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Projectors

Discussion in 'High Definition Displays' started by Greg Alsobrook, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. Jun 3, 2009 #1 of 41
    Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

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    I'm helping my mom put together a home theater setup, and need a little advice. We're looking at projectors, but I know little to nothing about them... so I'd like a little input.

    1. Brand/Model recommendations
    2. What is an acceptable lumen rating? (definitely want bright and vibrant!)
    3. Screen recommendations
    4. What's important to look for in a screen?
    5. Any other tips... :)

    Thanks in advance for any input!
     
  2. Jun 3, 2009 #2 of 41
    Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

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    Also.. It may be beneficial to note that the room is an "add-on" over a garage, and only has one small window that can be totally blocked... and there won't be any light from any other rooms... So the room will be very dark...
     
  3. Jun 3, 2009 #3 of 41
    Richard King

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  4. Jun 3, 2009 #4 of 41
    spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

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    Greg,

    Your mothers budget (screen and projector) is the most imortant piece of information. I can recommend a nice set up if I have that figure.
     
  5. Jun 3, 2009 #5 of 41
    hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely true.

    The good news is that projectors (even pretty good ones), now cost 1/3 or less of what they did just 3-4 years ago....and with even better specs.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2009 #6 of 41
    Zepes

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    +1 on the budget requirement
     
  7. Jun 3, 2009 #7 of 41
    Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

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    Sorry guys... Probably should have included that... :)

    I'd say somewhere around 3k....
     
  8. Jun 3, 2009 #8 of 41
    BattleZone

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    Other important pieces of information:

    - Screen size desired (diagonal inches) and aspect ratio?
    - Distance from projector to screen?
    - Type of screen? (This runs from projecting right on the wall to a pull-down screen to a motorized screen to a fixed screen.)

    Is the $3,000 budget all-inclusive (projector, mount, screen, cabling, installation), or just for the projector itself?

    Again, you can go as simple as buying a projector, setting in on a pile of boxes in the back of the room, and running an HDMI cable across the floor (this allows you to spend all the money on the projector), all the way to a fully integrated install ($$$$), or somewhere in between.

    http://www.projectorcentral.com/

    http://www.projectorreviews.com/

    http://www.projectorscreenstore.com/
     
  9. Jun 3, 2009 #9 of 41
    spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

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    The top projector in that price range (by far) is the Panasonic PT-AE3000U. You can get it for $2500, which will leave you $500 for a screen. If you want to stretch the budget slightly, I'd go for a Carada Brilliant White screen. If you don't, then look to a DIY option.

    If they want to increase the budget to $5000, they could consider the JVC DLA-RS10, but I wouldn't look at anything else.
     
  10. Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

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    -Not sure what we can get away with on screen size. Viewing distance is only around 20 feet, so we don't want to go too big... What do you guys think? What is the "typical" aspect ratio for a setup like this? 1.78 to 1?

    -Distance from projector to screen will be about 15-18 feet...

    -I'm not set on this... I'm open for suggestions... I would rather spend a little more money on a nicer screen than money for motorization... A fixed screen with a custom frame around it would probably be the best solution.

    The 3000 budget is projector, mount, and screen... Cabling and installation is taken care of...
     
  11. Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

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    The Panasonic is the one I kept coming back to when doing my research... It has good reviews and seemed like the best bang for the buck... And I think you just confirmed that...

    Any other screens to consider?

    And any reason to do Brilliant White over the "classic cinema" or the "high contrast grey"? Definitely want the brightest and most vibrant...

    Thanks! :)
     
  12. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

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    You can go pretty big from 20' away. I sit 13' away from my 126" screen (16:9). The standard aspect ratio is 16:9 (1.78:1), but that's starting to change and is largely dependent upon what you normally watch. If it's nothing buy HDTV, then 16:9 is fine. If it's a lot of DVD's or Blu Ray's, then 2.35:1 (or 2.40:1) makes more sense. It makes even more sense with the Panny 3000 since you can change aspect ratios with the touch of a button. I'd strongly consider a scope screen and then just watch 16:9 material with black bars on each side.

