View Full Version : entry level full hd projector

29th November 2009, 23:36

I'm considering to buy a projector, but am in doubt between the techniques DLP or 3LCD. As I understand it, in the lower range, the DLP projector can exhibit some rainbow effect (related to the colour wheel). Also, most cheap DLP projectors seem to lack lens shift, so the lens must be centered in the screen (calling making a setup potentially more difficult).
So, what makes DLP interesting then...? :confused:

I'm currently looking at Mitsubishi (HC3800 (http://www.mitsubishi-presentations.com/products/projectors/HC3800.html), dlp), Epson (EH-TW3500 (http://www.epson.co.uk/Projectors/Epson-EH-TW3500), EH-TW3000 (http://www.epson.co.uk/Projectors/Epson-EH-TW3000) or EH-TW2900 (http://www.epson.co.uk/Projectors/Epson-EH-TW2900), both 3lcd) or Sanyo (PLV-Z700 (http://uk.sanyo.com/Products/View/PLV-Z700) or PLV-Z3000 (http://uk.sanyo.com/Products/View/PLV-Z3000), both 3lcd).
(Ideally, I'd go for the Panasonic PT-AE4000, but consider it too expensive :). For the Epson and Sanyo, I know the models are in a slightly different price range, but if the quality-difference is justifiable, I might go for the expensive of the two)

The Mitsubishi and Sanyo get good reviews, but I can't seem to find much on those Epson models...

Any suggestions (European market)?


Fat Tone
30th November 2009, 06:15
Probably out of your budget but if you are looking for quality then try the Canon Xeed range, based on LCOS technology. My old vision research buddies bought a few of the SX60 model, which is a little less than the panny. Not full HD though. Notable for excellent black level and no rainbow.

30th November 2009, 06:35
I'm currently basing my price-info on a webshop in Germany, as it gives a more realistic view that the prices I usually find in dollar (e.g. Panasonic AE4000: $2000, but €2600). Just today I found a dealer for most brands I care about right here in Warsaw (high end hifi store). I'll have to ask them for price information, so that I have a better idea of what it costs here. A bit sad that they just don't seem to have projectors in the chains like Saturn and MediaMarkt.

I read somewhere that the cheaper projectors often have less image processing skills, but this doesn't matter much to me: I intend to use a computer as the source, and the videocard came with a software to properly adjust the output (i.e. scaling, noise reduction, colour improvements, ...).

Features that are a must for me are: full HD (I have such sources), lens shift (horizontal + vertical), zoom (does not have to be powered, but that would be nice) and silent operation. High on my list are some active iris system (to boost contrast) and anamorphic widescreen support (but this may be unlikely in the pricerange I'm looking at :)).

I'll check out the Canon-range as well.


30th November 2009, 23:30
Canon seems more difficult to get by here...
I also learned about the Optoma hd200X, quite a cheap 1080p dlp projector...

But I'm still leaning towards Epson or Sanyo (I have a sense that in this price range, dlp is a risky choice because of the rainbow effect).

1st December 2009, 10:50
It looks like projectors are quite expensive here... may have to choose to order in Germany (20% difference)... But it is highly dependant on the manufacturer...


3rd December 2009, 01:50
I'm now eyeing the Sony VPL-HW10. It is a high-end projector from last year that also uses LCOS technology. Looking around properly, it seems to be possible to find at a reasonable price (close to the maximum I'm willing to pay :)), eps. considering its capabilities. It is a bit of a bulky projector (40 cmx 46cm, 10 kg) though, but at 22 db extremely silent (which I find *very* important).


3rd December 2009, 09:21
You might want to look at AVSForums' Digital projector forums.


That is their display devices forum. Under that there are multiple forums, but the 2 you would be interested in would be the Digital Projectors - Under $3000 USD and $3000 USD and UP forums. There is a lot of info available there. I've heard of alignment issues with some of the LCOS/LCD systems (3 panels) in the past. May not be as much of an issue now, but it is something to keep in mind.

3rd December 2009, 09:53
Yes, I also have learned a lot from the site projectorcentral. However, it is impossible to use the prices in dollars as guidelines: some projectors here cost more in euro than their price in dollars (e.g. Panasonic AE4000: 2000$ = 2700 euro :eek: ), while others don't differ as much. Also, the product ranges tend to differ, and most sites give more info on US models.

I read about the alignment issues, but the Sony actually allows the user to fix these in the menu structure. I think nowadays this issue is less though, and is something to wheigh off against the rainbow of the dlp projectors...
So far, it is going between the Sanyo Z700, Epson 2900 and Sony HW10... I know the latter is at a higher price (and there are Sanyo and Epson models at this pricepoint as well), but somehow the higher price of those isn't really justifiable if I read the specsheets and comments correctly).

I'll probably only purchase it in January or so, so things might still change a bit. My only fear is that the HW10 is end-of-life (superceed I guess by the HW15), and that it may not be available for much longer.

