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  1. #1
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Plasma vs. projector dilemma

    I've finally collected the cash to get this 'home theater' thing started, I just need the screen now. And a PS3

    My 4.1 setup is in my bedroom, and currently uses a 32" SD widescreen. I've had my mind set on a projector and more specifically on an Optoma HD20 (1080p), which has a short throw lens that produces a big screen from a small distance.

    Problem is, I dont have many placement options. If i have it mounted on the rear wall just above the couch, it will project a 74" screen or so. The viewing distance will be the same as the projector lens-screen distance, about 8 feet. Seeing as I'll be watch a lot of SD, at first anyway, would 74 inches be overkill?

    I could also go with a 50" plasma, which would be about a foot nearer the viewer. 50" is all I can afford if I go with a plasma.

    So the question is, does upscaling really help make SD video acceptable at HD viewing distances on an HD screen, or is it not sufficient to allow such close viewing?
    I suppose I could set the projector on a coffee table in front of the couch, but then the screen size would only be a little bigger than that of a 50" plasma.

    I'll mostly be SD/HD gaming, watching DVDs and soon Blu and possibly HD tv.
    I'd appreciate knowing what you guys think. Any more info just ask me
    Thanks!
    oh last question, do I need to worry about lip sych? Ill be using tosling to my AV amp (wont accept HDMI)

  2. #2
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    a lot of questions here...i can answer some from a projector standpoint as I'm going on my 5th or so year with one.

    consider this when placing a projector (or just considering one)
    - noise..they vary somewhat, but all of them can be heard when the sound is low
    - heat...projectors produce ungodly amounts of it...enough to help warm a room
    - slow start up/shut down times...bulbs must warm and bulbs must cool so the fan runs even after shutdown (usually 15-30 secs). This can be irritating.
    - how often will you use it? Meaning the number of start up/shut down equates to bulb life. The more cycles, the less bulb life

    You are on the right track as far as placement concerns. Too close and your eyes will suffer fatigue. I believe projectorcentral.com has a wonderful tool to check for optimal distance.

    Personally, I would not go with placing a projector on a table. Unless you really really want the larger screen, it seems much more convenient to go with a plasma.

  3. #3
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I've finally collected the cash to get this 'home theater' thing started, I just need the screen now. And a PS3

    My 4.1 setup is in my bedroom, and currently uses a 32" SD widescreen. I've had my mind set on a projector and more specifically on an Optoma HD20 (1080p), which has a short throw lens that produces a big screen from a small distance.

    Problem is, I dont have many placement options. If i have it mounted on the rear wall just above the couch, it will project a 74" screen or so. The viewing distance will be the same as the projector lens-screen distance, about 8 feet. Seeing as I'll be watch a lot of SD, at first anyway, would 74 inches be overkill?
    Definitely it would be an overkill, especially if you are watching a lot of SD material.

    [quote[I could also go with a 50" plasma, which would be about a foot nearer the viewer. 50" is all I can afford if I go with a plasma.

    So the question is, does upscaling really help make SD video acceptable at HD viewing distances on an HD screen, or is it not sufficient to allow such close viewing?
    I suppose I could set the projector on a coffee table in front of the couch, but then the screen size would only be a little bigger than that of a 50" plasma. [/quote]

    The answer to this question is an absolute no! Upscaling does not change the fundamental here, it is still just 480i resolution. Upscaling just smoothen's things to give a more film like appearance and that is all it does. It does not change the resolution of the source one bit.

    I'll mostly be SD/HD gaming, watching DVDs and soon Blu and possibly HD tv.
    I'd appreciate knowing what you guys think. Any more info just ask me
    Thanks!
    oh last question, do I need to worry about lip sych? Ill be using tosling to my AV amp (wont accept HDMI)
    Based on the information you have given, the 50" plasma is your best bet. You don't need to worry about lip sync because the toslink connect just takes the core from either audio format.
    Sir Terrence

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  4. #4
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I've finally collected the cash to get this 'home theater' thing started, I just need the screen now. And a PS3

    My 4.1 setup is in my bedroom, and currently uses a 32" SD widescreen. I've had my mind set on a projector and more specifically on an Optoma HD20 (1080p), which has a short throw lens that produces a big screen from a small distance.

    Problem is, I dont have many placement options. If i have it mounted on the rear wall just above the couch, it will project a 74" screen or so. The viewing distance will be the same as the projector lens-screen distance, about 8 feet. Seeing as I'll be watch a lot of SD, at first anyway, would 74 inches be overkill?

    I could also go with a 50" plasma, which would be about a foot nearer the viewer. 50" is all I can afford if I go with a plasma.

    So the question is, does upscaling really help make SD video acceptable at HD viewing distances on an HD screen, or is it not sufficient to allow such close viewing?
    I suppose I could set the projector on a coffee table in front of the couch, but then the screen size would only be a little bigger than that of a 50" plasma.

