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If I have $2000 to spend, what should I buy?

Old 08-28-02, 04:36 AM
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If I have $2000 to spend, what should I buy?

I have been looking at a lot of LCD projectors, and am wondering if it makes more sense to purchase one of these as opposed to buying a widescreen projection TV 47"-58" at Best Buy. I have found several LCD projectors on Ebay between $1k and $2k, and they are mostly at least 1200 lumens, HDTV capable, etc.


Educate me! I would appreciate any suggestions.
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Old 08-28-02, 06:58 AM
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I'd personally suggest that you consider saving up just a few more bucks because there are many great choices in the $2xxx price category, but the <$2k is a bit thin. You may get lucky with a used one, but there are some concerns with that as well.

What is your room configuration? Light control? Desired screen size? Seating distance from screen? Main viewing material source?
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Old 08-28-02, 10:50 AM
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If you can control your light and you don't have a HUGE room, I'd call Plus ASAP and see if they have any more dealer demos of the HE3100. They were only charging $1900 for those.

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Old 08-28-02, 11:14 AM
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heimerSWT, I realize that you're a moderator here and it may be uncouth for me to suggest this, but I'd recommend that you check out some discussion at the AVSForum. They tend to get much more technical in their hardware discussion than we do here, and have a specific forum set up for questions about projectors under $5K.

Also, it's worth reading some articles and reviews at Projector Central. There is a lot of information to take in before making an informed projector purchase, and that's a good place to start. Very informative web site.

There has been some favorable word of mouth about the Plus Piano HE3100, but it is only an SVGA resolution projector and I honestly believe that you need at least XGA if you're going to purchase a decent LCD projector. I'm skeptical.

For LCD, the Epson TW100 seems to be the best bang-for-your-buck projector going, but it will run you closer to $4,000.

At your price range, DLP is probably better suited, as prices on those have been falling recently due to aggressive competition from many manufacturers. There are some trade offs (LCD has better colors, but DLP has better contrasts and black level).

My advice: Do a lot of reading up on the subject and ask a lot of questions before purchasing anything.
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Old 08-28-02, 12:07 PM
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I highly recommend getting an LCD projector. Although a few orders of magnitude less that what you're talking about, I just picked up an InFocus LS 570 LCD projector off of ebay for $380. And I really like it.

The thing to be cautious about when purchasing a used projector, from eBay or anywhere else, is bulb life. Replacement bulbs for most LCD projectors run around $300-$400.
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Old 08-28-02, 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by sracer
The thing to be cautious about when purchasing a used projector, from eBay or anywhere else, is bulb life. Replacement bulbs for most LCD projectors run around $300-$400.
Or more... I work with several different types of projectors and although the bulbs last a long time, they run from $400 to $700 a pop to replace. YMMV of course depending on the type of bulb needed, but it's something that you should definitely research and consider... Personally, no way I would watch anything other than DVDs on one, you'll burn the bulb up too quick.

For < 2K in the 16X9 HDTVs, I like the Panny sets... Had mine (47" variety) for several months now and love it... But, it's not without it's faults and like any HDTV requires some tweaking to get a really good picture...

Last edited by Johnny Zhivago; 08-28-02 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 08-28-02, 01:11 PM
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to Johnny Zhivago:

What did you like and dislike about your panny set.

I would say if you have the room go with a projector, but also I would agree only if can control the light in the room. I am personally looking at either buying they 47" Panny set, everyone that has one seems to like it, or the new 45" Panny Lcd HDTV, but would much rather get a projector, but this is just a tv for my bedroom, so no projector there.
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Old 08-28-02, 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by Corky Roxbury
to Johnny Zhivago:

What did you like and dislike about your panny set.
Pros: Perfect fit for my environment, looks nice, excellent picture from anamorphic discs via component and progressive scan, tweakability... This set is fairly easy to do geometry corrections, red push, color adjustments, focus, etc... The service menus are easy to access and there's a good base of "tweakers" on the net to provide tips on how to get the best picture and performance from the set. This was VERY important when making my choice of set (I had also looked at the Toshibas)... I can do most of the picture corrections myself over the life of the set without having to involve a service monkey. Price.

Cons: Locks into full mode when fed a progressive source, screen lines are noticed (not often enough to bother me really) at times, will not support a heavy (20+ pounds) center speaker very well and it's thin (my JBL center speaker doesn't fit as nicely as I would like). Out of the box, the picture needs the tweaks... Like I say, easily done but takes some nerve, patience, good eyes, a lot of study and about 8 hours of free time.

