DIY Screen Lowdown - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 15 Unread 04-19-2015, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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DIY Screen Lowdown

I've decided to add a projector + screen to my upcoming family/media room remodel. I've looked through a few posts and the sticky and I have a general idea about how to do a DIY screen but I'm scratching my head as to why do a DIY screen.

Is building a DIY screen like building a DIY sub? Typically, you can build a sub that outperforms a commercial subs for a fraction of the cost. Is it possible to get those same results with a DIY screen or is the allure of a DIY screen simply a cost effective solution that unfortunately never matches the quality and performance of a commercially available screen?

I know the sticky says the end results can be really good but, before I research this any further, I want to know if a typical DIY screen costs 20% and delivers 80% performance as compared to a commercial screen or is it more likely going to cost 80% but only deliver 20% in performance. You guys get the idea. And I hope anyone who has done a DIY screen doesn't take any insult with my question. It's just that I currently have very little knowledge in this area. Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Unread 04-19-2015, 04:09 PM
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I look forward to the responses here so I am commenting early.

My opinion, it may depend on your goals or skill set. While I am an avid DIYer I don't consider myself skilled and admire the craftsmanship often displayed on the AVS fourms.
For my goals a DIY AT screen was the way to go.
No way it an 80-20 comparison. I have 100% of the commercial quality for much less of the cost of a purchased setup. I also have the satisfaction that I did it myself. I get nothing less than a loud "WOW" when friends come and see end result. That still surprises me considering my limited construction skills.
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post #3 of 15 Unread 04-19-2015, 04:20 PM
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Dependent upon your Theater set-up and projector used, there are several DIY options that can match or exceed Mfg versions, as well as a very few that can accomplish performance levels that mfg screens cannot touch at the price point they come in with.

You can spend more for Mfg screens and get performance that is quite acceptable, or spend a lot on Mfg screens and get performance that fails to measure up.

The same holds true for DIY screen making. But with DIY it is almost always having to do with the work ethic as well as the budgetary limitations that a given potential DIY'er can provide.

To adequately address your own potential and needs, you need to state what type room you have, PJ used or planned for, type of viewing and under what conditions.

Without such this all devolves into a discussion as to the merit and worthiness of DIY screens vs Mfg Screens, and by my reasoning that battle was won by DIY screens long ago based solely on cost + performance values.

As so plainly stated just above in the previous post, there is no sense in saying 80/20 because in most all circumstances DIY screen performance is wholly on par with Mfg screens if at least some degree of care in choice and construction is observed. Match up a great DIY screen with a Great PJ and great things are going to happen.

In your case, Boxozaxu if you have the patience, budget and skills to build a Speaker or Sub Woofer, and the desire to make it be a worthy performer, the DIY Screen making will present you with no great challenge.

BTW...the ratio of cost to performance is more like 10% /100%
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post #4 of 15 Unread 04-19-2015, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xpostal View Post
I look forward to the responses here so I am commenting early.

My opinion, it may depend on your goals or skill set. While I am an avid DIYer I don't consider myself skilled and admire the craftsmanship often displayed on the AVS fourms.
For my goals a DIY AT screen was the way to go.
No way it an 80-20 comparison. I have 100% of the commercial quality for much less of the cost of a purchased setup. I also have the satisfaction that I did it myself. I get nothing less than a loud "WOW" when friends come and see end result. That still surprises me considering my limited construction skills.
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Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post
Dependent upon your Theater set-up and projector used, there are several DIY options that can match or exceed Mfg versions, as well as a very few that can accomplish performance levels that mfg screens cannot touch at the price point they come in with.

You can spend more for Mfg screens and get performance that is quite acceptable, or spend a lot on Mfg screens and get performance that fails to measure up.

The same holds true for DIY screen making. But with DIY it is almost always having to do with the work ethic as well as the budgetary limitations that a given potential DIY'er can provide.

To adequately address your own potential and needs, you need to state what type room you have, PJ used or planned for, type of viewing and under what conditions.

Without such this all devolves into a discussion as to the merit and worthiness of DIY screens vs Mfg Screens, and by my reasoning that battle was won by DIY screens long ago based solely on cost + performance values.

