Your Projector Hopes and Dreams
No, your projector does not Dream (well, my projectors don’t, to the best of my knowledge). Budget, of course, puts a real dampener on our dreams for a great home theater. Who wouldn’t go with the $25,000 super-awesome projector instead of a $2000 very good projector, if they were both free and suitable for your room? What I’m asking here, is how fanatical are you? Are you looking for a really nice picture, aren’t overly critical, and can live happily ever after? Have you never bothered to adjust your LCDTV? Or are you a future enthusiast, who wants the best possible picture quality your last dime can buy you. Not all of us “need” or want the best they can afford, many of you just want to watch sports, or movies, or… And a good picture is fine. Then there are “the rest of us” we tend to quibble, we wish our projector’s skin tones were 5% more perfect, that we have the best black levels we can afford, or, perhaps as movie fanatics, we want a “wide screen” setup, which eliminates the large majority of affordable projectors. The short version is: Are you, or will you likely be an “enthusiast” aka hobbiest?
March 2013 timeframe: An example of an enthusiast’s choice vs, someone who just wants a really nice affordable home theater. At most price points there are excellent projectors for both types of people! Sometimes if we’re lucky it could be the same projector, although most often not. In this 2013 Home Theater Projector Report, we awarded a tie, to two projectors that both sell for around $1500. One is more of an enthusiast’s projector, the other a more “friendly” one. Consider the Acer H9500BD and the Epson Home Cinema 3020. The Acer H9500 is definitely enthusiast oriented has the best blacks around the price, it can be positioned more perfectly thanks to lens shift, but has things that only an enthusiast will be willing to put up with. Or there’s that Home Cinema 3020. It’s brighter, good for less optimized rooms. Good, not great black level performance for the price, a great, no hassle warranty with a two year replacement program. The Epson is good at everything it does, it’s fun, it’s easy, user friendly. (Great remote, extensive menus with user friendly features…) The Acer, by comparison is “rough around the edges” it has several annoying idiosyncrasies in terms of operation, but delivers the higher performance picture of the two. . (An example of “rough around the edge” – Confusing: After the first time I watched something in 3D on the Acer, it took me almost 10 minutes to figure out how to watch something properly in 2D! It lacks the Auto recognition feature found on most 3D projectors, so you have to “turn off” 3D to even get to the 2D menus and to have a watchable 2D picture. The “hard core enthusiast” likely put up with things like that, different things, in exchange for the black levels, and other more subtle performance aspects. The “more typical person” who just wants bright, and good, and “no worries” will likely gravitate to that Epson. (An example of “rough around the edge” – Confusing: After the first time I watched something in 3D on the Acer, it took me almost 10 minutes to figure out how to watch something properly in 2D! It lacks the Auto recognition feature found on most 3D projectors, so that it knows to adjust correctly for 3D or 2D.