L.C.D. Video projectors. Let's talk.

Do you own one? Have you owned one? I jones one in a most sincere way, and would love some guidance. Any brand names leap to mind as superior? Don’t wanna go broke, just wanna watch movies in the family room on a nice bright large ( say, 12 foot wide ) image.


Infocus is a good brand, Proxima is better but more expensive. The big thing to check out is bulb life and replacement bulb costs (hint: they ain’t cheap).

Yes, management in the small engineering firm almost had a collective coronary when a replacement buld cost $550.
That really isn’t brand specific either, they all cost that much. I second both of the above brands. You want the Proxima, but you’ll probably want to settle for the Infocus.

We just installed a Sony projector in the training room of our fire station-cost was around $1400, and I recall the salesman telling me that bulbs were a couple of hundred bucks. I don’t honestly know how it compares to either of the other brands mentioned.

Lumens is another thing to consider. The more the better, and the brighter your picture. My experience has also been in the corporate scene, but since you’ll be able to fine tune the lighting to your tastes, lumens may not be as big a deal here. I just saw one at Sam’s Club (Epson) for $934. Couldn’t tell you if it was any good, but it’s the cheapest I’ve seen yet. Make sure it can be ceiling mounted as well. They don’t always come with the mounting brackets for that.

I’ve used about 6 different LCD projectors, for sales presentations, seminars, and used them to watch movies at home and on the road. If you aren’t interested in extreme portability, you can get some decent older models fairly inexpensively. Look for refurbished or used rentals for an even greater bargain.

For home theater use, you should have good control over the lighting environment, so you can get by with less lumens, maybe as little as 800. Sound is going to be a major consideration. Most of them use pretty intrusive fans to keep the lamp from melting, so check the decibel levels. A lot of projectors come with (crappy) speakers, but I wouldn’t use them.

The major features I’d look for in a home projector are 1) resolution – will it look good?, 2) lumens – will I be able to see the screen without tripping over the dog?, 3) noise – can I hear the movie?, 4) lamp hours/cost of replacement – do I need to refinance the mortgage to afford it? :slight_smile:

Although a white wall works OK, you will get your best results using a projector screen. As far as manufacturers, I had great luck with Sony and Canon. There are a lot of vendors, and you can probably rent before you buy – so you could do in-home testing.

It would be nice, if not essential, to have some kind of keystone correction on your projector. Our new Viewsonic has digital keystone correction, which makes it much easier to set up than our (otherwise excellent) low-end InFocus.

If you hang this on the ceiling and shoot at the wall, you’re going to have bad keystoning. The top of your picture will be much narrower than the bottom, and you’ll never get it square. If you buy a screen, you can probably move the bottom of the screen forward to straighten things out.

There’s plenty of cheap used projectors on ebay if you can live with a lower resolution. You’ll also want to budget for a new bulb, as has already been said. Some of these bulbs don’t burn out, they just get gradually dimmer over time. A new bulb can make a big difference in a used projector. At least, that was the case with the Eiki film projectors we used to use (Xenon bulbs for these cost about $1,500 each).

The Sony projector mentioned in a previous post featured 1400 lumens, has keystone correction in the menu, but came without bracket. I was able to buy a good looking Euro style bracket from Draper, via a local distributor. BTW, the fan is almost inaudible.

This is all wonderful stuff. Being an ex-projectionist in film school, and a professional cameraman, keystoning is kind of a …keystone of my life? :smiley:

The lumens/ resolution issue is like the RAM/ Mhz issue on computers. Lovely to have the two go up together, or both suffer a bit. The idea of a good used rental item is a great one !!

The bulbs? My god, I had no idea they were this pricey. I will have to find out just what bulb is used by the projector I am pricing, when I do get to price and buy one.

As for screens, I’m so set it’s scary. I am tight with an American distributor of a South Korean material called Reversa. In addition to the amazingly fine contrast ratio offered by Reversa, I can get a fixed curved silver screen from him ( another South Korean maker ) that is just perfect for home theatre use. The screen alone is a fortune, but I can barter: I’ve got the Steadicam, he’s got the video rental facility/production company. A day or two of shooting, the screen’s mine. :wink:

Keep the ideas coming, I’m going to print this entire thread out when it runs it’s course. The fan/bracketry issue worries me. Do I need to dig a hole in the ceiling to allow for proper ventilation? Or, should I drop the bracket low? ( Gets rid of some keystoning and allows for better venting ).

Infocus X1 gets my vote, a lot of epople bought them & you can try fatwallet.com Deal Forum to find these people & hints for screens, search for ‘Infocus’ About $800.

Yes, projector bulbs are pricey. The one we have at work costs $10,000 for a bulb only :slight_smile:

This thread is better suited for IMHO. I’ll move it for you.

Cajun Man ~ SDMB Moderator

I agree that keystone adjustment is killer, but if you’re going to have a fixed, home system, you may not need it – provided you can be flexible in mounting. It would be totally cool, provided one had the room length, to put the projector down low behind a translucent screen, with the output keystoned and reversed – projecting towards the audience. That would eliminate any noise issues, and eliminate the annoyance of cousin Bob walking between the projector & the screen.

I’ve seen a few projectors that can do widescreen – if your main use is movies, that’s another consideration. Pricey, though, and I doubt you’ll find many used widescreen projectors.