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Where Can I See Projector Demos?

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Old 10-03-2004, 09:35 AM   #1  
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Default Where Can I See Projector Demos?

Hello,
I am building a home theater in what used to be the living room. My budget for the projector is up to $5000. I have been watching projectors improve while the prices fall for the last couple of years. My problem is that I canít find any demonstration rooms in which to compare projectors. Does anyone know of any demo/showrooms in Southern California?

I plan to use a 16:9 native WXGA projector. Until last month, DLP seemed to have the advantage but at higher cost. With the latest Panasonic (PT-AE700U) and Sony (VPL-HS51) LCD units, the scale seems to be tipping back to LCD.

The new Panasonic at a street price of $2200 seems too good to pass up. It also has a 2:1 zoom lens that will allow me to mount the projector in the wall opposite the screen (100 inch diag. at 19 foot throw). Most other projectors would require a mid-room pole mount or a very expensive long throw lens to achieve these dimensions.

The Sony has the higher rated contrast ratio of 6000:1 vs. 2000:1, but with no street price discounts yet, is priced $1300 higher than the Panasonic. It also has only a 1.6:1 zoom lens, which means either I go up to 125 inch diag. or use the dreaded ceiling pole mount.

I welcome opinions from anyone who has seen both of these projectors.
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Old 10-03-2004, 04:41 PM   #2  
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Trying to find demo showrooms of a properly calibrated front projector with various lighting setups is going to be very hard to find. Most of us that now enjoy these machines had to do a lot of research on the web and find online vendors and/or local specialty A/V shops to get demo units to take home. I was fortunate to have the ability to test a Panny AE500 loaner from an online vendor based in Oregon and the Sony HS20 from a local A/V shop. After some negotiating, both gave me a return policy of 15 hours maximum of lamp useage. This made it possible for me to really decide on a projector based on my HT room's environment. I'm sure you're reason for posting is cause you've already realized that the Best Buy, Good Guys and Circuit Citys of the world don't really have proper demos of front projectors. You may be lucky to find another electronics superstore that has done its homework and offers valuable demos of FPs, but I doubt it. Sounds like you've done some research on the FPs you prefer...now try and see if you can find vendors that will loan you those units to try out. Of course the two units you mentioned are brand new and not yet available
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Old 10-04-2004, 07:32 AM   #3  
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I know what you mean. I found a Sony HS20 set up at a Fry's but it was useless. The screen was only 48" and they had it set up in the aisle under bright light. Worst of all I had to show the associate how select the right input to play a DVD.

I see from another thread you chose the Sony HS20 over the Panny AE500. Would you mind elaborating on the pros and cons of each?
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Old 10-04-2004, 02:21 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamsocb
...I see from another thread you chose the Sony HS20 over the Panny AE500. Would you mind elaborating on the pros and cons of each?
I went with the HS20 because of several reasons that are highlighted on Projector Central's HS20 review and I compared those with the reviews for Panny's AE500 and Sanyo's Z2. However my decision was a very difficult one and I ended up spending more for the HS20, but here's why:

- two digital inputs (DVI/HDMI) that I can connect my Bravo D1 DVD player and Samsung HD receiver without using switch boxes.
- higher native resolution that displayed HDTV better than the others.
- less instances of vertical banding reported on AVS forum compared to the AE500 and Z2.
- the throw distance/image size was perfect for my room without any zooming required.
- strong user reviews on Projector Central
- finally, my own demo'g of this unit vs. the AE500. The HS20 just looked better with HDTV than the Panny and that was more important than DVDs since I plan on still having this projector when HD DVD players are out. I saw no SDE sitting from as close as 1.2x screen width! DVD performance was equal to the Panny.

I have had no problems whatsoever so far and I've got about 600 hours logged on the lamp after six months.
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:14 AM   #5  
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Thanks,

I am a month or two away from buying the projector. By then I hope there is more information available.
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:22 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamsocb
...I am a month or two away from buying the projector. By then I hope there is more information available.
What do you mean by more information? I hope you're not waiting for more show room demos being setup in a month or two. I don't see that happening. Anyway, good luck!
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Old 10-10-2004, 11:14 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borromini
What do you mean by more information? I hope you're not waiting for more show room demos being setup in a month or two. I don't see that happening. Anyway, good luck!
No, I was referring to end user reviews. Most of the reviews I have seen on the two new units appear to be from a "virtual" experience. I doubt if there are any real end-users, Considering neither the Sony HS51 nor Panny AE700 are shipping yet.
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Old 10-11-2004, 07:16 AM   #8  
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Projector Central just posted their editorial review of the AE700. A positive review. You should start seeing User Reviews around November/December.
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Old 11-05-2004, 08:59 AM   #9  
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I found a place in SoCal...

Projector Solutions in San Clemente has one available for demo. I will drive down there tomorrow morning to check it out.

If I like it, I will take one home.
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:39 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamsocb
I found a place in SoCal...

Projector Solutions in San Clemente has one available for demo. I will drive down there tomorrow morning to check it out.

If I like it, I will take one home.

adamsocb,

So what was the verdict. I too am looking for an AE700 would like to hear what you found with the demo
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:03 PM   #11  
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I'm sorry guys.I'm new to this forum but very few of you even consider CRT projectors.Is it the size and weight or are you seeing full Blacks,no rainbow's and you think digital projectors are just better ?
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Old 02-17-2005, 10:11 AM   #12  
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I've seen the AE700 and it has a very nice picture. I myself have the Sanyo PLV-Z3 and I'd say the two compare quite well with each other. I went with the Z3 for the warranty and it met my needs as far as throw distance..etc.

I didn't compare the two side by side and didn't see the AE700 with HD, but it looked great with Finding Nemo on DVD.
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:53 PM   #13  
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The biggest negative with rear projector HDTV's is the bulk of the TV. However. its biggest positive is cost, they are VERY cheap considering the size of screen. The quality of picture can be excellent, and only a slight downgrade from the best flat panels, if any.
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:38 AM   #14  
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I think Swordfish was asking about CRT front projectors. As to his question, not many folks are looking at CRT front projectors these days. Way too bulky and serious convergence calibration is required from time to time. Although the contrast on CRTs are incredible, the latest LCD and DLP projectors have some outstanding features and price/performance value. I myself will be sticking with digital projectors.
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