As I mentioned in my last post, the first projector I bought was the Panasonic AE1000U, an LCD based unit. The projector was decent but it wasn't bright enough. Projector technology advances quick enough that I was hoping to stay away from spending too much on a projector, since I could buy a new projector every year and probably be better off than spending $20K - $30K on a single projector today. That may not be the most popular thing to say but I believe it to be true. A lot of these AV custom installers push unnecessarily expensive (in my opinion) hardware, especially on the projector side, at you when the technology is really advancing too quickly for it to make sense. It's very much like the idea of buying a really expensive computer today with hopes of it lasting you 5 years, it just doesn't work that way.

I went to CEDIA last year to pick out what my next projector would be. Although I was blown away by the Sim2 C3X 1080, it carried a $30,000 MSRP. The Marantz VP15S1 was also interesting, but it was a single chip DLP and one of my good friends (Mike Andrawes, one of the original ATers) suffers from rainbows when watching any sort of single-chip DLP display. He'd kill me if I went with a single chip DLP projector, and the 3-chip models (e.g. Sim2) were far too expensive. If you look at used pricing on these $30K - $70K projectors a year or two after purchase, they depreciate worse than cars.


The screen with some cheap fabric installed, the good stuff remains upstairs until I'm ready to finish this thing. Say hello to my pops :)

I should, for a moment, talk about this whole concept of MSRP vs. street pricing in the consumer electronics world. The C3X 1080 projector I was talking about carries a MSRP of $30,000 but its street price is actually closer to $23,000. This is the case for most projectors I've found. I ended up with the JVC DLA-RS2, which has a MSRP of $8K but a street price of $6K. The problem is that there's no Newegg for projectors, so if you go to a local installer you'll most likely get quoted and charged MSRP, which in many cases is thousands of dollars above what you should be paying. I ordered my projector from the AV Science folks (the guys who run AVSforum), and while they don't allow for pricing discussion on the forums they actually have some of the most competitive pricing I've seen.

It's largely considered taboo to talk about street pricing publicly because the MSRPs are set so that the dealer/installer can be taken care of. Most of the CE press doesn't really talk about this discrepancy either. I'm not a big fan of that since it leaves the consumer with no advocate. If anyone out there is also interested in helping to rectify this situation, drop me an email - I've got some ideas :)


The RS2 arrives


The RS2, it's shiny


Ooh, lens-ey


The inputs

At the suggestion of Bryan Pape (the sound engineer I hired for the theater), I went with a Chief mount for the projector. I also ordered this from AVS.


This part mounts to the ceiling


The plate on the left attaches to the projector, the thing on the right latches onto the plate and allows you to adjust and level the projector along all three axes.

Originally I wanted to place the projector as close to the screen as possible, to maximize brightness. Here's a look at the mount installed on the ceiling (prior to the starfield ceiling going up):

When I first hung the projector up there I was incredibly nervous - I didn't trust the mount, or the stuff we screwed it in to. I think I stood up there holding it for a good 40 minutes before I started to trust it. The problem I had was mounting the anamorphic lens in front of it.

The ISCO III weighs about as much as the projector (15 lbs) but it's made out of metal and glass. Furthermore, it would be on a motorized sled so it could be moved in/out of the projector's path depending on whether or not I was viewing 2.35:1 content. The idea of this hunk of metal and glass, moving back and forth, suspended above everyones' heads in the theater just wasn't very comforting. I thought about making hardhats required, or keeping shovels nearby just in case there was an accident, but at the end of the day I realized that I'd feel much safer if I just tucked the projector and lens away in a soffit at the back of the room.

The end result was this:


That wood supported by metal will make sure no one dies from falling anamorphic lenses


Here's a blurry shot of the lens on its slide (on top of the bare frame for one of the rear columns)

I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to deal with the front of the hushbox, whether I'll just leave it open or maybe build a frame with a hole for the light to come out. But all I know is that I'm no longer worried about death in my theater.


