Home cinema’s have lately become more popular – you could put it down to reduction of costs and higher quality of systems (I believe Sony have had a 4K projector on the market for some time now although do be prepared, it is £17,000). So here’s the thing, TV’s are getting bigger in size with LG’s largest consumer television being 84″ – which is pretty massive. I went through quite a few TV’s and each time you think to yourself “if only I got the next size up”, it seems you very quickly get used to the size of your new TV.
So I went ahead and did a lot of research into projectors (at an affordable price). The whole idea appealed to me, that it’s like the cinema – without even seeing what one looks like first I planned a whole room around this projector and how everything is going to work, saved up for a little bit and started remodelling. Originally I had an Epson EH-TW6000 which was a lower price point, didn’t have 3D and so on. With a projector you need good sound, so I opted for an Onkyo receiver to manage everything sound related;
Once you start playing with the settings, you can make it sound truly amazing with the awesome low-rumbling bass like in the cinema. People might think I’ve missed a trick here but I went for 2 Dali front speakers, I chose on this occasion not to opt for 5.1 as on some sets the jump from front to rear make’s it sound odd as if the sound is muffled more on the rear speakers – the amplifier downmixes into just 2 front speakers (no separate bass as it’s simply not needed in this setup, this Dali Zensor 7′s deliver awesome bass and top quality sound – I recommend paying the price tag for this kind of sound as you don’t want either audio or video to let it down).
The amplifier takes the sound from the HDMI cable so there’s no need for extra connections, inputs all go into the amplifier and a single output goes to the projector. I recommend getting a network connected one like the Onkyo – the reason for this is when I first turned everything on, the colours were way off, it looked horrendous however the Onkyo amplifier told me it had an update and started updating – once it had restarted the colours were all fine so I guess it was some bug in the firmware – this is a priceless feature as it can add compatibility to your whole setup. As a side note, if you’re planning your setup and you want 3D, make sure all your elements are 3D compatible including your amplifier.
Like I said, I had opted for an Epson but unfortunately it had a dropped LCD panel – while apparently this is rare, it meant it had to go back – while on the subject of LCD panels, I wouldn’t recommend DLP projectors on the basis of the rainbow effect, can be an annoyance. I waited over a month for Epson to deliver a replacement at which point, I was annoyed with the service so I went and upgraded to 3D with the Panasonic PT-AT5000, at the time of purchase it had the £2,500 price tag but you can now get it for around £2,000. It’s a truly amazing projector.
I’ve got it projecting on to a 76″ screen and in eco mode – it’s a very bright projector and eco mode does save the bulb considerably (at last check ~£250 to replace). So here’s the crazy thing – you tell someone you’ve just bought a 76″ TV, they look at you as if you’re crazy, you tell someone you have a home cinema in your house on a 76″ screen, they look at you impressed. But there are some things to note, moving about a 76″ TV sounds like a nightmare, secondly it looks totally different – looking at a screen being projected on versus looking at a TV screen is a very different experience, it might sound obvious but everything has that silky cinema feel to it.
I often project TV (from Freesat HD) and it looks great – I load up Netflix all the time – here’s “Me, Myself & Irene” streaming from Netflix;
I have yet to fault the quality of the projector – so, if you’re going to do this, there are some places where you can save costs – the main place is the screen. I didn’t buy a standard white screen (which I don’t recommend anyway as white is a bad colour to project onto, makes all the blacks look grey) instead I painted one directly onto my wall using . It’s a mix of two things, a cream coloured paint and metallic auto paint – the result is a light grey that can reflect light back, it took a lot of smoothing of the wall and 6 coats but it has the desired effect, painting around the area with a black matte paint helped absorb any light giving a more professional look and for about £30.
One of the main reasons I did this is because I love films, there’s nothing like sitting at home with your feet up and enjoying your favourite films – everyone has a collection somewhere and if you’re a movie buff this is definitely what you need in your house (warning: you may never leave your home cinema room).
To keep your projector out the way, I’d definitely recommend mounting it to the ceiling – it keeps it out the way and means people don’t get in the way of the projection angle as much – once you’ve hooked everything up, mounted it then you’ll probably not need to touch it for about 5,000 running time hours to change the bulb and then that’s it until the next time.
I guess in conclusion, the choice is yours – but I’d definitely recommend a projector every time – this whole idea of them being bad quality, not very good in daylight, expensive and so on are all untrue – you need to part with a bit more than what your normally would a TV but I think in the long run you’d be a lot happier with it.