Entry level projector recommendations?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Mattie, Nov 7, 2000.

  1. Mattie

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    I'm looking for some advice about the purchase of a real entry-level projector. I know what I'd buy if money wasn't any object, but I'm asking for something very, very cheap. I understand quality may be very poor at low price points, but I'd prefer not to have a flood of "don't bother if you can't buy a £4.4K Sony" responses, beggars can't be choosers. Should I avoid the low end altogether and look s/hand, and if so, what should I be considering, and what should I really avoid? Your help is greatly appreciated as always.
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Mattie, you're making me feel guilty over in the feedback forum, so here goes........


    I was sent an email by someone in your sort of predicament. Here's my advice. You should always spend as little as possible, with the caveat that you must spend enough to make it worthwhile in the first place.

    So, it's not possible to say,"Ah, well I'd buy product X for £1000 because it's the best new sub- £1001 projector there is" The first step is to go and view a few to see just what sort of picture quality YOU can live with. If it turns out that the cheapest new projector you can find that is of a high enough performance is a £5000 model and you can't afford that then perhaps you might get a s/hand one.

    When it comes to s/hand I don't see that it's a problem buying these. If the price is right you can get astounding bargains and amazing performance. Of course, you have to be prepared for the possible high costs of servicing. Think of it like buying a s/h Porsche. The initial cost can be quite cheap, but tyres aren't and neither are clutches and ........

    For me there are no new sub £3,000 projectors that I would want to live with. So, I chose the s/h CRT data projector route and a new video processor. Of course, I have the capability to carry out the necessary set up and calibration of these devices, others like yourself probably don't. You could learn and have a go yourself. I find it fun.

    If you are going s/h or new for that matter it might be an idea to check that the device youare buying is capable of accepting a picture from an off board video processor (scaler). That way you can have an upgrade path without having to get rid of the initial projector.

    i.e.

    1: Buy S/H projector
    2: Buy Scaler to use with it
    3: Sell s/h projector and add new unit

    Hope this is of some help

    Gordon


    P.S. I'll try and look for more ZERO reply topics that I can help with.




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  3. ReTrO

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    Agree with Gordon on this one.

    Get yourself a Barco 800 (or similar), and add a PC with software DVD capabilities, and maybe a TV tuner, with a graphics card that will do your scaling, and you are away!

    Note for Gordon: Is the Barco 800 worth hring for a couple of weeks? My mates dad has one, and I need to find a decent hire price.

    Cheers

    Rick

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  4. charles

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    Well Mattie,i sort of agree with Gordon-but-if you buy second hand you could be buying a world of grief-you dont know the life left on the guns-and they aint cheap to replace!!!

    If you were as knowledgable as gordon and few are..its worth the risk because you have the ability to get yourself out of trouble..

    i personally bought an ellie,and i demoed practically everything-the ellie has a great line doubler-resolves upto 6.2/6.3mhz-remote control-murders everything up to about 11 grand..its great value for money-and its under 4 grand.(this product has received little fanfare-and dealers/friends i have spoken to say its such a bargain its being kept quiet for fear of people not spending an extra 4 grand on almost the same product from barco et al..)
    For many years we have been well tucked up with crt projector prices-so good on the ellie for bringing quality at an affordable price!!!
    ....the only other thing against going s/hand is that technology is coming on so fast that the top crt of 2/3 years ago is very mediocre to todays equivalents-there is a massive trade in s/hand crt projectors-mainly because you have all these sharks buying them cheap from pubs/clubs tarting them up and sticking a grand or so on the price-the only person who really has a result is the person who sells it!!...

    So my advice?...buy an ellie..dont but a pig in a poke...
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Charles makes some good points. Buying s/h can be problematical. But then I did point this out in my post.

    I would say this though. The Ellie sounds great for £4000. I think we all get it now.

