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King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


King Hotpants posted:

Do you guys want me to start an actual projector thread with an informative OP and all that? We've been using this one for years.

Hey, good news: I finally got around to doing this.

After years of using someone's one-off question thread as a repository of all projector knowledge, and then a few more years of my promises to actually write an OP, it's finally time to talk about projectors in their own purpose-built thread.

This thread is about digital projectors. Specifically, this thread is about digital projectors used for home theater, home entertainment, video games, and other stuff like that. I guess you can also ask questions about presentations if you really want to.

What's a projector?

Projectors, or more accurately front projectors, are display devices that project an image onto a screen. Yes, like in the movie theater.

More technically: A projector is a display device that operates by shining light (from a high-pressure lamp, laser, cluster of light-emitting diodes, or a combination of LEDs and lasers) through some kind of imaging engine (LCD, DLP, or LCoS) and sending that image out through a lens. They are also called front projectors to separate them from rear-projection televisions, which operate along similar principles but have an integral screen.

LCD, DLP, LCoS?

LCD is short for Liquid Crystal Display. White light is split via prism into red, green, and blue. The colors are each passed through their own LCD chip, which opens and closes pixels as needed. The RGB channels are then recombined via prism and shot through the lens onto the screen. You'll often see this called 3LCD, because all modern LCD projectors use three panels.

DLP is Digital Light Processing. DLP projectors use a single digital micromirror device, or DMD, that has a tiny mirror for each pixel. Light from the source is sent through a spinning color wheel, which filters the light into red, green, and blue (and sometimes other colors as well). That color-filtered light is directed onto this chip. The mirrors flip on or off, and the light is reflected (mirrors, remember) out to the lens. Because the colors refresh so quickly (a minimum of twice per frame), your eyes and brain try to combine the red, green, and blue flashes into a single full-color image. Problems can occur when your eyes and brain don't do this correctly -- you'll see flashes of color where they shouldn't be. This is called a color separation artifact, but everyone refers to it as the rainbow effect. Rainbows are more common on DLPs with low color wheel speeds, but some people can see them even on the fastest DLP projectors.

The above only applies to single-chip DLP projectors. Three-chip DLP projectors do not use a color wheel and thus are immune to the rainbow effect. However, single-chip DLP projectors are vastly more common than three-chip DLPs, and you should assume that a DLP projector is single-chip unless you're explicitly told otherwise and it costs more than $10,000.

LCoS is Liquid Crystal on Silicon. Like LCD, LCoS always uses three chips. Like DLP, it is reflective rather than transmissive -- light bounces off of the chips rather than passing through them. LCoS is essentially an LCD panel on top of a reflective substrate. Currently, the most popular LCoS projectors are made by Sony (who call it SXRD) and JVC (who call it D-ILA). You won't see LCoS projectors very often for less than $2,000, but they perform very well and avoid some of the pitfalls of both LCD and DLP. How and why they do that is a bit beyond the scope of this intro.

Each technology has its advantages, but none is perfect. A whole lot of words have been written about the differences, many of them bullshit, but I won't bother to get into it here.

So can I get a projector to replace my TV?

Maybe.

Your TV works in your living room because it is a sealed box and the light comes shining out of it. Since projectors shine light onto a screen which then reflects that light back towards you, they are a lot more susceptible to ambient light. You can buy very bright projectors or special screens to make the picture look better in a bright room, but they cost more.

That said, projectors and TVs are not really used for the same thing, and as such they aren't interchangeable most of the time. Here's a brief rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of a projector versus a television.

Advantages of Projectors

  • Big Picture. Projectors can give you a giant image. While extra large TVs do exist, you still can't beat a projector if you want a super large screen. A 100" diagonal image is considered modest these days.

  • Less expensive. Compared to a similarly-sized TV, projectors end up with a much lower cost per inch for large screen sizes. A good entry-level home theater projector can be purchased for less than $1000 these days, and you can run that projector at a 140" diagonal if you want to. Throw in another $2000 for a screen, basic audio system, cabling, and accessories, and you’re at $3K total for a huge theater-like picture. An equivalent TV would cost much, much more.

  • Adjustable image size. So you bought a giant TV — awesome! Then you moved to a tiny apartment. Where are you going to put your big-rear end TV? Though they are best at big screen sizes, projectors can also run at 60” or 80” diagonal if your new place isn’t amenable to a really giant screen.

  • Lightweight. A 100” diagonal televison is a lot heavier than a 100” diagonal projector screen. The projector itself is probably less than 20 pounds.

  • Portable. Portable projectors are a thing. Many vendors now sell "home entertainment" models which are smaller, brighter, and include speakers and (sometimes) carrying cases, giving you a portable 1080p display system. New models also include MHL, so you can plug in a Roku stick or Chromecast or whatever and skip the cabling mess.

  • Concealable. A big TV is always going to be there. But if you want a room that isn't 100% projector all the time, you can buy a retractable screen. Projector lifts are also available, but a ceiling-mounted projector isn’t much of an eyesore to begin with.

Limitations of Projectors

  • No audio/bad audio Televisions have speakers. Projectors usually don't. Those that do tend to have really lovely ones, and when you're watching a movie on your 150" screen, that cheesy 10W mono speaker isn't going to cut it. Plan on buying a decent stereo system, at minimum.

  • Cheap projectors suck. You can get a really nice projector for a little less than $1,000, but there’s not much worth owning below that point. Inexpensive projectors aren't built for movies and TV, they're built for business use. You can buy a decent-sized small television for much less than you'd pay for a decent projector. This is the opposite end of the size advantage — at small screen sizes, projectors cost more than TVs do.

  • Viewing environment. With a TV, you don't need to worry so much about room lighting, but a projector's image will become washed out very quickly if there's too much light in the room. This kills contrast and makes the image look like poo poo. To avoid this, you need opaque curtains on your windows at the very least. For serious home theater, or any projector that costs more than about $2,000, you should also consider non-reflective surfaces in the room and walls/ceiling that are a color other than white.

