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Projector for home cinema

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Fenimor, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. Fenimor

    Fenimor
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    Hi all,

    Want to get the first projector for home cinema, mainly for DVD films!
    Probably will go for DLP, but would like to understand which resolution to look for? For this kind of applications what is better - native 16:9 or 800x600 (1024x768). What other parameters to take care of before buying, except contrast (and nosie :) )?

    Thanks
     
  2. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    xga will support full PAL resolusion (1024 x 576), so that should be a mimimum res to look for IMHO unless you're going to be sitting a long way from the image. Hi Def is a way off, so anything higher res isn't necessary unless you want to use a PC as your source, and/or you want to sit much closer than 2 x screenwidth. The closer you sit, the more chance of seeing the pixels, so increasing the amount of pixels will help reduce their visibility.

    True 16:9 only has the advantage over 4:3 of no light spill outside of the 16:9 area into the remaining 4:3 area, but if you have a dark wall you won't see it. Depending on the pj, you're unlikely to see it except in very dark scenes.

    Will you be watching in a fully light controlled room or wil you have some ambient light coming in?

    The two main types of pj are LCD and DLP. Both have their own pros and cons so don't buy without a demo.

    What is your budget? We might be able to narrow down a few projectors for you.

    Gary.
     
  3. KraGorn

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  4. Fenimor

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    Thanks for the links.

    I don't want to spend a lot for the first projector, so currently, I'm looking for something around GBP1000 (~EUR1500). In particular, BenQ PE5120 (16:9) vs HP EP7112 (svga), or NEC HT410 (16:9 ).

    The thing not clear to me is that 1024*768 chip should easily display 854x480 format, so what is then the reason for having real 16:9 854x480?

    PS Going to use it maybe with some ambient light coming in, but not much probably.
     
  5. KraGorn

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    I imagine cost. I would think a projector with a resolution of 854x480 probably has panels of that size which I'm guessing are cheaper than 1024x768 panels.
     
  6. Fenimor

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    Agree on that. 1024*768 panel projectors are a bit more expensive, but do they worth it, if the main targeted application is watching DVD movies?

    And lets say soon we may get some HD-DVD... so which panel will suit better?
     
  7. KraGorn

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    Neither panel is suited for HD-DVD so each would be a compromise, clearly the 1024x768 panel would handle it better, displaying 1024x576, the other one would have to down-size by even more thereby losing detail.

    If you're looking towards HD then IMHO it'd be a false economy to go lower than 1280x720 panels.
     
  8. Oakleyspatz

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    Basically, the higher the resolution, the sharper and more detailed the image plus you will see less pixelation. Saying that, having a very high resolution is not always ideal depending on what you are watching. For example, NTSC DVD has a resolution of 480 lines and the Infocus SP4805 has the same resolution which means it does not need to scale it's resolution either up or down to display NTSC. This is always a positive, although the 16:9 854x480 ( 800x600 4:3 equivalent) is as low as pj's go nowadays.That's not to say the 4805 gives a poor image, quite the opposite infact. Being a DLP design, the pixelation is always going to be less visible than an equivalent LCD res projector, but it is at it's best displaying a 480 NTSC signal.
    Pal resolution is better than NTSC and is 576 lines of resolution. A projector with a resolution of 1024x576 will display Pal signals unscaled and will produce stunning Pal images.
    You then get into High Def territory which can be either 720 lines progressive ( all lines displayed in one cycle) or 1080 lines interlaced ( half in the first cycle and the other half in the second cycle) A projector with a resolution of 1280x720 or higher would be ideal for High Def sources but remember it will need to scale it's resolution to display DVD of either NTSC or PAL origin. This can sometimes bring in artifacts to the equation. Artifacts are basically unwanted digital 'noise' or 'blocking' which reduces image quality. The plus side is that the higher resolution produces a very fine, pixel-free image which the lower res ones struggle to match.
    I have an Infocus SP4805 which I watch from about 12 foot away from the screen with a six foot wide screen. I see practically no pixelation whatsoever, with the only exception being sometimes in text and very small images. But for the majority of the time, all I see are fine, smooth, film-like images and this is from the lowest res pj you can currently get.
    If you watch mainly PAL DVD's then I would go for a projector with a resolution of 1024x576 ( which are mainly DLP designs) and of course a widescreen model as nearly all DVDs are made in widescreen and of course a widescreen 1024x576 projector will produce a much better image than an equivalent 4:3 res projector as it will utilise all of it's available pixels displaying a 16:9 image unlike a 4:3 projector which will only use a portion of it's pixels and many will be lost in the black bars top and bottom.

    A good choice would be either the Optoma H57 or the Infocus SP5700. But, always, always , always audition before you buy as some people can be susceptable to rainbows.

    Hope this helps,

    Danny
     
  9. Fenimor

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    Thanks Oakleyspatz.

    Unfortunately, neither Optoma H57 and Infocus SP5700 fits in my current projector budget. For that price I could get a nice plasma panel ( but that's completely different story :cool: ).

    For the first time, I'm chosing between 854x480, 800x600 or 1024*768 panels.
     