    From 15' - 18' you can have a screen from 75" - 180" (16:9 diagonal), so it's pretty flexible. Unless you have to have a motorized screen, fixed frame is usually the best option. Mounts aren't that expensive, but if possible, you could also shelf mount the projector on the back wall (that's how my Panny 700 is mounted). All you have to do is spend $20 to build a shelf.

    A grey screen will increase the blacks, but it will sacrifice the brightness. with a throw of more than 15', I think you'll want the added "pop" that a BW screen will give you (higher gain screen = higher brightness). The blacks won't be as black as they would be on a classic (or grey), but the added contrast perception will more than make up for it IMO.
     
  13. Richard King

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    Greg...
    My seating area is about 14' from the screen. The screen is 98" diagonal (perfect for the 4' high material I mentioned above). My projector is an Optoma HD7300. I started with an HD7100, but had 3 of them go bad so Optoma sent me a 7300 system to replace the third one. The 7300 is a 7100 with their external switcher. I'm at 4,067 hours on the lamp on this projector. I also built a DIY ceiling mount that you can see in the pictures that I posted at the site above. I used an old speaker wall mount that I had around here and a piece of Plexiglas.
     
  14. Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

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    Very sweet setup Richard! Thanks for sharing!
     
  15. Greg Alsobrook

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    Awesome info spartanstew! You guys are helping a ton so far! Let me take some of this and run with it...

    It probably won't be a lot of DVDs or Blurays... Just a couple a month (if that)... Do you think I'm better off still going with a scope screen?

    I think the 106" that you recommended would do just fine. Let's say I've decided to go with that size. Are there any other brands to look at? Or is the Carada the one to go with?

    The projector could be moved in closer so that the throw isn't ~15ft.+... Since that's the case, would you recommend moving closer and going with the cinema (or gray) screen? Or staying back and getting the higher gain? Also, I know I said I wanted "bright and vibrant"... But I don't want too bright... I guess you can always tone it down if it's too bright... but not the other way around...

    What is the recommended height of the screen?

    What are the viewing angles like? Or does it depend on the screen? There may be a couch off to the side and a pool table on the other side of the room... (it's a long room)... Which leads me to my last 2 questions (for tonight :grin:) ... Do you think there will be angle issue from the side couch or from the pool table? Will it be viewable at all from the pool table with the lights on?

    Sorry for the 20 questions... I'm also attaching my 30 second sketch of the room (don't make fun :p)

    Thanks again guys!!!
     

    Attached Files:

  16. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

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    Probably not. However, keep in mind that if they ever do start watching DVD/BD's, the image will be smaller on a 16:9 screen. Also, remember that if you have a 2.35 screen, you can still have the same 16:9 image size on it. In other words, a 16:9 screen that's 106" will be 52" high and 92" wide. You can have a scope screen that's also 52" high, but is 124" wide. When watching 16:9 material, the image will be the exact same size as it would be if you had a 106" screen. However, if watching a scope movie (even a scope movie on D*), the image can be zoomed out to fill the entire width of the screen creating a bigger image.

    Actually, I didn't recommend a 106" screen. From 20' away, I think 106" will be too small. If you'll notice on the following chart, the benefit of 1080p just starts to become noticeable on a 106" screen from 20' away. To get the full benefit of 1080p from 20' away, you need a screen that's about 130"

    [​IMG]

    That being said, you need to get a size that they'll be comfortable with. In terms of screens, there's many different brands, but Carada is generally considered the best "bang for your buck" screen. Most of the other brands will cost a lot more.


    I wouldn't move it much closer than 15' or so. You typically want the projector to be at the middle throw range for a given image size. For a 106" screen, the throw range is 10.5' - 21'. 15' is about right in the middle. I'm also not really a fan of gray screens. You can also call Carada and tell them all your details (projector, screen size, throw distance, etc.) and they'll advise you of what screen to get. They've probabably tested out the Panny 3000 on several different screens.

    When seated, your eyes should be between 1/3 - 1/2 way up the screen. So, looking at a 106" screen again, it's 52" high. The 1/3 mark would be at 17" or so. If your eyes, when seated are 36" high, then the screen would need to be about 19" off the floor, not including the border. (36-17=19). If the chairs recline, the screen can be a bit higher.

