Projector Noob needs help [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-05-2006, 07:42 PM
2 years ago, I started my search for a better audio system... which I found after... about 6 months and many many audio stores...

now it will soon become time to replace my old 31" TV...

I would like to go with a projector, but know very little about them...
I have in the past looked at computer projectors, and have seen some playing movies at places such as circuit city and other stores...
I'm hoping some of you guys here who have experience with projectors could help point me in the correct direction...
fyi, I have a Marantz DV6500 (s-vid and component out), and another cheap dvdplayer (also with s-vid and component out)

09-05-2006, 08:17 PM
First questions to ask would be what your lighting conditions are, what the projector distance will be, what the screen size will be, and what your budget is?

Take a look at the Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD ($1,700 at Amazon) and Optoma HD72 DLP ($1,800 at Amazon). For screens I recommend Da-Lite, Carada or Stewart.

Also, I would consider a new DVD Player to compliment your new setup. The Oppo 970 ($149), Denon DVD-1730 ($169), and Oppo 971 ($199) are all highly rated budget DVD players with HDMI Upconversion.

09-06-2006, 04:59 AM
Elapsed is right. The search for a front-projection system is every bit as strenuous as that for an audio surround system, if not more so. You need to prepare the groundwork; the issue is too big to determine in the abstract. No matter what the room's lighting characteristics are now, chances are that you'll have to go to some lengths to control them. Projectors, as a rule, don't like ambient light, depending on their type and finesse, as well as the size of the screen (though mitigating components exist). Any number of projectors will handle your throw distance and any number of screens will come in the size that you want, but mounting at both ends is crucial. You may need the help of an installer if a table top won't do. Price point is also crucial in the matter of features and performance, as is your choice of LCD, DLP, LCoS, or--if you're really a glutton for punishment--CRT. Unless you're handy and well-informed about options and pitfalls, I'd avoid buying something from a big box store, even if it comes with installation. Good projection systems require precision to set up and install, not to mention select; a qualified specialty store is better equipped to do the job right. AVMASTER, a regular in these parts, does this sort of thing for a living. Maybe he'll have something to say. But first, as elapsed says, determine how much you want to spend. learn a little about what's available by checking sources online and/or at stores. Then come up with a few specific questions, and the natives will start coming out of the walls to express their opinions.

And, by the way, you will need a new DVD player with component or, preferably, HDMI output, whether a new-fangled hi def one or a standard def one. S-video is an analog format; we're now decidedly in a digital world with progressive scanning and video processing. Furthermore, front projection can make HDTV broadcasts a revelation. An HD-capable cable box or satellite receiver is highly recommended.

09-06-2006, 05:48 PM
sorry, both the marantz and the cheapo have component vid out (not composit or whatever I said... they do have the connection that uses 3 rca cables)
I do not know much about hdmi, how much better is this than component?

for price, I have thus far been looking at projectors around or less than $1000.
I have been comparing specs the stores state and found a Sharp XR-10 for $800 at staples...
its specs: DLP, 2000 ANSI Lumens, XGA 1024x768 resolution, 2000:1 contract ratio, 3000 hour mercury lamp...
others I have seen are a infocus ??? dlp 1000 Lumens... this was at a circuit city, and the picture did not show very well on the screen with lights on in the area.
and a cinego D-1000 which seemed to have a nice picture with the lights on at radioshack, but the unit was an all-in-one thing with a dvd player and speakers :confused5: :confused:

the room my system is in has 1 window, which has curtains, but does allow light to pass, and has two lights in the ceiling and one standing lamp.
distance for the projector to the wall is ~20 feet.

to what specs should I pay attention, and what is a good guide line?

I see the Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD has 1100 Lumens, 1288x720 resolution, and 5500:1 contract ratio.

thanks for the help guys,

09-07-2006, 05:21 AM
The degree of difference between HDMI and component output varies. So long as you have a player with component output now, however, you don't need to upgrade. HDMI simply keeps the signal in the digital domain when used in conjunction with a digital projector, which is presumably what you'll buy, thereby avoiding D/A conversion, which can decrease the picture's sharpness (though often not noticeably). HDMI also offers upconversion of a DVD from its vertical resolution of 480 to typically 720p or 1080i, to match the native resolution of the projector. But, again, since projectors do the same thing, the degree of difference varies and is seldom critical. Remember that these upconverted 480 signals are not high definition per se, just pseudo-HD, if you will. A 480 DVD can never be anything more than a 480 DVD.

