Discuss Your Gaming Environments and AV Setups
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Erik_Twice
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Projectors: Yes or no?

by Erik_Twice Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:15 am

Projectors are seen by many as providing the ultimate gaming setup yet I think that most are not convinced of that being true. By nature projectors are softer than a CRT and require lights to be turned off which is a drawback but, on the other hand, they can create an unrivaled experience if properly set up.

Personally, I'm thorn because they are great for many PC games (Eg. shooters) but see off for small arcade games or shmups.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Exhuminator
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by Exhuminator Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:02 am

A quality projector projecting onto a quality screen (with a thick black border) under quality lighting is an amazing experience. I used to hang out with a guy who had such a setup, his was projected to 100" and was glorious. We beat many a game together on that size projection, including lots of MAME titles. His setup never looked fuzzy, the picture was always crystal clear without edge bleeding or anything.

He also spent thousands of dollars on that setup, and had to build special equipment in his living room to accommodate it. He also had to deal with a lot of maintenance issues, such as dimming projector bulbs and aging hue-tint slides in the projector itself that had to be replaced periodically. I don't know what all he went through but I know it was a lot more continuous maintenance than say a large screen HDTV is.

The way I feel about it is; if you've got a lot of people doing local same screen gaming with you, a projector is a huge boon. If you want to be immersed in your home movie viewing, it's worth it as well. But if you're just playing games by yourself, a nice large conventional HDTV does just fine, and is a lot less expensive or maintenance inducing than a quality projector.
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by CRTGAMER Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:01 am

How much do replacement lamps cost? Will the projected imagery "upscaled" to a screen or wall be not quite crystal clear compared to HD screen and dim? Both of these issues are what killed rear projection TVs though I imagine the portable projector lamps should not cost as much. That said, the upscale on some projectors are actually pretty good, a good option for a party.
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by Exhuminator Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:02 am

CRTGAMER wrote:That said, the upscale on some projectors are actually pretty good, a good option for a party.

Yeah, I forgot about that aspect. I remember one of the reasons the projector my friend bought was so expensive was because it had a really great internal upscaler.
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by samsonlonghair Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:57 am

Four or five years ago I bought one of those cheap projectors marketed towards kids. It was called "eye clops". I only paid thirty dollars because it was on sale. Call it an impulse purchase. It only worked in the dark of course. The geometry was totally off. Me and a couple buddies played drunken Soul Calibur II on the ceiling. Despite the poor build quality of the projector, it was still tons of fun. I damn sure wouldn't use that thing as my primary monitor, but it was a neat gimmick for the moment. After a few years of intermittent use, the "eye clops" finally crapped out. I don't regret wasting thirty dollars on it for the fun it gave me.
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by Anapan Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:10 pm

My brother had one set up at his place for his kids. We put the setup together for a bit under $500 by buying a used LCD projector with a screen at a great deal. The 96" picture was very clear when focussed correctly, and playing games on it was great. The main drawback was that the black was equivalent to the ambient light. Replacement bulbs were quite expensive, and my niece's cat's hair somehow made it to the roof and clogged the filter often. One time when my brother and I were out of town for a long job the filter wasn't cleaned and someone left it on for too long. It melted the internal LCD a bit and the color was never the same. Shortly after we went out of town again, and the bulb burnt out and caused a bit more damage so we took it down. If properly maintained they really are awesome, but the bulb replacement gets to be pretty expensive. The cost of the bulb is proportional to the lumens the projector puts out, and that's ultimately the contrast as the brightness offsets the lack of darkness unless you completely darken the room. There are of course different types. A huge CRT-based one would be the ultimate setup, but LCD is much cheaper.
A front projector is so much better than rear projection. You also get to choose how bright the projected image is based on how big you project the image (the distance from the screen your projector is located). We didn't have any problems with geometry or anything. The optics were really easy to set up.
I'd never choose one over a Plasma, but if you want to play real-life-sized mario, it's your only option.
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by fastbilly1 Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:18 pm

The first question is do you have the space for a setup and the time to learn to set it up. Like Exhuminator said, they are wickedly awesome if setup right, but if you cant mount a screen or projector, things get complicated quickly. Light control is also a major factor. You can mitigate it with more lumens or blackout curtains, but if you are renting and cannot hang curtains, this becomes a problem. Not all games go well on a projector - shmups become more difficult since you have to move your head to see the entire stage. But Adventure games are epic in scope. Witcher 2 and 3 on a projector is like taking part in a movie.