Projector in the hushbox


Manny setting up the PS3 to test out the projector

Of course I had to try it out:


A distorted blue image, let's see if we can't get something a little more interesting


Ah, now we're getting somewhere - Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (HD-DVD)


Val Kilmer in KKBB


I suck at photography

This isn't calibrated, nor is the ISCO III in the way so I'm projecting a 16:9 image here. But oh am I ready for this thing to be watchable :)

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  • xxjudgmentxx - Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - link

    ...pictures load fine on firefox. Reply
  • xxjudgmentxx - Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - link

    http://projectorpeople.com/projectors/projdtls.asp...">http://projectorpeople.com/projectors/p...;itmname...

    kills that JVC unit.
    Reply
  • datobin1 - Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - link

    I believe you mentioned in your last post that you are using screen material with some gain. If this is the case, placing the PJ in the back of the room will improve the viewing cone and the added brightness from that will make up for the zoom loss.

    Theater is coming along nice and I'm drooling over your PJ
    Reply
  • tvarad - Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - link

    Not trusting the ceiling mount brought back memories of my install of a gazillion pound Runco 3-gun CRT projector eons ago. The contractor put in the mount, attached the monster and let go. In a few seconds, the projector let go of the mount. Luckily the contractor managed to catch it on the way down without any injuries (how he was able to, given it's weight, I've never figured out). We re-did the mounting with bigger and more screws and I actually did pull-ups on it as a test for a few days before I hung the projector on it again! Reply
  • Screammit - Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - link

    Yes, Talking monkey, came here from the future! ugly sucker, only ever says "ficus" Reply
  • Rogue 2 - Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - link

    I do Pro AV as my "day job" and I use those Chief mounts all the time. There are a few more parts you need to really secure it to the ceiling "right"... ceiling plate, pole, then the RPA mount. But I'd be more concerned with heat buildup in the cubbyhole.. what are you doing for ventilation? Those suckers get REAL hot after a while! Reply
  • endofwho - Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - link

    How are going to cold the hushbox(fans like 'Noctua_NF-P12')? Does VC DLA-RS2 make alot heat?
    Reply
  • taltamir - Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - link

    I buy a 1000$ every year or two. Makes much more sense then that 6000$ projector. not to mention the 30,000$ one.

    A 1000$ projector has similar quality to a TV thrice the price.
    You can very cheaply install it yourself. No need for anything fancy. Heck, at first I just projected on a blank white wall with regular paint. Its still awesome. If you then have some dough, hang some wood and paint it with a special silver reflective projector light.
    Reply
  • nubie - Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - link

    Read a review and see the difference yourself:

    http://www.projectorcentral.com/jvc_dla_rs2_home_t...">http://www.projectorcentral.com/jvc_dla_rs2_home_t...

    Personally on a budget I would just get a 720p DLP of high quality that was a little older, but my budget is currently less than 0.

    This is for those who understand why they are paying for the extra quality, and have had enough of "less than" or "good enough". considering on the amount he spent on the room this projector is a good match for this sort of environment.

    This is an enthusiast's blog after all, he didn't call it "save money on a 99" television, skip LCD's and buy a DLP projector", he is putting in a serious theater in his house, and that demanded a real projector. I frankly was amazed at the quality available at this price, but as I said, I would be fine with 720p high quality for under $1k, but I would just be watching primetime/broadcast HD and computing on it. Not building it into a theater room in my house. I don't think that he will be upset with his purchase anytime in the next few years (and as he said, the current high-end is 5 figures, he did pretty well considering), not until there is a lot of content at better than 1080p.

    I would be curious to see if he can play 4-player native 1080p on any current game system, that would be a treat. Or if he plans on PC gaming or Stereoscopic gaming/movie watching.
    Reply
  • SlingXShot - Thursday, March 27, 2008 - link

    Same here, I was able to afford only Optima 720P projecttor, I had infocus 4805 before. I found that it wasn't worth extra 500$ for the infocus 720P projector. Howeever, I can tell you that the difference was not that much between the infocus 4805 and 720P. It is brighter, etc, but if I had the money I would have gotten a 1080p projector. It is such a difference. And anyone who buys 5000$ 70 INCH TVs is just stupid, buy your self a projector... you will save few thousand dollars. Reply

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