Questions about doing the Projector thing on the cheap [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-25-2007, 03:41 PM
OK, it seems like a lot of vendors are liquidating their 720p projectors under the $700 price point which is about what my budget allows. But before I buy, I have some ergonomics questions for those who've already purchased such a unit.

- Living in SoCal, things get warm pretty quick. Do these units produce a lot of heat? That is, is it comparable to a Class A amp or do they generally run pretty cool?

- Most of these units have a bulb life of about 1000 hours. Are bulbs hard to come by? Do they suddenly go out or do they get progressively dimmer?

- Because my budget is tight, I won't be mounting mine on the ceiling, and instead will be setting it on a little table. Anything I should know about this option? Vibrations? Weight issues? etc.

- I was also going to try projecting this on one of my existing walls. Standard paint job over drywall, not really even, but nice and large. Is this even an option or am I going to have to paint that wall with special paint?

- If so, what does this paint cost per square foot? I know there are special super-high priced paints out there, but is there something generic, inexpensive I can use as an alternative?

- Now these don't have tuners, and I have an external OTA HD tuner, but how do I get the basic channels?

- I usually watch my CRT TV with a small desk light to be able to see the remotes, find my drink is on the table and whether the cats are scratching the speaker grills again. Do I now have to watch in complete darkness if the specs come in at 700-900 lumens?

- What is the maximum length for the HDMI cable that will still provide solid image quality?

I know these may seem like silly questions, but I don't know anyone who has a projector setup that I can go check out.

N. Abstentia
01-25-2007, 07:45 PM
I'll throw in a few of my cents :)

Regular wall paint works great. I got a very light grey paint, flat, and it works great. It's 90% as good as an $800 screen.

The bulb on my Optoma H31 is going on 2500 hours, so expect far more than 1000 hours.

Yes, these get extremely hot. Not so much hot to the touch, but more like a steady flow of very hot air coming out of the vents. Should work okay on a table, just don't be directly in line with the hot air flow and don't sit it on something that can handle the heat.

The darker the room, the better. Period!

Does your external OTA tuner have an input for an off-air antenna?

01-25-2007, 08:01 PM
Does your external OTA tuner have an input for an off-air antenna?

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately my tuner doesn't - it has two inputs, but switching requires going into the menus, a pain. Of course with only 5-6 OTA HD channels, maybe I should just use it as a regular tuner (kind of seems like a waste, though). Or I could wait until everyone is on HD, which will be in what 5, 10, 15 years?:confused:

01-26-2007, 12:45 PM
why bother with a PJ if you've got to cut so many corners? Why not decent LCD hdtv? Lower end projectors( at least from your description) will not only run hot but loud, lamp life maybe short and hard to come by, tabletop is fine but you might not have the necessary adjustments to correctly project an image. I personally and professional would never use just a painted wall but you can get away with it ( how about a DIY screen?). PJs are at thier best in total darkness. A good HDMI should be ok at 50', however shorter is safer. For regular OTA broadcast try a VCR

01-27-2007, 08:56 PM
Or I could wait until everyone is on HD, which will be in what 5, 10, 15 years?:confused:
Why wait for everything to go HD before you start to enjoy just how good it can be right now? If the option is there, I would definitely take advantage of the much better picture quality even if it is only on 20 channels (who really cares if FoodTV or the weather channel is in HD or not?).

why bother with a PJ if you've got to cut so many corners? I agree - you'll end up spending double in the long run by not doing things right the first time. I know that money can often be the deal-killer, but if you cheap out the first time around, it won't be long before you're regretting the decision. I might not buy all the high-end gear at once, but by spending a little bit more on one of the pieces of the puzzle, and slowly upgrading as money allows will yield a much better (and more enjoyable) result.

01-28-2007, 08:26 PM
why bother with a PJ if you've got to cut so many corners?

With a PJ, I can get a 100" screen for around a $1000. With Plasma or LCD, that's more like $4000 and up and maxes out at 60". I know there are some drawbacks, but I was considering the new Optoma 720p Projector. Pretty nice unit for $999 msrp, probably less online.

01-29-2007, 06:30 AM

The same contingencies apply in your case as in everyone else's. You may like the idea of a front projector--why not?--but the drawbacks from the slightest deviation from doing it "right" are much more severe. You have the size of room issue, the lighting control, the ability to situate the projector properly relative to the screen (vertical adjustment, keystone correction, throw distance), the suitability of the screen for the particular projector (material, gain), and total seating environment. It's not for nothing that many people have a room for their projectors and another room for watching TV, whether they planned for it or not. Another consideration is size of screen relative to room dimensions and seating. A 100" screen will not flatter low rez scaled to 720p. At that size, you want as much tightness in the picture elements as you can get, and you want your main viewing by far to be hi def. It's arguable that 1080p is almost requisite for your proposed specs. With most other displays at normal viewing distances, 720p will be more than adequate, but with a front-projection system on an extra-large screen, the limitations of 720p might gnaw away at you, even if only because 1080p is out there waiting, and you just spent your budget on 720p. At the very least, you might consider an 84" (or smaller) screen, and make sure that what you buy fits the exigencies of your room in every possible respect.


01-29-2007, 11:33 AM

As always, I respect what you have to say. I'll have to give this some more thought... It's just that LCD & Plasma is still way over my budget right now.

01-29-2007, 11:43 AM
" but I was considering the new Optoma 720p Projector. Pretty nice unit for $999 msrp, probably less online.[/QUOTE]

which Optoma model?

01-29-2007, 12:06 PM
What size room are we talking here? How far away will you sit? I enjoy the h.ll out of both of my projectors. Even 420p can look good from as close as 14 feet on a 92" screen if it's from the right source. I sit close to 20 feet away in the living room so the 106" screen looks fine on most everything except the worst signals from std TV. You do need to make sure that the room is dark. Just a small amount of light can change your experience.
Be sure to read up on the model you are looking at. Not all projectors can be plopped anywhere in the room. Some need to be at a certain distance & height, and almost dead center.
Poke around here for a bit before you decide.
This one will let you know if you can use the model you are looking at in your room.
I got a great deal from this company. They were very helpful to me as well. The bundles come with most everything you need. The 25' cables they came with are good quality as well.

N. Abstentia
01-29-2007, 06:29 PM
" but I was considering the new Optoma 720p Projector. Pretty nice unit for $999 msrp, probably less online.

which Optoma model?[/QUOTE]

That'n right thar.

01-30-2007, 01:23 PM
Yes, that's the one, the HD70.

02-01-2007, 07:45 PM
I am still debating a projector...
this thread has been very helpful

02-02-2007, 12:28 PM
nice piece with impressive specs. and great price! The only Optomas' I've ever installed was the little H30/31 and in both jobs its' only source was a DVD player. I noticed that there's no digital zoom or lens shift so placement maybe a little more involved but other than that it should make for a nice entry level theater