    However, perhaps seeking professional advice before making any purchase may be more useful than blanket "Buy this it's great"

    Often there can be more to someones requirement than the best picture for the money. The room the thing is going to be used in, the size of image you're trying to achieve, the shape of the screen you want to use, where the projector is going to be able to be housed, all can affect the range of products that you can choose from.

    The Ellie may be a solution, so may a Sony LCD or a Davis DLP or a S/H Electrohome or .....................................

    Gordon

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  6. Mattie

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    Just like to say thanks to Gordon and everybody else who has replied to this thread. (My comment in the feedback forum worked!)

    Honest truth is I can make no informed comment about video projection at all because (wait for it...) I've _never_ seen a projector-based home cinema, only TV/RPTV/Plasma. So the point about finding the level of performance I can live with is exactly what I needed to hear. You've all given me a great starting point, so thanks a lot.

    Now I'm gonna set out to demo a broad spectrum of technologies and brands (including ones I could never afford) and when I have a clearer picture I'll post again.
     
  7. RMCF

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    Mattie

    Can I add my own experiences on the projector side. I had always wanted one but thought that they would always be out of my reach financially. I had considered getting on of those Sharps (model escaped me, XCV20E or something like that) that you see advertised around £699-£1000. Even that would have been tough to afford. I happened to come across a used projector in an Irish auction site and I got it for £400 Irish punts (£280 at time of transaction). The fella owned a TV/Satellite store in Dublin and had planned to set up his own HC, but got married etc and it never came to pass. He had it stored away in his shop. It is a General Electric one. He had bought it about 3 years earlier for IR£3500-£4000. Apparently a lot of pubs in the Dublin area have them. I am very pleased with it although I am sure it is easily surpassed by the modern projectors. But hey, for £280 what do you expect? It projects a 80" image at a distance of 14ft and really adds to the whole HC experience. So what am I trying to say in this post - check out the auction sites (ebay.co.uk, yahoo.co.uk auctions etc) because I have seen plenty of projectors for sale there. You just might pick up a bargain like myself. Although I would take the advice that others have posted here about post purchase costs. All the best.
     
  8. charles

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    My apologies for banging on about the ellie-but let me clarify;- mattie wants value for money-the best entry level he can get yeah?

    Well,i disagree with Gordon about seeking professional advice-UNLESS allied with personal experience ...and most important of all-recommendations...

    All to often professional advice is based on the products that dealer happens to stock-in short there biased-..you must take with a pinch of salt-this so called professional advice-and let your eyes make the decision.Rarely will you get a dealer that will say;-you can get better up the road than the products i have...To me,two or three recommendations for the same product will point me in that direction to start with..the so called professional advice(presuming i like what i see) is just icing on the cake.The comments regarding placement/size of room are obvious-but thats not what Mattie asked-he wanted entry level recommendations-i thought by providing my own personal experience of a great product that would help...i am biased too of course,the difference is,i dont stand to make any money out of my recommendations....unlike the so called professionals advice-and what is a professional in the home cinema game anyway/..just an enthusiast that seeks to make money out of his hobby-and good for him-BUT in the immortal lines fron the outlaw josey wales;-don`t **** down my back and tell me its raining!!!!!
     
  9. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Here's something to consider.

    What is entry level? Is it the same for everyone? Is the entry level the cheapest device available or is it the starting performance level available that would allow a person to enjoy using that product. I would suggest it is the latter. In which case my entry level will be different to the next mans. Price has nothing to do with it. Who cares how good the best £500 amplifier is if you couldn't stand listening to it!

    Obviously dealers have to choose what products they stock. Any dealer that says "go up the road they make a better sound/ picture for your money" isn't worth talking to in the first place. If they have no confidence in their own products or ability then they should give up now.....

    Dealers should be demo-ed just like products and Charles has got this spot on. There are lots of dealers with little or no specialist knowledge who profess to be specialists. How can you tell them apart is the trick!

    Usually I would expect you to be able to make that judgement quickly and simply.

