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Thread: Need advice on a home theater projector.

  1. #1
    FLAC
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    Question Need advice on a home theater projector.

    I have a few questions for people who know about home theater projectors. I bought one for my living room and I want to make sure I got what I need from those more knowledgeable.

    Here's what I want...
    PS2 hooked up via component cables
    Wii hooked up via component cables
    Nintendo (I wonder if Duck Hunt will work)
    N64
    digital TV channels
    downloaded movies / shows via computer
    DVD played through a moderately priced DVD player

    My main question is about the HD side of things. If I want a projector which does 1080p, it's going to cost at least $7000 and my budget is about $1700. For this price, I can easily get one that does 1080i, but what exactly is this? People tell me I have to look at the native resolution, which for most is 720p and ignore the 1080i because it's downscaled and is even worse than 720p. And with all the things I've listed I'm going to hook into it, is it worth even looking at anything over 720p? My roommate will probably buy a PS3 which is 1080p but if I can only afford 1080i and I'm told it's worse than 720p, I might as well just get a good 720p projector and forget about 1080 altogether. Is this frightening for something I'm going to have for a few years and won't be able to upgrade? I can't see a huge need for any 1080 viewing in the next 5 years, I probably won't own a bluray player or PS3 myself for a long time. Or anything else that's real HD.
    So my next question is how do I set up everything I want to plug in?
    PS2 - component input
    Wii - component input (could be the same one, I'll switch, that's fine)
    Nintendo - coaxial, no problem
    N64 - RCA or maybe I'll pick up component cables for it too since they're cheap
    digital TV - Should I get a projector with a TV tuner or just get a digital cable box? We only have regular cable, what are my options? I don't watch TV much so we only have basic cable but I'd like to get it on the projector. Especially for the hockey games.
    downloaded movies - VGA or S-video input, not sure which is better resolution
    DVD - probably component input, I think that's the best you'll get out of a DVD player under $100. Am I right?


    So now we move on to what I bought. It's the Optoma 1690. It's awesome since it's native 16:9 widescreen, 1080i capable and really quiet, but it doesn't have any component video input, nor does it have any sort of TV input. I overlooked this when I bought it but I can still return it. Here's a picture and link.
    http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pro...36&catid=11521

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  2. #2
    I see dead kittens Quattro's Avatar
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    No to jack your thread or anything (I hope you don't mind), but my uncle is looking to get a projector as well and he asked me which he should get. He want basically what Maheriano listed, minus the gaming systems.

    What do you guys recommend for this? He wants a decent to good projector and I believe is budget is between $2-3000.
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  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate RPI Geek's Avatar
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    Here's a list of the different resolutions, in order of decreasing quality
    High Definition
    1080p
    1080i
    720p
    Enhanced Definition
    576p / 50fps
    480p / 60fps
    Standard Definition
    576i (This is called PAL and it's what you get in most of the world)
    480i (This is called NTSC and it's what you get in Canada, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, the United States, and some other countries)

    The 'p' and 'i' stand for 'progressive' and 'interlaced', respectively. Progressive means that the picture is fully drawn every cycle. Interlaced means that half of the picture of drawn each cycle. Interlaced images cut the bandwidth in half at the expense of having half the framerate. There's a good description on wikipedia, as usual: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_video

    That said, none of the equipment that you want to hook up supports 1080p, so a 1080i projector would be more than enough. IIRC, (translation: don't take my word for it), none of what you want to hook up even supports 720p or i, either (sorry, DVDs are only standard-definition). You will want to do some homework to see how the projector upsamples standard-def and enhanced-def signals before you buy it.

    If you really don't watch TV much, and a cable-ready projector costs a lot more, just use a VCR or get a TV tuner card for your computer. If you want to start watching TV in high-def though (and you'll probably start noticing the difference with a big projected screen) you'll need to either get a HD tuner for your computer or a HD cable box from your cable company.
    Old plans out the window because of an accident .
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  4. #4
    FLAC
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    Okay, so I can forget about the coaxial input and just use either a TV tuner card or a HD box. Or even a regular box if I don't yet care about HD TV channels. Good.

    But did you say nothing I'm hooking up supports 720p? Really? So I could go for a real cheap projector and save some cash. Maybe even get a screen with the money I save.

    And lastly, is what he said true? Is 720p better than 1080i? Or is 480p better than 720i?

