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post #1 of 19 Old 07-17-2013, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

A while back, I got some help on speaker placement for my family's recently remodeled basement. I more or less resolved that issue, but now I am having second thoughts about my TV selection. Frankly, a 70 inch TV just isn't big enough for 2.35:1 material sitting at 10+ feet. The step up to an 80 inch TV is cost prohibitive right now and is still borderline on size anyway, which has me wondering about projectors. I swore to myself I wouldn't go down this path when I started, but now we're here... eek.gif (just glad I didn't read about green glue before I started smile.gif )

A little bit of info about the room. It's in a 500 sq ft basement with a little over half of the space devoted to the media room. The room is about 21' long, 11.5’ wide on the viewing wall expanding to about 17' at the rear wall. The back of the room has the stairway out of the basement to the left and doors to bedroom and utility to the right. The media room has no windows and even though the stairway is open, light can be completely controlled.

Here are a few pics of the mostly finished room. We haven't started decorating yet so it looks pretty spartan right now (the couch will be replaced, but we haven't decided with what ).

Screen wall from utility room
9267332982_fcb15c360c_b.jpg
IMGP7299.JPG

Screen wall from stairs
9264552215_1461ce6218_b.jpg
IMGP7304.JPG

Back wall from front left speaker position
9267331746_275bb30350_b.jpg
IMGP7300.JPG

Here are the questions:
1. I am thinking about getting a 90-100 inch screen. Is that about right for main seating at 9-11 feet? If we have a second row it will be counter height chairs behind a table (no room for a riser at our ceiling height, and we don't want to have to deal with this when we decide to sell the house anyway) or the counter height bench seating you see at the back of the room (at around 20'
2. The ceiling height is low, around 7'2 at its highest. The bulkheads bring it down to around 6‘5 and I, at 6‘3, only just fit under it. Is this limiting in terms of screen size? (I have up the 8' of width for screen in order to accomodate screen as well as AV equipment so no worries there I think)
3. The center bulkhead covers a steel beam that spans the basement and is about 10feet from the screen. I could probably mount the projector below the beam (its framed) or just behind, but for aesthetic reasons just in front would be better. How much distance do I need to project at 100"?
4. Realistically I can't darken the ceiling. Is this going to be a problem with projector compared to a LCD TV? Watching TV, the room is certainly lighter because of it, but its acceptable.
5. We watch a lot of movies, but there will be a decent amount of 16:9 viewing as well. What's the best way to handle the switching between aspect ratios? (I suspect the projectors thast handle this well are well outside my budget so this is just a good to have)
6. Finally, the all important budget. Can I get this done, screen and projector, for around 2k? Or am I making too many compromises at this price. Must haves are QUIET, 1080p, good contrast, and ability to project a straight, rectangular image. I am think a few hundred for screen and 1500 or so for projector. Am I just wasting my time at this price? The alternative is to keep the TV and wait a year or so to buy a retractable screen and better projector, but that seems like overkill.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-17-2013, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Playing around with the projector calculator here: http://www.projectorcentral.com/projection-calculator-pro.cfm
It looks like I could easily fit in a 90-100" screen and if I went with a short throw projector mount it in front of the center bulkhead. For a second row it looks like a bigger screen would be better, but I'm probably pushing my luck as it is.

The other thing I would need to consider is wiring and electrical. I can fish wires through the ceiling without too much trouble, but I didn't plan for electrical at ceiling height, which will pose a challenge.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-17-2013, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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TL;DR -- I am thinking about picking up the BenQ 1070 or 1080ST to project onto a $200-$300 90" or 100" screen (based on some more precise measurements at home and a little playing around with Projector Central's calculator)

After a little searching, here's my attempt at answering my own questions

1. Screen Size for Seating Distance
Projector Central recommends seating at 9 - 14' for a 90" screen and 10-16' for 100", so either would probably fine for my layout. But bigger is better as they always say.

2. Screen Fit
90" 16:9 screen - dimensions - 44" high, 78" wide
100" 16:9 screen - dimensions 49" high, 87" wide

Even allowing an inch all around for a frame around the screen, either size could work in the space, but the 100" would be trickier. If I go with the 90" the screen will fit nicely between the current placement of the front left and right speakers. If I go bigger I will probably need to move one of the speakers to either get them both behind the screen or get them outside the screen. I currently have the top of my on-wall center channel at 24". If I keep it there, I will have plenty of room for the 90" screen above it and only have a few inches to spare below the bulkhead with the 100" screen. So, definitely a little more work to get the 100", I think.

3. Screen Throw
After some RTFI (the modern RTFM), this clearly varies from projector to projector. It looks like I can get as close as about 6' from the screen to the very back of the room. BenQ 1070 and 1080ST models would respectively allow me to mount under the center bulkhead, or in front of it. A short throw would better avoid shadows cast be people moving around, but the projector might look a little odd in the middle of the ceiling. Not clear to me if there are optical tradeoffs to that.

4. White Ceiling
This does seem to be a potential problem with getting a decent black level. Fortunately, I don't have any outside light to contend with, the walls are pretty dark (much darker than the pictures above suggest), and the whole room is painted with a flat finish. I guess I can play it by ear on this one (I can try pinning a black sheet to the section of ceiling closest to the screen.)

5. Aspect ratios
Seems like the best advice for a beginner like myself is to buy a 16:9 screen and just put up with the black bars

6. What can you get on a 2K budget
It isn't clear to me that picture quality, especially blacks and contrast, sufficiently improves from a $1K projector and $300 screen until you have a budget of around $3K+ and are willing to do much more to treat the room. So at this point I am leaning toward the BenQ 1070 or 1080ST and one of the reasonably priced Elite screens or equivalent.

