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Topic: Best for about $1000
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Joined: Jun 4, 2005
Posts: 15
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So there's all this talk about the different levels of affordability, but it's really hard to get anyone to just come right out and tell me what the best option is for my price range. I'm a gamer, and I'll be most criticul of the video while playing video games (consoles, not PCs), but will be using it for movies and television as well, of course. I expect to be doing a lot of hi-def gaming in the near future when the new video game systems roll around.

I've been looking at both the Mitsubishi HC3 and the Mitsubishi XL5U. Since you can get a free lamp with the XL5U, they end up about the same price, but the XL5U is XGA, is brighter, and has a longer life. Seems to me like an easy choice.

But now I'm thinking about the H31 or Screenplay SP4805... I was originally avoiding these because of the relatively low resolution, but I guess it's not much different than the HC3's.

Does anyone have a specific recommendation for under $1100?

Thanks,

-Alon
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 12,357
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ooohhh - wait...

Gotta throw the Sanyo Z2 into the mix. 1280x720 HD for right around $1,000 now!

I would avoid a 4:3 business projector at ALL costs. The contrast is often low, or the scaling and dealing with fast motion is [censored]-poor. Not fun to watch sports on, and far worse to play video games on. Bright? Quite often, yes. But, not ideal at all for home use typically. Of course, that's just my take on them.

The Z2, H31, SP4805... man, pick one and enjoy, they are all very good for that level of money. The Z2 may take you a little further down the road, but lacks the deep black levels and contrast that the H31 or 4805 will give you. You can't have it all for a grand I'm afraid.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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AV_I, I keep wondering why you don't suggest the HC3 when you praise your own Panasonic 1/4HD projector. Comparing the HC3 and your Panny, I don't see much of a difference. The contrast is lower, but the brightness is much higher, and I doubt I'll often have blackout conditions.

I've been listening a lot to what you've been saying. Why do you suggest the H31 or SP4805 over the HC3? Every review claims the HC3 is really good - at least when used with a grey screen.

Let me know,

-Alon
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I like my Panasonic and think it is comparable to many units today. But, if the InFocus 4805 existed I probably would have gone with that... Actually, I had 2K to spend, so if the AE700 was out - that would have been my ticket.

For the cash, the Z2 is an excellent projector - really good. Great reviews to go along with it. Not as bright - but brightness is all relative to what you do in the room you are projecting in. Black can NEVER be better than what your wall currently looks like. It will typically look worse. So, good contrast is critical to a good image.

Is the HC3 good? Well, it sure seems that way and reviews are great. But, if you look at the recommended projectors and viewing distances, the 4805 seems to outperform it - as does the H31. I really want to do an A-B test between my projector and the 4805 or H31 so I can appreciate more how far along projectors have come in the past 2 years.

But, the Z2 is 1280x720 which really ties nicely into future gaming needs and the possiblities that the X-Box 360 and PS3 will offer you later this year and next year.

960x540? It works great with 1080i - and DVDs look wonderful on my screen. But, sometimes I am wishing for more contrast so the image would punch more. Black levels just aren't cutting it for me as much as I would like.

As I have said - lots of good projectors at that price and deciding is a tough personal preference thing that you will likely have some level of remorse on no matter how you decide. But, $1,000 really isn't THAT much in the scheme of things like this. You can sell it in a few years, then upgrade.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.