  • Tricky installation. TVs are simple to install because it’s all one piece. Projectors are a two-piece system: you install the projector, then you install the screen (or vice versa, but that’s a whole different topic). While each of those pieces is relatively easy to install, it can still be more work than putting a TV on top of your media console and calling it a day. It can also be a pain in the rear end to aim the projector such that it’s perfectly square to the screen, especially because none of your walls are square or level, at least if your house is anything like mine.

What should I buy?

If you're looking for a recommendation, please include the following info:

  • What's your budget?
  • Intended sources -- what are you going to watch/play/do?
  • How big of a picture do you want? "I don't care/Big" is an acceptable answer
  • Are you going to use a screen? (if you already own a screen, how big/what kind/what gain, if known?)
  • What are the restrictions, if any, on placement?

This is the bare minimum of information I need to make a good personalized recommendation. Your answer might be different from the answer I give someone else depending on the particulars of your room, screen, et cetera.

Why should I listen to you? I have been reviewing projectors professionally since 2005 and I have first-hand experience with hundreds of projector models.

TOO MANY WORDS, TELL ME WHAT BUY. BenQ W1070.


I intend to add to this OP as I go, but in the meantime let's get started.

King Hotpants fucked around with this message at 23:49 on Oct 16, 2015

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King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


FAQ

Screens

Do I need a screen? Technically no. However, screens are engineered to reflect evenly without imparting color bias, and the good ones have an obvious visible benefit to image quality. If you're buying anything above an entry-level projector and you aren't using a screen, you are wasting your money. Buy a cheaper projector and a better screen.

What kind of screen should I get? This is a two-part question.

Fabric: If you have a room that's been properly treated (no ambient light), you should probably get a white screen with a gain between 1.1 and 1.3. This will give you the most neutral, "pure" picture you're going to get. If you have ambient light or a projector with so-so black levels, consider a gray screen instead.

Frame: now that you have the fabric figured out, you need some way to hang it up. The only options you should consider are fixed frame (mounted to your wall, does not move) and tab-tensioned (retractable, either manual or motorized). Regular non-tensioned pulldown screens develop waves and ripples and quickly become useless.

The absolute best screens (Stewart, Draper, Screen Innovations, etc.) cost between $2-3000 depending on size. There are much less expensive brands available, but anything below $400 for a 100" diagonal screen is probably junk. On the upside, a good screen will last through several projectors. My screen at home (Stewart StudioTek 130) is over 10 years old but still looks great.

How big should the screen be? This is largely a matter of personal preference, but there is a rule of thumb:

Measure the distance between where you're going to sit and where the screen is going to go. Take 2/3 of that number, and that's your screen's width. But screens are sold by their diagonal measurement, so you'll have to convert.

Or just mark a rectangular outline on your wall using tape and adjust it until it looks right, then measure it and buy a screen around that size. This isn't rocket science.


Calibration


Does your projector look like crap? Have you noticed that your monitor, TV, and projector all look different, even when watching the same movie? Congratulations, you've discovered why calibration exists.

Display Calibration is the practice of adjusting a monitor, TV, or projector so that it will accurately reproduce whatever you're watching. Basic calibration is easy, and you can (and should) do it yourself. Advanced calibration requires special equipment, but if you're serious about it, you can get a decent setup running for less than $300.

Basic calibration

If you have a calibration disc, you can adjust several settings on your projector to make the picture look a little more accurate. You should make sure to run the test patterns through whatever device you normally use to play movies. In other words, don’t use your laptop to display patterns if you normally watch movies through a Blu-ray player.

You can adjust brightness, contrast, and sharpness just using your eyes. To adjust color and tint, you’ll need a blue filter, which is exactly what it sounds like: a transparent piece of blue plastic. Some (usually higher-end) projectors have a “blue only” mode, which turns off the red and green channels. If your projector has this, you don’t need a blue filter.

Examples of Calibration Discs

For basic calibration, you'll need a calibration disc. These discs contain test patterns that you can use to adjust the settings on your projector. We use test patterns instead of movies because test patterns are a known quantity - black is black, white is white, et cetera. A lot of movies have flaws in them, like an incorrect black level, or too much sharpening, or a color bias. If you try to calibrate using a tainted source, you'll end up with bad results.

  • Disney WOW - haven’t used it myself, but a lot of people like it. And it’s cheap. However, I’m not sure if it includes a blue filter, so you might have to buy one separately.
  • Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics - DVE is the product of Joe Kane, crazy video genius, who knows more about video than just about anyone else. He was a huge figure in A/V in the late 90s and early 2000s, but he’s sort of dropped off the map since then. However, this disc is a great resource. Includes color filters. There is a DVD version as well for scrubs and/or poors who aren’t using Blu-ray.
  • Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark, 2nd Edition - probably the most comprehensive of the bunch. Also includes 3D test patterns, which none of the other discs do. Not sure if this includes a blue filter, but my copy arrives on Monday and I’ll find out.
  • AVSHD 709 - A free pattern set from the crazies at AVS Forum. You will need to burn these patterns to disc or play them from a compatible HD media player. Obviously does not include a blue filter, but hey: it’s free.

Basic Picture Controls (and what they do):

IMPORTANT: Before you touch any settings, find your display’s “video optimized” mode. This is usually called Cinema, Movie, Reference, THX, Rec709, et cetera. Starting from this mode will save you a lot of work.

Brightness - Sometimes called Bias or Offset. Adjusts black level. Set too low, it will “crush” shadow detail, making dark gray look like black. Set too high, it makes black look like dark gray, reducing overall contrast ratio.

Contrast - Sometimes called Gain. Adjusts white level. Too low and the picture looks dingy; too high and highlights are “blown out” as the display makes almost-white objects look white. You want white (255) to look white, but the next shade down (254) should be visibly different.

