Projector Reviews

I know that those of us who use projection TV at home are a tiny niche (tiny but happy!).  For those who are interested, this guy puts out the best projector reviews I have seen.  I am a big fan of the Epson line and yet again, the Epson (this time the 5010) wins in the mid-price range.  I have the previous version, and it is the ideal  projector for someone like me stuck with a bad room, meaning a non-dedicated home theater where in the daytime there is a lot of ambient light.  Very bright for daytime sports, great blacks and color in movie mode when the room is dark.

I have not tried the new wireless HDMI built into the "e" models of these new Epsons, but it should be a huge boon for projector fans.  Running signal wire to ceiling mounted projectors has always been a pain, especially as the standard has shifted about three times since I first wired my house  (composite to S-Video to component to HDMI).  But HDMI is particularly hard, since the HDMI standard was never really spec'd for long runs of wire.  It is very dicey getting a reliable high-frequency signal (ie that needed for 1080p 3D) through HDMI cables that may be more than 25 feet long.

  • Peter

    I have an epson 8500UB and absolutely love it. The only downside is the lamp life isn't anywhere close to what they say it should be. I have gone through 2 lamps so far. They are supposed to last for 4000 hours but I and many others are only getting 750 to 1000 hours.
    As far as your screen room goes because of the ambient light problem you should really consider a black diamond screen. It makes a huge difference. Light coming in at angles in excess of 45 degrees to the screen are not reflected on the screen and so there is no washout of the picture. I have tried this with both a flashlight and a laser pointer and its incredible. However if your ambient light problem is coming from the same direction as the projector it won't help nearly as much.

  • Ted Rado

    Better Tv technology is great. The problem is the horrible programming. I surf through 70-80 stations and am lucky to find anything other than news worth watching. The greatest invention in human history for mass communication is utterly wasted on stupid shows with no cultural or educational value. Yuk!!! Why spend big bucks to get top-of-the-line view of drivel?

  • Mark2

    There are different HDMI standards with higher bandwidth needs. If you use one of the cables certified to the higher standards you could probably get better range since they support a higher bandwidth. Unfortunately I don't think HDMI cable manufacturers are allowed to actually list the bandwidth rating, they are only allowed to list the features supported by the higher bandwidth. The wiki has some info on this, and some common wiring/interference issues.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI

  • Douglas2

    For HDMI I've had decent luck with some devices from broadcast-supply house Markertek or B&H that run the HDMI signal over two CAT6 network cables.

    Yes, they cost $50-100. But so does a long HDMI cable from most sources other than Monoprice.

    "HDMI over Cat5 Active Extender"

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States

    The biggest issue for home use with projectors is the cost of the bulbs. At the typical rated life I've seen, the bulbs last like 6-12 months and cost the price of a new 40" flat panel TV.

    Has this changed in your experience, in the last 5 years, Warren?

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States

    >>> Why spend big bucks to get top-of-the-line view of drivel?

    Your mistake is allowing others to select what you have available to watch :-D

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    I ended up recently buying one of these and have been pretty happy with it. My wife wanted the TV moved to the other side of the living room, and I didn't want to mess with opening a wall to relocate a cable drop. I ended up moving the cable box (and a WD TV media player) to another room upstairs.

    http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-ScreenCast-Port-Wireless-HDMI/dp/B005NYPC1U

    For those of you checking out wireless HDMI, it seems that quality and prices have improved significantly in the past 18 months or so, and I bought the Belkin based upon the positive reviews and the fact that it was one of the first based upon a more recent generation wireless chip than the earlier models.

    All in all, I couldn't be happier. My total line-of-sight between transmitter and receiver is probably not more than 30 feet. But of course it's not line-of-sight, I've got two exterior walls and a floor in between, many of which carry electrical conduit. And yet it works great. I haven't had any trouble with pixellating, blockiness, or anything else. I've tried it with fast-moving video (i.e. an HD motorcycle race as they're rounding a corner and the background is zipping by) and it's not had any trouble.

    So for those of you using older projectors without built-in wireless, it's worth a shot.

  • eddie

    "shifted about three times since I first wired my house"

    ... you forgot DVI. I got my projector just before HDMI hit it big. It has composite, VGA, and DVI connectors.... and no HDMI.