As so plainly stated just above in the previous post, there is no sense in saying 80/20 because in most all circumstances DIY screen performance is wholly on par with Mfg screens if at least some degree of care in choice and construction is observed. Match up a great DIY screen with a Great PJ and great things are going to happen.

In your case, Boxozaxu if you have the patience, budget and skills to build a Speaker or Sub Woofer, and the desire to make it be a worthy performer, the DIY Screen making will present you with no great challenge.

BTW...the ratio of cost to performance is more like 10% /100%
Thanks! Honestly I'm surprised (happily) that a DIY screen can compare so favorably. One would think that painting some drywall or stretching some spandex on an frame would get the job done but leave you wanting for something better.

And as for construction methods, I think I'd rather cut aluminum and stretch fabric versus mess around with a paint sprayer. While the build might take some time and effort, which I enjoy, I worry that the research part will take 10x as much effort as the actual construction. And then I worry that I might have missed something and have to redo everything. Can you purchase commercial screen fabric and wrap it on a DIY frame?

This is a rough plan for my room and currently I'm in the demo phase.



It's approximately 22x22 and will be used in the afternoon and evening with TV/Movies and video gaming. Originally with an HDTV but now I'm planning either a retractable screen with a tv behind or fixed screen (and maybe the tv retractable???) Also, there's four windows I neglected to show. One in each corner. As for a projector, I've had a few people recommend the Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB but I haven't purchased anything yet.

Any input would be a help at this point.
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post #5 of 15 Unread 04-19-2015, 08:20 PM
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Save some funds and get the 5030. I've installed both, and while the Pro 6030 is nice because it has a extra Lamp and a Mount included, it is not worth the premium price increase.

Purchase Carl's Flexi-White if your going to control the light from the windows.....
http://www.carlofet.com/projector-sc...l#.VTRvspP1hi1

.......or his Flexi-Gray if you want a modicum of ambient light resistance......
http://www.carlofet.com/projector-sc...l#.VTRwB5P1hi0


Both materials are exceedingly smooth, 4K ready, and they have enough stretch to make mounting on almost any type Frame a breeze. You can order the size needed, or have them cut it to a custom size...and they will ship it in a Roll if you so designate it. (...and you should...)

You could do worse in choosing several different Mfg screen materials, but in truth, you'd be had pressed to do better.
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post #6 of 15 Unread 04-20-2015, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Save some funds and get the 5030. I've installed both, and while the Pro 6030 is nice because it has a extra Lamp and a Mount included, it is not worth the premium price increase.

Purchase Carl's Flexi-White if your going to control the light from the windows.....
http://www.carlofet.com/projector-sc...l#.VTRvspP1hi1

.......or his Flexi-Gray if you want a modicum of ambient light resistance......
http://www.carlofet.com/projector-sc...l#.VTRwB5P1hi0

Both materials are exceedingly smooth, 4K ready, and they have enough stretch to make mounting on almost any type Frame a breeze. You can order the size needed, or have them cut it to a custom size...and they will ship it in a Roll if you so designate it. (...and you should...)

You could do worse in choosing several different Mfg screen materials, but in truth, you'd be had pressed to do better.
Thank you! This is perfect - at least for me. I'm not sure if this is the path you referred to when you said 100% performance for 10% cost but I think this is the correct path for me even if it's a little bit more expensive. Looks like the Flexi-Gray would be the correct choice for me and if I change my mind and decide to do an AT screen their Sheerweave product would be the answer. Or is there another common fabric people are using?

Now it's a matter of choosing a projector and thanks for the suggestion to consider the 5030. I saw a review that said it came with a mount and extra bulb. Was that only when it first came out?
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post #7 of 15 Unread 04-20-2015, 07:54 PM
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For another ~$500 less, would the Epson 5025 or Sony hw40 fit the same spot (the 5025 shares all the same major parts while the Sony is quieter and brighter in all modes except Dynamic..which looks pretty green on the Epson anyway)?
The Sony makes a better gamer with its significantly faster input-lag time compared to any of the other high-end options.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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post #8 of 15 Unread 04-21-2015, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxozaxu View Post
Thank you! This is perfect - at least for me. I'm not sure if this is the path you referred to when you said 100% performance for 10% cost but I think this is the correct path for me even if it's a little bit more expensive. Looks like the Flexi-Gray would be the correct choice for me and if I change my mind and decide to do an AT screen their Sheerweave product would be the answer. Or is there another common fabric people are using?

