Updating from a (very old) AE300 (yup 300 not 3000!)

edz

Active Member
Hello everyone

after an absence from big screen home cinema I built a new screen last year and rolled out my old projector to see if we wanted to come back to big screen viewing as a family. Indeed we did and we've been using my (about 13 year old!) Panasonic AE300 - NB not a 3000 a 300 - with a HTPC via HDMI / DVI at a compromise resolution (wide 60 I believe).

So lots of background - skip if you dont need it!

Anyway at present I'm running the projector from a tripod mounted stand just behind the sofa put in place when we are having a movie night but now I'd like to update to 1080p (4k is a long way off in cost and hardware - not to mention source material).

So I'm looking at projectors that are (preferably) below £1k or much less. The screen is home made and attaches to hooks and is tensioned by turnbuckles which make it pretty easy to put the screen up and down and keep wrinkles at bay, its 135cm high and although we dont use the full width its 300cm wide. Using the AE300 zoom we push to 135cm by about 240cm. On 2.351 movies I can also zoom up further to ~280cm wide but clearly the AE300s 800 ansi lumens is pretty pushed at this point even with only ~360 hours on its lamp (yup the original).

Ideally I'd love to wall mount a new unit and have a zoom / shift to fill the screen so I dont need to keep setting it up but that would push the projector to about 5m from the screen. Thats a big ask and there dont appear to be many projectors in the cheap(er) end of the market at this point that can do it. If its a deal breaker then there are other options to mount it behind the sofa or sticking with our current stand (weight allowing - the AE300 weighs 6.4lbs so I dont think it would be happy with the At6000s 19.2lbs!)

Initially I saw the likes of the Panasonic at6000e (8000) as a really good call here until I realised its a 2012 projector! It's also a bit high on price (for my budget) at ~£1800.

I had some unhappy moments with DLP in its first few generations with rainbows giving me a headache. I know new models use higher speed wheels so may be happy with a new DLP unit.

We run movies with the room blacked out and dont have any ambient light.

So with all that out of the way I'd been looking at the models below

AT6000E
Optoma HD50
Epson EH-TW5350
BenQ W1110

Whilst we have some good dealers nearby none I've called can put demos on for the "cheaper" end of the market Im in and its mostly box shifting or full bespoke installs so research is all I have at the moment.

Many thanks all

Ed
 

Darko

Well-known Member
I am running the Epson 5210 and its a great little projector for low money had a chance to see a Benq W1080 the other day that also fits your bill After a while it gave me headache due to it being dlp but the image was great, My buddy does not suffer the rainbow so its not a problem for him.

The epson you are looking at is pretty much the same as mine.

Cheers Darko
 

Darko

Well-known Member
Also from recent experience I believe that the epson 9200 has lens shift and a 25foot throw and they can be had a bit cheaper now due to new models being released, bit more than you plan to spend but will accommodate your needs more
 

edz

Active Member
Hi Darko

that does sound an interesting unit, especially the lens shift, looks a bit rich for my budget though sadly.

Thanks again for the info though.

Looking like the Epson EH-TW5350 may be the most likely contender at the moment, I'll take another look at projectorcentral throw calculator and do some more research.

Cheers all

Ed
 

Darko

Well-known Member
The 5000 range don't have very long throws unfortunately, however if you are set on the 5350 you may want to look at the 5210 as it's pretty much the same projector but £100 cheaper
 

edz

Active Member
Thanks for all the viewpoints and comments guys.

Managed to arrange a demo at the local Richer Sounds of a group of units today.

As expected, although the Optoma HD50 had very, very nice images both my wife and I saw rainbows galore, so no DLP for me!

I'd missed out on a clearance on Epson EH-TW7200 and was looking into a couple of their mid-range units including the Epson EHTW6800 but after a bit of a chat over what I was trying to do I managed to secure a nice deal on another choice I'd previously discounted due to the price.

Had to stretch the budget a bit but managed to get a sony vpl-hw45es for well below the current list price which will be arriving wednesday(ish) this week.

From Projector central numbers it should be pretty much spot on from the back of the room and although it doesn't have electric zoom or lens memory the PQ is so nice it would be rude to refuse especially with a free 6 year warranty and the option of a nicely discounted ceiling mount when it comes to go up.

Over the last week I also got a rather nice deal on some back speakers locally and built home made shelves so I've gone 7.1 as well.

This evening we'll be having a final showing on the AE300, pics when everything is done :)

Thanks all

Ed
 

mikemag

Distinguished Member
Welcome to the 45 Club :thumbsup:

It's a great piece of kit, I'm sure you'll be very happy with it.
 

ELV

Active Member
Can I be cheeky and ask what saving you made I'm in the same boat and off to Newcastle next week. I was going to try the 6700 but would like to try the Sony. I could stretch to around £1700. It was obviously worth it?

