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Thread: Home Theater Projector

  1. #1
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Home Theater Projector

    I know some of you have to have them. I am in the market for one and will be purchasing one in the next 2-3 months. I have a budget of roughly $2500-$3000 for one. I am replacing a 27 in TV, so I guess I won't be too hard to wow.

    It looks to me like you have your lower priced units at $2000 or less, and then the leap is really to $4000-$5000 units for a clear upgrade.

    Currently I am leaning towards a lower priced one ... the Infocus SP 4805. It gets very good reviews online and is mentioned as a nice low-budget way to go in Consumer reports. Drawbacks are limited to a louder fan, not being able to shut off by remote, and the need for very low light for the sharpest picture. None of these seem to be a big issue for me as the fan will be drown out by the surround sound , I can rig a light switch/cutoff switch for the ceiling mount since my basement is not yet finished, and the majority of the time I'll be using it in pitch black.

    My main use will be in a basement that I can easily make pitch black. My basement is unfinished at this point, I'll be somewhat building it around the projector. It will be ceiling mounted.

    I'd also like to be able to utilize the projector with my laptop outside the home, and possibly to project a few night football games in the garage or on the back of the house during a block party. It won't be ideal for this, but I doubt anyone will care as long as you can catch the score of the game.

    Any help/pointers/insight would be appreciated.

    Others I am considering on the lower end, $2000 or less.

    Infocus SP 4805 = ~$950
    Sanyo PLV-Z2 = ~$1100
    Panasonic AE700u = ~$2000
    Optoma H31 = ~$1100

    GL

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  3. #2
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    A projector is on my someday list, but I'm not ready to buy yet. I have heard that having more scan rates is better, but I haven't researched this enough to know which scan rates are preferred. At the low end, you're probably not going to find one with both 720p and 1080i.

    If I was making this purchase, I would go to the AVS Forums and read threads in the CRT Projectors and Low-End Digital Projectors areas. That's where the serious A/V tweakers hang out.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=16
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=68
    Last edited by Unassisted; 10-04-2005 at 09:17 AM.

  4. #3
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    I bought one last week - an Infocus X1 - off Ebay for $550. For the money, it was everything I was hoping for.

    Our situations are similar, in that I finished part of my basement to be an entertainment/media room. Specifically, I built the room in the basement for a projector.

    I bought the projector for $540, because I had nothing to judge it against and wanted to see what I was getting before I plunked down a couple thousand on a project/product I didn't like. Now that I have had the projector for a couple of weeks, I am sure that the projector is the way to go.

    One or two suggestions I have.

    1- Your choice of screen will make a HUGE difference in the quality of your setup. After doing some research, I found that they can range in price from $600 for a decent screen into the thousands of dollars. My conclusion was that I couldn't justify spending more on the screen than the projector, so I went with Screen Goo. I can't believe how good it looks. I put on one primer coat, two coats of their base coat and two coats of the top coat, all done one Saturday morning. I then sized molding to fit around the picture and it looks incredible (PM me and I can send pix). The kit costs around $200.

    2- Make sure you run your speaker wires (plenum to meet code) before installing your drywall. It saves a TON of trouble later.

    3- Make sure that, if you are married or have a live-in, that you also construct a room for them as well. Trust me on this. I built a "crafts room" for my wife only to find her sewing machine has now found it's way into the media room.

    G'luck! You'll love the results!

  5. #4
    Administrator GIK's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    I have an Infocus X1 projecting a 94" 16:9 image in my HT room and I'm pleased with its performance. If you can spend a bit more (and it looks like you can at well under your max) I'd look at the Infocus 4805. Great reviews. No need to spend more, IMO.

  6. #5
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    Along with the avs message board mentioned earlier I would also recommend the http://www.projectorcentral.com/ it has really good write ups on many different kind of projectors. The site will also provide online retailers which will usually give a lot better price than advertised and will provide tech. help if you buy through them. Also there is a tool on there that will tell how far and how much zoom you need to get a certain size screen.

    From the way it sounds it appears that you may be moving this around some to use in different places. So just imho it might be a good idea to see if the projector has a lens shift function. This would allow you to move the picture up/down left/right with out losing quality. Most projectors do have digital keystone wich would allow you to move the pic around, but from what I've heard you lose quality that way and if you tilt the projector up or down you could get a trapazoid affect.

    The panasonic you mentioned there is a newer model I believe it's the 900 series and I think you could get that for about your price range. This model offers a very good 5500 to 1 contrast range compared to the 2000 to 1 in the same price range. Also both the 700 and 900 series are native 720p.

    I could go on and on about the things I figured out when I was shopping for projectors, but I'll just leave it at that and say the websites provided are outstanding tools.

    Oh and the screen goo is very good imho.
    Last edited by NoCalRed; 10-04-2005 at 12:45 AM.

  7. #6
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCalRed
    I could go on and on about the things I figured out when I was shopping for projectors, but I'll just leave it at that and say the websites provided are outstanding tools.

    Oh and the screen goo is very good imho.
    If you don't mind, which projector do you have and how well do you like it?

    I was planning on going with the screen goo for the basement, nice to hear a bit of unsolicited confirmation.

    GL

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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    I have the Panasonic AE700u and I really like it. I bought this one for a number of reasons: ease of installation, throw distance, lens shift, and 2 time zoom. Where I have mine set up is a far distance from the screen and the ceiling is vaulted so I had to overcome these obstacles and this model seems to be made for these types of problems at a reasonable cost. I have heard that some people do not like the lcd models because of pixelation and screen door affects, but I've had no such problems and these latest model lcd projectors have pretty much elimitated those problems. If you go with a dlp model remember more segements and faster spin rate the better to cut down on the rainbow affect which I have heard could cause head aches, but I've never had a problem and I know a few people who have them.

