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Time to upgrade the front projector. Help!

Old 07-06-06, 05:54 PM
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Time to upgrade the front projector. Help!

I currently use the X1 from Infocus and I like it fine. But if I am going to go true HD, I need to step up some. I am decently budget minded as I tend to think I would rather spend $2,000 and do so again in 2 years than spend $4,000 and probably need to again in 3 years.

I prefer dlp as I have no issues with rainbows and like the idea that I won't get burn in, but from what I have read, lcd has really come a long ways, and it is cheaper to get higher res lcd than dlp. The Panny PT-AE900U looks good initially, but I thought I better see what the guys here think. I have looked avsforum and it isn't easy to wade through the "I need a new player" threads.

Any advice?
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Old 07-06-06, 06:15 PM
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I'm in the same position. My PJ has officially been cancelled, for me at least, a refund is on the way.

If you are looking for an HD DLP, may I recommend one of the 2 at Costco in your price range? (love their return policy) There is the older Sharp Z2000 for $1500 and the Optoma 6800 (w/screen) for $2000. The 6800 is a Costco-specific clone of the H72. This is probably a good model even if you don't go to Costco. Stay away from the BenQ 7700/Toshiba MT700, that is the model I just gave up on due to repeated lamp failures. All 3 of these have the same DLP chip AFAIK, but the Sharp is probably the poorest overall in terms of color and other key video points. The Optoma does have a wonky offset to watch out for. If you have 9' ceilings you are fine, 8' is getting tight, anything less you would be better off with something else. That's my problem, 7' ceiling.

I'm almost certainly going with the AE900, it has been described as being just as good in color and contrast as my DLP, a bit less sharp and no rainbows. Fair tradeoffs in my book as I see rainbows even with a 5x/6 segment wheel. Could easily be another good option for you, too. FWIW, Costco actually charges $100 more than most for the AE900.
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Old 07-06-06, 06:29 PM
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I've also been doing some research to upgrade my X1.

While I'm trying to hold off another 8 months to a year (I only have 1,600 hours on my X1), I really like the AE900. One of the things that has me leaning towards it as opposed to say the Z4 is the lens shift. Evidently the Panny is a lot more versital in regards to placement and since my room is on the smallish side for a media room, that is really important to me.

Here is a nice article that covers the Panny v the Z4

http://www.projectorcentral.com/ae900_plvz4.htm
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Old 07-06-06, 06:57 PM
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Sanyo's bizarre treatment of their customers is why I have given up even considering their PJs. They are refusing to fix polarizer problems under warranty, claiming the "customer must not have kept the PJ clean".

The placement options of the AE900 are great for me, too. Big part of why I can't go with most of the cheaper DLPs is they have freaky big offsets.
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Old 07-06-06, 07:46 PM
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I don't have 8' ceilings. A little over 7' I think. The Panny sounds pretty good. They just got done with a $400 rebate on 6/30 I think, though.

Is the highest native resolution on those 720i or is it 1080i?
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Old 07-06-06, 07:52 PM
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Get Panny AE900! They still have their $400 rebate and Blockbuster Card thing going . The Blockbuster card will sell for ~$100 on ebay if you choose so it's about $1600-1700 delivered. I've had it since March and absolutely love it. Projector Central has a list of online retailers selling it as well as forums about all the different projectors.
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Old 07-06-06, 08:31 PM
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I have 8+ foot celings with 12 foot width and 16 feet of depth in my new media room. Would like to mount a projector about 8 feet off the ground, 12+ feet away from the wall. Can I get 110 inches and how about recommendations of $2500 or so projectors and $1000 or less screens. Help me out, this is my first diversion into projectors, but I definitely want full HDTV and at least 1 hdmi input.
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Old 07-06-06, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by johnglad
I have 8+ foot celings with 12 foot width and 16 feet of depth in my new media room. Would like to mount a projector about 8 feet off the ground, 12+ feet away from the wall. Can I get 110 inches and how about recommendations of $2500 or so projectors and $1000 or less screens. Help me out, this is my first diversion into projectors, but I definitely want full HDTV and at least 1 hdmi input.
Probably worth another thread so we can keep kvrdave's original question on point.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:23 PM
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If I were you I'd hold out and wait for the Optoma HD7100 to come down a bit. It's the cheapest DarkChip3 DLP out. It can be had for $2,700 that includes a 3 year bulb warranty with upto 3 replacemnts.

The AE900 is not quite in the same league. It is cheaper though. Of course I speak from a different perspective than most beacause I own a CRT projection setup (as well as a DLP) and I just would not be willing to take that much of a hit contrast/black level wise.

If you can't wait for the HD7100 to come down or aren't willing to spend a bit extra I'd get the Mitsubishi HC3000 or Optoma HD72 (in that order). Both are better than the AE900 or Z4. Of course every single one of them will blow away an X1.