    Well, I'm not sure about viewing angles, as I don't even recall coming across that scenario before. The side of the couch shouldn't be a problem at all, but it's possible the pool table might be. As far as the lights being on, any projector will suffer when there's light in the room. They're designed to be viewed in as dark a room as possible. If you do plan on watching it occasionally with lights on then you definitely want the higher gain screen to increase the light output.
     
  17. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    In my case, I have stadium seating (two rows with a raised back row).

    My front row eye distance (eye to screen) is 14 feet 2 inches.

    My rear row eye distance is 17 feet 8 inches.

    My 106" screen is perfect for this configuration.

    I had the chance to try a smaller screen and a larger one - neither was appropriate. The smaller one diminished the depth of view and picture detail. The larger one dimished picture quality and caused a "disproportionate" view of many scenes.

    Richard King's post example of his setup is equally configured correctly for his 14 foot viewing, and reinforces these same points.

    At 15 feet, a 106" screen is likely optimum, although a 98" screen would work.

    From 20 feet, a 116" diagonal screen would be best.

    You are absolutely correct that distance makes a difference. We engaged 3 different audio/video experts first to solicit their opinions, and then I also did my research as well. All 4 of us came to the same 106" size conclusion.

    In the end, its important to note that most "experts" will tell you that these are "guidelines" and/or "recommendations" based on years of viewing feedback, but they are not hard "rules".
     
  18. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

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    I, too, have stadium seating with similar distances. It's more complicated when you have 2 rows. In which row do you normally sit? I would think probably the front, which means 106" is perfect (for you) from 14' back, but it would not be perfect from 17.5' back. It's a compromise. You can't have the perfect screen size for both rows.

    My 126" screen is perfect for me from 13', but it's too small from my second row at 18.5'. That's why I sit in the front and guests sit in the back.

    If I didn't have the front row and always sat at he 18.5' distance, my screen would be at least 140". When watching movies, I like my entire field of vision to be filled with picture, just like when I'm at a real theater.

    But either way, we agree that 106" is too small for 20'.



    Actually, both of those statements can't be true. If a 106" screen is optimum for 15', then a 140" screen would be optimum at 20' based on ratios: (20X106)/15 = 141.

    If you're increasing your viewing distance by 33% (15' to 20'), increasing the screen size by less than 10% (106" to 116") will not produce the same visual experience.

    Additionally, problems with various screen sizes (smaller screen diminished detail, larger screen diminished quality) is usually a result of the particular projector and/or screen being used and not a limitation of screen sizes in general.

    Formulas such as 1.5 X screen height and such are in fact guidelines and recommendations. However, the chart posted above is not a recommendation by experts. It's the resolution that the human eye (based on 20/20 vision) can perceive versus screen sizes. The science behind it can be found HERE
     
  19. FogCutter

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    What a great thread!
    For my contribution I can say that the Panny AX-200 projector is rock solid, 2K lumens, nice throw ratio, beautiful performer. I have complete light control, the projector is 18.5 feet from the wall and shows a great 194" diagonal image.

    I don't like screens -- in the early days aspect ratios kept changing, and unless brightness is a big issue, projecting onto a white wall does very well. I played with various paints, but a good acrylic white with an eggshell finish looks good.

    A buddy of mine spent $25K on a system, Runco projector, exotic speakers, the works, but the $2K screen ruins it. At the time the experts were recommending a 100-110" screen, and that's what he did.

    A 100" screen is just big television, you have to press above 120" to become THEATER.
    Personally I strive for floor to ceiling, wall to wall images. Push things until one dimension or the other runs out of room, or the image falls apart -- then tweak from there.

    Part of my dislike of screens is that they look like big naked holes in the wall when the projector is off, a bare wall is just part of the room. I really think the cost of a screen is better spent upstream on the projector or the image source.

    Greg, I hope your mom enjoys her system -- this is a terrific time to buy. Your $3K system will outperform anything on the market 5-6 years ago costing $15K on up.

    Have fun.
     
  20. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

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    Many people use walls for screens (there's various paint formulas to accomplish this), but I would never project onto a wall without a border. A nice black border and a dark wall everywhere else (and a black ceiling), really changes the picture for the better. It noticeably improves the contrast and "pop" of the image.

    Just remember if using a painted wall, that the wall needs to be very smooth and it's much more susceptible to hot-spotting
     

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