Author Topic: Cheap video projectors good for "table top computer board games"  (Read 31198 times)

Offline insertnick

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I want to collect in this thread links to cheap video projectors which could be used for setups like the "table top computer board games" suggested by Wiweeyum here.

I'll start with a pretty expensive but very compact one I've found, and the game here is to find a video projector (let me say, at least 320x240 resolution) with inferior retail price. Not used stuff, I want to know if some company around is building and selling projectors which could be used for a standard setup for table top computer board games.

Get set, mark, go!

Here it is mine:

Price: $299.95
The Shirtpocket Digital Projector
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 06:06:28 AM by insertnick »



Offline insertnick

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Reply #1 on: December 20, 2008, 06:27:30 AM
Here it is another one around the same price:

Price: $299.99
ZOOMBOX DVD Entertainment Projector
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 06:30:15 AM by insertnick »



Offline Wiweeyum

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Reply #2 on: December 20, 2008, 07:36:28 AM
The first one, the Shirtpocket Digital Projector has a max projection width and height of approx. 16in. x 12in. with an unknown distance from the wall. I'm not sure if it's possible to calculate its focal length with the information given. The resolution is a solid 640x480 making the aspect ratio 4:3. The bulb is an LED rated with 30,000 hours of life, so that's pretty awesome. My concern would be whether or not the LED would cause noise interference for the wiimote. Before I got my IR pen, I used a little white LED light (visible light) pen to do the tracking on my computer monitor.

The second one, the ZOOMBOX DVD has a max projection width and height of approx: 55in. x 23in. with that focal length being 8 feet. That gives it a largest projection angle of about 32 degrees. That means that attaching the wiimote directly to the tripod would be able to capture the entire screen. The resolution is 557x234, which that makes it a screwy ratio of 10:4. It looks to only have that one resolution.

So though the ZOOMBOX DVD projector can create a larger screen, the Shirtpocket projector wins in every other way. Let's see what else is out there.

I'm a bit rusty on my math, so please correct me if my math is off. :)


~"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."~
- EF Schumacher


Offline Wiweeyum

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Reply #3 on: December 20, 2008, 08:09:16 AM
Only a few dollars more expensive is the 3M MICRO PRO PROJ-MPRO110.


At $312.42, this one seems to pack the most punch for its price. The bulb is LED, so 10,000 hours before it burns out. Apparently the quality is okay, but not stunning (who cares?). It's advertised with having a 50in. screen, so I'm sure it's pretty usable at 30-35in. That's about the right size for a board game.

The native resolution is what blows me away at 1280x768! No bad at all in a little hand held projector. That's better than my computer monitor right now. :P

The biggest downside is its battery life. Though it is using a rechargable Li-ion battery, it's battery life is only about 4 to 6 hours. I wonder if it can be plugged in whilst playing?

EDIT:
Found out it can operate off of AC when plugged in. That's nice to know. Also, after a bit of researching, it's been hard to get a straight answer as to whether it's resolution is 640x480 or the HD 1280x768. I guess XGA outputs higher resolution or something... but it only has a native resolution of 640x480? I don't get it.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 10:30:57 AM by Wiweeyum »


~"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."~
- EF Schumacher


Offline insertnick

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Reply #4 on: December 22, 2008, 01:13:01 PM
This entry is not a projector, but something that could inspire someone.

The model "LCD25L" (second on first row) in this page is an already stripped little LCD monitor with controller.

With some optics (lenses, fresnels, etc.), and a high-luminosity led matrix behind, it should project a nice 480x234 image on our table.

The problem with high-luminosity leds matrix is heat, and cost: but the LCD25L is 2.5", pretty small. If we want to go smaller (I suggest not), with a resolution of 280x220 there's also the "LCD18L" model, 1.8".

So maybe the overall cost of a DIY projector with the LCD25L could go under $200?
I've found this site selling it; they say regular price is $179.95, and sell for $119.99.

But, this kind of path is definitely hard to follow, and we don't know if it's feasible and cheap enough. I'd prefer to find someone selling a very cheap projector, even with very low res, rather low luminosity, but ready to go for everyone.

It would be also a nice atmosphere to play a table top computer board game with friends around the table in a low-light ambient, so high luminosity of the projector is not mandatory.



