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Discussion Starter #1
Can you guys help me what is out there these days for letterbox projectors?
I know of the Panasonic ae4000 but was hoping for a cheap alternative.
I have a Mitsubishi HC4900 and when the bulb goes or if I sell it, I want to jump to a 2.35:1 150" fixed screen setup.
 

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Greetings

Inexpensive is a relative term. A JVC THX projector for $5000 is inexpensive and a great deal.

A 5 year old Sanyo projector that sold for $17000 now selling for $1000 is too expensive ..

All you need is a projector that does vertical stretch ... and looking at the specs/manual of most projectors will tell you if they do that or not. Of note though ... 2.35 set ups are great but they have a number of down sides too. Other than the Panasonic with lens memory ... any unit that does the stretch will kill 50% of the resolution coming from the disc. 1080p films become 720p quality when anamorphic lenses are used. ... Add to that the bowing effect ... and further distortion of more optical glass in the image path.

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I just shift the image up on my Optoma projector and then raise my electric screen to frame the 2.35:1 image properly; poor's man version I suppose.
 

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Greetings

I just built black mattes and magnetically clip them to the screen to mask out the black bars. A $40 solution ... :)

regards
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Micheal I did not know that. Does the same apply for the ae4000?
I built my 20x30 home theater with a 128" fixed frame screen and built boxes around my front L&R speakers. I was limited by height to the 128" screen but if I go letterbox, I can get a 150" screen.

P.S> By inexpensive I mean sub $2000 range. Hard to justify replacing a 1080p LCD projector right now so it has to be a good price. It seems like the Epson 8350 can do it but if I lose image quality at the same, that is not so cool.
 

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Only projectors that do lens memory can avoid the resolution loss ... which happens when you stretch the image (and then unstretch it with the lens.) The processing kills the resolution.

On the Panny, resolution is still lost to the black bars ... (obvious) but it retains the 1:1 pixel mapping and the resulting image contains just more than 1.5 million pixels of detail ... the same as always. There is only 1.5 million pixels of detail on the disc anyway since the black bars are hard encoded.

Be careful though ... the screen sizes that you are throwing about are really on the high side ... and the light output from the projectors becomes a big issue. Just because a projector company says the unit can throw an image up to 200 inches does not mean that the brightness of the 200 inch image is anywhere as bright as a 92" image.

If you make the image too big, then be prepared to swap out the bulb every 1000 hours instead of 2000 or 3000 hours. Light output from a typical bulb can fall by 30 to 50% by the time it reaches 60-70% of its rated life span.

regards
 
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