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Picture quality: projectors vs. TVs

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What's everyone's opinion on the picture quality of the better projectors vs. the better/best TVs today? Do you feel you give up some level of picture quality by getting a projector for the sake of a larger image vs. a TV? Or do you feel the better projectors can match the picture quality of the best TVs?

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I just bought a Epson Home 1080p LCD Theater projector. It is extremely bright and the colors are amazing. I have a small hone theater room. With Denon and all Klipsch 5.1. The current screen is about 96”. I’m planning on going with a little bigger. At least 120”. I think the picture quality is amazing. The ratio is 1:16,000 ratio. We have a 57” Insignia 1080p LCD flat screen in the living room. The picture quality is extremely clear. I guess the only difference I can notice is that the blacks seem darker on the TV than the projector but not enough that it matters. Clarity and color there is no difference. Hope this helps.


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Our Panasonic projector, filling a screen 130" wide, 141.3" diagonal, 2.35:1 ["scope"], is sharper and more detailed than our RCA LCD flatscreen display.  The color is about the same.  We recommend total darkness, except for light that comes off the screen and bounces off the walls/ceiling. The projection screen is more emotionally involving and visually immersive -- by far when the cinematography lends itself to it, and not as much when a lazy director uses innumerable "two shots" and rack focus.

 

We recommend a 2.35:1 screen.  The super expensive anamorphic lenses are not needed -- and some are reported to be "milky."  Blu-ray discs are sharp enough to allow you to simply use zoom pre-sets, with pore counting, blemish revealing detail.  Likewise streaming (usually) and even some ordinary DVDs.   We really like the "constant height" true wide screen feeling, in which nearly all of the (10 plus) aspect ratios are the same height, filling the screen from top to bottom (within an inch or so) but various different widths, instead of being crammed into a ribbon-like, smaller image within the standard frame.  The projector can be programmed to all these widths (although you may have to adjust the up angle -- electronically -- a little).  We have on-screen buttons for "Standard" [1.85:1, 1.78:1 (16:9), 1.37:1 (old)], " 'Scope" [Panavision, CinemaScope, Dyaliscope, etc. 2.35:1 or 2.40:1-- both work],  "Todd-AO" [almost all 70 mm formats], "Ultra" [Camera 65 and Ultra Panavision 70, 2.75:1], and "Cinerama" [2.85:1 on BDs].  Only the last two fail to fill the full height, due to their very elongated shape   The various wide screen formats were meant to be bigger than normal screen, and with our set-up, they are.

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I don't think there is such a thing as a reasonably priced UHD/HDR protector... Modern monitor specifications is MUCH MORE than mere resolution. If you do get a projector, make sure it's capable of high dynamic range and Dolby Vision if possible.

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Avsforum currently considers the benq ht2050 the best bargain projector under 1k.

 

Every projector is a compromise, trading certains benefits for drawbacks.  I think garyc pretty much said what i could add.  Good post gary.

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Also agree with Garyrc.

 

I've got a JVC projector and love it.  Picture quality is fantastic and quite honestly the limiting factor seems to be the quality of the source.  For example, I've compared a high definition movie from satellite television to the same movie on Blu-ray and the Blu-ray definitely has a sharper image.  One possible drawback is that with the larger image, you're more likely to notice flaws.  In fact, the comparison I mentioned between Blu-ray and satellite may not have been noticeable on a smaller screen.

 

I also have a 2.35:1 screen and am glad I made that choice (thanks to recommendations from this forum).  However, it is really going to depend on whether you are limited in height or width.  For me I was more limited in height so I got the 2.35:1 screen.  If you are more limited in width, get the largest 16:9 screen you can fit.  Otherwise, get the largest 2.35:1 screen you can fit (note: to take advantage of a 2.35:1 screen, you're going to want a projector that has lens shift memory -- not all projectors have this).

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   I have the Benq HT 2050 that RoboKlipsch mentioned.  Bought it for $599 last year on black Friday.  I just couldn't pass up that deal!  I am currently running it in a dark basement with a 120" screen.  The color and contrast is probably not quite as good as the 50" Panasonic plasma it replaced, but the size more than makes up for it.  I could never go back to a small screen for my main home theater.  The huge screen size just makes everything so immersive.  There is just no comparison to a smaller screen.  My plan is to eventually upgrade to a better unit once UHD projectors become more affordable.

