How to pick a [Projector]??

PeenPeen tw1tch0rzoccasionallyRegistered User regular
Hi all. I'm starting to be in the hunt for a projector for my basement and I'm not sure what I'm even looking for. I understand all of the numbers for TVs so I know how to compare that stuff but lumens and such are a mystery.

I don't want to spend a ton, is all I really know, because it's a secondary entrainment space, but I do want one that's clear and good.

Any info or specific recommendations would be greatly appreciated!


  • RadiationRadiation Registered User regular
    YES! I'm in the same boat. Mine's going to be upstairs though, so I think my light needs are slightly different? Also need a screen that comes down. The place we are going to put the screen wont get recessed into the ceiling (because the support beams run perpendicular to the screen).

    PSN: jfrofl
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    You do need to figure out what your throw distance is. You can determine the distance the projector will be from the screen and the size of the screen, then go to to narrow down which protectors will work for your home.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    Throw and budget are the two things to start from.

  • PeenPeen tw1tch0rz occasionallyRegistered User regular

  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    Also be sure to check bulb lifespan and replacement costs - what is a hundred bucks cheaper at time of purchase can rapidly become $1000 more expensive in a few years.

  • CornucopiistCornucopiist Registered User regular
    Also be sure to check bulb lifespan and replacement costs - what is a hundred bucks cheaper at time of purchase can rapidly become $1000 more expensive in a few years.

    Yep, I swapped my projector for a screen when lamps went from 130$ a year to 170$ a year.

    I don't know why you want a projector, but I doubt you can find a projector better than a tv, for the same cost over 5 years, below 75".

    That is not far from the most popular projector screen sizes, and the advantage of a TV is way better cabling/connection options + you can play games where you jump around in front of the screen.

    above 120" the clear advantage is to projectors, but then you REALLY want to visit a place that has them installed to check the image yourself.

    Worst case you're one of the people who cannot unsee the DLP rainbow in the projected image and you have to scrap the whole installation- better check beforehand.

  • 3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
    I did this a year or so ago for my rec room. Primary considerations were as mentioned above - how far away can your projector sit? If it's not a healthy distance (20+ feet), you'll likely need a short throw projector. I'd also recommend a screen, or at least the paint they sell that's ideal for projectors if you want to repaint your wall. As for projector specs outside of throw, it depends. If you're in a light controlled area, you might be able to get away with a modest lumen count (3kish). If you can't completely control light, then perhaps go up a notch or two. Also, what about sound? Most projectors have speakers, but they're awful. How do you intend to run power and data? Are you going to do a ceiling mount, or keep it on the ground? Do you intend to game on it, or just movies? Lots of questions I know - but worth asking to help ya shop. :)

    I think Pringles original intention was to make tennis balls... but on the day the rubber was supposed to show up a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company, so they just said, "Fuck it, cut em up!".
  • JMan711JMan711 6'8" weighs a f*&#ing ton He's coming, he's coming, he's comingRegistered User regular
    edited August 2020
    My wife and I are looking to get a relatively cheap projector (Around $200) to do some outdoor movie watching while social distancing with friends. I've been looking on amazon with the criteria some of you have listed but I'm still not sure what is good for that price range. We are looking for something that we can hook our phones to in order to play movies from Netflix and have our bluetooth speaker hook up to it for better audio. I'm fairly new looking at projectors so I don't know what brands are good and which ones we should stay away from. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Edit: Shortly after posting this a friend sent me a link to this projector that I'm going to probably pick up:

    I figured I'd post it here to help anyone else who might be looking for something similar.

    JMan711 on
  • EinEin CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    I'd actually like to jump into this thread for some help, too.

    I've got a home projector setup worked out that I've been using for a couple of months now, but it's starting to aggravate me. I'm pretty sure the projector I have is cheap trash, but I'm not sure what else to get that might fix my problem(s).

