Q: The layout of the furnished apartment we are renting does not have a good place to put a flat-screen television that is big enough to satisfy us. However, there is a table where the cable box and our Blu-ray player could go, and if I put a projector there, it could project a 10-foot-diagonal image on a plain, white wall across the room.
With projectors becoming so affordable, it got me pondering this, especially because we watch a lot of movies. Do you think this is a viable option, even if we can’t completely darken the room in the daytime? If so, which projector would you recommend?
A: It is definitely a viable option. Without a dedicated screen and a fully dark room, a projector will not be able to reproduce the colors and sharpness of a flat-panel TV. But a 10-foot-diagonal picture makes up for a lot of other shortcomings. I know because I’ve done it. I was surprised at how well the image from broadcast television held up in the daytime when being projected on a wall. Of course, playing Blu-ray movies after dark made the experience worlds better, and quite cinematic.
The projector I used was an Optoma HD142x 1080p DLP. It has since been replaced by the HD143x, which retails for $489 (optoma.com) and it is my top projector recommendation in its class. To use it, connect the cable box and Blu-ray player to the projector with HDMI cables. There’s one hitch: The speaker in the projector is very weak, so you should plan on using a separate speaker with it. There is an audio output on the back of the projector that you can use with the auxiliary input of a powered speaker to yield better sound.
CD player discounted
Q: I read your column recommending the $299 Emotiva CD100 CD player, but I couldn’t find it on the Emotiva website and wonder if it’s been discontinued. However, when I was on the website I did see that their top-of-the-line CD player, the ERC-3, has been discounted from $599 to $499. At that price it looks to be a good value, and I like the idea of having the best.
My system has an 80-watt NAD integrated amplifier and Ruark Epilog bookshelf speakers. Do you think the ERC-3 would be a good fit?
A: First, the Emotiva CD100 has not been discontinued. I don’t know why you couldn’t find it on the website (emotiva.com), but it’s there and available for ordering. That being said, the ERC-3 is an excellent player, and Emotiva’s year-end promotions make it even more attractive. Until Dec. 31, if you spend $500, you get a $100 credit on Emotiva’s online store, to be applied to your next purchase. So, if you buy the ERC-3 for $499 and add a $3.50 connecting cable, you will be over the $500 mark and get the $100 credit.
The credit must be used within six months of the issue date. In your case I would use it toward Emotiva’s $299 Airmotiv B1 bookshelf speakers. Your Ruark speakers were good for their time, but the Airmotiv’s are noticeably superior and are a better match to the Emotiva CD player and NAD amplifier.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.