    In a dark room, the picture quality and brightness are excellent.  If you turn the lights on, it all goes away.  Projectors are not suitable as a TV replacement in a regular room.  You must have a light controlled environment to even consider using one.  However, if you can make it work, they are the only way to go.  Kind of like going from small bookshelf speakers to K-horns or La Scalas.  Everything is just so much bigger and more real!

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I have an Epson 3500 on a 120" screen and I'll echo what others have said - the source material is crucial. Regular cable looks worse on my projector than the LED TV next to it. For movies, I went from a PS3 fatty for Blu Rays to a X Box One X with 4K and what a difference that made. Blade Runner 2049 in 4K looked incredible! 

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Screen color affects the overall picture too. Most use white screens but mine is grey for deeper blacks

 

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If I could have a projector in every room, that wood be the way to go...  You don't have lighting problems with good projectors and screens.  They can be a less costly venture.  BenQ all the way!

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The OP didn't mention picture size.  There are a lot of huge TVs coming out right now that would fit the bill up to 80" and be cost competitive with a decent projector.  I have a 117" screen and I'm very happy with my projector, but if I was short on wall space I would look closely at one of the new tvs.  The other consideration is ambient light, which a large screen tv would be an advantage if you can't do a bat cave. 

 

 

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Biggest difference is the black levels, the new TV's especially OLED have insane black levels that you can't get in even the nicest projectors.  

 

Brightness is also an issue although not nearly as much.  

 

Texture on acoustically transparent screens can be an issue with bright white scenes.  

 

Otherwise if a good projector is displaying a colorful scene it's just as good as any TV but more, ah what's the word, enveloping or something.  Easier to get lost in a movie with a projector.  With a TV you're still just staring at a small'ish box.  

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The one I have has a great picture Epson

PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB 2D/3D 1080p 3LCD Projector

 

Elite 2D and 3D high-definition home cinema projector with ISF calibration tools, THX certification, and Ultra Black levels.

 

The ultimate home cinema experience — immerse yourself in stunning 2D and 3D images, in Full HD 1080p, with the Pro Cinema 6030UB. Images are always rich and brilliant with 2400 lumens of colour brightness1 and 2400 lumens of white brightness1. View exquisite detail, whatever the scene, with an incredible contrast ratio up to 600,000:1. A state-of-the-art Fujinon lens ensures stunning picture uniformity, while THX display certification and ISF certification offer the most advanced video quality. The Pro Cinema 6030UB also offers efficient setup with the widest lens shift available and a full suite of intuitive features.

Up to 3x Brighter Colours with Epson*
Brilliant image quality requires high colour brightness. Epson 3LCD projectors have up to 3x Brighter Colours than leading competitive projectors.* Delivering 2400 lumens of colour brightness1 and 2400 lumens of white brightness1, the PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB uses 3LCD, 3-chip technology for brilliant images with true-to-life colour.

 

    • Projection System: Epson 3LCD, 3-chip optical engine
      Native Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
      Colour Brightness: 2400 lumens1
      White Brightness: 2400 lumens1

 

 

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On 3/7/2018 at 2:29 PM, MetropolisLakeOutfitters said:

Texture on acoustically transparent screens can be an issue with bright white scenes.

 

At about 10 to 12 feet, I have never seen the texture on my 130" true width acoustically transparent screen by Seymour, even with the brightest white.  In the occasional commercial cinema, I have seen a pattern of holes, or in Cinerama the vertical "Venetian blinds" their screens are made of.

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6 hours ago, garyrc said:

 

At about 10 to 12 feet, I have never seen the texture on my 130" true width acoustically transparent screen by Seymour, even with the brightest white.  In the occasional commercial cinema, I have seen a pattern of holes, or in Cinerama the vertical "Venetian blinds" their screens are made of.

 

Seymour changed something on the XD, the width between the lines in the weave varies so some are further apart or closer together than others.  Sometimes three in a row are wider.  When this happens I can easily see it from 15' away.  Also EluneVision is pretty bad about this, certain pale yellow or blue colors like the sky in desert landscape scenes in Star Wars and the texture stands out really bad, was pretty disappointed in that fabric because of this.  Vivid colorful scenes or night scenes are never an issue, always has to be very bright very pale solid colors.  

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20 hours ago, billybobg said:

Don't want texture?  Paint your own.   

 

Apples and oranges.  Can't fire speakers through a solid wall.  If you want acoustically transparent, there are tradeoffs, but, you get away from having a compromise of a center channel below the screen.  There's trade-offs either way.  Kind of like the old engineering adage:  good, fast, cheap... pick two.  

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