Make sure Brightness and Contrast are correct before you touch anything else.

Color - Sometimes called Saturation. Adjusts global color saturation. In a component video (YCbCr) signal, it is used to balance the output of the brightness (luma) and color (chroma) channels. Requires a blue filter to set correctly.

Tint - Sometimes called Hue. Adjusts the balance between the two chroma channels (Cb and Cr). Moving the control too far one way will make the picture look greenish. Moving it too far the other way will make it look magenta. Requires a blue filter to set correctly.

Sharpness - Adjusts edge enhancement. Higher settings do not make the picture sharper, they increase the amount of edge enhancement. This will appear as white rings around edges in the picture. The proper setting for this control is typically 0, but you should turn it down until the white rings go away.

Color Temperature - Sometimes called White Balance, White Point, Grayscale, et cetera. Adjusts the relative balance of red and blue in the projector’s grayscale. If your projector has preset color temperatures (High/Med/Low or Warm/Normal/Cool, etc.), feel free to switch between them until you get a pleasing approximation of white that is neither too red nor too blue. If you instead see a submenu with one or more adjustments each for Red / Green / Blue, run away. You need a meter.


Picture Controls you shouldn’t touch without a meter:

Gamma - Brightness and contrast control white and black. Gamma controls all the shades of gray between them. Gamma adjustment requires very precise measurement of brightness, so it’s not something you can do without a meter.

Color Temperature - As above, if you have to adjust individual RGB levels, it requires a meter. This control is a good thing to have, as it will allow you to get closer to 6500K, but you can’t really eyeball it.

Color Management - Sometimes called CMS, RGBCMY, or all kinds of silly proprietary names. These controls adjust the color gamut, which are the exact positions on the CIE diagram of the primary and secondary colors your projector uses to make all the other colors.

Some people have a hard time with the difference between color temperature and color gamut, so I’ll try to explain:

You’re painting your house but run out of paint halfway. So you go back to the store and tell them that your fancy-pants off-white paint is exactly 34% red, 34% green, and 32% blue. But since the last time you came in, the store switched paint brands, and their new red is more orange than the red you used the first time. At this point, you’re screwed — there’s nothing you can do to make that red match the one you used last time, and it’s impossible to exactly recreate the paint you’ve been using.

This is true for video as well. Your projector is trying to recreate the colors used in a movie. The DVD or Blu-ray (or whatever) sends color information to your projector as a string of numbers dictating the percentages of red, green, and blue. But even though the disc knows the exact mix, the projector has to start with the same base colors or the picture won’t look right. Color gamut adjusts those base colors. Color temperature defines the mix used for a neutral white or gray. This is an oversimplification, but that's the gist.

King Hotpants fucked around with this message at 19:43 on Jan 9, 2015

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Fatal posted:

Yay, it begins!

Do you see anything on the horizon for consumer 4k projectors?

I assume by "consumer" you mean "affordable by mere mortals" so I'll run with that.

This year's CEDIA show was kind of a bust for projectors. Digital Projection was showing off their 4K stuff, but those are priced well above $100K. Sony still has the VW600 and the VW1100, and they are releasing the VW300 in Europe but not the US.

The biggest 4K news out of CEDIA was Sony's decision to make their FMP-X10 4K media player work on all TVs and projectors. Until this point it had only been usable on Sony's own displays. I had a chance to mess with the previous generation player, the FMP-X1, back when I saw the VW600. They actually had a pretty good amount of content when I used it and I'm sure they have more now.

As for non-native 4K display, Epson has their new LS10000 which will accept 4K sources, but it's native 1080p. They have a process that's similar to JVC's e-Shift to increase resolution, and it looks really good, AND it's going to sell for $8000 or less. But it's not native 4K, so if that's a dealbreaker, it won't work.

So, short answer: Yes, it's coming, but not this year.



etatoby: For people who can't or won't do DLP, my favorite is still the Epson Home Cinema 8350 (though they are retiring it, finally, this year). 1080p, no 3D, low input lag if you care about games, good zoom and lens shift so you can stick it on a shelf in the back of the room instead of flipping it upside down.

With either the W1070 or the Epson 8350 you'll probably want a gray screen to improve black levels. I have more experience with the high-end screen manufacturers (Draper, Screen Innovations, Stewart) but Elite makes a good screen. They used to just be so-so but they're improving.

I assume since you mentioned a white wall that all the walls are white, as is the ceiling. If you want to make your picture look way better, put up some curtains or at least paint (matte, dark color) to cut down on reflections.

King Hotpants fucked around with this message at 20:54 on Sep 25, 2014

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


EAB posted:

So are there LED or laser home theater projectors yet? Or has the industry bandied together with some kind of gentlemen's agreement to keep using ancient bulb technology to put their hand in our pockets but not for a handy!

Drat, you've found my shadowy cabal!

You don't see a lot of LED home theater projectors because it's hard to make them bright enough. The Optoma HD91 and LG PF85U are both LED projectors, and both of them top out around 800 lumens. You also run into some odd color problems. They also cost more and don't look as good as the regular lamp-based models.

My money is on laser (not LED/laser hybrid) being what eventually replaces lamps. Epson's new LS10000 is laser-driven and it looks fantastic. They will also be selling a slightly less expensive model called the LS9600, the only difference being it won't have the 4K shift enhancement thing. Sony also has some laser projectors, including one 4K ultra short throw model that you put up against your wall, but it's going to cost upwards of $30K.

Now that Epson has a laser home theater model available for less than $8K, you can expect the technology to start working its way down into cheaper projectors over the next few years.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


EAB posted:

Interesting. I haven't really looked into projectors for a while but I was turned off because I thought replacement bulbs cost like $500 for 2000 hrs of use, and was waiting for the holy coming of LED or laser projectors. This Benq W1070 is only like 750 dollars, and the bulbs are 200, thats very palatable.