    I'll mostly be SD/HD gaming, watching DVDs and soon Blu and possibly HD tv.
    I'd appreciate knowing what you guys think. Any more info just ask me
    Thanks!
    oh last question, do I need to worry about lip sych? Ill be using tosling to my AV amp (wont accept HDMI)
    A bedroom is too small for a projector, usually.
    I hate plasma, its basically a squished CRT, has a plasma because a glass envelope
    that could hold a vacuum in that configuration would weigh a quarter ton, at least.
    But if you must, its your dime and your poison. But a flat panel, either plasma or lcd,
    is the way to go.
    ALSO CONSIDER DLP, it is far and away the best way to get a humongous screen
    in a pocket theater.
    I viewed one, six feet away, 60", with a 17" cabinet, and it looked fantastic.
    Cheap also. BUT GET THE WARRANTY, because it includes your first replacement blub.
    Also, "upscaling wont increase your res, but it could make a SD pic seem smoother.

    http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com/theater.html
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
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  5. #5
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    ALSO CONSIDER DLP, it is far and away the best way to get a humongous screen in a pocket theater. I viewed one, six feet away, 60", with a 17" cabinet, and it looked fantastic.

    Cheap also. BUT GET THE WARRANTY, because it includes your first replacement blub.
    Man, you are all over the place.

    You hound Rich for owning a DLP and you said "These sets are like whiskey, they are made to sell, not use."

    And here you are recommending one. In politics that is called flip-floping

  6. #6
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Man, you are all over the place.

    You hound Rich for owning a DLP and you said "These sets are like whiskey, they are made to sell, not use."

    And here you are recommending one. In politics that is called flip-floping
    You can't take him too seriously He's also been a prominent 'hater' of Plasmas but he just said I could go with one

  7. #7
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Pix, thanks for your recommendations. Are DLPs those big rear projection screens? Here in France, I haven't really seen any...

  8. #8
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    DLPs are much thinner than those monster rear projection sets like my 46 inch Hitachi from 2003. The Samsung DLPs were expensive when they first hit the market but a cheaper alternative to the early plasmas.

    About the only advantages I have with the Hitachi is that I can sit a huge center speaker on top of it and the HD picture is still decent. I have to use an HDMI to DVI cable with it. I'm hoping the beast will die soon so I can justify a thin screen.

    When Circuit City went under last year I picked up one of their free standing commercial display stands which sits in my attic waiting for the Hitachi to expire. The stand is adjustable up and down and will accept any size flat screen but since it's free standing you can use any size audio cabinet underneath.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Man, you are all over the place.

    You hound Rich for owning a DLP and you said "These sets are like whiskey, they are made to sell, not use."

    And here you are recommending one. In politics that is called flip-floping
    I GOT onto Rich because he worshiped at the feet of T.I.
    dlp HAS ITS PROBLEMS, but with the advent of LED in some models, there is a slight chance they might find a niche. And they do tend to be rather fragil, hence the whiskey comment.
    But their picture is fantastic, and for the starving videophile they can't be beat. I saw one
    on HSN . an 80" model, for less than 1800 bucks. The bang for buck cant be beat, with a 60"
    model selling for less than a grand in some places. WHEN THEY COST MORE they werent
    worth the risk, but at todays fire sale prices, compact cabinets (17" wide), and really
    good picture they make more and more sense all of the time. For a smaller room
    where a projector is not viable they are perfect, with a 60" being almost 400 bucks
    cheaper than the cheapest 55" I have seen.
    AND I am not "recommending one, I AM RECOMMENDING consideration of one.
    SOME MIGHT be willing to put up with the shortcomings of the form factor for the
    advantages gained. THE GUYS LOOKING for options, heres a viable option I actually
    think that they are no good for most, but some might find one interesting. AND ANYTHINGS BETTER THAN PLASMA.
    I hate plasma.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
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  10. #10
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Pix, thanks for your recommendations. Are DLPs those big rear projection screens? Here in France, I haven't really seen any...
    THEY ARE 17" wide on average, and are whats called a "micro projector" form factor.
    Some of the newer models have an LED bulb for light, most have a projector type
    bulb that lasts about three years. THEY ARE MONOCHROMATIC, so they have a spinning
    wheel that gives the colors. THE ADVANTAGE is that they are a big screen on the cheap,
    with none of the problems of front projectors. And of the new type video displays their
    picture tends to be best, with none of the refresh rate problems of LCD, and none of the
    problems of plasma(burn in, dim pic, you name it). And they can be a bit fragile. But
    MITSUBISHI makes a pretty high q product. I DONT recommend anyone buy one, but I
    think you were looking for options, and this option is often overlooked, and needs to be examined. I like them because of the large size for the price, I have always loved a large screen. But the chances of survival for this form factor is slight, everybody wants a
    sexy flatscreen, and its easier to get the wifey to go along with one of those.
    AND if you absolutely have to get a plasma, get a PANNY, BTW(UGH).
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
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