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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Owning A Projector?

#1 User is offline   TTGSteve 

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 01:07 PM

I'm just curious as to what the advantages and disadvantages of owning a projector? I mean, would you rather have an HDTV or a projector? Would you rather have both in the same room somehow; switching between the both of them for different tasks? In general, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a projector?
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#2 User is offline   LincolnSpector 

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:44 AM

I've never owned a projector, but I'm thinking of buying one one of these years. With that caveat, here's what I see as the advantages and disadvantages:

The one real advantage is that you can get a much larger screen, and an experience that's much closer to that of a movie theater.

The disadvantages: The room must be much darker to really enjoy the movie. Depending on what else you use the room for, you may need to set it up and take it down regularly. And if your screen is really large, anything that isn't in HD may look really bad.

Lincoln
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#3 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:36 PM

View PostLincolnSpector, on 30 August 2012 - 07:44 AM, said:

I've never owned a projector, but I'm thinking of buying one one of these years. With that caveat, here's what I see as the advantages and disadvantages:

The one real advantage is that you can get a much larger screen, and an experience that's much closer to that of a movie theater.

The disadvantages: The room must be much darker to really enjoy the movie. Depending on what else you use the room for, you may need to set it up and take it down regularly. And if your screen is really large, anything that isn't in HD may look really bad.

Lincoln


I have had a projector, in addition to my HDTV, for a number of years now. Lincoln pretty much covered the advantages/disadvantages pretty well.

As Lincoln noted, the main advantage is getting a much larger screen for a much lower price (I added the last bit). I would likely have to have paid thousands more for a larger HDTV (assuming that I could have one back then) that would have approached the size that I can get with my projector. So, you can get much more "bang for your buck".

Lincoln also hit on some of the disadvantages.

The biggest one is that you do really need a dark room. So, if you have windows in the room where your projector is located (I have two HUGE windows), then you will need some pretty good light blocking shades/curtains in order to use the projector during the day. I rarely use my projector during the day for this reason. I will note that this is ESPECIALLY true for dark scenes...they are REALLY hard to watch when there is day light.

I will disagree some with the non-HD content looking "really bad". While I certainly notice a different when I play SD content on my projector and I do tend to rent HD movies (through my Apple TV) rather than SD movies, it is actually not that bad. Now, I do tend to sit about 15 ft or so away from the screen, so that helps.

A couple more things to keep in mind...

Most projectors do not come with any sort of built-in speakers or tuner. Thus, you will need to provide some other options for those. For most people, a tuner is not going to be a problem as they will have a cable or satellite box or will just use the projector for movies and thus will use a DVD or BluRay player. Also, for many people, speaker won't be an issue either as if they are going to invest in a projector, then they likely have some sort of "home theater" sound system...and many people go that route rather than use TV speakers anyway. But, just keep that in mind. In my case, I have a cable box/DVR for the tuner and I use a set of higher end computer 5.1 speakers for the sound. While I could do better in terms of speakers (I actually have a 5.1 receiver), I found that the Logitech speakers that I have work pretty well for my setup.

The other major thing to keep in mind is that replacement bulbs for projectors are EXPENSIVE. They are generally at least 1/4 the price of the projector, but frequently up to 1/2 the price of the projector. So, if you are going to use the projector to "typical" TV watching and you watch a lot of TV, then you are going to likely be spending several hundred dollars every other year or so for a new bulb.

Don't get me wrong, I love my projector. I regularly use it for watching movies and, now that college football season is back, key college football games (that is generally the only time that I watch something during the day on the projector). I don't use it for my "regular" TV watching (which is way too much TV since I am a TVaholic <grin>).

FWIW, I have an HDMI splitter that sends the same signal to the HDTV and the projector. And since the TV has its own tuner, I can watch both with different stuff (as long as what I want to watch on the TV is on a network station)...so frequently on Saturdays I will have my primary football game on projector while a secondary game on the HDTV.

This post has been edited by smax013: 30 August 2012 - 05:38 PM

Good riddance PCWorld.
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#4 User is offline   TTGSteve 

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:02 PM

I would love to have the movie theater experience. I already have a 57" 1080p HDTV, so I don't know if it would really be worth it for a projector. I'm also worried that I would maybe have to take down or switch out the projector whenever I wanted to do certain things. I've also heard that projectors are really bad about getting washed out by the light, so I'm a bit concerned about that.
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#5 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:10 PM

View PostTTGSteve, on 30 August 2012 - 06:02 PM, said:

I would love to have the movie theater experience. I already have a 57" 1080p HDTV, so I don't know if it would really be worth it for a projector. I'm also worried that I would maybe have to take down or switch out the projector whenever I wanted to do certain things. I've also heard that projectors are really bad about getting washed out by the light, so I'm a bit concerned about that.


