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Help Please! Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Rick1486, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. Rick1486

    Rick1486
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    Hi - first of all I confess I'm a newbie to the projector scene and so I apologize for my ignorance.
    The wife has (thankfully) agreed with me that she too would love to have a projector in our living room! We would like it to replace our Sony widescreen t.v. as our main viewing platform for tv, dvd and Sky. I'd also like to use it to play p.c. games if we do go with a p.c. driven setup.
    We saw the HS10 demo'd at our local Powerhouse in the Sony concession and were v. impressed - they had it hooked up to a VAIO p.c. and were extoling the virtues of using the p.c. as a tv receiver, TIVO replacement and dvd platform.
    We would want to keep our new jvc dvd player and our sky (pace) box and perhaps i'd build or buy a bespoke p.c. to allow this in our living room - size 15ft. long x 13ft. wide. The wall I'm thinking of projecting onto has a dado rail and to view above this I reckon I'll be looking at a piccie approx. 5ft. wide x 4ft. high which is plenty big enough for our needs.
    I've perused the threads, read reviews etc. and am thinking of either the Panasonic AE300 or the Sony HS10.
    So what do I want from you lot?
    1. Which projector do you recommend?
    2. Would you go with the p.c. idea and if so what components would you be looking at including and why.
    3. What accessories (e.g. cables/peripherals etc.) would be required.
    All help and any advice is much appreciated.
    Estimated budget is 2k ish for the pj and approx £6-700 for the p.c. - will be more if I decide to sell my pristine 2001 gsx-r with 1700 miles, d/bubble, mucho alarms, and blue flame 3d carbon oval race can.
    Cheers
    Rick
     
  2. gothmog

    gothmog
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    Welcome to the forum :)

    I'll talk about my opinion (;) ) on a few general points and then I'll talk about the AE-300, which I own.

    1. I won't recommend one. They're both very good projectors but they do address slightly different areas, so I think you'll be able to make a good choice when you weigh up their specific features.

    2. Have a look in the HTPC forum I'm not sure there's an easy way of getting Sky through a HTPC short of using the PC's video in etc, there are cards that work with free-to-air terrestrial digital and some TiVo'ish software. An elegant all-in-one solution is in the future somewhere :)

    HTPC for DVD can give better quality for DVD, however not as easy as buying a decent progressive DVD player and it's a fair bit of work to get the extra 5%. I have a HTPC and a decent player, I use the player 95% of the time for DVD.

    HTPC for gaming, more games are supporting 16:9 so that's good, make sure you build an nForce2 HTPC so you get Dolby 5.1 encoding for games :). Oh and a radeon video card.

    3. Well having had my projector for a couple of months now, I must say I am surprised by the number of cables I have bought :)
    I have 10m s-video, component, composite cables, a 5m VGA cable and a 5m DVI cable! That's about £100's worth. That connects DVD, PS2, Sky, TiVo and the HTPC.

    Now on to the AE-300 in particular:

    Good
    - Small (I was shocked!)
    - Quiet, quieter than my HTPC, a fair bit quieter than my PS2.
    - Short throw, this means it does a big image in a small space.
    - Excellent DVD/TV performance straight out of the box.
    - Smoothscreen really works! Search for 'screendoor' :)
    - Connectivity all present, s-video, component, composite, vga, dv-i, European model will have Scart.
    - Decent price, £1500 from Japan, will probably be £1500-1600 when it appears here (any time now).
    - Decent good performance for gaming over VGA upto 1280x768 res (downscaled to 960x540).

    Bad
    - Fiddly DVI performance, limited resolutions no 1:1 960x540 res.
    - a 1280x768 desktop is mush, you can see what's happening put you won't be doing your homework on it :).
    - Short throw, if you don't want a big image in a small space you'll have to buy a throw conversion lens, making the price less attractive.
    - You can't buy it in the UK yet!

    Speaking of throw distances you say you're looking at 5x4ft now this is actually a rather small size! I am throwing an 8ft wide image from about 12ft visit www.projectorcentral.com look up the projectors you are interested in and check out the throw calculator this will give you an idea of where the projector needs to be located within the room to acheive the screen size you want.

    Also both projectors you mention are 16:9 so the screen area is more 5x3ft shaped :).

    I'm stopping now my fingers are tired :)

    -- Jon
     
  3. theritz

    theritz
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    Hi Rick1486,

    Welcome to the forums !:hiya:


    I'd be interested to hear other views on using a front projection system as a replacement for tv. I have to say that I would not consider this as a viable option for the following reasons:

    While tv pictures and Sky can be gotten to a very decent level via projector, there are some impracticalities - most PJs need pretty good light control so that you can see a decent image - ambient daylight in your sitting room/whatever, or any light (direct or indirect) which falls on the screen surface will degrade the picture quality pretty severely, making it very "washed out". The need for blackout curtains and careful lighting doesn't make a pj a practical option for daytime tv viewing, for instance. Some members here may disagree with me on this one, and I'll be interested to see any reaction.

    Movies and drama/documentaries/sports are brill on the big screen, routine tv less so, imo. For me (and family) there is a special quality to watching a movie/football/whatever on the big screen, as opposed to the telly. I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated room for pj screen and sound, so normal tv land is unaffected.

    Lamp life in projectors varies between 2000 - 6000 hrs, depending on the model you choose - there is usually a "low" setting which diminishes brightness slightly in favour of longer lamp life, but 5000/6000 hrs is about the longest you could hope for. I using my PJ for movie viewing mainly, I've got about 600 hrs in about 6 months - thats about 3 years from a lamp (fingers crossed). If this was being used for routine tv viewing, I'd say it would clock up 5000 in about 18 months, could be as short as a year- lamp prices vary from about £250 - £500 dsepending on the model and this is a factor which you might wish to take into account.

    I have no wish to discourage you - quite the opposite - other members who have followed the same path and use predominantly PJ instead of telly might have different advice/different perspectiv on the question.

    All the best,


    Sean G.
     
  4. Rick1486

    Rick1486
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    thanks lads for the opinions/advice - please keep the suggestions coming!
    So far it seems that a pj might not be the best choice but I'm open to convincing otherwise or am i just throwing hard earned good money away on something potentially inferior to my current tv and dvd setup.?
    The wife really loves the idea of opening up the space currently occupied by the tv, but my major consideration is the practicality of it all - I'd have to be able to connect sky up to the pj and also my current dvd player. The games playing issue whilst a consideration is not the overriding factor, but is nonetheless important to me.
    Cheers
    RICK
     
  5. dean randle

    dean randle
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    Hi Rick,
    Just a thought: if you post where you are from there may be someone in your locale with a pj who would kindly offer you a viewing of their set up??
    Cheers,
    Dean.
     
  6. Rick1486

    Rick1486
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    Good idea mate - I'm in Oxfordshire.
     

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