-Googled the w1070 a bit more and see that users report rainbows... something I've experienced on dlp projectors as well, I don't know if I'm highly sensitive to it but anytime I move my eyes I see the rainbows. What projector do you recommend thats rainbow free?

Lamps used to cost a lot more than they do now. Some high-end projectors still use expensive lamps, but most of the cheap models have very affordable lamps now.

Some people are super-sensitive to rainbows. It happens. I see rainbows on a lot of projectors, but the W1070 has a faster color wheel than most of its competitors and I don't see rainbows on it.

The only 100% way to eliminate rainbows is to use a 3-chip projector so there's no color wheel. The Epson 8350 is in the same general price range as the W1070 and you'll never see a rainbow ever.

Ur Getting Fatter posted:

Is there any sort of average life span for bulbs or does it just vary radically per model?

If so, what's the BenQ's bulb's average lifespan?

Also, what's the absolute minimum distance wall to wall to have a projection be larger than, say, a 50" TV?

I have a small living room, width-wise, but large TVs put me off for whatever reason.

The BenQ bulb is supposed to last 3,500 hours at full power or 6,000 hours at low power. I have no idea if it actually does, because when we review projectors we have them for maybe a couple of months tops.

If you want a projector that sits super close to your wall, look for short throw models. There's actually a short-throw version of the W1070 called the W1080ST. You can get a 50" picture from 3' away. Here's the calculator for that model, if you want to play around with it.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Don't buy used! Get an Epson VS230 instead. 2400 lumens, SVGA, $99 replacement lamps. Sells for $340 new. Sounds like exactly what you asked for.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


The HW40ES is actually a fantastic projector and a good value for the money. Yeah, I know, shocker.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


The rule of thumb is 1.5 times the screen width. It's an old rule and it largely depends on your preferences, but it's also a safe way to avoid the first-row thing.

For a 127" diagonal picture, that's (111*1.5=166.5/12=) about 14 feet. Sitting a little closer will still be okay.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Most DLP projectors under $1000 use color wheels that are either too slow (2x speed) or use non-RGB segments. A lot use slow wheels and non-RGB segments. Why?

Slow color wheels don't matter in a business/presentation environment because your eyes move a lot less, and a lot of video projectors in this price range are just converted business projectors.

Using CMYW segments in a color wheel gives you more light output with the same lamp wattage. Since a lot of people buy projectors just based on specifications, you can see why that would be attractive.

The W1070 and HT1075 have fast color wheels (4x or 6x depending on the input you use) and have only RGB segments, so you see fewer rainbows and get better color saturation and accuracy. That's the major reason why they are so highly recommended for home theater. The Optoma HD25 and HD30B also had fast RGBRGB wheels, but none of the subsequent models (HD25-LV, HD25e, HD131X, etc) did.

Usually you can tell when a cheap projector has a good color wheel because the manufacturer brags about it. If they don't say anything, there's typically a reason why.


edit: for anyone not in the US, the HT1075 is known in some markets as the W1070+

King Hotpants fucked around with this message at 18:26 on Oct 1, 2014

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Aeka 2.0 posted:

Rumor has it that there will be a US version of the VW300, but it will be called the VW350. Any truth?

No idea.

Just in general, since I work in this industry, I'll usually be under NDA when it comes to unreleased and upcoming products. That's the cost for early access to cool stuff. So it's rare that I will be able to answer questions like this with anything other than a wink and a nudge at best.

quote:

Also why does the US market get so dicked on price?

In general? We don't. Most projectors are cheaper here than they are elsewhere. Are you referring to anything specific?

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Aeka 2.0 posted:

An overseas projector can be had for much cheaper, but I hear the warrenty is invalid.

Again, can you point to something specific?

You're correct that the warranty would be invalid, so assuming you can find one cheaper and don't get screwed on customs and shipping, you'd better hope it never breaks.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


mAlfunkti0n posted:

Why oh why are there so many junk projector mounts out there. So far the only one I've seen with a reasonable price that doesn't completely suck is the Peerless with thumb screw adjustments for tilt/roll/etc. It's very sturdy, while the rest are so jank I don't know how they justify the price.

Well, what's your idea of a reasonable price? Remember that mounts are a lot like screens; you should be able to use the same mount for several projectors, so it's not a bad idea to buy a good one.

I don't deal with a lot of ceiling mounts since I have each projector for like two weeks. I put everything on a rear shelf or a coffee table.

Last time I checked, though, Chief Mounts are pretty good. Their RPAU is less than $150 and seems like it fits most projectors on the market.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Call of Cholula posted:

I'm looking for a recommendation.

Okay, so: under $500, bright, widescreen, portable, with an onboard speaker.

You can get the Acer X1373WH for $399 from NewEgg. Like all cheap DLP projectors it has a 2x speed wheel and produces much more white light than color, so if the stuff you're showing is heavy on color it's not going to look like 3,000 lumens. But you should be able to get a decent-sized (60"-80" diagonal?) image up on a conference room wall without needing to turn the lights off no matter what you're using.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Call of Cholula posted:

Thanks for the suggestion! This is still a bit larger than I'm looking for, unfortunately. Is anything under there considered 'PICO'? Also, the onboard sound doesn't need to be in there. I have either sound onboard my MBA or, if I really want to get funky, I can bring along a Jambox as well.

The usage you're describing really needs at least 2,000 lumens, and you're not going to get that out of a pico. You can get smaller projectors with that kind of brightness, but not for $500. Something like the Optoma W304M might be small enough for what you need, and it fits all of your criteria, but it's $800.

Small, bright, cheap: pick two.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Socrates16 posted:

Do you have more specific recommendations for screens? I can 100% light control my room, and am looking at 100 inches. I really need something on a stand, as I cannot drill into my apartment walls.