Infact, I'd get the Optoma HC900u 1024x576p DLP before the AE900 or Z4 even at the same price, but it can be had for upto $400 or $500 cheaper. It has great detail (though a little less than true 720p, but a lot more than 480p), but maintains the advantages in contrast and black level that DLP has over LCD (despite the specifications ratings). It also has an iris to get beyond the DLP's native contrast. The black levels and contrast are much better than the AE900 or Z4 when the iris of the HC900u is on.

The HC900u might be the best bang for the buck in the digital world. Of course the king of best bang for you buck is still CRT Front projection. Infact, I just picked up an NEC 6PG 8" EM Focus CRT for only $200 total and it smokes the AE900. I will be attempting a CRT blend, so I could potentially do upto or past 2538x1080p at upto 25' wide. Though my wall is limited to 16' 4".

Last edited by Slayer2005; 07-06-06 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by johnglad
I have 8+ foot celings with 12 foot width and 16 feet of depth in my new media room. Would like to mount a projector about 8 feet off the ground, 12+ feet away from the wall. Can I get 110 inches and how about recommendations of $2500 or so projectors and $1000 or less screens. Help me out, this is my first diversion into projectors, but I definitely want full HDTV and at least 1 hdmi input.
Go to www.projectorcentral.com and click on the projectors that interest you. Then clilck to get to the specifics of the projector (if you aren't already there) and then click the "Projection Calculator" link. You will be able find out how large the image can go from whatever distance you choose. You can also adjust the zoom control (it starts off lowered all the way).

BTW, you don't need anywhere NEAR a $1,000 screen in most cases. If you are willing to make a simple DIY screen you could make a nice one for under $100.

Are you wanting to go 110" wide or diagonally?

The HD7100 is the best projector near your price limit and can pull of the size you want, but it costs a little more at www.ProjectorPeople.com. The next best is under $2,500 (About $2,400). The Mitsubishi HC3000. Then there is the HD72 that is only $1895 and includes a free extra lamp ($300-$400 value right there). That's a great deal. I'd choose one of them. While it's not quite true HD, the HC900u is provide big bang for you buck and can be had for as low as $999.
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Old 07-07-06, 12:49 AM
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It's hard to beat the AE-900 for $1450 after rebate. I'd buy one, but I've only had my AE-700 for a year and a half. Still enjoying the hell out of it 1700 hours later!
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Old 07-07-06, 01:56 AM
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So are the ae-900 720i or 1080i?
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Old 07-07-06, 02:05 AM
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What the hell is wrong with this site? http://electrodomi.com/product_info.php?products_id=178

They have the panny new for $1050 apparently before the rebates.
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Old 07-07-06, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
So are the ae-900 720i or 1080i?
All digital projectors are fixed pixel devices which means they're all progressive and always display the same resolution and number of pixels regardless of the resolution that you send it. Only a CRT projector can do 1080i and other interlaced and progressive resolutions natively. So, the answer is 720p. 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels high.

Originally Posted by kvrdave
What the hell is wrong with this site? http://electrodomi.com/product_info.php?products_id=178

They have the panny new for $1050 apparently before the rebates.
My guess would be some kind of bait and switch scam or something.

Last edited by Slayer2005; 07-07-06 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 07-07-06, 11:09 AM
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I do see that they are out of Greece.

Where does one find decent CRT projectors?
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Old 07-07-06, 01:25 PM
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I don't know, Slayer. You seem to be the only one saying that the AE900 can't match up very closely with the low end DLPs. (here and at AVS) I had the Toshiba MT700 DLP, and its blacks were hardly stellar until I used a filter to help them out. People rated this one at least as high as the 4805, and just about the same as the Mits 3000. Many have said the AE900 matches up well with these, too. Did you try all these at home yourself?

I don't know, maybe I should research CRT, too. Any advice on good models to try in the $2500 or less range?
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Old 07-07-06, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Where does one find decent CRT projectors?
www.curtpalme.com. Check his products for sale. He's not quite the cheapest you'll find, but he's the most reliable. Also check www.avsforum.com and go their "For Sale Market Place" and then "Displays". Sellers often sell CRTs there. Ebay is a cheap place to get them, but you have to be careful. Incredible deals can be found, but it's more of a risk.

I'd get at least an 8" EM (electromagnetic) focus set. While you don't necessarily need it, if you can afford one spring for an LC unit.

Last edited by Slayer2005; 07-07-06 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 07-07-06, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
I don't know, Slayer. You seem to be the only one saying that the AE900 can't match up very closely with the low end DLPs.
Oh, it can match up closely, but the difference in contrast is clear and the difference and black level is still noticeable.

I don't know, maybe I should research CRT, too. Any advice on good models to try in the $2500 or less range?
Pretty much every model from $600 and up is far above "good".

There are so many great models at $2,500 or less.

Curt has a 9" EM focus LC (these are among the best projectors on the planet.) Ampro 4200 for $2,500. Can resolve 1920x1080p. However, S&H is not included on this one. That will run $200-$300 for freight.

