using a projector as a TV replacement?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by chstr, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. chstr macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    I used to use a 37" hdtv with my mbp and loved it, but now I need to go bigger, at least 50 inches or so and am thinking about getting a projector. Has anyone else done this and gotten good results from a projector under 500 dollars? can you give me some ideas on projectors, I really have no idea what is good out there, thank you!
  2. jackiecanev2 macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (BB 8900: BlackBerry8900/ Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/301)

    Don't do it. There is more to a good projector setup than just a projector and $500 isn't going to get you very far. But $500 won't get you a 50" TV either so you're probably best sticking with what you've got.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I don't know if this is still as true, but it used to be that the major caveat was that projector bulbs do not last very long and their cost is a significant portion of the projector's overall cost (sort of like an inkjet printer), so if you're on a tight budget, the $500 price can be very illusory compared to the cost of a TV that can run for a number of years without consumables.

    I don't know to what extent this has changed...
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    ^ Definitely check the consumables. Bulbs are expensive.

    My wife and I had looked at getting a projector system. One bad point is the fan noise. Most projectors as they heat up need the fan to cool them down. Sure there are modes that you can use to minimize the heat and thus the fan noise. But if you want to watch a movie in a normal manner, you are going to have fan noise.

    Also, if you want a good picture with a projector, you need a screen. Projecting on your wall is okay, but onto a screen is much better. Screens can be expensive as well.
  5. yippy macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Well, to start off, doing a quick look on Newegg shows that HD projectors start at $700 and if you want 1080p you are looking at $2000-5000 for the projector. For $500 you will be getting way worse picture quality than you have now with a 37" HDTV.

    It is also true that projector bulbs can cost hundreds of dollars and need replacing every year or more. Projectors also have worse contrast ratios and require a dark room to view well.

    So unless you need the size because of bad eyes or you are trying to make your own 7' movie screen, projectors are rarely worth it. You would probably be better looking at rear projection TVs if you need a large screen for cheap. With the new micro mirros from TI they have improved significantly from what you probably would expect.
  6. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    A real key with projectors is being able to control the ambient light. So, if you've got a bunch of windows in your living/family room, a projector might not work too well (unless you never watch during the day).
  7. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Projector is great, if...

    - you have large enough room (100" screen is nice)
    - you have a light-controlled room (very dark)
    - you can afford a good projector (lots of light power)
    - you can afford a new bulb every now and then (spare is mandatory)

    Unless you're okay with these, don't do it.
  8. chstr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    thanks guys, projector seems to be too much hassle. checking craigslist for 50" tvs now
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Please remember, that bigger doesn't always mean better.
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Yup, this is me. And why I have a Sanyo PLV-Z2000.
  11. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I'm buying myself a projector as a birthday present :)

    We have no TV and usually watch DVDs on our laptops. I'm sick of the small screens, and want to see films on a glorious 6 foot wide screen.

    I'm deaf so fan noise is no problem, and I won't bother to hook it up to any sound system.

    Budget is about £500 - 700. This seems a good list of options:

    They do the InFocus X9 for about £500

    But as I may be moving house in the next year or so, I'm considering their Epson EMP-TW680 for £700 as it has large zoom and lens shift (moves an image sizeways across the wall).

    What do you think? It seems to me that I'm paying £200 extra for pretty much the same specs as the X9 but with lens shift.

    For screen, a decent manual (non electric) widescreen screen will be about £200 from the same people

    I'll run the projector off my old Powerbook or iBook. Down the line, a subwoofer under the sofa is a possibility, if it doesn't upset the neighbours.

    Feedback on this concept would be welcome.

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