Now it's a matter of choosing a projector and thanks for the suggestion to consider the 5030. I saw a review that said it came with a mount and extra bulb. Was that only when it first came out?
If you decide to go AT you should read the spandex threads.
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post #9 of 15 Unread 04-21-2015, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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If you decide to go AT you should read the spandex threads.

I started looking at the 110" DIY Spandex Screen thread last night. I assume that's one of the threads you're talking about.
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post #10 of 15 Unread 04-21-2015, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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For another ~$500 less, would the Epson 5025 or Sony hw40 fit the same spot (the 5025 shares all the same major parts while the Sony is quieter and brighter in all modes except Dynamic..which looks pretty green on the Epson anyway)?
The Sony makes a better gamer with its significantly faster input-lag time compared to any of the other high-end options.
The faster input-lag is a selling point. I've seen the Sony hw40 and the picture looked really good but it wasnt a critical test of the machine. Just some short movie clips. What didnt help was viewing the new Laser Epson LS-10000 immediately after. The 4K upscaling really improved the picture IMHO and almost ruined the idea of getting a 1080p projector. So I think the plan is to get a 1080p projector now with the plan to upgrade in a few years after the prices drop on the higher resolution projectors.
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post #11 of 15 Unread 04-21-2015, 09:22 AM
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Spandex is a great choice for AT.

It can certainly give you 100% performance for 10% invested.

I still want to insist that the 5030 is a "best choice". I do not agree that the HW40es is quieter, leastwise to where it matters enough to warrant the not-so-small price difference (...22 db vs 21 db in low lamp mode...impossible to tell the difference...) The same applies for the 5025. The newest versions of the 5030 have an image that equals the HW40's for sharpness and clarity. It also shows better blacks in content where such really matters...darker content. And Hey! Currently it comes with 2 pr. of 3D glasses (...and if such matters...it's 3D presentation is more dependable...)

Considering that it (5030 & 5025) also has substantially longer Lamp Life in Normal mode, it's replacement Lamps cost less, and the current price is at minimum $299.00 less, the 5030 is is great choice. Then there is the 5025....which at $1699.00 is 599.00 less than the least expensive source for the Sony.

Now the Sony does have 3 years warranty, which is 1 year longer than the Epson 5030 (...BTW, the 6030 has 3 yrs Warranty as well...)

No one can say the HW40es is a poor choice, if indeed a 2nd choice if Sony is a by-word in one's vocabulary. It's a sizable PJ. It's a little taller, not quite as wide, and 3" deeper than the 5030. Oh yeah...it weighs almost 4 lbs more (...Sony's have always been hefty...)

Now considering the possibility you might go Spandex, either the HW40es or the 5030 can fill the bill, with a ever so slight nod toward the Sony in "out of the box" brightness. The 5025 lags behind in that match up.

But if you go "solid screen", the Epsons...particularly the 5025 would be the sensible and cost effective choices to consider without sacrificing Image quality.

And...if "upgrade'itis" in in your future, then the 5025 is the ticket.



.....or get the JVC DLA-500r w/ Eshift and have your 4K cake now at less than 1/2 the price of the Epson 10000
That is if you screen size isn't gawd-awful big and you don't go Spandex on it.

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post #12 of 15 Unread 04-22-2015, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Great info and this thread has answered a lot of questions I had. Now I have several other questions that I hadn't thought of before.

What is the market for used projectors like? Easy to sell an old projector when you upgrade?

I believe there are issues with a projector being to close to the screen but are there any problems being too far away? With my ceiling it might be easier locating it near the opposite wall, which is around 20 feet away. Otherwise I'll need to suspend it from the ceiling using some arrangement of angle iron if I want to get it closer to the screen. I'm guessing the farther away, the more lumens you need.

What is the max size you can go with the spandex? I'm thinking around 120" but I think I can fit a larger screen. I'll of course wait until I get the projector mounted to determine the exact dimensions.

