CEDIA is coming up hence new model announcements and therefore possible bargains for the bargain hunter) and am considering a budget of ~£700 for the projector alone. This is somewhat flexible though I'd be only too happy to spend less.

I feel I'm starting to get a handle on what the issues are but thought a post with a summarisation of those issues might be useful to flush out anything I'm missing so here goes. Any and all comments welcome as this really is an early pass at understanding what I should be doing.

DLP vs LCD (and placement)
both have their (vociferous) proponents but in my price range it seems to boil down to whether the rainbow effect is a problem or not and placement. On the former I have no idea but will be demoing some models soon to find out.

Screen Choice
This is pretty much enforced, I have to go mobile/portable (nuvu type screen or tripod?). My room is approx 14' * 12' * 10' and there are two light fittings down the centre of the length of the room. One right above the current LCD (hence where the screen would go) and one right above the seating position. This negates any attempt at a fixed screen which is not a bad thing given that this place is rented (though is unfurnished so I can do what I want if I make it good when I leave).

Screen Size
given the budget we're talking 720p and so it seems viewing distance should be at least 1.5 times the screen size. In my room viewing distance will be about 9' so I make that a screen size of ~72", it doesn't sound especially massive but may well look it and it seems I can't realistically go larger without starting to see (or have increased incidence of) artifacts.

Projector Placement
Taking the projector first & taking into account room size & light fitting & seating position it seems that mounting the projector on a shelf on the rear wall is the only realistic choice. If I consider this house only then I think this takes any lens shift & keystoning out of the equation as placement will be perpendicular to the screen and firing directly at the centre of the screen? Such a placement perhaps facilitates easier access to existing power sockets but presumably exacerbates PJ noise issues hence I should tend towards a quieter model (given its likely proximity to the viewers) all other things being equal.

Screen Placement
Assuming we're talking 72" diagonal then for a 16:9 screen that means a screen measuring 63" * 35". I'm not sure how high off the ground the bottom of the screen should be but my current LCD starts at ~ 30" and that is comfortable. On that basis such a screen would extend to ~65" off the ground which is about 4.5' from the ceiling, a good foot or so beneath the light fixtures meaning they don't come into play when projecting from the back wall. It also means the shelf would have to be placed about ~4' off the ground to be aiming at the centre of the screen. This should be fine as the rear sofa is placed about a foot from the rear wall so no chance of bumping heads & high enough to eliminate any potential for shadows from people sitting down.

Sources
the two main sources at the moment will be a Denon DVD-2900 (i.e. SD) connected via component and an HTPC (i.e. HD) connected via DVI (or HDMI). At present the DVD is connected to the LCD via an AV receiver while the PC is connected directly to the LCD via DVI-HDMI lead. I don't think this has any impact on the projector choice except that I'll need 2 seperate cable runs which will probably go taped to the floor under a rug along with the surround speaker cables. I don't imagine I'll use the PJ for actual PC use though it would be nice to have (a 768 line output). I may buy a PS3 or other HD player down the line but would think that is at the very least a year or so away hence not directly relevent to a projector decision now.

2nd hand or new
I typically go with 2nd hand kit as it gives more bang for buck however I have a vague (and not well researched feeling) that a 2nd hand projector may be a riskier buy and one where warranty is particularly important. I'm particularly unsure which way to go here.

Cheers
Matt
 

sdb123

Distinguished Member
With regard to the point about 2nd hand, I can't see why there would be any issue that wouldn't be a similar risk with other bits of equipment. Just make sure of the number of hours used on the lamp and try and get a demo to make sure you're happy with it. :smashin:

PJ's seem to lose a proportion of their value pretty quickly so there are some bargains to be had. ;)

Steve
 

UrbanT

Distinguished Member
I'll add two things. If buying 2nd hand consider the price of a new bulb in the price. The hours counter on most projectors are easily reset, so if someone wants to reset their bulb hours every 200 hours, and then sell their unit with 150 hours showing when in fact the bulb could be at the end of its life.

On your budget, and the price of bulbs generally £150-£250, a new unit may be the better option.

The second point is that you can have 1080p24 compability in your budget, so don't under-estimate how important this could be to your large screen happiness :)
 

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
From the list linked in the FAQ it looks like making 1080p24 a requirement would cut down my choice of PJs to the Panasonic AX100E which is a 720p projector and so only impacts the purchasing decision in so far as it removes judder if I have a 1080p24 source to feed it. Is that correct?
 

UrbanT

Distinguished Member
From the list linked in the FAQ it looks like making 1080p24 a requirement would cut down my choice of PJs to the Panasonic AX100E which is a 720p projector and so only impacts the purchasing decision in so far as it removes judder if I have a 1080p24 source to feed it. Is that correct?

It will reduce the amount of projectors available because manufacturers are only just putting into their displays. I had assumed that as you use an HTPC, you could output any res you liked?

It is a personal choice, and some don't consider it that important, but judder is far more obvious on a big screen so if you don't like it, you're going to be a bit stumped.
 

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
It will reduce the amount of projectors available because manufacturers are only just putting into their displays. I had assumed that as you use an HTPC, you could output any res you liked?

It is a personal choice, and some don't consider it that important, but judder is far more obvious on a big screen so if you don't like it, you're going to be a bit stumped.
right, I see what you mean. Yes I can theoretically output any res I like but there are mitigating factors at the moment, mainly that my PC as it stands doesn't have the grunt to deal with 1080p sources (yet another thing on the upgrade list :rolleyes:).
 

Member 55145

Distinguished Member
doesnt the hd70 do 1080p24 too? i thought it did.

when testing for rainbow effect you need to do it in a dark room with a big screen. the more of your periphiral vision the screen takes up the more pronounced the RBE is
 
N

Not A Clue

Guest
I know the projectors I have had in the past have a "number of times reset" counter which I don't think can be reset so may help give a more genuine view of hours?...

I think the HD70 does 1080 @ 24 and you can pick them up brand new for £655 from PC world...

Also as regards to lamp warranty as I understand it bulbs may not be covered for 12mths...for example sharp had an offer on recently where they covered brand new lamps for 3 months which kind of confirms that lamps that fail within a 12mth window of purchase may not be covered by the manufacturer otherwise why would they promote it - this may help balance out the new vs old decision...
 

ventolin

Standard Member
This post describes well the story with projectors displaying different resolutions / frame rates (i.e. 1080p/24). The HD70 will need to use 3:2 pulldown and so will not display a 1080p/24 image without judder.

This post lists projectors that can correctly display 1080p/24, of which I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong) only the Panasonic AX100 and Sharp XV-Z20000 are 720p projectors.

I'm also looking for a 720p projector... was going to pick up a Z5 since they're cheap and good, but now thinking of future proofing my setup with a Panasonic AX100 instead.
 

Mad Monk

Active Member
Although the whole 1080/24 issue may be a big concern for alot of people I'd really question how important this is to you. I own a 720p projector and find that I am watching more DVD content than HD content.

Possibly you should consider how well your new HD PJ handles DVD material. Other factors more important to me were contrast and black levels and shadow detail.

I haven't noticed any judder on a 80" screen from X360 HD DVD, BR from PS3 and other video material from HTPC.

Buying SH you can get great bargains but with 720P PJ falling like crazy I'd stick with a new one, I'm sure you can pick up something fantastic for under £700.
 

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