Most manufacturers have portable screen options. Elite has some that are tripod-mounted and some that just rise directly out of their cases. The latter is called the ezCinema line. Last time I checked, they are non-tensioned (meaning you'll end up with ripples in the fabric), but other manufacturers might have tensioned freestanding models.

joebob posted:

I have a bulb question for someone who knows about this stuff. What do I need to consider when I am buying a replacement bulb? Basically whats the difference between this for $199
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Product/Overview.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&sku=V13H010L67

and this for $45.

http://www.amazon.com/Awo-lamps-ELP...s=MG-850hd+bulb

I have an Epson MG-850HD.

If there is a good reason to buy the more expensive one I would do it, I just don't know if there is.

The first one is an official Epson replacement lamp/housing. The second one is third-party.

The downside of third-party lamps is that the quality is all over the map. Some are actually OEM parts (almost all projector manufacturers buy lamps from other companies rather than make them in-house) while others are cheap knock-offs. The cheap knock-offs may be lower in brightness, have much shorter lifespan, or just straight up explode in your projector (and potentially damage other parts). There's no way to tell which third-party lamps aren't poo poo, either.

The downside of buying real replacement lamps is that they cost more.

Go ahead and get the cheap lamp if you want, but be aware of the risk. If you're using your projector in a professional setting, or if the projector costs enough that replacing it would hurt, spring for the genuine lamps.

This almost triggered a rant about Amazon user reviews, but I'll save most of that for another day. Just don't think a knock-off lamp is the same as the real deal because Bubba from Bumfuck says it "WORKS GREAT." Bubba wrote that review five minutes after he got the lamp. He doesn't have access to a light meter so he can't tell that it's half as bright as it ought to be, and when it flames out in six months he's not going to remember to update his review.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Equate posted:

My wife says no for the projector since we do have a 70" TV, but once she enjoys the home-theater experience she will change her mind quickly.

I'm gonna pass on this one. Don't be a lovely husband.

awesome-express posted:

I want to buy a nice, affordablish projector for gaming and movies. I have a huge empty white wall in my living room. I am willing to drop up to £400-500 on a projector. Of course if there's something cheaper, then I'd be happy to pick it up. What I don't want is a dim, lovely projection.

I was at Facebook's HQ the other day and those guys have projectors that are as bright as TV screens, even with all the lights on. I was surprised that can be achieved. Of course those probably cost way more than my budget allows, but is there a 1080p projector that's bright as gently caress and not poo poo?

Does the projector in the OP meet these criteria? It costs £600, so a bit over-budget.

You can get bright projectors that look really good, even in daylight, but they cost a small fortune. Panasonic just released a WUXGA laser projector at 6,500 lumens and it looks loving fantastic, but it costs $25,000. Facebook can afford them. You can't.

If you can't afford the W1070, you can't afford good 1080p. The Optoma models (HD26, HD141X) are okay in a pinch, but because of their color wheels they are actually not as bright as the W1070 when you're looking at anything that isn't a white test pattern. We're talking about a small cost increase for much better performance with the W1070. Please don't cheap out.

Vinlaen posted:

Any suggestions on a motorized ceiling-mounted screen?

It's going in a basement that has a single window but it can be closed so it's 99% complete darkness. I'm looking for something about 100" - 110" to be used with the Benq projector.

You didn't give a budget so I have no idea. Whatever you get, make sure it's tab-tensioned.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


You can get this Elite Spectrum for under $500 and it's both electric and tab-tensioned. It's 100" diagonal, 1.1 gain white.

I have no idea if it's any good as I haven't seen Elite's motorized or pull-down offerings in several years.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Painted screens are indeed still a thing. There are a bunch of crazies over in the AVSForum DIY Screen section who devote a lot of time and energy to painted screens. Several of them insist that their paint is better than the big names -- Stewart, Draper, Screen Innovations, et cetera. I don't necessarily think they're right (physicists and engineers versus some dude in his basement with a paint sprayer and a forum account, hmm) but it's definitely possible to paint a screen and have it look good.


Topic change: I expanded the OP with more information. Y'all can also suggest topics or ask questions in general if you like.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


HOG ILLUSTRATIONS posted:

Does anyone have an opinion on the Benq W1070 vs the HT1075? From what I can tell there isn't a lot of info on the HT1075 yet and I don't really care about wireless hdmi, but other than that is it worth the extra ~150 bucks?

I don't know what you mean by "isn't a lot of info on the HT1075." Both Projector Central and Projector Reviews have published their reviews, and Projector Central just did a shootout of 1080p projectors under $1,000 that features it.

Wireless HDMI isn't included on the HT1075; it's an optional kit. What you get are horizontal keystone (which you shouldn't use), a new menu system, and MHL on one of the HDMI ports. Everything else is the same. If you don't care about any of those things, get the W1070 and save your money.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


As a person who looks at projectors for a living:

Absent some kind of special circumstances, if it were my money I'd buy the Sony HW40 over the Epson 5030 every time.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Aeka 2.0 posted:

I'm thinking about moving over to something other than my Mitsu HC9000D. Its a nice projector, I've always liked the SXRD chips, but the lumens on this have always been lower than I've wanted even in a very well light controlled room, most of my viewing is at night anyway. I have a 135" 16:9 screen, and am wondering if there is something out there comparable with a higher light output between 3,000 to 6,000 USD. The chip alignment could have been better on that projector as well as one side would always be half a pixel or more off no matter what I did to it, it is noticeable in certain conditions. I'm sensitive to the DLP color wheel so It looks like SXRD is what I need to stick with.
I also shift my image down for my constant width setup for scope movies, so something with a good shift range is needed.

The HC9000D produced about 800 lumens in Cinema mode under optimal conditions, so that's the number I'm trying to beat. You didn't specify how you were running the Mits or your throw distance, so your actual measured output was probably much lower.