  10. Oakleyspatz

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    I read a review of the 4805 before I bought it and it said.." The 4805 produces a picture like that of a 90" Plasma only you cannot buy a 90" Plasma and if you could, it would be many thousands of dollars" The review was correct. The image I get from my 4805 is actually better than most Plasma displays I've seen and is much more filmic and smooth with virtually no digital artifacts.
    Resolution is not the be all and end all of a fine image. High Contrast, good colours, superb video processing and brightess all help to make the 'perfect picture'. The only downside with projectors is the need for darkness when in use. If you can save the pj for the evenings, then I'd take a PJ over the Plasma anyday. A plasma will never recreate that cinema experience like a projector can and how often do you have all the lights on at the cinema anway !!
    But do go for a 16:9 projector with the material you tend to watch, a 4:3 won't do DVD justice!
     
  11. nwgarratt

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    I have a PAnasonic PTAE100. I know it is has been around a couple of years old but, I have found it has been an excellent first projector. They go for around £400 on Ebay at the moment. It has the lower 864 number of pixels

    With more money I would be tempted to start off with a Panasonic AE300.
     
  12. Fenimor

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    Panasonic PT-AE100 is LCD type, I would prefer DLP for several reasons.

    So 16:9 panel would be a reasonable choice. Ok, infocus 4805 would be good as I understood, what about BenQ PE5120 ( 1100 Lumens, 2000:1 Contrast) or NEC HT410 ( 1.000 lumens / 1.200:1 ). Both got 5-segment weels ( no ideas about the speed ), but Benq has DVi input and about 200EUR cheaper?

    BenQ PB6200 also looks good, having 1024*768panel, 4-segment 3x-speed weel, and price almost the same as NEC.

    Any experience with these models?
     
  13. nwgarratt

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  14. Oakleyspatz

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    With regards to the BenQ PE5120, it seems like a good choice on paper with regards to it's spec but I think it's more expensive than the 4805. The BenQ 6200 is a 4:3 ratio projector and aimed more at the PC presentation market than the Home Cinema market so although on paper it's spec looks good, in practice, it will not be optimised for video so will probably display exaggerated colours, weak video processing and limited video inputs such as component, S-Video, DVI etc.
    The NEC HT410 is brand new but specs look reasonable although not better than the 4805.
    With DLP , you really should be after a 6 segment 4x speed colour wheel to minimise the risk of rainbows. The 4805 has this and besides it's superb contrast ratio and deep blacks, probably it's best quality is it's video processing. It has the very latest Faroudja DCDi system which is identical to the one found on Infocus's £5k Screenplay 7205. This really gives it an edge over many of it's competitors. Imagine a flag waving in the wind. On many inferior projectors, the edges of this waving flag would appear 'jagged' and 'staggered'. This is due to the low quality video processing contained within. The Faroudja removes these jaggies and delivers superbly smooth edges much more like film than most in it's price bracket.
    Too many people are drawn in by high brightness and high resolution when infact the projector is made to display charts and graphs from a PC rather than panoramic views from Gladiator.
    Whichever one you go for, try and insure that it's been optimised for Home Cinema rather than PC duties. Buying a 16:9 ratio one is a good start !
     
  15. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    If you decide tro go for a lower res pj, have a look at the Optoma H30. If you can get a good second hand NEC HT1000 or Optoma H56 at a good price, you won't go far wrong. Check out warranty transfer though. You should still have a year left on the NEC models as they had a 3 year warranty. Check out remaining lamp life as well.

    Resolution can make a difference, but image processing and colour accuracy can make a better picture from a low res pj than a high res one without it. The chances are Hi def won't be around until you're considering upgrading your pj anyway, so it might not be an issue.

    Gary.
     
  16. cyberheater

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    Have you looked at the BenQ PB6100 PJ. I got mine new from ebay for around 630 quid. Hard to beat. It's got a 800 x 600 panel. I had a AE200 which was a great machine but the BenQ is a major step up in terms of image quality/contrast and black level.
     
  17. Fenimor

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    Hi all,
    In fact 4805 looks a bit more expensive, around 1.5K EUR here :rolleyes: , while PE5120 I can get for 1K, almost the same actually as HT410 (~1.2K).

    cyberheater, do you use if with PC or DVD?
     
  18. markbingo

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    Dont be too quick to discount the LCD as an option.
    I tested quite a few DLP projectors before I bought my LCD and was very disappointed. My panny 700 easily beats all the DLP i tested in the same price range. IMO unless you are spending a lot more money on a DLP, you are better off getting one of the newer LCD machines.

    They are a lot quieter too
    :)
     
  19. Bogeyed

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    I would agree about the need to demo DLP as I had to ditch this technology owing to SRE (severe rainbow effect), so please try out as many as you can and over as long a demo time as the dealer will allow to be absolutely sure you are not affected. Actually LCD is not as bad as I thought-just ordered a Z3.
     
  20. Solomon Grundy

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    If you are set on DLP and your budget is around £1k then demo the H30 or the 4805, I did exactly that and bought the H30, both have a great picture (I don't suffer from rainbows although I can make myself see them) but the Themescene H30 was cheapest of the two... I love it!!!
     
  21. Paul321

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    Hi I am a newbie to home cinema

    anyway to cut a long story short bought a PT a700 2 days ago, baring mind that I like to watch movies at the cinema so that is my expectations.....High!

    However I can say that if you can stretch your budget to a 700 then you will not be displeased...........it is truly awesome...........

    Cheers

    Paul
     
  22. nwgarratt

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    A AE700 can also be bought for just another £200 over the £1k budget as well.
     

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