I have not had the set ISF calibrated, it looks great after the basic tweaks, but everything I've read says that the Panny when completely calibrated has a picture as good as sets that cost twice as much and is the best set in it's size, not price, range. So, if you wanted to spring for an ISF tech, the Panny sets can really perform...

Last edited by Johnny Zhivago; 08-28-02 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 08-28-02, 04:44 PM
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Thanks for all of the suggestions.

One of the main issues that I forgot to bring up would be bulb replacement costs. I didn't expect the bulbs to cost $300+.

I am going to move the LCD projector idea aside and look more into the 16X9 sets. I would like to keep the idea of purchasing an LCD projector, but I will probably not follow through with it until I purchase my own home. I'm sure I will probably make it into some rediculous project at one time or another.

As far as the HDTV sets, I have considered the Panasonic 47" for a while, and have seen it being sold for as low as $1299 as a demo or floor unit. I have never owned a rear-projection TV, and I am curious if it would be wise to spend the extra money to take it out of the box myself? (in other words...buy a new unit, not a used one)

Thanks again.
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Old 08-28-02, 05:39 PM
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Right now all of the manufactures are adding DVI to the sets so the "blow out" sets dont have it. This is what has kept me from jumping in yet. Might be good to put it in the bank and wait for the new introductions in Jan then get one of the early sets with DVI around that time.
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Old 08-28-02, 06:15 PM
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If you're going to get a 47" panny, make sure it's the WX42 or WX52, not the WX49.
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Old 08-28-02, 11:24 PM
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bfrank, DVI? I have no problem waiting a few months. I just don't have a clue what DVI is.

gotapex, what is better about the other two as opposed to the WX49?
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Old 08-28-02, 11:32 PM
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The WX42 and 52 are this year's model. They include a noticably better scaler, better colors (including red), and much MUCH better calibration right from the factory. To make a WX49 match the newer WX42, plan on spending about $800-900 (iScan Pro + ISF calibration).

If I was going to buy a new RPTV, I'd buy this:

Panasonic PT53-WX42 for $1709.10 with free delivery, Authorized Panasonic e-Tailer

and pricematch it to here:

Panasonic PT53-WX42 for $1573.98 plus a lot of shipping
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Old 08-29-02, 12:12 AM
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Originally posted by heimerSWT
As far as the HDTV sets, I have considered the Panasonic 47" for a while, and have seen it being sold for as low as $1299 as a demo or floor unit. I have never owned a rear-projection TV, and I am curious if it would be wise to spend the extra money to take it out of the box myself? (in other words...buy a new unit, not a used one)
Do not buy any demo or floor set... Odds are 99% that they will have been in torch mode since day one... Most stores, well, the big ones that offer the best discounts, will do no picture adjustments and the contrast is cranked to the max (usually from the factory) to make the picture look "better" in the store... Extreme contrast = burn in in no time flat. Your set will be ruined. Buy new.

I would agree with gotapex completely... The new Pannys are nicer than last year's models and are the best bang for your buck set on the market. IMHO of course... The new 53" is a great machine... Wish I would have waited but I got an excellent deal on my set several months ago ($1484 new + no interest financing for 2 years) and for the amount of time that I actually use it, 2 movies a week on average - nothing else, I'm very happy with it.

Last edited by Johnny Zhivago; 08-29-02 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 08-29-02, 12:22 AM
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HeimerSWT if you're going to look into 16x9 RPTVs I'd recommend either the Panasonic, Mits or Pioneer. I bought a Mits 55819 and after performing almost all of the tweaks listed at hometheaterspot.com this set looks great. They also have a list of tweaks for other manufacturers. Many of the tweaks and posts come from ISF calibrators so I feel comfortable knowing that these are proven adjustments done by professionals everyday and to be honest they aren't that hard to do if you read up on everything and have some time to do them. Now if you want to pay for a professional ISF calibration most on that forum say that after calibration the Mitsubishis have the best overall picture as far as color and greyscale tracking.
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Old 08-29-02, 12:55 AM
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a quick opinion....