    I guess the most beneficial thing for me to do is to find out the resolution of each input device I have now and what I'll have in the next few years. This helped a lot, thanks.
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  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate RPI Geek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maheriano View Post
    But did you say nothing I'm hooking up supports 720p? Really? So I could go for a real cheap projector and save some cash. Maybe even get a screen with the money I save.
    ...
    I guess the most beneficial thing for me to do is to find out the resolution of each input device I have now and what I'll have in the next few years. This helped a lot, thanks.
    You could get a cheap projector, but like you said, if you're planning on upgrading to something high-def (like a PS3 or an XBox360) at any time during the life of the projector, you'll still want to consider a HD one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maheriano View Post
    And lastly, is what he said true? Is 720p better than 1080i? Or is 480p better than 720i?
    No, that's the opposite of what I meant to say. The TOP of my list is the BEST quality, and the BOTTOM is the WORST.

    Sorry, I explained what p and i mean, but I didn't explain the numbers. When you see 1080 or 720 or 480 on a projector/TV, that's how many rows of pixels that it can display. Therefore: higher numbers = finer detail = better.
    Old plans out the window because of an accident .
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  6. #6
    FLAC
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    Okay so I have one last questions. I think.

    What does it mean if it's native 720p but supports 1080i? And what does it mean if it's native 4:3 but supports 16:9? Is that as good as native 16:9?

    I guess 3 questions.
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  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate RPI Geek's Avatar
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    Native 720p means that the screen / projector has 720 lines of pixels and can display them progressively. If it says it supports 1080i, it will display 1080i signals, but it will need to downgrade the signal to fit on the 720p display.

    4:3 and 16:9 are what's called aspect ratios. TVs normally have aspect ratios of 4:3, meaning that the screen is 4 inches long horizontally for every 3 inches tall it is. Movies are frequently in widescreen format (ie: their aspect ratios are 16:9). This means that for every 16 inches that the screen is across, it is 9 inches tall.

    For an example, if a widescreen display were 32" across, it would be 18" tall. If a normal display were 32" across, it would be 24" tall.

    When a normal display shows a widescreen image, it puts black bars on top of and below the widescreen image so that nothing gets cropped, but this reduces the effective size of the movie; so no, it's not as good as native 16:9.

    The reverse is true, too: if you have a 16:9 display and you're watching 4:3 movies on it, the screen will either stretch the image to force it to be wide, or it will put black bars on the left & right of the image.
    Old plans out the window because of an accident .
    Have: M1-ATX, EPIA M10000, 256MB, 60GB 2.5", slim slot load DVD
    Need: Time, HU integration, ideas for Lilli

  8. #8
    FLAC
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    So according to this, I really need a projector which takes a component video input.

    RF (Cable) < Composite < S-Video (SVHS SCART) < Component < RGB (RGB SCART) < VGA (DVI-A) < HDMI (DVI-D)
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  9. #9
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    If I were to get a converter for component input, what would it have to have as an output not to lose any signal? IF it has VGA or DVI or HDMI output, that'd be fine right? Would it lose any signal quality? Then I could keep my projector I have since I can't seem to find one as good as this in this price range with component input. Not with over 1500 ANSI lumens anyway. And if I want to see it in the daytime, I need at least 2500.
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  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate RPI Geek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maheriano View Post
    If I were to get a converter for component input, what would it have to have as an output not to lose any signal? IF it has VGA or DVI or HDMI output, that'd be fine right? Would it lose any signal quality?
    You're starting to get out of the areas that I know well, but to be technical, not losing any signal quality is nearly impossible because any converter (by definition) needs to do signal processing.

    For all practical purposes though, DVI, VGA, or HDMI outputs should be fine. Caveat Emptur, though, and see if you can try out the converter before you buy it, or alternatively make sure the store has a good return policy, and always keep in mind that you're getting free advice from a non-professional over the internet I'd also like to know what you get for a converter, because I've never looked into them before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maheriano View Post
    Then I could keep my projector I have since I can't seem to find one as good as this in this price range with component input. Not with over 1500 ANSI lumens anyway. And if I want to see it in the daytime, I need at least 2500.
    Your projector has some pretty good resolution; any more and the price will jump. Try using one of your component-video devices over a different input: in my experience s-video isn't much worse quality than component, and it's supported by lots more devices.

    Whatever you end up doing for a final solution, let everyone here know what you find out and post pics of your setup
    Old plans out the window because of an accident .
    Have: M1-ATX, EPIA M10000, 256MB, 60GB 2.5", slim slot load DVD
    Need: Time, HU integration, ideas for Lilli

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