My projector is fantastic for watching movies at night. It is even pretty good during the day as long as the movie does not have many dark scenes. My cousins kids LOVE coming to my house to watch movies when they are in town.

I am lucky in that I have a good room setup where I can leave my projector setup all the time. What actually led me to getting the projector was that my house came with a projector screen...when I first got the house, I planned on eventually getting a projector (I will note that it is an "older" screen more designed for slide shows or own film projectors, but it still works pretty well for an HD projector).

With a 57" TV, if you are sitting close enough to it (say 7 feet or so), then you are likely getting a similar experience to what I get from my projector when I sit about 15 feet away (my screen size is on the order of 100").
Good riddance PCWorld.
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#6 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:32 PM

View PostLincolnSpector, on 30 August 2012 - 07:44 AM, said:

I've never owned a projector, but I'm thinking of buying one one of these years. With that caveat, here's what I see as the advantages and disadvantages:

The one real advantage is that you can get a much larger screen, and an experience that's much closer to that of a movie theater.

The disadvantages: The room must be much darker to really enjoy the movie. Depending on what else you use the room for, you may need to set it up and take it down regularly. And if your screen is really large, anything that isn't in HD may look really bad.

Lincoln


Even on my 23" monitor, 480p video looks bad. :D
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#7 User is offline   AntoSlein 

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:17 AM

I was wondering if there is a projector that can create a blank background that could be projected onto? To be more clear, I mean is there a projector or any thing like it that can turn any surface or wall into a surface that looks like it is a pull down projector screen
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#8 User is offline   LincolnSpector 

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 09:59 AM

Thanks, Max, for your explanations based, unlike mine, on real experience.

Part of the problem for us (my wife and I) is that the TV (50") is in a separate "theater" room, which isn't big enough to comfortably sit more than five people. There's no real place in the living room for a television.

However, we figure that with a pull-down screen and speakers on movable stands, we could convert the living room into a good sized theater for movie parties.

Lincoln
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#9 User is offline   LincolnSpector 

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 10:02 AM

View PostAntoSlein, on 02 September 2012 - 07:17 AM, said:

I was wondering if there is a projector that can create a blank background that could be projected onto? To be more clear, I mean is there a projector or any thing like it that can turn any surface or wall into a surface that looks like it is a pull down projector screen

No, although I suppose a really, really bright bulb will reduce the problems of not having a proper screen.

But the reality is that front projection needs a very reflective, white surface. A white wall would be acceptable, but a screen would be better.

Lincoln


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#10 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

View PostLincolnSpector, on 02 September 2012 - 09:59 AM, said:

Thanks, Max, for your explanations based, unlike mine, on real experience.

Part of the problem for us (my wife and I) is that the TV (50") is in a separate "theater" room, which isn't big enough to comfortably sit more than five people. There's no real place in the living room for a television.

However, we figure that with a pull-down screen and speakers on movable stands, we could convert the living room into a good sized theater for movie parties.

Lincoln


As I mentioned, my house came with a pull down screen. It is an older screen that is more aimed at the slide show and film projector era, but it works fine for my digital projector. It is mounted in a "valance" type feature, so when it is in the up position, you don't know that it is there. There is a power plug there, so some day I might "upgrade" to powered screen, which would be kind of cool.

For speakers, the Logitech 5.1 computer speakers that I use are the type the use regular speaker wire, so I could place them in reasonable locations (i.e. the two front and center above the screen and the two rear on the rear wall of the room - most typical computer speakers have SHORT cables).

I actually have the projector sitting on a small side table right next to the end of a sectional couch. It is offset by about 15 degrees from the screen, but the picture adjustments compensate just fine for that. I could potentially see some day mounting it on the ceiling, but that would either require visible cables (some of my speaker cables already run along the ceiling visible) or routing the cable through the ceiling. And since the projector does not really get in the way right now, it work fine for my purposes.

Overall, the setup is not pretty, but it works.
Good riddance PCWorld.
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