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In the market for a projector... is an el cheapo model worth the quality compromise?
über-Bantumi 
6/8/08 11:09:46 PM
Titan

Hello all,

My first foray into the display forum, and I've spent a bit of time reading. I'm looking to the more experienced community to hopefully provide me with some advice.

I plan to have a projector to watch TV (mainly sport/F1) through a $100 HD STB (thinking the Bush unit for $99 from DSE/BigW); aside from this I watch downloaded media via XBMC & play xbox/wii/ps2 and am certainly not a movie buff. I picked up an almost unmarked 3M retractable screen for $18 which I plan to use as a backdrop.



1. My original plan

I have been looking to pick up a Mitsubishi HC-1100 - HD WXGA projector for around the $1350 mark from staticice retailers; a mate has one and I'm a fan of the quality. It has, however, started complaining about a lamp change in under 12 months but aside from that it looks hot.


That said, I'm looking to head overseas and have spent waaay too much time snowboarding this winter to consider anywhere near a grand.



2. What I'm considering

While it's not advertised on the DSE site I am reasonably confident this is a Sanyo PDG-SU20 http://www.dse.com.au/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/489996bd06e6278e2741c0a87f9c0750/Product/View/G8173 - $599! (interestingly also on ebay for $699 with a longhorn 4000 programmable remote - not really interested in this unless it's really awesome). Native SVGA 800 x 600, max res SXGA 1280 x 1024... sure it's not a home theatre model but will I care?

I'm heading in to DSE at lunch time tomorrow to see if they can give me a demo of the unit to get a decent idea...


Does anyone have any suggestions - i.e. is half the price really only going to give me half the quality? Like I said I don't have anything bluray/ps3/xbox360ish and will be sitting at least 3-4m from the image. Aside from that, I guess it's a heads up for a sub-$600 projector (at DSE of all places!).


Cheers


Edited by über-Bantumi: 6/8/2008 11:11:07 PM

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Green rooms = no

Cpt. Lock 
7/8/08 9:51:23 AM
Banned

You really are better off looking at a second hand unit that's had the bulb changed by the previous owner recently if you only want to spend $600. I picked up a 2000 lumens SXGA native projector for $510.

The other thing to note is that bulb life can be a real pain in the arse, mines a 2000 hour bulb and you can use those hours real quick if you just leave it sitting on like you would a TV I guess that's why I've got a monitor hooked up as well. The cost of replacing bulbs generally adds up to $500-$600 as it is so keep that in mind.

800x600 is a pretty low native res in this day and age as well for $600 new you really should be looking at a projector that can do 1024x768 at least, if it's for watching movies fine, but you're still going to notice some real big pixels at 800x600.

My projector also scales to 1080i or 1920x1080 interlaced. If you're going to be playing bluray movies or hd content at all through it you're going to want a projector thats at least in some way capable of producing 720p and preferably 1080i as a minimum

The projector you're looking at is also 4:3 you want a projector that can do 16:10 and without cheating by cutting off pixels on the top and bottom of the screen

$500 isn't a lot of money when you're looking at new projectors, it's fine for a data projector but if you're going to be watching a whole lot of tv and movies through it your going to start noticing its flaws

If you do end up buying second hand from somewhere like ebay get them to do a check on the lamp hours through the menu and make sure they're not ripping you off


Edited by Cpt. Lock: 7/8/2008 09:53:18 AM

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über-Bantumi 
7/8/08 2:19:31 PM
Titan

I've just been in to DSE to check out the Sanyo. It was surprisingly good (after watching a Sony Home Theatre unit with $2499 on it) - about 2.5m diagonal screen size and the DVD demo looked much better than I expected (in both a dark and dimly lit scenario).

Quote by Cpt. Lock
800x600 is a pretty low native res in this day and age as well for $600 new you really should be looking at a projector that can do 1024x768 at least, if it's for watching movies fine, but you're still going to notice some real big pixels at 800x600.

My projector also scales to 1080i or 1920x1080 interlaced. If you're going to be playing bluray movies or hd content at all through it you're going to want a projector thats at least in some way capable of producing 720p and preferably 1080i as a minimum


Will I notice this just watching HD TV (when Southern Cross 10 starts showing the F1 on it)? I would think that scaling to SXGA would also be more than sufficient for watching divx movies or youtubing on the wii...


$500 isn't a lot of money when you're looking at new projectors, it's fine for a data projector but if you're going to be watching a whole lot of tv and movies through it your going to start noticing its flaws


Maybe, but it is only an interim solution for a until 1080p gear is run of the mill and cheap - run out the 2yr warranty & put some money towards an audio system (again I'm not overly concerned with 'cutting edge', just clarity to a loud, not L O U D volume).


If you do end up buying second hand from somewhere like ebay get them to do a check on the lamp hours through the menu and make sure they're not ripping you off

Could be an option, but I'm not keen on the ebay idea as a) sight unseen and b) charges for paying via paypal really sucks..

Thanks for the feedback, but I'm willing to compromise on any of the true HD capabilities due to the exorbitant costs...

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Green rooms = no

Cpt. Lock 
7/8/08 2:25:47 PM
Banned

Yeah if you can get SXGA then you can get 720p which is 1280x720 which. Most Australian HD content is broadcast in 720p so you probably won't notice a huge difference between 720p and 1080i or 1080p until you start trying to watch bluray movies

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über-Bantumi 
7/8/08 3:06:57 PM
Titan

yeah that's pretty much what i thought. thanks

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Green rooms = no

über-Bantumi 
7/8/08 7:28:20 PM
Titan

well, i've bought it - looks like the refresh rate induces some image flicker from the stb, but output from the xbox etc is great. this projector is definitely great value for money if you're not interested in hd.

will post any other updates for those who are interested

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Green rooms = no

Cpt. Lock 
7/8/08 7:37:21 PM
Banned

Hrrmm... with the way LCDs works you shouldn't be getting any flicker from your STB

It's not like with a CRT where with 60hz you get flicker.

I think it'd be an issue with your set top box not the capabilities of your projector

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über-Bantumi 
7/8/08 8:26:45 PM
Titan

yep now that it's been running for a while i barely notice it except for very bright parts of images (i.e. the background neons on spicks and specks). definitely only an issue from the set top box, both composite and vga.

i'll have a play with the settings on the stb and see if i can improve it somewhat. i think the background screen improves the contrast a lot though...

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Green rooms = no

über-Bantumi 
10/8/08 6:24:11 PM
Titan

Well, after a weekend of playing with my new setup I'm quite happy with it. Even running in Eco mode the picture is surprisingly sharp and vivid during the day!

Of course, there is occasional tearing of images (really only noticed it on FIFA07 when there are lots of players on screen). PS2 looks great! The STB VGA output image shimmering doesn't appear when using the projector as a second monitor (i.e. youtubing etc), which is a relief. I'm just using the component output now, in lieu of tracking down an s-video cable...

The only real downside is that my better half is punishing the poor unit with bloody olympics rubbish :P

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Green rooms = no

Cpt. Lock 
11/8/08 6:02:32 PM
Banned

tell her to stop wasting the bulb hours

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