Cheers Neil
 

edz

Active Member
Hi mate

Well it's worth a go but the list is up at £2035 now at Rs which puts them about mid way on dealers I'd use (plus they are one of about 3 in my area who demo and I try not to use demo rooms / advice and then buy elsewhere. Well I try anyway :D)

I managed to get mine for £1980 with discounted bracket and some other bits plus 6 year warranty. Plus the fact they're a 10 minute drive from me if I have issues!

Nice pic with good blacks from a 3 chip LCD as I can't tolerate rainbows on colour wheel dlp units sadly (and in an Optima demo neither could Mrs Edz as a clip from man from uncle had her exclaiming wow as to how much she noticed them bouncing her out of the movie). It does seem a very nice solid performer, remote zoom etc and lens memory would have been nice as well but this seems a good unit to upgrade to and it seems to be holding together well by long term owners postings here and elsewhere.

I believe it could be had for about £100 less before Christmas but exchange rates, political shifts and other fun meant it's gone up. Seems from research I've done online it's a good price maybe I could have shaved a bit more off or they could but this seemed a good price for the unit on the current market I just missed out on its old bargain price! Go for it though If you don't ask you won't get after all.

Good luck matey
 
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mikemag

Distinguished Member
The retail price in Richer Sounds from when the model was launched until just before Christmas was £1849, and because I'd just bought a new receiver from them I managed to squeeze a few quid more off the price of mine.
 

edz

Active Member
I shall weep in the corner

To be fair the chap in rs was completely open with me in the shop on its price increase and googling them new online doesn't show many below the £1900 mark now even mail order with no in shop support, just a baaaaad time to be buying compared with last year's sadly for me!

He did do me a pretty nice deal, I could probably have got a bit more off if I'd been buying more kit of course or not wanted to go to a shop on the high street may save even more. Just nice to have the demo facility/help services and they do tend to follow through on warranty from experience.

Looking forward to the monster arriving though (hey after my ae300 this will be beastly sized :eek: :) )
 

mikemag

Distinguished Member
It's definitely one to test the sturdiness of your ceiling mount, and if I remember correctly it needs M5 bolts instead of the M4 ones I'd used to attach my previous Epsons and Panasonics to the mount.
 

ELV

Active Member
Thanks for that pal. I'm in the exact same position as you but going from a Z4. I love the pj but the 720 resolution is no good at120".
I think I'll try the 6700 and if I'm happy call it a day. Temptation is a funny thing. I my need to use a Nd2 as I do now with the Sanyo as I can blackout the the room. You're dead right about the timing.
Cheers Neil
 

edz

Active Member
No worries mate

the ae300 has served me proud but always was pinicity about running from a computer, its a half hd 960 x 540 but will only sync on dvi (no hdmi) at a wide 60 (1200 by something res) its also before HDCP of course!

Will be nice to just plug in an hdmi cable after persistant fiddling to get it to sync up! 1080p 24 on the projector will be nice as well :)
 

ELV

Active Member
. Enjoy.

I'm now looking at Dlp also but really worried about rainbows. I'm a bit concerned the Epson will be to bright. Might give Tysons a ring and see what demo I can arrange.
 

edz

Active Member
Hi ELV

remember to let us know what you do.

Finished work last night and found my existing HDMI to the back of the room wouldn't work which I had a suspicion may be the case although I had tested it with a laptop and the TV (reversing the connections)

From past experience I know that over 8m HDMI can be funny like that with some HDCP handshake / image breakup or other oddities. In this case I then plugged my HDMI splitter in (it shows a red light when devices are connected), nothing, nada.

Since this is for one lounge room and isn't likely to change until we move CAT6 baluns are a little overkill. I could have ordered a booster and tried my luck with this cable or another one buuuuuuuut I just ended up buying an active 10m HDMI lead from RS who were open late, yup the expensive option but it was that or look at my new toy for 3 days while I wait for mail order bits (Bournemouth is not respite with shops selling the more esoteric home cinema bits - lots can order them in but then you may as well buy off the net anyway). Props to RS who did give me a 25% discount on the cable since I had rotten luck and wasn't needing a ceiling mount now!

so with a distinctly jury rigged setup last night (the proj is on an occasional table on the dining table until the weekend) we gave it a setup and a test movie - well rude not to.


Ooooooooo thats a step up from an A300.

Avengers age of Ultron from Bluray (full uncompressed on my NAS). I set up the zoom to fill my screen width just for fun. It didnt break a sweat at nearly 300 wide by 135 high (temp screen - Ive designed a new one which I will be building from scratch soon with a rigid frame).

Had some time today so I've routed the new cable and removed the old (pretty easy as its in its own conduit on the skirting board).

