It’s not the size that they say.

Our media room was originally designed to have a projector and large screen installed but it never quite made the construction budget, while I’m very happy with the TV we have (Loewe Credo in case you’re interested), I’d still like to see the rooms destiny fullfilled.

I’ve started casually looking around at what’s available in the way of projectors these days, and I’m very happy with what has happened in the home theatre projector market over the last few years. They’re much cheaper, look much better and the variety is astonishing.

So, more as a method to keep track of my own thoughts and notes than a news update, I bring you:

Home Theatre 2004, Electric Boogaloo

Main Criteria:

  • 16:9 Native: All projectors can do 16:9 AND 4:3 but some are native 16:9 and others are native 4:3, why anyone would want anative 4:3 these days is beyond me, but apparently there is some reason since most of the units out there are native 4:3, since I’ll only really be watching 16:9 DVD’s on the projector native 16:9 is what I’m looking for.
  • 2000:1 Contrast Ratio: This ratio if defined as the difference between white and black, a 2000:1 ratio means that black is 2000 times more black than white, anything over 1000 is good, but the higher the ratio the more black the blacks will be (not racist).
  • ANSI Lumens can kiss my ass: ANSI Lumens are a measure of how bright the projector image is, 800-1000 seems average but since the media room can achieve total blockout darkness it doesn’t really matter how bright the image is because it doesn’t have to compete with any external light sources.
  • Inputs: S-Video, Component, VGA: Must have at least these, in fact, that pretty much covers every connection available at the moment and most projectors have them all.
  • Noise Level: Nothing is worse than hearing the buzz or hum of a fan or bulb while you’re watching a quite movie. Statisticallyspeaking, only a small minority of the movies I own fall into this category so it’s not a major concern, but the noise level is still important. 30db is quiet, approaching 40db is going to annoy me. (apparently 50db is the level of a normal conversation, but the db measure is on a logarithmic scale so 40 is considerably lower than 50 in actual noise).
  • Other junk: Warranty, Throw distance, weight, mounting brackets, bulb cost/lifetime all seem pretty much the same across allthe projectors I’m looking at so it’s not a major concern in the main deciding criteria.

So with all that crap in mind, I’ve looked around at the following models (not in any particular order).

Make/Model Approx Cost URL
Benq PB6100 $3000 Click Here
Optoma H30 $3800 Click Here
Infocus X1 $1800 Click Here
Dell 3200MP $2999 Click Here

From everything I’ve read, the Infocus X1 is about the best bang-for-buck out of all these, the H30 is the best overall but at a price (of course!). The only opinion I’ve heard against the X1 was from a guy trying to sell me the H30, go figure that one. The only problem is that nobody in Canberra seems to carry a demo unit for the X1, I hear rumours that Duratone may but I’d really rather not give those audiophile snob bastards my money (again, damn them for having the best brands but being assholes).

Are you totally glued to your seat with anticipation of the next installment of this fascinating story? Oh well, go find your own damn hobby then.