    Here's the setup (lot of daylight coming in these photos, but whatever, I didn't bother with the curtains):



    The screen is an 84" motorized one which I like and I don't think I have any particular problems with it. The projector is this one from 'CiBest', which is 1080p. It is set up at around 9.5-10' from the screen. I'm usually using my PC or a fire stick to watch stuff on it, so I'm using up both HDMI ports on the back of the thing. It has worked out okay for the most part, but my main problem is that things just aren't focused on clear enough, especially around the edges. Because it's mounted up on my ceiling, I have the keystone adjusted to square out the image, and I'm pretty sure as a result I can't get things not to be blurry, especially around the edges of the display. For example:



    It's at the point where I actually can't read text on my desktop or PC display if it's too small, which is extremely annoying.

    It feels like if I try to focus around the edges, the middle's out of focus, and vice versa. I'm assuming that's because of the keystone. I've got the projector lowered as much as I can from the ceiling, but I don't want to try and bring it down any further because we use the living room area for VR, too, and I'm afraid someone's going to swing a controller and whack it if it's any lower down.

    Is this just the inevitable result of having a relatively budget projector? What can I do? If I need to replace it, I'm willing, I just need to be pointed in the right direction.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Yeah, CiBest projectors are.. not good? I mean, they're decent enough if you're not discerning, but budget is being kind to them. They're cheap for a reason.

    Your important things are covered here: screen size (84") and throw (10ft). This has the projectors sorted by price that fit those requirements. If you want something decent, you're really going to be looking at a minimum of like $700. But please check your expectations. You're taking an image that's meant to be shown on a computer monitor at ~24-30 inches, and spreading it out to basically an 84" TV. Your taskbar is going to be a bit blurry, please expect that. Unless you're willing to front the cash for a 4K projector (pushing $1200 for a Viewsonic, or $1400 for a BenQ preferably), clarity is going to be a tough nut to crack.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • EinEin CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2020
    That's fair. Is there a middle ground between what I've got and the 4k ones - like a 1440p option or something? I haven't seen much of those, but that'd at least match my main monitor.

    Either way, I'll give that list a look. Is there anything you'd recommend specifically? They're all reviewed decently, so I don't know what stands out. I'm willing to throw down a grand or so if it makes things easier on my eyes.

    Ein on
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Honestly, I only know a little about projectors. What I've been told by our main HT guy is that Epson is the workhorse of the projector world. They make some that are in the $800-1200 range that are great, but they're also a bit older at this point. I've also been hearing good things about the Optoma projectors, and the UHD30 looks like it would get you into 4k for about $1300. Projectors entirely skipped 1440p because they're used in home theater systems where there's no benefit.

    You could always throw down $20K for a nice Sony or JVC! :D

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • EinEin CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2020
    For posterity's sake, I pulled the trigger on an Optoma HD39 Darbee projector tonight for a bit under 900, since it looked like it checked all of the boxes and I couldn't find a bad review of the thing. I'll try and follow up as to whether or not I regret this!

    Ein on
    ShadowfireDonovan PuppyfuckerElvenshae
  • FranganFrangan Registered User regular
    You already found one, but I learned from experience that an often overlooked aspect to projectors is noise. Even some mid-tier brands use cheap fans that sound like a plane taking off. They're easy to replace with silent fans if you know what you're doing, but it's definitely something to consider.

    Developed a hard sci-fi RPG with base building and survival elements called Titan Outpost. It's on Steam.
  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    edited January 19
    Oh shit we have a projector thread? I just put together this dumpster-dived collection of cast off parts:

    Panasonic AX200U 720p projector ($20, and 300 hours over the bulbs lifespan right now)
    Yamaha RX-V367 5.1 Receiver and 10” sub ($120)
    10’ Da-Lite screen ($100)
    Random assortment of speakers I’ve scrounged up from friends and family over the years
    100 feet of speaker wire ($50)

    Finished product:


    For $300, I don’t think I could ask for better. Planning to see how much use we get out of it over the next few months, and if it’s really popular with the kids and wife maybe I splurge on a nicer projector down the line.

    mRahmani on
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