Home Theater Projectors

Gambler7

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Dec 11, 2003
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I'm in the market for a projector. I'm looking for one for indoor and outdoor use. There seems to be a large range of pricing. I have my eye on this one coming out shortly a sits predeccesor has good reviews...
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/epson-home-cinema-2045-lcd-projector-white/4336102.p?id=1219732455313&skuId=4336102

There are others that are $1,200 to $2,000. Am I really missing anything by not going to that price range? Is there anything I should make sure it has? Using it for movies and sports mostly.
 

jercra

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Jul 31, 2006
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I've got the current year's version of that projector and its fantastic.  It's a bit noisy if it's not ceiling mounted but it does great otherwise.  I have it in a basement with multiple windows with no shade and it has no issues handling that level of light.  It's never in direct sunlight but the room gets pretty light.  That being said, it would never be able handle being outdoors in the daytime so I hope you mean night time.
 

Gambler7

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Dec 11, 2003
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jercra said:
I've got the current year's version of that projector and its fantastic.  It's a bit noisy if it's not ceiling mounted but it does great otherwise.  I have it in a basement with multiple windows with no shade and it has no issues handling that level of light.  It's never in direct sunlight but the room gets pretty light.  That being said, it would never be able handle being outdoors in the daytime so I hope you mean night time.
Thanks. I was hoping to find something that would work decent during the day with some shade. Now I'm reading you want at least 2500 lumens to use a projector outside.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Jun 27, 2006
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Gambler, are you looking for 1 projector for BOTH indoor and outdoor use? If that's the case I'd recommend concentrating on buying a good "indoor" projection and don't expect a lot outdoors. 
 
Very important: your screen choice is just as important as the projector choice, and often just as expensive (but well worth the money). There are highly reflective outdoor screens that will sacrifice a bit of detail and black levels for brighter viewing, which is what you want. You can ask for screen samples after buying the projector and try them out also. 
 
I haven't had good lucks with the Epsons.  I think you can get much better value by going with either JVCs or Optomas. For example, this model:
 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FU4X81Y/ref=s9_al_bw_g229_i4
 
Is right in the middle of your price range, and will outperform the Epson 2045 any day. 
 
If you can bend the budget a bit, you get into the JVCs and the Sonys, which are (generally) on a higher tier. Picking up a leftover unit (aka 2014) at a deal is probably the best bang for the buck. 
 
We went through 4 projectors, starting with a basic JVC unit, went all the way up to a used Runco, then found a nice middle ground with a mid-tier JVC. They are rock-tough and projects a better picture than any movie theater minus fancy NYC screens. 
 
By the way, we always bought through ProjectorPeople.com. They do offer those last-year models and will beat or match most outlets. They'll also advise you on picking the right screen as well. I'd definitely give them a try.
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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Alexandria, VA
Gambler7 said:
I'm in the market for a projector. I'm looking for one for indoor and outdoor use. There seems to be a large range of pricing. I have my eye on this one coming out shortly a sits predeccesor has good reviews...
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/epson-home-cinema-2045-lcd-projector-white/4336102.p?id=1219732455313&skuId=4336102

There are others that are $1,200 to $2,000. Am I really missing anything by not going to that price range? Is there anything I should make sure it has? Using it for movies and sports mostly.
 
I just researched this and purchased one myself.   The Epsons are well-rated but in the sub-$1000 price range the consensus is that BenQ and Optoma are the front-runners.  
 
The BenQ W1070 is the way to go if you're looking at things priced similarly to that Epson 2045, and is pretty much the class of the sub-$1000 field (and beats out a lot of the over-$1000 competitors, too).  I went even a couple hundred bucks cheaper with the Optoma HD141X and am extremely happy.    The BenQ's got better color accuracy, some features that make positioning easier, and it's LED which matters if you're sensitive to the rainbow effect on DLP (I'm not), though the Optoma's rainbowing is minimal.  If you're planning on occasional outdoor use the Optoma might be a better choice even ignoring price: it's a significantly brighter projector and the color accuracy difference is going to be moot in non-blackout situations.  And the fan on the Optoma is a little quieter than the BenQ's.
 
BenQ also makes a short-throw version of the W1070 if you're looking for a huge picture in a small room.
 

Gambler7

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Dec 11, 2003
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Thanks all for the feedback. 
 
I was hoping for something that allowed for pretty good outdoor use. I have a feeling we may use it more outdoors than indoors. I'm going to take a closer look at the Optoma HD141X or Optoma HD25-LV. The Optoma EH500 looks nice, it's just more than I want to spend on a projector. The projectorpeople.com website has been helpful. 
 