Once the furniture is in I'll post some piccies and then start tweaking settings as per the owners forum. For now I decided to go into low lamp for better black levels (I know thats contentious some people have said start high for the first 50-100 but its such a bright picture its that or wear sunglasses and the blacks are much nicer)

So apart from some cable stressing a very nice first movie :)
 

ELV

Active Member
At least your cable is easily changed. I buried mine behind the plaster board and the bloody screen is painted on it. I've had no issues with it yet at 720 so hopefully it will be OK. I New I should have put it in conduit. Glad to hear it's looking good. Trouble is trying not to fiddle once you have a picture you like. I spoke to Tysons today.,I'm in West Cumbria and they don't really have anything to test so it's Richers at Newcastle on Friday but after reading swinging back to Lcd. God nothing is simple. I bought a new car last year and hardly read up on it. This is on a different level!
My favourite test disc is Moulin Rough for blacks soi can imagine all those old favourite films will be making a show!
 
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jont

Well-known Member
Might be putting my Epson TW-7200 up for sale soon and treat myself to a 9300 ... will be looking for about a grand - maybe bit more if I throw in the Lumagen Mini which I've just had calibrated by Gordon to it ... just gauging interest ;)
 

ELV

Active Member
In the end I've gone for a Epson 6700. I tried it for an hour and was really impressed with how far things have come. It's getting delivered tomorrow so looks like I won't be doing to much. How's the Sony pal?
 

edz

Active Member
Afternoon all

Nice Pick ELV, are you going to post a thread on it? (I haven't seen one if you've done so already but then I've been busy with Work and the below, I'd be interested in your setup).

The Sony is bedding in nicely and after a weekend of room moving about and furniture building I thought it was about time for some pics.

First the beast straight out of the packaging before the tempting-tempting removal of the protective film...mmmm...peely.

20170221_122504.jpg


Little bit of a size difference to my trusty AE300, I do believe the Panny was worried it may get eaten at this point

20170221_123447.jpg
20170221_123528.jpg



So as I mentioned in my original post, the Panny had been used on a tripod mount, well that wasnt going to work for the Sony. I looked at ceiling mounting it but the joists run the wrong way in this room and while we rent from family so have lots of leeway, the kind of structural gubbins I'd need to do to hang this beast was discounted. So firstly worked out the height that was going to be needed - was spot on the calculations I got out of Projector Central. Here's the Sony on a makeshift stand (occasional table on the main table - Mmmmm blends in with the room - what projector? - lol). The "new" well new to my system back 7.1 surrounds are there as well on my home made speaker shelves.

20170222_142825.jpg



So after a mid week Marvel movie it was a holding pattern until the weekend and a trip to Argos (well two due to stock being in different branches) for a couple of appropriate height storage units. These have been put together and bolted to the wall. Although they are pretty sturdy anyway didnt want to take any chances with a 12 year old and two kittens in the house as well as taking chances on my projector nose diving.

I also took the opportunity to sort out the speaker cabling into new conduit. Was pretty late on Sunday by the time I finished so apologies for the darker picture.

The LED / glass beads are turned off for movies obviously.

20170226_172859.jpg
20170226_172917.jpg


So up with the current screen (its a homemade 300cm wide by 135cm high creation that attaches to wall hooks and is tensioned by turnbuckles - we just roll it up when not in use) and movie time.

Two movies Jurassic Park and then Titan AE. Just quick screen grabs while we watched from my Samsung phone here, actual picture looks a lot better. Jurassic Park is obviously 1.85:1 so uses no zoom at all just the lens shift to nudge it over a bit as the radiator stops me putting the projector unit dead center. Titan AE is 2.35:1 so I thought I'd try zooming it up to fill the height. The Sony had no issues with it even on low bulb and the space animations look very nice with dark blacks.

Im feeding the sony via an active QED HDMI lead from a Yamaha RX-V673 from a SKY HD, media PC running Kodi, (I dont have everything ripped to my back end 10TB Unraid server as it would soon fill) I do also have the option to play from my old but trusty PS3 anyway and it's still a pretty decent BluRay player even if it's not in the league of some of the new Oppos etc.

20170224_214154.jpg
20170224_204229.jpg

So next step is to build a new screen. This will be a rigid framed screen at 300cm wide by 145cm high to allow me a number of framing options, it will be a wood frame and will have patterned fabic on the back doubling as wall art when not used. It will hang on the wall to the left of the TV wall and simply be lifted from one wall to another.

Due to the loft (again) an electric screen wouldn't work in the room without some serious changes and a large enough sized screen would be prohibitively expensive anyway. So for now some more DIY will be coming. In the meantime I will tweak the existing screen as there's a tension ripple in the bottom right side which does show if there's a block of light colour so I'll correct that until we can move the room around (including a bookcase which is full, reaaaally full, of books) to allow a large piece of "wall art" to hang there :)

Cheers all

Ed
 
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