I have my home theater setup with a LED projector (Benq GP1), at the distance it projects, I get a good 8ft 4:3 image with slightly curved and soft corners (issue with how the LED projector works) but they are easily forgotten as you watch a movie. My LED projector was adequate when I lived in a big city, but now that I live in the sticks there are no lights nearby - the closest street light is five houses away. So now that 200 lumen projector can project a 20ft screen outside and it looks as good as my 3300 lumen projector (EIKI LC-X986) did on the a similar setup in the city.

I am a big fan of LED projectors for their super long life (Ive logged almost 10k hours on mine with another 20kish to go on it), ease of travel (mine has gone all over the USA), and they start and stop almost instantly. But if you cannot control your room, and live with the soft focus corners, dont buy one. Also LED projectors will lose focus as they heat up (takes about 5 minutes on mine) I made some stoppers to hold the focus at the point right for my setup it lives in now, but that may sound crazy.

The 4:3 setup was because the projector is from 2008 and I used it alot with my Wii and my old dvd player. Luckily the soft corners go away when letterboxing a film so it is ideal for my setup. But at the end of the day when you are watching a bluray or playing a game, on an 74ish or 96inch screen with surround sound, everything starts to fade away.

Edit:
anapan brings up a good point about CRT projectors. DO NOT BUY ONE IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Yes a properly calibrated Sony G90 with a Monome HDMI card is the best way you can view 1080p footage, period. But if one of your three tubes is off by a fraction of a hair, it all goes to crap. They are also loud, big, and heavy. I wanted a G90 for along time, found a G70 for sale locally with new CRTs. Went to go look at it, 250lbs and the size of a minifridge. I am not joking:
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by 8bit Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:22 pm

I freaking loved playing games on a projector for many years in college. I played a ton of Halo 3, CoD, and my personal favorite on the big screen, Geometry Wars! You do need to eliminate as much ambient light as possible for the best experience but it's so worth it to do so. I wouldn't want a projector as my main screen but as a second screen option for movies and gaming at night, its unbeatable.

This reminds me that mjmjr bought my old projector at last years charity auction. I hope its been getting some good use still!
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Erik_Twice
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by Erik_Twice Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:25 pm

Anapan wrote:A huge CRT-based one would be the ultimate setup, but LCD is much cheaper.

Aren't old CRT projectors quite cheap now because they are common and demand is low? I remember a guy who owns a Galaxian 3 cab got two new projectors for it for 90$ and the specs required for the machine were pretty high.

He did mention that geometry was a pain in the ass, though having two callibrate two projectors playing side by side probably played into it :lol:
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Re: Projectors: Yes or no?

by fastbilly1 Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:03 pm

Erik_Twice wrote:
Anapan wrote:A huge CRT-based one would be the ultimate setup, but LCD is much cheaper.

Aren't old CRT projectors quite cheap now because they are common and demand is low? I remember a guy who owns a Galaxian 3 cab got two new projectors for it for 90$ and the specs required for the machine were pretty high.

He did mention that geometry was a pain in the ass, though having two callibrate two projectors playing side by side probably played into it :lol:

If you want a soso one, yes - sub $800. If you want a good one, they easily reach up to 6k modded out, some will go for 10k+. Now those expensive ones have 9inch crts, hdmi input, and low hour tubes that have been professionally serviced. There is a Sony G90 on ebay right now for 6k before shipping.
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