A Barco Graphics 808 with good tubes is a great choice. www.curtpalme.com

Curt sometimes has 9" ES focus projector for as low as $500-$700. These are great and can resolve pretty high resolutions. They'll do 1280x720p with no problem. Not sure how high they can go though. The only problem is ES focus tubes will begin to lose their focus after a 2,000-3,000 hours, but they will still look superb. These are incredible deals though. HUGE bang for the buck. Mine is a 7" ES focus set, but I recently upgraded to an 8' EM focus set (technically a 7.5") NEC 6PG for only $200 total (deal of the century. It retailed for about $17,000)

Right now Curt has a 7" EM focus Ampro 2300. Very rarely do 7" CRTs pjs have EM focus. It should easily resolve 1280x720p and do 1080i wonderfully. Not only that, but it's only $700 and one of the most shallow CRT projectors around. Only 10" tall. Mine is about 18" tall. Great entry level CRT at a mind blowing price.

NEC 9PG+ is a great choice as well. An NEC XG 135 is an even better choice. These NEC's have lots of control over the image and are known for having the best flesh tones out there. Anything with 8" EM focus tubes will be a step up over 7" tubes and anything with 9" EM focus tubes will be a step up over those. Those with tubes in good condition anyway. Curt has a CRT primer to educate newbies more about CRTs and AVSForum is a HUGE help as well.

All of them are capable of jaw dropping images and black WAY beyond what digitals like the 4805 can achieve. I own a 4805 myself and it's not even remotely close in contrast/blacks to my ECP 4500+ 7" ES focus CRT. I paid only $700 total for it, but luckily I snagged an even better CRT the other day for less than a third of the price. I guess no one wanted to bid at Ebay because the seller only had 5 feedbacks. He should be delivering my pj at the end of the month. Can't wait.

Last edited by Slayer2005; 07-07-06 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 07-07-06, 04:19 PM
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Thanks. BTW, it is www.curtpalme.com with an e. Maybe both work.

I'll have to look at the logistics. They are just so big, I just don't think I have space.
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Old 07-07-06, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
Thanks. BTW, it is www.curtpalme.com with an e. Maybe both work.

I'll have to look at the logistics. They are just so big, I just don't think I have space.
What are you room dimensions? Also, are you using a dedicated theater room or a living room?
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Old 07-07-06, 05:29 PM
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Basement, with 40% dedicated to theater. This space is something like 13x13. Or maybe it was 15wx13d. Problem is the 7' ceiling and my 6'4" body. The way the seating will be is not really conducive to putting it on the floor. And with the general 1.5x width distance, that puts the unit right in front of my main seating, where I walk. Hitting my head, no doubt. I could just barely stand, esp with no shoes, under my Toshiba DLP when it was up, and another digital would be very similar. With the AE900, I could even move it to a non-walking spot a few feet back due to its big zoom. Most digitals and all CRTs won't work there, according to my research. Not without spending gobs on different lenses. Or moving to a 120" screen, which I don't think I have room for. 100" is about my max. (diagonal)

I'll keep checking this out. My cash from the failed MT700 should be here within a month.
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Old 07-07-06, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
Basement, with 40% dedicated to theater. This space is something like 13x13. Or maybe it was 15wx13d. Problem is the 7' ceiling and my 6'4" body. The way the seating will be is not really conducive to putting it on the floor. And with the general 1.5x width distance, that puts the unit right in front of my main seating, where I walk. Hitting my head, no doubt. I could just barely stand, esp with no shoes, under my Toshiba DLP when it was up, and another digital would be very similar. With the AE900, I could even move it to a non-walking spot a few feet back due to its big zoom. Most digitals and all CRTs won't work there, according to my research. Not without spending gobs on different lenses. Or moving to a 120" screen, which I don't think I have room for. 100" is about my max. (diagonal)

I'll keep checking this out. My cash from the failed MT700 should be here within a month.
Hm, that does seem tough for a CRT. Are you able to ceiling mount?
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Old 07-07-06, 07:14 PM
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Ah, I must have a little higher ceiling. I'm 6'3" and don't have any problem walking under it with plenty of room. Probably 7'8" or something.
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Old 07-07-06, 09:53 PM
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I'm looking at replacing my z3 fairly soon as well. The z5 news is starting to trickle in and it sounds like 720p with D6 panels, which I hope means C2Fine at last! Hopefully they have a 1080p version sooner rather than later.

I have heard nightmares about Sanyo warrenties as well but thankfully my current projector works perfectly. BTW, my ceiling is 7 feet as well. I would love to try some DLP units out but the lens offsets just never seems to work in my favor.
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Old 07-09-06, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Slayer2005
Hm, that does seem tough for a CRT. Are you able to ceiling mount?
It's a drop ceiling. The digitals are easy enough. A CRT would be a bit tougher.
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