    Just ask to see the first system/projector they sell and then ask to see/hear the next step up in performance then perhaps, the best. If the picture/sound gets worse and they are unable to show you why they feel it is better then you are in the wrong shop. They are stocking product based on price, not performance. So if you are unfortunate enough to walk in with £5000 for a projector and the £3000 one is better then you're likely to never see the £3000 unit.

    Undoubtedly, there will be more expensive units which are better in the shop but they will probably have little idea of why they are better or how to extract the best performance from them.

    This is just my humble opinion of course as an extremly biased, never to be trusted dealer/specialist/enthusiast.

    Gordon

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    [This message has been edited by Gordon, StereoStereo (edited 01-12-2000).]
     
  10. charles

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    Yes Gordon might be one of the rare dealers that sells great products that he believes in (..i believe that he might be..)...but unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who will place an inordinately high level of trust in someone who may not know an awful lot more than them.
    Yes.in a perfect world we would all demo vast amounts of dealers-make up a short list-read the reviews-go and look at the product etc..etc...BUT the reality is that some people may live in an area that only has 1 or 2 home cinema @[email protected] these in real terms -might not be very special!!!!

    My original advice still stands;-(1)recommendations (2)reviews (3)demo (4)listen (with a pinch of salt..)to the dealers advice....in this order of importance.

    After this,if you buy a product that is right for you-you are more inclined to trust the dealer afterwards...

    True faith in a dealer is based on time and personal experience.
     
  11. Mattie

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    Thank you all for your continued discussion and comments. Seeing both sides of the story has been very useful. I have never relied on dealers very much because my limited experience of them has been tainted with two-channel snobbery in my locality. Charles' 4-point list is pretty close to my opinion but this doesn't mean I can't conceive of a clear, honest and useful dealership that would be better informed than me about an intended purchase I had previously researched.

    Personally I am blessed with a extraordinary memory for facts and figures so I go into a purchase armed with every review, recommendation and comment almost literally at my mental fingertips and this means that, theoretically at least, I don't have a lot to learn from the dealer. But... same thing happens when I go to the doctor, I've memorised medical texts etc., but I still trust his judgement. So in both cases its a dialogue, and the more equal the dealer / doctor and I are, hopefully with me being a little inferior, the better we get on.

    (Hope that doesn't sound arrogant and you get what I mean!)

    Anyway I can't afford an Ellie/ but I'm seeing it like this: a guy who only has a bicycle will find that a three-wheeled Robin Reliant will transform his travel, evne tho' it isn't much of a car. So I'm going with SOK and looking for a low-cost water-testing approach which will probably take me, over a couple of years, to the heady hights of needing Gordon's ISF services...

    Thanks again.

    Mattie.

     
  12. adrianh

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    Mattie,

    Nice one, pleased to see that there are a few of us at the budget budget end of the scale. In my experience never rule out any possibility, in my case pulling a CRT projector out of a skip to look at the technology inside. Managed to get it working again after a couple of days of tinkering and about 10 pounds cost. Now have a unit that projects good clean images +100" , the limiting factor at the minute is the size of my room.

    AdrianH

    (p.s. have since found another crt projector for my flatmate, again fully working)
     
  13. charles

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    Mattie,i take your point-but i think we have to be honest here;-reviews/adverts/promotions are all designed to kindle our interest in something in the first place-we are almost psychologicaly conditioned before we step into the dealers!
    Sometimes we almost want the dealer to tell us what we already believe to be the truth-think about all these punters buying the sony lcd because of the great review-do you think as many units would have been sold if the review had been crap?...and here is the conundrum..think of the favours(discounts/free product..and sometimes money..)involved to the person who reviews a product positively.I have been reading reviews for 20 years and seldom does a major league players(sony,denon,toshiba etc..)get a dismal review!!!!...But if the company is not a major player then the review can be quite cool(..no freebies i guess..)-the recent review of the ellie was a fine example..
     
  14. ptmbradley

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