I've got two options for you: the Sony HW55ES ($3999) and the Epson LS9600e ($6000). Both are 1080p LCoS projectors with long zoom lenses and good lens shift. Both of them are brighter than your HC9000D, but the HW55ES is a lot brighter (1400 lumens) and the LS9600e is only a little brighter (975 lumens). However, the LS9600e is laser-driven, so it will stay bright for a long time and you don't have to buy replacement lamps.

The HW55ES has manual zoom/focus/shift, but good range. The LS9600e has powered adjustments, better range, and lens memory, so you can program in one setting for 16:9 and one for 2.35 and it will remember them, and then you can go back to those settings with a button on the remote.

If you can stomach the price tag, the LS9600e is the better projector, but the HW55ES looks almost as good for 2/3 as much money. So essentially, another $2K gets you a longer zoom, powered adjustments, and lasers instead of lamps.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Aeka 2.0 posted:

The Epson looks like a competitor to the JVC models. Its too bad Sony removed the electric lens, I assume they've been focusing on 4k, that's a big one for me. Is the Epson not out yet? I may just wait for tax time and look into the 10000.

The Epson LS projectors aren't out yet in the US as far as I know, and they'll be in restricted distribution when they do finally arrive. And in my opinion, the LS10000 is worth the extra $2k if you can swing it.

ThinkFear posted:

I'm looking for a projector as a tv replacement that can deal with ambient light. A silverticket 120" gray fixed screen is probably going to be the screen.

With a budget of ~$800 I'm considering the Optoma HD131XE or XD141X (The colorwheel is an issue here) and the HT1075 (input lag for gaming is a problem). The weird throw offset of the Epson 2030 made me discount it. Any suggestions one way or another? Decent performance with indirect sunlight and input lag are my two main concerns.

The HT1075 is so much better than the HD131X/HD141X that the slight increase in input lag is more than worth it.

Out of curiosity: what games are you playing that you're concerned about? Have you had problems with input lag before, and if so can you tell me about them?

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


surc posted:

So, I've been seeing the BenQ MH630 for pretty cheap, and as far as I can tell, the main difference between the MH630 and W1070 is going from DLP to "1080p DarkChip3 DLP", which looks like it has better contrast. Is it a noticably large difference in display quality?

The MH630 is a business projector with a 2x speed color wheel that I'm willing to bet has non-RGB segments (which is how they get 3000 lumens out of it) and lovely contrast. It is a terrible choice for home theater.

Aeka 2.0 posted:

I am having problems though, im having signal loss glitches. If I'm playing a movie on my PC, ill have a split second glitch of it throwing a previous frame up from the buffer, this happened about 5 times in two hours. If I'm using my PS3, it will throw up a split second static frame, this will happen every few mins. I don't know if this is a few cable problems, or if my projector isn't playing nice with the receiver, I have the latest firmware. Any thoughts?

So I'm guessing you are wired source --> receiver --> projector?

Try swapping out the HDMI cable between receiver and projector. If that fixes it, it's a bad cable. I'm 99% sure this is the problem -- either the cable is bad or it's too long and the HDCP handshake is making GBS threads the bed for some reason.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Not at all.

I saw the ET-D75LE90 at this year's InfoComm show, and I used the ET-DLE030 for a little while on the PT-RZ670 (the big WUXGA laser model). What do you need to know?

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Gunjin posted:

Just curious to how good they look, any softness/distortion/vignetting/chromatic aberrations anything like that? They sound perfect for a certain very restricted space application we have but the client is super picky about image quality.

I mean, it looked pretty fantastic when I saw it, but manufacturers are very careful to make their trade show presentations look good. I haven't had a bad experience with Panasonic lenses before, but I don't have any kind of hard data for you. Sorry.

jonathan posted:

About to build a 140 or possibly 150" AT screen out of spandex. Projector central's calculator seems to think the Optoma HD33's lighting will be bright enough if I keep the screen gain around 1.0

You should ignore those brightness numbers. They are approximations derived from the projector's brightness specification, and the HD33 never met its brightness specs. It's advertised at 1,800 lumens and actually produced about 1,000.

The recommendation for brightness off the screen is 12-16 foot Lamberts, assuming a room with no ambient light and few reflective surfaces (no white walls, no white ceiling, no glossy paint, curtains around the screen).

The HD33 puts out 900-ish lumens in Cinema or Reference mode with a fresh lamp at full power. Using a 1.0 gain screen, you'd get 15 fL at 140" diagonal and 13 fL at 150" diagonal. That's the good news.

The bad news is this:

If you use Eco lamp mode, light output drops by 20ish percent. That brings you to 11 fL @ 140" and 10 fL @150". Not bright enough.

Also: High-pressure lamps lose 20-25% of their brightness in the first 500 hours of operation, so ideally your "fresh lamp" setup should be brighter than you need. I don't think you can do that with this projector unless you bring in a high-gain screen or swap out lamps every 500 hours.

Mr. Funny Pants posted:

Any opinions on the Epson 5030UB? I'll be going with a 100-110" inch picture on a dedicated screen with good light control in the room most of the time. Is it overkill at that price? It will be used primarily for "big" TV shows, blu-rays, and gaming.

Unless there's a reason it won't work, I'd recommend the Sony HW40ES over the Epson 5030UB for your purposes.

Fog Tripper posted:

Wish I had seen this thread before today. I have a Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8345 Projector sitting in the box awaiting install (once we finish the basement/media room).

Any thoughts on it?

Great projector that's starting to show its age (it's essentially the same as the 8350, which came out in 2010). $750 is a good deal, though.

Aeka 2.0 posted:

I'm going to need to sell my Mitsu HC9000D, King, do you have any idea what I should sell it for? It has around 1500 hours on the lamp on high mode. If anyone here is interested I'll put up a formal post in the for sale forum.

I know very little about the used projector market, but I would not expect to get more than $1000 out of it.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


revmoo posted:

drat that is cheap. It might be worth forgoing my dislike of DLP for that. The only other thing I don't like is that it's listed at 2200 lumens and there seems to be competing offerings with 3000 or more. Are lumens apples-to-apples or are they not worth comparing?

