This is the single most expensive component in this project. It's also the
piece that makes it all possible. I followed the various projector
forums on AVS Forum for many
months before making a selection. My criteria were:
Based on my criteria and all the research I did, I chose the Sharp PG-M20X.
The basic specs as they relate to my criteria are:
- I want XGA (1024x768) as a minimum. I've seen SVGA (800x600) projectors and
the pixel structure is too evident to me. Of course, higher resolution is
almost always better (for hi-def TV someday), but the bulk of today's
projectors max out at XGA.
- I don't have complete light control in the room, but I plan
on the bulk of viewing being done at night. Even so, I like a light on
once and a while. I figured I needed at least 1000 lumens, preferably 1500+.
- The more the better. Good LCD projectors max out at about 400:1
contract ratio, with the best in the 800:1 range. DLP projectors just get
started at about 800:1 and go to about 1500:1 for really high end. Other
Technologies (LCOS) can go higher but the price goes way up.
- LCD or DLP is in my range. The two big pros/cons between these two for me
are: screendoor with LCD (a thin black grid between the pixels),
and rainbows with DLP (fast moving bright lights can produce a "rainbow" of
colors for some people). I've seen and XGA LCD projector and the screendoor
effect was evident, but may be forgotten during a movie. I was able to borrow
an XGA DLP projector with a 1x color wheel and luckily I didn't see many
rainbows unless I tried. I'd like to stick with DLP, but maybe a newer
generation with a faster color wheel.
- I don't have megabucks to spend, but I've been saving my pennies and
my wife is supportive of my hobbies (that's an understatement). I'm looking
to spend between $2K and $3K.
- The ideal projector doesn't make any noise, but given the wattage of
the bulbs in modern projectors, you have to get rid of the heat, so fans
are the norm. 30 dB is a good target, less is better. Remember, a 6 dB increase
means it's twice as loud, and a 6 dB decrease means it's half as loud.
I hit all my targets except for noise. The projector is a little louder than
I'd like, but I expect the projector lift will help
obscure it, and you quickly forget about it when you're involved with a
- Resolution: XGA
- Brightness: 1900 lumens (1500 lumens in power save mode)
- Contrast: 1000:1
- Technology: DLP with a 3x color wheel
- Cost: $2800 at AVMall
- Noise: 35 dB
Here's a picture of the unit. It's pretty small at about 12" x 8" x 3" and 5
lbs. I've been using it occasionally, on a step ladder, to watch some TV and
movies and I'm quite happy with it. The picture is sharp, colors are
wonderful, and I've paid it off already.