A cheaper alternative: Office/Home theater Projector

Posted: June 29, 2006 in Hardware Reviews

Recently on a dual quest to find a reasonably priced, and decent performance projector, one for the office and one for the master bedroom at home, I decided I would maybe try a DIY projector kit. Well 30 minutes later, after reading the how to’s, I decided that wasn’t the best idea. I didn’t want to have to program (or diagnose) anything else in my home, and these days, I like things to be simple, with Windows xp, Vista, Suse, Knoppix, Smoothwall, OSX, I have plenty of things to update and troubleshoot, a new projector, heck, I just want it to w-o-r-k. So I re-geared my goal, and decided to find a nice projector I could buy retail, and hopefully be under $1000 for a single unit. With projectors, majority are in the $750-$1500 price range for really nice performing projectors. But being a techie, I knew that the cost a replacement bulb would have to be researched as well…You see, if your not familiar with projectors, while they offer good performance for meetings, seminars, and in home, an widescreen movie, the bulbs lifespan is relatively short.

I found that when a projector was cheaper in price, the bulb was pricier, and vice versa. A cheap bulb was around $120, and cheap meaning it wasn’t the best the unit could handle, or didn’t produce as many lumens (not as bright of an image). I called a buddy of mine who owns a company that does “Smarthomes” digitally upgrading and renovating houses to bring them into the next century. He reffered me to this site : www.lumenlab.com/pm_projector.php , where lo and behold, there was a $500 projector! Now I was very skeptical at first and thought, “shit I didn’t even find decent ones on ebay for this price, how could this be any good?” . Well great things come in small packages (*sometimes) and this is one of them. First off the specs are “as good” if not better than majority of the higher end performance projectors than I had been looking at. It has AV, S-Video, TV (coax) and VGA pc inputs , which is quiet a few more than some of the other ones. It comes with a remote control and tv tuner, which on others was an accessory. And best of all, the lamp (bulb) costs only $30.00 to replace it.

Now Im not a fan of cheap things, unless its cheap, and yet top of the line, which normally, never cross each others path. But in this case, I settled for it, and when I recieved the projectors I wasn’t dissapointed at all. For the office it works perfectly, and for the home even better. I would have to say the only “odd” thing I could say about it, is the contrast is rated at 350:1, which may seem low to most standards (common LCDs and Plasmas are up to 10,000:1 ratio) but for some reason, its much brighter than its rated. I understand on the website it says that most manufacturers specs on their projectors are grossly inflated, and that they just used “actual specs”.. I guess that makes sense.

  1. Dave

    Interesting topic… I’m working in this industry myself and I don’t agree about this in 100%, but I added your page to my bookmarks and hope to see more interesting articles in the future

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