Monday, July 17, 2006

TECHNOLOGY - Digital Projectors replace Big-Screen TVs a lot of homes, anyway (including mine!). And that number increases more and more, over time.


Well, the truth is that projectors have come a loooong way since the old reel-to-reels from when my parents' or even *my* childhood!

They're smaller, quieter, and much more versatile.

Of course, the same is true of today's media. A huge reel of recording tape is much more cumbersome than a single dvd. The sound of the device spinning (whether in a built-in dvd player or an external one) is below a whisper. You can, of course, store various types of files on dvd (or cd or computer harddrive or...), as opposed to just movies.

Today's projectors can be used to display television shows, full-length movie features, video games, computer images (including surfing the web), and much more.

Many of them look like the second photo, above, but there are some that are almost as small as your hand.

Instead of paying $5,000 - $10,000 for a huge plasma screen that you'd have to hire someone to install (and re-install if you ever decide to move to a different home or rearrange your furniture), I'd suggest seriously considering a digital projector which could cost as little as a few hundred to a thousand or so dollars.

Besides, my first projector can produce images as large as 300 inches. Good luck finding an affordable 300 inch television! I remember seeing a 100 inch big-screen television (not plasma, as I recall) that was selling for $12,000, yet produced a mediocre image.

No thanks.

In fact, this is true of a lot of higher-priced televisions. "Plasma" does NOT guarantee a superior picture - especially if you're not going to sit way in the back of the room where all of the fuzzy edges seem sharper.

Of course, not all projectors are created equal, either, but they're a heck of a lot more affordable and produce amazing images (not to mention being portable; I take mine to my grandmother's house and we watch movies outside).

Television image quality is less impacted by well-lit rooms than projector images are, but these days it's less of an issue. Besides, how hard is it to close the curtains, bringing your closer to the full theater-going experience?

Here are a couple of examples of just how great projector images can look (at ~120 inches): Click to enlarge.


Doug said...

I never thought about getting a projector too much. However, in a few years when I have more room and my own place, I might be considering one. It's good to know they are good quality.

West said...

I feel you.

If, between now and then, you're ever in the market for a new television, and plan to spend a couple hundred dollars, that's probably for the best.

If you plan to spend four or five hundred, though, I'd scoop up a lower-end projector, instead.

Luke Cage said...

My brother purchased one of these bad boys last year, about the size of a small VCR. It was pretty cool. The only downside, at least with his was, it had a 2 hour limit of continuous play because the unit gets too hot. Other than that, and they figure how to get around that little thing, I'll be purchasing one myself. Great picture too!

princessdominique said...

Very interesting. I'm ready to trade my old tv in. You learn something new every day!

West said...

Luke: A 2-hour limit? I'd take that sucker back to the store, if it's not too late - maybe call the manufacturer, if it's still under warranty.

We watch movie after movie and tv show after tv show on ours. I know not all models are the same, but a two-hour time-limit sounds like a problem.

In fact, I think I've got a unit without a bulb that does something like that (when a bulb is in it, I mean). As you say, some folks are willing to work around it.

West said...

To be fair, projector bulbs last between 2000 to 4000 hours (sometimes more) depending on usage. At that time, you'd need to purchase a new bulb.

If you only use it to watch the occasional movie, it'll probably last for years.

I think I estimated, when I got my first projector (with a 2000-hr bulb), that if we watched a 2-hr movie every weekday, after work, the bulb should last about three years before it needs to be replaced.

So, if you've got a 4000-hr bulb (like my newest projector), it'll last twice as long... and maybe longer if you put it in economy mode (which usually means decreasing the 'brightness').

I still think that's a cheaper or at least an easier repair-job. Instead of throwing an entire television away (or lugging it somewhere hoping they'll repair it for less than an arm, leg, and your first-born), you can just replace a projector bulb.

The last bulb I had replaced cost about $200. Still a great deal over so many years, in my opinion.