  • ScottE

    My Epson 6500 has been 100% reliable at 50ft with a higher quality Monoprice silver cable from either my old Monoprice switcher or my newer Marantz preamp. It's a thick, stiff cable, so don't expect to bend it tight around corners (which is a no-no anyway for high speed signals.)

    Bupkis, I've never bought a bulb in the 3 plus years of ownership, but I did sorta cheat when my projector was replaced 1.5 yrs into ownership under warranty. I'm sure my picture could be brighter if I bought a new bulb, but I haven't been compelled to as of yet.

  • admin

    1. I switched to cat6 with converters on each and and am happy with the results (the fourth conversion). I had a pretty good quality HDMI cable but we kept getting shifts (1.2-1.3-1.4) and I had some indications that if I ever wanted to do 3D, the cable would not hack it, so I went to cat 6. ne thing I did not mention is that on about the second conversion I had the electrician run conduit with large radius bends all the way to the projector. Now I can pull new cable through the conduit.
    2. I had the same experience with the 8500UB lamp -- MUCH shorter life than promised.

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States

    >>> … you forgot DVI. I got my projector just before HDMI hit it big. It has composite, VGA, and DVI connectors…. and no HDMI.

    I believe you can get converters between DVI and HDMI. IIRC -- there is more info in the DVI signal but it otherwise contains all info in the HDMI. Depending on what you want to do, you can go the other way as well, there are just certain things that you have to wire differently -- a niggling part of my brain tells me it's in the audio processing part of it, which might be in a different location (an A/V receiver to an audio amp and speakers) anyway.

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States

    >>> I’m sure my picture could be brighter if I bought a new bulb, but I haven’t been compelled to as of yet.

    Yah, see... now how much does a bulb for your projector cost? I'll wager it's more than US$300, which pays for a halfway decent TV these days.

    And how much do you actually use the system? If you use it less than many (i.e., it pays to consider bulb life and turn the machine off when not in the room, unlike historical behavior with TVs for the last several decades, which often involves listening to the TV and not always paying direct attention)

    I'm not adamantly against it, but bulb longevity and price is something anyone considering a projector should consider in the purchase decision and expectations for performance. I only know about it from purchasing one for work a decade ago. And "bulb-price shock" is not pretty for something you tend to leave on for hours a day.

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States

    BTW, in case anyone was wondering what the difference is between cat5 and cat6, it's basically a non-stretchable plastic core that keeps the spiral twist between the wires at a consistent measure both spacing (between the wires) and rotation (along the cable), reducing interference over standard cat5.

    It's good to know because, while you might overcut your cable, you NEVER EVER want to undercut it -- it's NOT going to stretch AT ALL. If you're an inch short, you need to get a new cut of cable.

    That can get expensive, when you're talking about a 30-40' run of cable -- or worse, multiple runs to different places.

    So make sure you err very much on the side of the cables being too long, not too short.
    ;-)

  • ScottE

    >>> Yah, see… now how much does a bulb for your projector cost? I’ll wager it’s more than US$300, which pays for a halfway decent TV these days.

    $234 it looks like from a reputable dealer. Not horrible. Let me know where to get a 100+ inch TV for $300 and I'll get one.

  • IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States

    >>>>>>>>> Yah, see… now how much does a bulb for your projector cost? I’ll wager it’s more than US$300, which pays for a halfway decent TV these days.

    >>>> $234 it looks like from a reputable dealer. Not horrible. Let me know where to get a 100+ inch TV for $300 and I’ll get one.

    LOL, the question by itself is not at issue. It has to be combined with the lifespan of the bulb.

    If you're replacing them every 18 months, then, over a 10 year span that $2000 projector is actually costing you more like $3500.

    And that's not saying that's not a price you, or anyone, may be willing to pay for what the projector does -- I'm saying you, as a consumer, need to grasp that the bulb cost of projector usage is not, at this point, a minor expense.

    Most people think of TVs as a one-time expense, not as a running money sink.

    And the other consideration is that TV technology is in such a flux at this point, you may well not want to spend that much on a 100" projection and settle for a 65" TV at half the price -- one that doesn't have any of the acknowledged issues that projections currently do. For example, is this the future of TV controlling? Can you retrofit your projector to work with it, or will you just be SOL until you blow for it?

    There was a time when you bought a TV and kept it for 15-20 years (I know of one person who still has a 35yo Magnavox that works "fine"). So you also have to figure on about what kind of longevity you expect from your TV.

  • ErisGuy

    How well does a projector work with games?