    Oh and this is all just my opinion and I do not consider myself an expert by any means. As I was told when I was shopping you are really going to enjoy what you get cause it's probably 1000 times better than any tv you may have already. Happy shopping and enjoy your projector when you get it.

  9. #8
    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    Check out Costco, they were having a deal on the 4805 that included a 76 inch screen. The deal maybe expired, but maybe you can find one on clearance there. Also Costco has a great return policy. Some people have been able to take things back to Costco after a couple years.

  10. #9
    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    Here's a pdf for $100 rebate on the 4805

    http://static.tigerdirect.com/Rebate...1060-Oct15.pdf

    It says it's not good at Costco or Staples because they have their own rebate programs.

    Here's a link to TigerDirect where it's $799.99 after the $100 rebate. Plus whatever for shipping. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...=1000230&Tab=5

    I would still checkout Costco, you may find a deal there.

  11. #10
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    It appears that TigerDirect is not an "Authorized Dealer" so the rebate might not be honored.
    http://www.infocushome.com/deauthorized/index.htm\

    Still, its a pretty good price without the rebate.

    slickdeals.net? Love that place!

    I checked costco online and at this time they dont have the Infocus 4805 listed. I have a few months, so I am going to check back with them.

    GL

  12. #11
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    The 4805 is only available in-store and not online for Costco.

  13. #12
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBloodedAmerican
    The 4805 is only available in-store and not online for Costco.
    Thanks, might have to take a road-trip to Cincy then.

    Good info from everyone here, I really appreciate it.

    GL

  14. #13
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    How about Best Buy?

    Here's a 10 percent off coupon for this weekend for in-store.

    http://images.bestbuy.com/BestBuy_US...n_20051004.pdf

    I see the 4805 online at http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1110265591069

    Available at most stores.

    Also, if you go to the link, there are other offers when you buy.



    Best Buy > Televisions > Home Theater Projection > Home Theater Projectors > Product Info







    Our Price: $1,099.99

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    Shipping: Usually ships in 1 business day
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    Store Pickup: Available at most stores Select preferred store availability




    InFocus ScreenPlay DLP Home Theater Projector

    Model: SP4805



    Want a real home theater? With the 16:9 aspect ratio and sharp resolution on this ScreenPlay projector, your movies, video games, TV and more can be viewed up to 9' wide for a truly cinematic experience.

    Not sure what size projector or screen you need? Learn more.


    Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology provides premium picture quality in a small, lightweight package


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    Accepts all resolutions, including HD, but displays in 480p




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  15. #14
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCalRed
    The panasonic you mentioned there is a newer model I believe it's the 900 series and I think you could get that for about your price range. This model offers a very good 5500 to 1 contrast range compared to the 2000 to 1 in the same price range. Also both the 700 and 900 series are native 720p.
    Hooo boy ... this sounds sweet ... Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD Projector

    I think I am down to the
    Panasonic AE700U, the Panasonic AE900U, and the InFocus 4805.

    A couple more questions for you guys.

    1) Do you know of any dealers in the Dayton/Cincy area that will give demonstrations of various projectors & screen combinations?

    2) Have any of you tried to project your image outside at night? I am hoping to be able to show a football game on the side of the house during a block party. Is this unreasonable? I don't figure to have an outstanding picture or anything, just want to be able to watch the game.

    3) Do any of you use your projectors as a TV or do you only use it for movies? What is the picture quality when watching TV without a HD signal? Is it watchable? How does it compare to a regular tube TV with the same signal? Keep in mind I can make my room pitch black if need be.

    4) I also will be buying a receiver/HT surround sound and want to hook up a TIVO and possibly a DVD burner up as well. Do I have to worry about "compatibility" with my projector (more research, oh joy!) or will pretty much all of them do just fine with each other?

    Thanks,

    GL


    Last edited by gonelong; 10-09-2005 at 03:17 PM.

  16. #15
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    Re: Home Theater Projector

    Quote Originally Posted by gonelong
    Hooo boy ... this sounds sweet ... Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD Projector

    I think I am down to the
    Panasonic AE700U, the Panasonic AE900U, and the InFocus 4805.

    A couple more questions for you guys.

    1) Do you know of any dealers in the Dayton/Cincy area that will give demonstrations of various projectors & screen combinations?

    2) Have any of you tried to project your image outside at night? I am hoping to be able to show a football game on the side of the house during a block party. Is this unreasonable? I don't figure to have an outstanding picture or anything, just want to be able to watch the game.

    3) Do any of you use your projectors as a TV or do you only use it for movies? What is the picture quality when watching TV without a HD signal? Is it watchable? How does it compare to a regular tube TV with the same signal? Keep in mind I can make my room pitch black if need be.

    4) I also will be buying a receiver/HT surround sound and want to hook up a TIVO and possibly a DVD burner up as well. Do I have to worry about "compatibility" with my projector (more research, oh joy!) or will pretty much all of them do just fine with each other?

    Thanks,

    GL


    1.) No idea

    2.)Should be fine as long as its not broad daylight or the image could wash out. Although I have never tried it myself, but have heard that it has been done.

    3.) Yes you can watch tv even without an HD signal, quality is the same as a regular tv just bigger. Also the image will probably be 4:3 without digital input. Keep in mind that this will put more time on your bulb and those suckers can be expensive.

    4.) Should not be a compatability issue, but always do the research can't go wrong there.

    Hope this helps.
    NCR


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