Are professional screens really necessary? The projectorpeople.com website says not really, although other sources say yes. 
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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Screens are helpful for a few reasons:
1. Higher gain (reflectivity) back at you can enhance brightness.  Note that extremely high gain is actually bad if there's ambient light, in which case a gray screen can help improve contrast vs. an extremely high gain white screen.
2. Uniformity of color; a white or neutral gray helps color-calibrate properly.
3. Flat surface; walls are typically somewhat wavy and have some level of grain to the paint.  Texture can show through.
 
That said, if you're just setting up to watch a movie with the kids or aren't too picky about color correctness, any light gray/white/off-white flat surface will work.  If you're looking for cinemaphile level pictures, you want to pay some attention to what you're projecting on (either getting a fixed screen or at least selecting a projection-friendly paint and using a flat sprayer or other low-grain means of application).
 
The nice thing is that you can start off projecting on your wall or whatever and then only get a screen later if you find that you want it.
 

JRedburn

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Feb 24, 2004
352
Boston, MA
Anyone have experience ceiling mounting a projector? I recently bought a BenQ W1070 and it's been great to play with but I'm now ready to mount it and a little overwhelmed by the options.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Nov 14, 2001
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Simsbury, CT
I have an inexpensive projector in my basement - ceiling mounted with this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TUDOQ8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
 
Directions are a little sparse, but it isn't very difficult to figure out yourself, the arms pivot and extend so you can make it fit your projector.  Once attached, the mount adjusts easily and you can tighten it once you get it just right.
 
I take it down to use outside as well, taking it down and putting it back up is easy. 
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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SeoulSoxFan said:
Remember, there are special paints made just to project on as well:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Projector-Screen-Paint-Definition-Ultra/dp/B00DR7E7Z2
 
Most of the reviews are mediocre compared to some of the simple mixes of normal paint that people have formulated (which are also generally cheaper in addition to giving a better picture).  For example:
 

- One quart of Valspar Ultra Premium Flat Enamel (we call this VUPE frequently) tinted PPG (Pittsburgh Paints) 427-2 Bermuda Beige 
- 8oz. of Auto Air Aluminum fine
 
Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, Sherwin Williams, Ace Hardware, Benjamin Moore and I'm sure many others can easily match PPG 427-2 Bermuda Beige. Just tell the counter person you'd like a quart of VUPE, or the flat enamel of your choice, tinted Pittsburgh Paints Bermuda Beige. 
 
Auto Air Aluminum Fine may be found locally at auto paint stores or an airbrush supply store. If not, it's readily available online at Dick Blick amongst other places.
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Widow_(paint_mix)
 

Hendu for Kutch

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Apr 7, 2006
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I have an Optoma HD20 mounted to the ceiling in my basement.  The mounting process was extremely simple, it's nothing to be intimidated by.  I bought a cheap mount on Amazon a few years back that cost $20 or so.  I wouldn't spring for anything fancy or expensive, just get something with a ball joint so you can easily swivel the projector in any direction and you're good to go.
 
In lieu of a projector screen, I actually mounted a specific counter top laminate on my wall.  I bought a sheet from Home Depot for about $60, and according to the articles I read at the time, it had similar reflective scores to some high-end screens.  It was a while ago, and I don't think that specific sheet is still made, but a quick google search shows quite a few results that might be helpful in finding a good laminate.  The picture looks fantastic and as an added bonus it's incredibly easy to clean, being that it's supposed to be a counter top.
 

LoweTek

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May 30, 2005
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At a previous house in a finished basement, I had a little over 13' gray diagnal screen with some texture painted on a wall. Used a flat enamel IIRC. Paid a neighbor painter to spray it on. I think $100 between the paint and the painter? It worked great. Biggest challenge was keeping the projector noise out of the room.
 

Gambler7

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Dec 11, 2003
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Alright, I am about to bite the bullet with the projector. I have settled on the Optoma HD25-LV with wireless adaptor. It seems to have the best brightness for outdoor use or lighter rooms, which I will be dealing with. Overall the only negative seems to be the short warranty and some people having bulb issues with it dying after a short period of time. Any opinions on this one?
 
http://www.amazon.com/Optoma-HD25-LV-1080p-Theater-Projector/dp/B00BQWX1P2/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1443036315&sr=1-7&keywords=optoma+projector
 

BigJimEd

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Jan 4, 2002
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One other to think about is whether it has audio out. I know some people look for that, particular for outdoor setups, depending on how you plan on setting it up.
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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BigJimEd said:
One other to think about is whether it has audio out. I know some people look for that, particular for outdoor setups, depending on how you plan on setting it up.
 
That one's got audio out.  
 
90% of the time it's not really important, since you'd generally rather run the audio straight from the source to the audio system without routing through the projector.  But occasionally you have an HDMI-only source or the logistics of cabling makes it important.