Is there a way to figure out throw distances on projectors? like 100" @ 5 feet, 200" at 15 feet or something? Seems like a spec that should show up on product listings.

EDIT: I found a throw calculator on Optoma's site and according to it I'm looking at a 80" screen from 9 feet. Looks like I can get over 100" with a short throw so I guess I probably should go for one of those.

EDIT2: This unit looks pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/Optoma-GT1080-Gaming-Projector-Enabled/dp/B00M9D4CAK

EDIT3: Doh, it's too short of a throw, the screen would be larger than the wall haha. It's looking like I need something with zoom I guess?

EDIT4: gently caress waiting for advice, bought this: http://www.optomausa.com/products/detail/DH1009

I spent a long time messing around with the Optoma throw calculator and this seems to fit all my needs quite well. Too bad it's DLP but it seems like LCD just isn't there yet.

Oh boy.

You couldn't contain yourself for less than a day and ended up buying a garbage projector.

Now that it's too late, here's some words:

With (very) few exceptions, projector specifications are untrustworthy. Assume that lumens and contrast are rosy at best and outright lies at worst. You can generally compare specs only within one manufacturer's line (i.e. you could compare the Optoma GT1080 against the Optoma HD26), but not across brands.

Video projectors are for video. Business projectors are for business. Business projectors are optimized for white brightness, whereas video projectors are (mostly) optimized for color accuracy and contrast.

You mention that the W1070 has only 2200 lumens, and that's bad, because there are other models with over 3000. Do you know what a lumen is, or how to determine how many you need? How do you know that more = better? On a 100" diagonal screen, you only need about 500 lumens. Too much light will give you a headache, and it usually requires a high-wattage lamp, so it'll cost more to run and act like a space heater. A loud space heater.

Another point to consider: those lumen specifications are maximum output in "who gives a gently caress about color or contrast" mode. In Movie mode, the W1070 puts out almost 1,800 lumens out of the rated 2,200. The nearest comparable Optoma video projector to the thing you bought (which is the HD26) puts out less than 1,000 lumens in Movie mode despite being rated at 3,200.

DLP Projectors use color wheels, which is why you were trying to avoid them. I recommend the W1070 over and over again because of its fast color wheel with no non-RGB segments. The projector you purchased uses a slow color wheel, and I'll guarantee there's a sizable white (clear) segment in there. Slow wheel + white segment = RAINBOWS AHOY.

If you want an LCD option, you can get either the Epson Home Cinema 8350 or the Epson Home Cinema 3000, both of which are under $1,500.

For throw information, Google "projector calculator." Click first result. Ta-da. While you're there, maybe read some reviews from people who know what they're doing.

I'm proud of the rest of the thread regulars for explaining all of this, but I answered all of your questions several times over in the thread already and it's only three pages long.

Return that poo poo and get something worthwhile.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


sellouts posted:

I really want to make my projector fantasy a reality just because I know I can do it right via research + King Hotpants' willingness to answer even dumb questions.

Thanks for this thread. My wife hates you.

Answering dumb questions is like 50% of my job. I have a lot of practice.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


revmoo posted:

'd probably be willing to get a different unit but I have one concern; this projector which is supposedly blindingly bright is what I would call adequate. I'm very concerned that if I switch to a "cinema" projector it's not going to be bright enough with the blinds open. I think in this case I'm willing to trade picture quality for brightness, as I want to be able to use this thing in bright daylight for tv watching. Compounding this quandary is the fact that apparently manufacturers all lie on their lumen output levels. So I'm not even sure how I'm supposed to shop for another unit without being able to know how bright it is.

King Hotpants posted:

Another point to consider: those lumen specifications are maximum output in "who gives a gently caress about color or contrast" mode. In Movie mode, the W1070 puts out almost 1,800 lumens out of the rated 2,200. The nearest comparable Optoma video projector to the thing you bought (which is the HD26) puts out less than 1,000 lumens in Movie mode despite being rated at 3,200.

It's like I'm talking to a wall.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Aeka 2.0 posted:

I saw a guy on the AVS forums claim that he got an upgraded HDMI board from 1.4b to HDMI 2.0 HDCP 2.2 for his Dreamvision (JCV clone), is he full of poo poo or is this a possibility?

I have no idea, sorry. Board upgrades aren't completely unheard of -- Sony did them with the VW1000 or VW1100, can't remember which -- but I don't know Dreamvision or their customer service well enough to guess.

emocrat posted:

Any of you projector gurus have any insight on basic calibration? I really have no idea what I am doing with this and if you have advice or links to even basic guides about the principles involved I would appreciate it. I spent some time last night messing with settings and I was constantly flip-floping on what I thought looked good. I am not really up for paying hundreds for a pro, and I don't need perfect, but some basics for a balanced viewing experience would be awesome.

Basic calibration without tools:

1. Find out which of your projector's modes is closest to calibrated already. Someone on AVS has probably calibrated it before, so check there.
2. Get a decent calibration disc and a blue filter.
3. Use the patterns on the disc to adjust brightness, contrast, color, tint, and sharpness. You use the blue filter for color and tint.
4. Stop, because you can't accurately adjust white balance or gamut without a meter.

Adjusting color without a meter isn't "calibrating" the projector. It's "dicking around with the settings." And don't use someone else's numbers, because that doesn't work nearly as well as people think.

That's it. If you want to get into real calibration, pick up an X-Rite i1 Display Pro (~$200) and a (free) copy of HCFR and learn how to calibrate your poo poo.

King Hotpants fucked around with this message at 18:21 on Jan 7, 2015

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Aeka 2.0 posted:

Rumor has it that there will be a US version of the VW300, but it will be called the VW350. Any truth?

This happened Monday morning. MSRP $9,999, on sale for $7,999.

