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Projector buying advice...?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by The Belgain, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. The Belgain

    The Belgain
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    Hi guys. I've been looking around the forum recently, trying to decide what projector to get. Loads of useful info around, but I still have a few questions.

    I had a CRT projector last year at uni (a Barco 800), which was great, but that's now been sold (for various reasons). I liked CRT, but it's really too bulky, and no good in non-dark conditions, so I've decided to go digital.

    Whatever I buy will be hooked up to a PC (by DVI if the projector has DVI input), with a 5.1 setup also hooked up to PC. It will be used mainly to watch movies/tv shows from the computer (a mixture of DVD, HD, and XviD material), as well as possibly some freeview (if I decide to get a freeview box). The vast majority will be 16:9, so I'd like a 16:9 native res ideally. My budget is fairly flexible; I'm looking at around £1000, but will go a little higher if there's something significantly better, and equally would be very happy to spend less if there wasn't too big a sacrifice in terms of quality.

    The first thing I've been trying to decide is whether to go LCD or DLP. As far as I can make out, the major problem with LCD is the blacks (same problem as LCD monitors compared to CRT ones) and screendoor (though this shouldn't be too noticeable on higher res models - eg. 1280x720). Main drawback of DLP seems to be low res (800x600 or 1024x768 in the same pricerange as the 1280x720 LCDs) and the rainbow effect on PJs with slow colourwheel.

    I know I would really need to demo them to find out, but at the moment, I think I'm leaning more towards LCDs, mainly because I want to be able to really take advantage of HDTV, as there are loads of films available now in it (a very active scene over at altbinarieshdtv), and I will be getting plenty of this material. With an SVGA or even XGA projector I wouldn't really be getting an HD picture. Problem is though that HD isn't much good if you can't see anything as soon as things get dark. So how bad are LCD PJs for blacks? Are they as bad as LCD computer monitors (which I find much worse than CRTs sinply because of the black level)?

    As far as LCD PJs, I'd be wanting 1280x720 res (or more). I'm looking at the Panasonic 500, or the 700 when it comes out. Is there any info as to when the 700 will be coming out? Also, will it drive the price of the 500 down much? The thing I noticed about the 700 is that it doesn't have a DVI connection. Is it possible to hook the HDMI connection to a computer DVI output without a conversion to analogue? Or would I have to use VGA? Is there a big difference in quality between DVI and VGA in general?
    I've also been looking at the Sanyo Z2. Again, the Z3 has been announced. Is this worth looking out for? Is there a concensus as to whether to get the Z2 or the Panasonic? I seem to get the impression the Panasonic may be a slightly better bet?

    As for DLPs, the Optoma H30 seems to be getting a lot of good press. Otherwise, the Benq 6200 is tempting, as it has 1024x768 native res. Is it any good? Are there any DLPs with 1280x720 res for cheapish? How about 1024x576? Is it worth just going for a cheap Infocus X1/X2 (what is the difference between the two) now and upgrading later?

    Any other suggestions? Anything in particular that I should know about?

    Also, does anyone know of any good places to demo/buy near Enfield (or in that rough area)? Also, what are the best places to buy online in the uk? Thanks a lot in advance for your help guys. And great forum. There sure are a lot of projectors to look through at the moment... can't wait to waste my first paycheck on one...!
     
  2. The Belgain

    The Belgain
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    No repiles at all? Anyone?

    I think I'm really starting to lean towards the Panasonic 500 now. All I need to do is find a good price...
     
  3. Gorshin

    Gorshin
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    too many questions :nono:
     
  4. The Belgain

    The Belgain
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    Right. Sorry about that. I guess I just didn't want to turn this into yet another DLP vs LCD thread. That is the main thing I want to know I suppose.

    Also, how much better does HDTV look on a 720p PJ compared to DVD?
     
