Projector help...
December 19, 2017 1:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to buy a used projector for showing my children a Christmas slideshow of the year that has just passed. I'd also like to be able to show movies on it now and then. I'm not that bothered about it being the most up to date tech even last year - we have a Macbook Pro from 2013 so I doubt the 'source' can even send a particularly high definition image to the projector.

Would anyone be able to help me find a suitable model either on eBay UK or maybe Amazon? I don't want to buy one of the generic/unbranded ones as I think they are false economy.

I have at most £200/$270 to spend.

posted by dance to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I used to netadmin a school where most of the rooms were fitted with the Epson EMP-400W projectors that this model supersedes, and they were good.

Native resolution is 1280x800, but they will accept video at higher resolutions and downscale it. Very bright, and the short throw means you can just sit them on a table in front of the screen and still light up a large area. Three LCDs, as opposed to a DLP mirror chip, gives you video with no flicker or motion colour tearing. Only downside is that you need to keep the dust filter reasonably clean because the LCD panels don't much enjoy being cooked.

At the school we had them mounted on wall poles above the screens, but putting them on a table below instead means that any glare spot caused by a less than perfectly matte screen would only be visible to audience members roosting in the rafters.
posted by flabdablet at 4:42 AM on December 19, 2017

A lot of projectors have a limited bulb life, and replacement bulbs can be $200+
Check the estimated lifespan of the bulb, the replacement cost and availability, and if possible the bulb hours used as found in a menu option. Looks like bulbs for that epson can be had for $80ish, although a few sources were $200.
posted by Sophont at 5:52 AM on December 19, 2017

There isn't much out there that will fit your price requirements.

Wirecutter has a couple of different classes that they've looked at for projectors...but neither have much that would work for your budget: Sub $500 and Mini projectors. What's available int he UK might be different and have different pricing, but this will get you most of the way to what you want.

We use this BenQ as our everyday TV, and it's pretty fantastic. Relatively cheap, bulbs are also relatively cheap (but shipping takes forever, and they're often to have a spare on hand and order once you swap them out...their customer service is pretty atrocious). Picture quality is fantastic for the price. We just project onto a matte white swatch on our wall, no screen or anything.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:15 AM on December 19, 2017

Epson does indeed charge absolutely stupid prices for replacement lamps for most of their projectors, and the ELPLP42 lamp used by the EMP-400W and the EB-410We I linked above is not their cheapest but it's close. I used to buy those and clip bits off their housings with a pair of wirecutters to make them fit our older projectors that were supposed to take ELPLP41 lamps at about twice the price.

Aftermarket lamps from China are also available for less on eBay, if you feel like disregarding all Epson's dire if self-interested warnings about cheap lamps burning your house down. They'd had quite some years of opportunity to burn the school down by the time I left it but as far as I know it's still there.

You'll get a hell of a lot of now-and-then use out of the lamp that comes with the machine, though. These units are built for daily use in classrooms.
posted by flabdablet at 7:26 AM on December 19, 2017

A good place to find used projectors for a decent price is an IT liquidator. The better ones have stores on eBay, and some have websites but it can be difficult to track inventory.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:31 AM on December 19, 2017

My father bought me a cheap RCA projector when I was visiting for Thanksgiving. It is similar to this one:

The sound quality isn't great, but the picture is fine and would meet your needs.
posted by tacodave at 3:39 PM on December 19, 2017

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