Projector help...1080p? 720p?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by munckee, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    I'm thinking about a possible home entertainment setup and it appears that a projector may be my best bet given the layout and small-ish space. I don't know too much about projectors today, other than that the 1080p alternatives are EXPENSIVE.

    Can anyone help fill me in? What are the advantages/disadvantages of going with a 1080p vs. say a 720p? Will I notice THAT much difference?

    I'm not a videophile. Doesn't have to be amazing, just good. Will probably be hooked up to a mac mini and used to watch movies via dvd, bluray, and netflix streaming as well as streamed TV from the web and downloads.

    Any help would be appreciated!
  2. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You need to give more info. What size is the screen? What is the viewing distance? What source material are you watching?

    Technically you want the pixels to be 1/2 the size that human vision can resolve. In other words if you can see lines (black and white bars) spaced at one arc second apart then you need two pixels to make the lines.

    Even simper, if the screen looks "big" and you care "close" and you are looking at bluray discs then you want 1080p
  4. InfoTech11 macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2008
    1080 is a lot huger, more pixels, allows for a longer distance range.
  5. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    Screen size isn't planned yet, and could be part of the conversation. Viewing distance would be...10 feet? ish? Standard TV distance...

    Source materials were listed in the original post... DVD, bluray, streaming video, downloaded files.
  6. mcpryon2 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2008
    You should head over to and read up on what you can, there's a lot of great info on the forums there. Head for the projector forum, just be ready to do some in-depth reading.
  7. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    At the site they have a forum that has a lot of Home Theater enthusiasts
  8. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    I dig my 1080p Sanyo PLV-Z2000 projector on my 10 foot screen. Paired the Mac Mini and Plex, it makes an awesome home theater setup.
  10. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    1080 might be good if you watch sports and have a large screen say 60"+.

    With movies, 720 and 1080 looks similar at viewing distance unless you pay attention to the details.
  11. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    If you're not a videophile, then it's not productive to spend an inordinate amount of money on a projector. Decide on a budget and go from there. Since you're not a videophile, you don't need 1080p. At a 10 foot distance you might or might not be able to notice a difference between 1080p and 720p, but so what? You're not a videophile, remember. Sony makes a Bravia LCD model for around $700 (B&H) that will satisfy most people.

    Do not buy a business presentation projector for home video use. They were not designed for that and the projected image is inferior for home theater use. Don't underestimate bulb replacement costs. Bulbs burn out and are expensive to replace (typically $300+). Don't ignore noise...some projectors have fans that are louder than others. Some projectors are significantly brighter than others and you pay for that. Decide what you need in terms of brightness and buy accordingly. Be careful where you buy. B&H is reputable, but many retailers (especially on the net) are NOT and you will be very sorry for doing business with them. Check before purchasing from any retailer that you don't have good personal experience with. If the retailer isn't listed there and you don't have good personal experience with them, do not buy from them. With price, if it sounds too good to be true, it's almost always a scam.

    Oh, and stay away from AVS. You're not a videophile, so all you end up doing is overbuying and overpaying since AVS is a videophile message board.
  12. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    @fa8362 Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for! I figured I'd be ok at 720p; sounds like that's definitely the case.
  13. jackiecanev2 macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2007
    I just upgraded from a 720p to a 1080p, and the difference is both nominal and significant. I had my 720p throwing from about 12' back onto a 120" screen; I have my 1080p throwing from 15' back onto the same screen. From my normal viewing distance of about 15', they look the same. The resolution stays crisp on the 1080p to a much closer distance, and the seats that are around 10-12' look significantly better. Also, my bluray movies are completely crisp and clear.

    You can score a good 720p projector for less than 1k now, and as long as you have the viewing distance to accommodate for your desired screen size, they offer a tremendous value for the money. Also, if you're looking to be budget-conscious, a good quality screen etc is equally as important as the projector that you choose, as is sound and peripherals, blahblahblah.
  14. mcpryon2 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2008
    I would agree, AVS can definitely lead to serious e-peen syndrome and result in overbuying, but it can be helpful. There are a couple good threads in the under $3k forum that can help you know what to look for, and I recall a thread about high-end 720p vs low-end 1080p. Sorry, I don't have any links.

    You can find out some basic stuff about the technology that exists, if you want LCD or DLP, viewing distance and placement, light control, stuff like that. And, as fa8362 pointed out, make sure you don't get a business projector.

    I have a Sharp DT-510, which is 720p and throws a great image. There are some really good 720p projectors out there for decent prices. I got my Sharp on a closeout sale for $500 new from Costco. I'm pretty happy with it, I have it on a 92" screen and use it on a bigger one on occasion in the theater I where I work.

    But, yeah, I would suggest definitely looking for a decent 720p projector.

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