Projector Central says they'll have a review up by this afternoon.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


emocrat posted:

Thanks for the input guys. "Dicking around with settings" is exactly what I have been doing. I don't really care about it matching an abstract value of perfect, more that I would get it somewhere and be like, that looks great! and the scene would change and then I would be like, nope its blown out. Or too dark or whatever. Basically I dont really know the relationships between the various settings, so I don't have an understanding of what will happen in a differently lit scene when i adjust something.

I will check AVS and see about a getting a disc. Thanks.

It's less about hitting "an abstract value of perfect" and more about preventing the thing you're talking about. We use test patterns and meters to calibrate displays because our eyes think different settings look good in different scenes. But then the scene changes and suddenly it all looks like crap.

I used to have a friend who insisted he could calibrate color just using his eyes. And yes, he could make a scene look really good, until the next scene came on or we switched movies or whatever. My favorite incident was when he calibrated everything by watching Casino Royale on Blu-ray, then wondered why every other movie looked sort of pink. Turns out the Blu-ray of that movie has a heavy green bias, so he was boosting the poo poo out of magenta.

I'll try to write up a basic overview of what the different settings do and add it to the OP. It seems like it would help.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


I added a calibration section to the second post in the thread, here, under the section on screens.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.



I'm not sure what "starting to lose colors" means. If it's what I think it is, you need a new lamp.

If you are already decided on a new projector, check to see if the Sony HW40ES is inside your price range. I'm not familiar with the cost in Euros, but it sounds like it'd work.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


B&H Photo has official Optoma HD20 replacement lamps for $190ish. They cost $249 direct from Optoma, so that's pretty good.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


You can still use the W1080ST/HT1085ST, but you'll get a smaller picture. You didn't specify desired image size, though, so I don't know what you're going for.

If the back of the projector is at 5' the front will be around 4', so you can expect an 80" diagonal image. Ish.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Aeka 2.0 posted:

As much as I like my new JVC x700r, the blacks are really great, i mean like black hole great compared to anything previous that I've had or seen. But I'm getting a ton of black crush, I don't have a meter, I could see it on test patterns, and definitely see it in movies. I've adjusted and re adjusted brightness before moving the black floor up, and even bumped the gamma sliders "Picture Tone" and "Dark Level." From my understanding they work around your target gamma, and since I don't have a meter, I keep it at "THX." I think I should be able to bring some detail out by eye, I must be missing something.

It's a gamma problem. I bet THX uses 2.4 gamma, and AFAIK the X700R doesn't quite have the range for it. If you can bump it down to 2.2, that will fix your problem.

Then you can undo all the stuff you did to mess with your black level.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Strike Anywhere posted:

I've been using an old Dell MP2300. I'm leaning towards getting a Benq down the road. The Dell does well on a 120" diag 16:9 space on the wall, although I honestly have no frame of reference. Movies play in the living room in the evening when it's dark, so light control is not an issue.

First of all, I applaud your quest for a big-rear end screen.

Second, remember that the amount of light you need depends on screen surface area, and a 180” diagonal screen is more than twice as large as a 120” diagonal screen. Assuming 1.0 gain, here’s how many calibrated lumens you need to light up the screen sizes you mentioned:

120” diagonal: 700 lumens
150” diagonal: 1080 lumens
180” diagonal: 1550 lumens

The W1070/HT1075 will give you about 1800 lumens in Cinema mode at full power with a fresh lamp. If you turn off BrilliantColor, that drops to 1425 lumens. If you use Eco lamp mode, you’re down to 955 lumens. The lamp will reduce in brightness as it ages, so expect to lose 25% of your brightness over the first 1,000 hours, bringing you to 716 lumens.

In other words, without a higher gain screen, 120” diagonal is about where I’d stop on the W1070/HT1075. Either that, or run the projector at full power and be prepared to replace lamps more frequently.

Third, “light control isn’t an issue” is a bunch of crap unless you have dark walls and ceiling. Light from your projector will bounce around the room and kill your contrast ratio. Then again, the W1070/HT1075 is going to look pretty amazing compared to what you’ve currently got going on.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Unfortunately neither do I. All the projectors I see are new.

I will say that Epson has a reputation for good warranty support, so if you get a bad projector they will be happy to swap it out for you.

King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


You don't need audio out from the projector. You need audio out from the source, whatever that happens to be.

But then you need to distribute that audio to a bunch of different speakers, which is what A/V receivers are for. So I won't say that it's impossible, but it might be more trouble than it's worth.

I'm sure there are cheap AVRs out there, but audio isn't really my department.

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King Hotpants
Apr 11, 2005

Clint.
Fucking.
Eastwood.


Trillest Parrot posted:

Cross posting with reddit, sorry if you read there too:

One of my roommates is moving out soon and we need to replace his Epson 8350 and screen. The projector is ceiling mounted and about 17-18' away from his 120" screen. We have curtains for the room, but I personally think the image is too dark even at nighttime. A Sony VPL-HW40ES sounds like it would be perfect, but the person buying it would like to spend less money. Would be get a brighter image than the old 8350 at that distance with a sub-$1000 projector? Looking at the calculator for the BenQ HT1075, it looks like it won't even go down to 120" at that distance. Am I missing something or will that one not work? Any suggestions? Thanks for the help! I'm getting a little bogged down in research.

The Epson Home Cinema 3000 will fit those numbers, and it's plenty bright. Might be worth a look.

lionlegs posted:

Are there any new exciting projectors on the horizon to usurp the BenQ W1070/HT1075's throne? I've started to get used the insanely quick product cycles of laptops, mobile phones, etc, but from what I can tell the projector market isn't so fast-moving. Is that true?

Typically, the exciting, fast-moving stuff happens at the top of the market, not the bottom. That's true for other electronics, too -- the exciting stuff is always the new flagship model, not the budget option. It's just that projectors are more expensive than those other things, so even the cheap stuff isn't cheap.

There's lots of exciting things happening in the projector market right now but it's almost all north of $8,000.

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