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Projector $500

Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
edited September 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
My roommate was looking to pick up a projector.
His budget is $500 bucks about. We were looking to use it for TV and gaming.

What should we be looking for?
He was hoping for at least 720p.

We were browsing Newegg but that's about it.
All sorts of lumens and lenses and what not, it's daunting.

Edit: for example what's with the two diff. resolutions I saw on one?
# SVGA resolution (800 x 600)
# Max. resolution 1400 x 1050

Mmmm... Cocks... on

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    StrifeRaZoRStrifeRaZoR Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Projectors can accept many forms of input when it comes to their resolutions. The Max it can go to is 1400 x 1050, but if you're using an SVGA connector (http://www.mrpcable.com/product_image/svga.jpg) then it will be limited to 800 x 600. And if you're projecting this baby onto the wall, 800 x 600 is going to be like finger painting with shovels. It'll be huge, and very uncool.

    1400 x 1050 is nice. I'm sure you'll be using a DVI, HDMI, or Component cables. Just try not to use that SVGA cable in the link above. Things get ugly at resolutions like that once they hit a wall.

    StrifeRaZoR on
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    embrikembrik Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Hate to be a downer, but projectors that are made for high-def, full motion video are not in the same class as your run-of-the-mill office projector. You can use an office projector, but you may end up seeing artifacts and strange flickering. Newer projectors handle it better, but new, the least I would spend on one for video is 800 USD.

    That's not to say that there aren't some diamonds in the rough that might do it, I just don't know of any.

    Any reason for a projector over a flatscreen TV?

    Also, remember that projecting onto a wall is never as good as a screen or a wall painted w/ special paint.

    embrik on
    "Damn you and your Daily Doubles, you brigand!"

    I don't believe it - I'm on my THIRD PS3, and my FIRST XBOX360. What the heck?
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    Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    1400 x 1050 is nice. I'm sure you'll be using a DVI, HDMI, or Component cables. Just try not to use that SVGA cable in the link above. Things get ugly at resolutions like that once they hit a wall.
    That's weird, why would the VGA hold back the resolution? I'm using a VGA adaptor for an Xbox right now for 1080p.
    embrik wrote: »
    Any reason for a projector over a flatscreen TV?
    .
    Size I guess was the reasoning behind his wanted a projector.

    But what you're saying is most of these cheaper ones (like on newegg or at walmart) aren't really for TV?

    Mmmm... Cocks... on
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    embrikembrik Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    1400 x 1050 is nice. I'm sure you'll be using a DVI, HDMI, or Component cables. Just try not to use that SVGA cable in the link above. Things get ugly at resolutions like that once they hit a wall.
    That's weird, why would the VGA hold back the resolution? I'm using a VGA adaptor for an Xbox right now for 1080p.
    embrik wrote: »
    Any reason for a projector over a flatscreen TV?
    .
    Size I guess was the reasoning behind his wanted a projector.

    But what you're saying is most of these cheaper ones (like on newegg or at walmart) aren't really for TV?

    Generally, no. Unless they specifically say "Supports 720p/1080i/1080p", I wouldn't count on full-motion video working nicely.

    Edit - I stand corrected, slightly :) Looking at the "Home Theater Projector" section on Newegg's site does turn up some decently cheap projectors that are decent enough looking. Be sure to read the reviews though.

    Double Edit - So, to be more helpful, the higher the lumens, the brighter the image, and thus, the better it will look if you're in a room with a lot of ambient light. What kind of room will this be in? Any windows that can't be closed off with blinds/drapes? Is there a good place to put the projector? For this kind of setup, you want it higher so that people walking in front of it have less chance of blocking the image.

    Some lenses are more curved, which allows you to have them closer to the screen, meaning they can go in a smaller space.

    Obviously, the higher the contrast ratio, the better - better color, better black levels. Look for reviews talking about good black levels.

    embrik on
    "Damn you and your Daily Doubles, you brigand!"

    I don't believe it - I'm on my THIRD PS3, and my FIRST XBOX360. What the heck?
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    You'll want good light control in the projector room, elsewise the projected image can look washed out. Screen material can help increase contrast, as can mounting a dark shroud/mask around the projection screen.

    If the room is small you'll want a short "throw" projector to get a big image. Throw is the distance between the projector and the screen. You should be able to google up a projector throw calculator that will tell you how far back you have to your projector to cast a particular image size, and this calculation is different between makes and models.

    For any large projected image resolution is going to matter. When my friend upgraded his projector from 720p to 1080p it made a noticeable difference; pixels on a 120" screen are large. Also one consideration in the longterm operating expense of projectors is bulb replacement cost and availability. I've seen bulbs burn out in a year and a half, and go longer than 5.

    There are practical considerations such as where are you going to mount it, as projectors usually need to be mounted about viewing area distance from the screen and more or less centered. Ceiling mounts are not uncommon in dedicated projection rooms but there can be the issue of running video/audio/power cables in a way that's nor aesthetically displeasing.

    Those resolutions you quoted seem to be 4:3 resolutions, which means if you watch widescreen content it's going to be letterboxed (black bars top and bottom).

    Djeet on
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