I work at CC and one of our best seller is the Panasonic pt47wx42. What yo read is correct. It has MUCH better out of the box presentation than last years models. A little tweaking, and its awesome for under $1700
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Old 08-29-02, 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by tommyp007
I work at CC and one of our best seller is the Panasonic pt47wx42. What yo read is correct. It has MUCH better out of the box presentation than last years models. A little tweaking, and its awesome for under $1700
Does it still lock into 16:9 stretch mode on progressive sources, even non-anamorphic? If so, it's pretty much useless as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 08-29-02, 10:14 AM
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Originally posted by heimerSWT
bfrank, DVI? I have no problem waiting a few months. I just don't have a clue what DVI is.
DVI is a form of digital video input. It is important because there has been talk that future HD video sources may be copy-protected in such a way that the signal can only be transmitted through DVI* (or the image will be down-scaled to standard definition resolution on any other input type).

A standard for this has not yet been reached and the copy protection scheme may go another way, but it is probably safer to get a set with a DVI input just in case.

*Not all DVI inputs are created equally. Some existing DVI inputs will still not pass the proposed copy protection signal.
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Old 08-29-02, 12:29 PM
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to Josh Z:
Why is the locking in of the full mode so bad?

to Johhny Zhivago:
Thanks for the response, I was considering this and the JVC 48" widescreen, but size is the main reason I want the Panny the width is just over 43" while the jvc is 47 1/4" which means it would get in the way off my closet door by 4" so I think it would not be a good idea to get the jvc. plus I am not very well versed in how to do tweaks and I am probably the least patience(sp?) person in the world. so my next question is how would a locate a good ISF tech to calbriate my tv for me. This set well only be used for anamoprhic widescreen discs and widescreen video games, because full screen games and movies and cable will be watched on my 4:3 set. Plus how quickly does burn in set in, I will probably maybe play Tony Hawk 4 and GTA Vice City for a 1 hour or two at the very most at one time, and probably will watch anywhere from 5-7 movies in a week. Will it be safe if I play(video games) for an hour then shut it off and play again in like an hour or two. Thank you guys very much, I will be buying this tv before the end of September
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Old 08-29-02, 02:17 PM
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Originally posted by Corky Roxbury
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Why is the locking in of the full mode so bad?
Say you want to watch a movie or TV show that was composed for 4:3 (like Citizen Kane). Ideally you would want it centered in the middle of your 16:9 screen with windowbox bars on the sides. If the TV locks into 16:9 mode when fed a progressive signal, the 4:3 picture will be stretched sideways to fill the screen whether you want it to or not. And I'm not talking about one of those supposedly "intelligent" modes that stretches the sides more than the center. No, it will be a straight stretch all across the picture.

The situation is even worse with a DVD that is letterboxed but not anamorphically enhanced, like The Abyss. It takes the 4:3 image which has large black letterbox bars and a smaller 2.35:1 picture, and instead of zooming it to fill (or nearly fill) the screen, it centers it and then stretches it sideways, distorting this 2.35:1 picture into a very small and narrow 4:1 line in the center of the screen.

This is bad. You don't want this to happen.

The only way to disable the stretch is to switch your DVD player to interlaced output. That defeats the purpose of owning a progressive scan DVD player.
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Old 08-29-02, 03:33 PM
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Originally posted by Corky Roxbury
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1) so my next question is how would a locate a good ISF tech to calbriate my tv for me.

2) This set well only be used for anamoprhic widescreen discs and widescreen video games, because full screen games and movies and cable will be watched on my 4:3 set.

3) Plus how quickly does burn in set in, I will probably maybe play Tony Hawk 4 and GTA Vice City for a 1 hour or two at the very most at one time, and probably will watch anywhere from 5-7 movies in a week. Will it be safe if I play(video games) for an hour then shut it off and play again in like an hour or two.
1) I'd start by looking for a local dealer here > http://www.imagingscience.com/isf-trained.cfm

2) Exactly what I do... I have a 36" 4X3 in the den with a smaller surround system for full screen material, PS2 games and tele fare.

3) If you're gaming for an hour at a time and shutting it down, everything that I've ever read says that you should be fine... Just make sure to crank the contrast down.

Josh Z is pretty much right on about non-anamorphic discs and full screen DVDs with last year's model of the Panny 47"... However (and this should answer your question Josh) this year's model does not lock into full mode with progressive scan... According to the guys over at hometheaterspot that is... I can not personally verify this.

Side note - I've owned two JVC teles and they were both crap. YMMV of course...

Last edited by Johnny Zhivago; 08-29-02 at 03:52 PM.
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