Better picture quality with a non AT screen correct?
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post #13 of 15 Unread 04-22-2015, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Boxozaxu View Post
Great info and this thread has answered a lot of questions I had. Now I have several other questions that I hadn't thought of before.

What is the market for used projectors like? Easy to sell an old projector when you upgrade?
If you spend for a PJ that is current and up to date with it's specifications and features, and purchase a extended (& transferable)Warranty from a outlet like Square Trade (4-5 years) you can certainly get the most out of a used PJ. A good price would be 1/2 of what you originally paid under the previously suggested circumstances.

Quote:
I believe there are issues with a projector being to close to the screen but are there any problems being too far away? With my ceiling it might be easier locating it near the opposite wall, which is around 20 feet away. Otherwise I'll need to suspend it from the ceiling using some arrangement of angle iron if I want to get it closer to the screen. I'm guessing the farther away, the more lumens you need.
That's correct, and at 20' distance, your going to limit your PJ choices as well because of the availability to reign in screen size.
Your only really affordable choices with killer specifications would be the LCD PJs with extra long Focal / Zoom lenses and 2400 lumens

The Panny 8K & Epson 5030 $1699.00 and $2200.00 respectfully. However, unless your room is a dedicated Theater with effective light control and non-reflective surfaces, you available Foot Lamberts with Spandex will drop to under 13-12 fls with a +120" screen and 20' Throw.

You could consider a <$1100.00 BenQ SH915 (4000 lumen & 11:000:1 CR w/3D) with a Big 'Ol Spandex Screen of 135: diagonal @ 16:9 (66" x 118") or a <$2200.00 BenQ SH940 (4000 lumen & 50,000:1 CR *no 3D* )and from 19'-2"' shoot up to a 163" diagonal 16:9 (80" x 142") onto a Wall or Flexi-white

Both could light up a Spandex screen like it was a DaLite HP. The SH915 just might be exactly what you'd want.

Quote:
What is the max size you can go with the spandex? I'm thinking around 120" but I think I can fit a larger screen. I'll of course wait until I get the projector mounted to determine the exact dimensions.
See my suggestion above

Quote:
Better picture quality with a non AT screen correct?
"Brighter" Image. ....absolutely. Smoother? It would be damnably close using a great PJ with a sharp Image ....such as either of the BenQs or the Epson 5030...the Panny is great,(...I've used it a bunch with painted screens up to 144" diagonal...) but it is perhaps just the smallest bit less sharp unless you match it up with a Darbee Darblet dvp5000. Then.....you'd have it going on.

....and with the Panny 8K coming in at a price of just $1699.00, adding the Darbee isn't a deal breaker IMO.

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Thank you @MississippiMan!

I'm digesting it all and doing some research on my own. Questions that probably don't belong in the DIY screen forum and things that really are dependent on the direction I decide to take. So I need to make some decisions. AT or fixed and how far back I want to set the projector and roughly how big I want to go.

How high can you go with a projector? Does it matter or do you start warping the picture? Is there a preferred distance between screen and projector? Or is all dependent on room size mixed with desired picture size with the trade off being brightness and all this being affected by screen material choice? What a juggling act. At least I'm starting to get a grasp of the variables involved.
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post #15 of 15 Unread Today, 11:41 AM
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The suggested Sony's, Epson's, and Panasonic can go as high as several feet above the screen's top without any warping or problems, but most DLPs and almost anything closer to $1000 (except the Epson 8345/8350 or 3000) can only be placed a few inches above the screen without starting to degrade the picture somewhat.
The picture won't warp, but the anti-warping controls on the cheaper models and DLPs progressively lose some resolution and fine detail the higher they're set and also cause some extra pixel jaggedness in vertical lines and shapes.

Projectors will all need to be at least somewhat farther away in order to make a larger image, but most have a zoom that can give you some flexibility for how far back they'll need to be while making your desired screen-size. If possible, mounting the projector nearly as close as you can at your desired screen-size will give the brightest picture.

On average, the closest position will have the projector's lens about 1ft from the screen for every 10inches of diagonal screen-size at 16:9.
AKA..a 110" screen will need the projector at least 11ft back. A 130" screen will need it at least 13ft back.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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