Nonetheless, if your budget allows, a new DVD player w/HDMI would be the jewel in the crown, nicely complementing your projector, and you need not spend more than $200 on it to achieve decent performance. If and when you decide to spring for a hi def DVD player, however, HDMI will most certainly be the output of choice. It may also be the output of choice--if not DVI, its cousin--for your HDTV feed.

Forget the Sharp at Staples. It's more of a business presentation model than a home theater centerpiece. You can dispense with the Cinego, too. It's a nice convenient little number but not in the big league. If your projector budget is $2000 or so, Panasonic and Optoma are good names, but many other good LCD, DLP, and LCoS options are available. No reason to rush into anything that you've already seen (no doubt under terrible setup/environmental conditions). You should be looking for a hi def resolution, probably of 1280 (horizontal) pixels or thereabouts by 720 (vertical) pixels or thereabouts with your budget, though 1920x1080 is now available for the well-heeled. A few people at this site have standard def (720x480) projectors that they enjoy like hell, but with prices such as they are now, and HD a going concern, I see no benefit to buying a standard def projector at this point.

No other specs are decisive for buying. Contrast ratios are subject to inflation (like receivers' watts in audio) and Lumens are like Greek to most people. You want about 12 FL light output from the projector when all is said and done. You would do well to have a projector with multiple lamp settings to tame brightness, as well as to prolong its life. You'd also do well to have an iris that opens and closes manually or automatically to optimize black level.

I'm no authority on projectors at your price point. Go to a site like CNET or Projector Central and investigate them. Look for reviews wherever you can find them. Selecting a projector sight unseen, or review unread, on specs alone is a bad idea. Juggling throw distance, mounting options, and screen size/type are not for the faint-hearted or the innocent. If I were you, I'd check some review sites for information and possibilities and then head to your nearest good A/V specialty store with knowledgeable personnel and installers on the premises, even a Tweeter will do if no independents are available, for an accurate demonstration and advice. A word of warning, however, don't bend their ears and then go back home to buy on the web--bad joujou. Not only will you not pass Go and collect $200; you also will never be released from samsara. Even if you think yourself qualified to do the physical handiwork yourself, buying from a real person in the know will minimize your chances of making a costly or aesthetic mistake. If you do decide to buy on the web, learn everything about projectors that you can on your own. After you have some research under your belt, you might continue to pick brains here but also try the AVS site, which has a number of forums attended by long-winded but often savvy people about particular kinds of display devices.

09-08-2006, 02:25 PM
please provide more info about the room, i.e.:
distance from where the projector will be to screen
width and height of wall screen will be on
type of ceiling in this room, ceiling to floor height
where will source components be
distance of first row of seats to screen
color of room ( light paint, wall paper, wood panels?)

09-11-2006, 06:34 PM
room size is 17' long by 15' wide
screen will be on the wall, and projector will be on the opposite side of the room so ~15 to 16 foot?
ceiling is 8' high drywall,
projection size must be smaller than 15' wide by 8' high...
(I presently have a 31" tv so I don't have to get crazy with the size)
presently all my av components are inbetween my tv and my front right speaker...
I prefer to keep the components in this area... (they are on a shelf about 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall)
my coutch (1st row of seats) is about 10' from the front wall
color is an off white
1 window on the right wall, and has curtains

on another note...
do wide wide screen projectors stretch the image if the source is not widescreen?
my parents windscreen tv stretches the image and it looks horrible!

thanks for your help guys,

09-14-2006, 03:34 AM
in your budget, theres' nothing that really fits your room. You can make just about any projector fit just about any room with all the set-up adjustments available these days, however utilizing these adjustments to make it fit takes away from picture quality-screen size--screen shape--brightness--etc... The Panasonic PTAE900U could work if installed correctly and used with a matching screen. IMO DLP projection (Vidikron 30et) would serve you better with a 100" AT screen. You will also need a projector with a rear IR sensor and as quiet as possible. You need to swap/trade or sell your center channel for one more 716s. You will need to factor in a 30' HDMI cable, a HDMI switcher, a good DVD player ( Denon 1930ci), ceiling mount with height adjustments, creation of a electrical outlet in the ceiling, and possibly a IR relay with a universal remote.

09-14-2006, 05:50 PM
thanks for the input...

at what price range should I be looking?

09-15-2006, 02:28 PM
deciding a budget is the best first step, you must be realistic in performance vs. cost vs. what you can actually afford. A simple rule would be a 50/50 approach, half of budget on audio- other half on video. You already have a good audio system, so figure the retail cost of your gear new then factor in enhancements, add in what you can actually afford and you've got your budget for the video