3rd December 2009, 11:39
I'm sure I've posted this link a gazillion times already:


3rd December 2009, 11:50
Yes, I know the site and referred to it (in my previous post)... Great resource, but it is missing some Europe-only models and has the same dollar-price issue. But its feature selector and details are second to none. Another good one is http://www.projectorreviews.com .


11th December 2009, 00:08
Well, the Sony I have my eye on is end of life (from November). I'm hoping to still be able to purchase in January it at the prices I find it now... The successor is just too expensive at the moment, and only seems to boost contrast from 30000:1 to 50000:1.
There is a similar-technology LG, the AF115, but while it has a better zoom range, it lacks horizontal lens shift and is a bit more expensive.


15th December 2009, 02:05
Well, the Sony Center here gave me a *very* good price on the successor (despite having last years model in stock also)... so I'm very tempted...

Either way, I'll have to wait now (travel back for holidays + need to transfer money to the right account), but I'm 90% sure I'll buy the Sony in January... just still not sure which one... In the spec sheets, the successor has more contrast (60000:1 in stead of 30000:1) and makes less noise. In reviews, additional differences are in the way the automatic iris works (smoother in new model, but was already unnoticable according to the same reviewer - so I don't know how he knows it is smoother), measured/perceived brightness, measured/perceived black levels and better overall colour reproduction. Reading the review, I'm not sure the reviewer really handled the projector, but isn't pulling just some comments out of his... euhm... head.

26th February 2010, 02:07
UPS made me delay the purchase (I have no source device at the moment), but I've began doubting the Sony: everything seems currently going 3D, and while current technology may not be ideal, I doubt it is the right time to invest in an expensive 2D only projector. In 5 years time, technology may have changed dramatically if they are pursuing the 3D thing. Also considering the fact that I have limited hd material (satellite reception is unlikely, don't have a big blue ray collection), I've been looking at things again, lowering my specs from full hd to 720p and would not mind 3D capability (gaming maybe?). This Viewsonic model looks interesting:

The main problem with cheaper projectors is that they offer less freedom in positioning. This one is no different: it lacks lens shift; but I am able to mount it properly as it is a relatively short throw projector. From 2m, it gives quite a big screen; I can also put it behind the couch, but will have to check if the image is not too big then (zoom is limited). I'll be in this apartment for 2 years or so, but given its short throw it should still be usable in many situations.
As for the DLP rainbow effect: the LG H200G micro projector is playing in a store here, and I don't see the rainbow effect at all; I'll check other stores to view other DLP projectors in action on a bigger sceen just to make absolutely sure it is no problem to me.

Just 2 questions:
1. The projector sports a monitor out (vga). Does this always provide an image regardless of the input (vga, composite, hdmi), or does it only pass through an incoming vga connection? It is not listed in the manual...

2. The projector projects the image at a vertical offset. When shelf mounting behind the couch, this may cause the image to be too high. So the solution would be to mount the projector upside down (it supports ceiling mounts). Are there shelfmounts that position a projector that way? (I could of course screw a ceiling mount to the shelf - it is fixed to a wall)


26th February 2010, 09:43
I think almost all projectors allow mounting upside down, indeed it seems to be the prefered way of mounting most projectors.
Do check the manufactores web site to confirm, but as far as I have seen they almost always prefer an upside mount.
My sanyo z5 has mounting screws for most universal "upside mounts"(as most do,if not all) but I have mounted mine upright on tv mount near the ceiling because it has very good throw in any direction.(tv mounts are cheap , "projector mounts" are expensive ?!

Just hit 3300 hours on my original sanyo lamp ( i think you recomended the model ):up:

11th March 2010, 03:14
Yes, most projectors allow it...

But my question is more complicated: the projector I'm looking at has a fixed vertical lens shift. So put it on a table and the image is projected more or less above the centerline of the lens; mount it upside down and the image is projected more or less below the center line of the lens.
However, if you want to shelf-mount it, chances are it will project the image too high. So in that situation you'd want to put it on the shelf, but upsidedown... I've found a projector stand that does this, but it is aimed at holding two projectors for 3D projection...

I'm also still looking at Sanyo, but what bothers me is that their current home cinema projectors are old models (they've been on the market for nearly 2 years). So you know they are bound to be replaced soon...


16th March 2010, 01:32
Ok, I'll have to decide soon. It will be either the Viewsonic pjd6531w or the Epson EH-TW2900. I'd have to position the Viewsonic in a "coffee table layout", whereas the Epson would have to be placed on a shelf behind the coach.