  5. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    HDTV looks as much better than DVD as DVD does than VCR. And it's not just the resolution, bitrates are much higher too (HDTV on a 480 line plasma still looks loads better than 480p from a DVD on said plasma).
     
  6. KraGorn

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    LCD vs. DLP: DLP is superior IMHO as long as rainbows aren't a problem.

    Z2 vs. 500: I had a Z2, both suffer some panel noise but seems to vary more between Sanyos than Panasonics.

    Yes, you can connect a PC DVI to a PJ HDMI in principle, though sometimes there are specific model incompatibilities.

    The difference between DVI and analog is highly dependent on the devices involved, the nature of the source material, the quality of the MPEG decoder etc.
     
  7. The Belgain

    The Belgain
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    Right. Thanks for those. I guess my next question is how much difference is there between HD on a 800x600 panel, and HD on a 1280x720 panel? I'd imagine there's quite a big difference, so that's why I'm leaning towards LCD PJs. I guess getting a DLP with XGA or WXGA res would be a compromise. The only one I've seen that's in my pricerange is the Benq 6200. Would you recommend it? Are there any other DLP PJs worth looking at that are XGA or WXGA?
     
  8. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I went from a Z2 (1280x720) LCD to a Z200E (1024x576) DLP on a 92" 16:9 fixed screen viewed from 11' .. so's you know what my experience is. ;)

    The image quality of the DLP, meaning better blacks, no panel noise, more vivd colours (and rainbows which became barely noticeable after a few days) IMHO more than made up for the decreased resolution.

    Yes, at times there's a little pixelation which the Z2 probably wouldn't show, however it never distracts me.
     
  9. mutley

    mutley
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    Wait for CEDIA and see what's coming :lesson:
     
  10. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Ah, the old 'wait just a little longer then it'll be the right time to buy' advice. :D

    You're right of course, at this time of year unless the need is urgent 'tis best to wait to see what's just around the corner .. then cry 'cos you can't afford it. :laugh:
     
  11. The Belgain

    The Belgain
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    Yeah... I won't be buying till October anyway (when I move place). I don't know what the layout will be like, so I may not be able to have a projector at all. We shall see.

    I'll be able to see what comes out at Cedia, and decide after that. There's too many choices...

    I'm also gonna need to find an ISP with a decent newsgroup server, otherwise I won't be getting any HD programming at all. Any suggestions?
     
  12. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    NO ISP provides a decent newsgroup server, you'll need to subscribe to a 'premium' service .. some to try:

    newscene.com
    giganews.com
    easynews.com
    usenetserver.com

    Of those my experience is that Giganews is the best, they now have a European server which helps maintain bandwidth .. I also use Newscene and Easynews from time to time, no experience of Usenetserver.

    There are several others of course.
     
  13. The Belgain

    The Belgain
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    Hmmm... I guess I'll have to go with a pay service then. The one I've had recommended (by www.altbinarieshdtv.com ) is Newshosting ( www.neswhosting.com ). $14.95 per month, or $83.70 per 6 months, or $155.40 per year. Unlimited downloads. Apperently the retention is very good.

    I'm surprised no ISPs have decent services. I was on Zen last year, and seem to remember them having 3 day retention (I didn't really use newsgroups much). Surely that would be adequate for getting films?
     
  14. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I've seen Newshosting mentioned a lot, personally I've never needed to look beyond the few I've tried but if you've seen good reports of them.

    ISPs don't provide 'good' news servers because to do so needs looooooooots of storage and ISPs' main interest is in connectivity not managing server farms. 3 days retention is frankly pretty poor, especially if you're trying to get multi-gigabyte 200+ parts * 100 binaries.

    However, beyond that, the biggest concern with a news server is their feeds, how many, where from, etc. One popular server for posting in the .DVD groups is Usenetserver.com, some other news servers seem to have propogation problems with their message base and it's common to see large gaps in messages originating at that server .. eventually most get around but some news providers never get their full feed it seems.
     

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