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Sunday
Sep142008

Home Cinema on the Cheap (720p is good enough)

To keep myself busy I've put together a video explaining how I assembled my modest home cinema set up. (If you are watching it, make sure you select the High Quality Feed from Youtube)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imMxCpgwgy8]

I don't feel that the lower end of the home cinema market is properly catered for by the specialist press. Its very easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest technology and this is inevitably what most of the magazines must focus on to have something to publish each month. However as interesting as the £8000 projector shootouts are - these devices will never fall into my price bracket.

Although the lesser models don't get much press - 720p projectors are generally more than adequate for home use. Its normal behavior to want to get the best model possible and at the moment thats 1080p - but 720p can be a lot more cost effective and under most situations will produce virtually the same results.

I sit about 9ft from my 96" screen. At this distance I am unable to discern the individual pixel structure on a 720p image. However if I sit at 7ft I can see the pixels that make up the image. So to me that says that a 1080p projector would be overkill for my situation as I couldn't make out the extra pixels on the screen. However if my screen was larger or I sat nearer, then a 1080p projector would be essential.

As far as DLP vs LCD or LCOS - for a budget projector I'd choose DLP every time. It may be a bit noisier, more picky about placement and you could potentially see rainbows - but the sheer quality of the image wins every time. The lack of blur on movement and the dark blacks mean that when it comes to budget projectors there is only one choice. Now when you get to comparing luxury projectors its not as simple or easy to call, but if you are spending less than £500 - just get a 720p DLP.

There is a lot of concern about the Rainbow effect (where areas of high contrast can lead to the viewer seeing rainbow after images). I admit that when I first switched on my projector I looked for these and did notice them on some black and white images. Now I don't know what it is - but after a year of on and off viewing I have great difficulty seeing them at all now. It may be because I've become immune or my eyes have trained themselves to ignore them, but just like those tiny red spiders that live on walls - unless you look really closely its easy to forget that they exist.

Projector bulbs - Theres a kind of person who knows very little about a lot of subjects. They were the people who used to go around telling people that "Plasma TV's need re-gassing every few years." This kind of person will always ask how much replacement projector bulbs cost and then when they find out will decide that projectors cost too much to run. These people are really just looking for an excuse to avoid buying something. Yes projector bulbs cost a lot - I think mine costs almost as much as the projector itself. However by the time the bulb fails the average projector will be really long in the tooth. You don't use a projector like a TV, its only on for a few hours a week at most. After a year and a half, my projector bulb shows 10% used. By the time it wears out I'm pretty sure I'll be ready to buy a newer model instead.

So have a look at the clip and if you want please share your thoughts and suggestions on doing Home Cinema on the Cheap.

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Reader Comments (4)

its great, thank u very much :)

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAli Davut

Thanks for commenting.
All feedback is very much appreciated.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat, A lot of your reviews are on image capture ,recently I've have been looking at home projectors then I though 'see what Mat thinks'....your review is quite dated. can you blag some led projectors to review!!! Top of my list so far is LGPB60G...top of my price range also...yours in waiting Johnboy.

November 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnboy

I use my projector like a TV! I watch everything - films, TV, footy, play on the Xbox One - got an Optoma HD141x that has 5000 hours on the lamp in bright mode - and I average 1500 hours a year, so one lamp still lasts me approx. 3 and a bit years and the lamps are just over £100.

February 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTechjoy

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