Viewsonic: pro

3D dlp ready
compact and lightweight
short throw
slightly cheaper

Epson: pro

3lcd (no chance of rainbow effect)
silent (22 db)
flexible positioning (lens shift, big zoom range
3 year warranty, also on lamp

Viewsonic: con

only 720p
dlp (2x colour wheel, possibility of rainbows)
less flexible in positioning (no lens shift, limited zoom)
less contrast
more noisy (33 db)

Epson: con

bigger and heavier device
no 3D possibility
slightly more expensive

I don't have much 1080p source material though (actually, none at the moment, and being in Warsay will make it impossible for me to buy many BluRays due to the language issue). The room is not too bright, but can be difficult to darken should it turn out to be too bright.
Guess it will have to come down to what I want: a compact projector with 3D option or a biggger projector with high resolution. :confused: This is difficult!


Fat Tone
16th March 2010, 02:01
Start a poll. ;)

I'd go for the Epson: Better res, I'm sure you'll be able to get material (plus xbox?), low noise is a HUGE plus in a domestic environment. 3D is quite gimmicky right now, with very few good reviews. In short get the better projector for what you can do now and sell/upgrade if/when 3D becomes a viable and quality option.

16th March 2010, 03:27
A few thoughts
Buying now I would defintely try to stretch it to a 1080p projector, there is enought content to justify it.

Do think about mounting out of the way, with a coffee table it is too easy to bump/spill and dust is the mortal enemy of a projector.(I lived in fear for the first month I had mine)

Defintely check replacment globe prices, I will keep mine for quite a while simply because of globe prices are so cheap I can thrash it and not worry about replacments.

3D will be a definte for my next projector, but It does seem resonably priced full 1080p 3d projectors are still a little way off.

16th March 2010, 03:44
Thanks guys... :up:
I guess I was drawn in by the 3D gimmick :). The Epson does seem like the best option (MM: it also allows mounting on the shelf behind me, without any problems unlike the Viewsonic).

(I've omitted the Sanyo as the plv-z3000 is more expensive and has less brightness; the plv-z700 is slightly cheaper but lower spec'd overall.)


Fat Tone
16th March 2010, 09:35
Problems with 3D movies spelled out:


16th March 2010, 10:30
Oh, there is also the Epson EH-TW3500, which is just under 200 euros more expensive but boasts 1800 ansi lumens and 36000:1 contrast (and slightly more image processing). Would these differences be very noticable and worth the price?

FT: Yes, the current 3D rage puzzles me somewhat. 3D has been possible on computers for years now (was it Elsa that offered shutterglasses?), but it really feels like the manufacturers are pushing it. I saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D, and while the effect was nice but limited, I was glad to have read the gizmodo linked article on how to avoid a headache in 3D movies (http://www.shadowlocked.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=70:how-to-avoid-getting-a-3d-headache-while-watching-avatar&catid=41:feature) :): I caught myself a couple of times looking at the out of focus area.
I was at a Barco demonstration in 1999 where they showed off their state-of-the-art 3D projection using a 3D animation (technology was dual projectors in combination with polarized lenses). While the technology used in the movie theater was essentially the same, it did not have the same impact as that demonstration 10 years ago. Also, the demonstration at a Sony center for a 3D LCD TV was disappointing (but worse than projection in the cinema): there was depth, but the objects in the scene appeared to lack thickness. I'm expecting projectors to make a move to some polarized lenses system, and maybe it is best to wait for that (shutterglasses easily set you back 150 euro). I also discovered in my projector quest that the current 3D-dlp projectors most likely will not work nicely with a 3D blue ray player: 3D is part of the hdmi 1.4 specification, and while Sony has a blue ray player that is only spec'd at hdmi 1.3 (because it doesn't support all 1.4 features), no 3D projector currently says they support or will support 3D over hdmi. So for the current crop of 3D projector, you are stuck with using a computer as the source (but currently there are only rumours of software that will allow 3D blue ray playback, no real announcements even).


18th March 2010, 03:20
Epson really has a messy range of models...
I can't see any difference between the EH-TW2800 and the EH-TW2900 (I downloaded both manuals: the description of some menu items are different, and despite using the same lamp and boasting the same brightness, the EH-TW2900 consumes some 20W less). Oddly enough the 2800 is slightly more expensive. The EH-TW3000 is more expensive than the EH-TW3500, but seems lower spec'd (it can focus slightly shorter)... Why do they have to have such an extensive range? :confused:

It'll most likely go between the 2900 and the 3500, depending on the price offers I can find.


23rd March 2010, 14:25
While looking for the prices, I found that the EH-TW3500 is more expensive.

So it looks like the EH-TW2900, and was about to order it. However, as virtually all the online stores I found use UPS, I looked at nearby stores (even if the prices are slightly higher). And then I noticed at the store the EH-TW5000 is similarly priced. The EH-TW5000 is a higher range model from last year. The difference in specs is interesting: higher contrast (75000:1) rather than (18000:1), but I think (not sure) the HDMI ports are 1.3a rather than 1.3b. The manual learned me that it has more processing options (noise reduction algorithms, frame interpolation, ...).
So, which is the better option: the higher range model from last year, or the lower range model from this year?
(on paper I'd say the EH-TW5000)

edit: never mind, I misread the prices (different currencies... :))