Offline Wiweeyum

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Reply #5 on: December 22, 2008, 02:12:06 PM
What about using a cheap LCD as the screen for prototypes? Preferably a larger one with an alright resolution. It wouldn't be too feasible as a final product, but if you had a cheap LCD monitor that you could lay down on the floor with some supports to keep it from rocking, it could work to run some prototypes easily.

Here at newegg.com I found the cheapest retail monitor for $99. The board would be small, meaning this one is a 17" widescreen, but the resolution is good at 1440x900 native.


Like I said, not the best as far as final application, but would be nice to have a cheap way to prototype. Using a monitor specifically for tablet PC stuff would be alright.

Since it's not a final thing though and only used for prototypes, getting a cheapo used monitor offa ebay or something would be just fine so long as it worked. :)



~"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."~
- EF Schumacher


Offline insertnick

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Reply #6 on: December 28, 2008, 06:11:36 PM
Here it is a nice one:

Epoq Pico Cube Worlds Smallest Production Video Projector
Price: $299.95 - discounted $189.95 - discounts for orders of more than one






Offline Wiweeyum

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Reply #7 on: December 28, 2008, 11:26:30 PM
Ohh! So far this is my favorite.

LED lamp, so no bulb changing. Holiday discount, so if you're gonna grab it, do it quick.


~"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."~
- EF Schumacher


Offline Wiweeyum

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Reply #8 on: December 29, 2008, 02:31:51 AM
Check HERE. This is the BeamBox W-1 LCoS.


This is $350 for about the same functionality of the Epoq in the post above. It does have a bit better range, but the price is not very happy. The fifty dollars more it costs is not too great.


~"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."~
- EF Schumacher


Offline insertnick

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Reply #9 on: December 29, 2008, 06:47:34 PM
Here it is a cheap one with 640x480 resolution...

Divistar PX3140
Price: € 189.90 ($ 264.90)



Offline jmitchell

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Reply #10 on: December 31, 2008, 03:03:19 PM
Short and dirty review of the 3M MICRO PRO PROJ-MPRO110:

I just received and tried out this little projector and was extremely disappointed. Of course I didn't have the highest of expectations but what few expectations I had were sadly not met. This reminds me of the commercial projectors sold about 10 years ago - very low resolution and dim. Even with the room almost dark, I still had to almost squint.

My recommendation: get a flat screen LCD monitor and place a good piece of quality plexi over the top of it framed in nicely underneath to make a table. You can still mount the wiimote above. Plus there are no shadows.

The 3M microprojector is more of a toy right now but still at $300, the price I paid from B&H, a pricey toy.

Wiimote Whiteboard Expert and seller - http://penteractive.us


Offline Wiweeyum

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Reply #11 on: December 31, 2008, 03:08:24 PM
If I sent you an image to display with it in a dark room, could you take a picture of the projected screen (no flash of course) and post it for us to see? Thanks for the review.




~"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."~
- EF Schumacher


Offline insertnick

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Reply #12 on: January 01, 2009, 08:22:07 AM
If I sent you an image to display with it in a dark room, could you take a picture of the projected screen (no flash of course) and post it for us to see? Thanks for the review.

I think it would be useless, as by photo we can't catch it: it should be seen live.
Btw, if you are able to take a photo with the following requirements, it would be good:

1) full white projection surface; the better would be a projection screen (it's made of something that enhances light), otherwise specify what's the material if possible

2) enough ambient light to see the details of a black text on a white paper: so in the photo you should have side by side the paper with - let's say - a big "A" printed on it, and a small portion of the projection image; try positioning the image on the screen in such a way that you have some colours or at least white and black in the photo.

If you think this is too much trouble, just don't do it because I know the result cannot be a good mean of judgement. Otherwise, thank you very much!



Offline jmitchell

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Reply #13 on: January 01, 2009, 09:14:25 AM
Well I have already sent it back for a refund. Sorry. I think these micro projectors are more novelty gadgets right now. Hopefully they will become useful soon.

Wiimote Whiteboard Expert and seller - http://penteractive.us


Offline insertnick

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Reply #14 on: January 01, 2009, 10:15:29 AM
Here I've found this one:



Sharper Image Entertainment Projector
Price: $109.99


There's also a better model but price is $179.99.