Anyone have thoughts on the appropriate screen? Elite Cinewhite, a gray screen, something else? Given my white ceiling, relatively small projection size, maybe the gray screen will give me the best blacks?

7. Wiring
For my AC outlet and HDMI wiring, it looks like I should be able to use a powerbridge from here:

http://www.powerbridgesolution.com/avsspecialorder.html

Just hope I got enough photos of the framing to figure out the minimal number of drywall cuts to get the fishing job done mad.gif

What to do, what to do

If I want to send the 70" LED TV back I have until Monday. It's actually a pretty nice TV, but I already have a 50" plasma upstairs and the jump to 70" while nice isn't quite enough of a pop. I am tempted to just order in a projector and screen and compare them side by side (well not quite side by side, because there won't be any bloody room left on the wall after I get a big screen up tongue.gif)

Don't be afraid to call me an idiot if you think I am way off track...
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-18-2013, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cripes View Post

Hi,

Here are the questions:
1. I am thinking about getting a 90-100 inch screen. Is that about right for main seating at 9-11 feet? If we have a second row it will be counter height chairs behind a table (no room for a riser at our ceiling height, and we don't want to have to deal with this when we decide to sell the house anyway) or the counter height bench seating you see at the back of the room (at around 20'
2. The ceiling height is low, around 7'2 at its highest. The bulkheads bring it down to around 6‘5 and I, at 6‘3, only just fit under it. Is this limiting in terms of screen size? (I have up the 8' of width for screen in order to accomodate screen as well as AV equipment so no worries there I think)
3. The center bulkhead covers a steel beam that spans the basement and is about 10feet from the screen. I could probably mount the projector below the beam (its framed) or just behind, but for aesthetic reasons just in front would be better. How much distance do I need to project at 100"?
4. Realistically I can't darken the ceiling. Is this going to be a problem with projector compared to a LCD TV? Watching TV, the room is certainly lighter because of it, but its acceptable.
5. We watch a lot of movies, but there will be a decent amount of 16:9 viewing as well. What's the best way to handle the switching between aspect ratios? (I suspect the projectors thast handle this well are well outside my budget so this is just a good to have)
6. Finally, the all important budget. Can I get this done, screen and projector, for around 2k? Or am I making too many compromises at this price. Must haves are QUIET, 1080p, good contrast, and ability to project a straight, rectangular image. I am think a few hundred for screen and 1500 or so for projector. Am I just wasting my time at this price? The alternative is to keep the TV and wait a year or so to buy a retractable screen and better projector, but that seems like overkill.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

I just picked up a W1080ST and I love it. Price was right and picture is good right out of the box.

1. I would go as big as you can fit on the wall. If it means moving a speaker or so, then so be it. I wouldn't move it behind the screen unless you want to mess with an Acoustically Transparent screen.

2. The W1080ST has no vertical lens shift so the projector needs to be only 1.5" or so above the top of the screen which may work out well for your low ceiling.

3. I have a 120" paint on wall screen and the projector is mounted as far back as possible which is only 7'. If you are looking for something to mount in front of your beam, this would be it. I picked it specifically so we could stand up in front of the couch and play the Wii.

4. Ideally you would want the ceiling dark, but with your low ceilings and already dark walls, I totally understand that this isn't an option. Naturally a white ceiling will reduce the contrast of your screen, but its definitely livable. I have a white ceiling, but it is 2ft above the screen and it doesn't bother me at all. I'm sure if I painted it black it would make a difference, but mine is a multipurpose room instead of a dedicated theater so a cave just wasn't an option.

5. I'm assuming you're talking about switching between 2.35:1 and 16:9??? With your budget, I just wouldn't worry about it. Project onto a 16:9 screen and when the lights are off, you can't really see the black bars at the top and bottom.

6. I got the W1080ST for around $1100 and the painted screen cost me about $50. I'm sure a $200-$500 screen would make a difference, but I'm happy with the paint.


Looks like you have an electrical junction box mounted on the left wall about 5.5' up. Can you tap off that and run power up the wall and across the ceiling to the projector location?
Where is your AVR and other equipment mounted?

I'll try to get a pic posted tonight when i get home.
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-18-2013, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Bacon, that was a really helpful reply.
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Originally Posted by Bacon13 View Post

I just picked up a W1080ST and I love it. Price was right and picture is good right out of the box.

This morning I went ahead and ordered the W1070 and will get it tomorrow (love that Amazon shipping!). Your post makes me more confident that I am not completely insane despite assertions to the contrary from *ahem* certain family members. wink.gif

Re 1070 vs 1080ST, I was concerned about a short throw PJ being in limbo in the front section of the room and at my height I would be likely to run into it, but that is a very good point about it's value for gaming. My room is for mixed use and it certainly isn't a "Theater" by any stretch, so gaming in there isn't out of the question. Unfortunately, the throw of both means less than ideal placement and I think the 1070 is just a slightly better bet for me because it will put the PJ under or behind the seating and at less collision risk. Ideally, I would mount just in front of the central beam, which needs 8' from lens to screen, but the 1070 needs to be further back to get 90-100" and the 1080ST needs to be closer (4 to 6' -- kind of unbelievable that a projector can throw that large an image from that distance!). My ideal placement would have the projector lens just under 8' from the front wall if I am measuring correctly, which is a bit of a gap between these two projectors.
Quote:
1. I would go as big as you can fit on the wall. If it means moving a speaker or so, then so be it. I wouldn't move it behind the screen unless you want to mess with an Acoustically Transparent screen.

Some of *ahem* us are uncomfortable with the idea of a screen that spans the entire wall. smile.gif 100" is about the limit if I want approx 2' of clearance from the floor to the bottom of the screen. 92" will fit right in with the present layout. I will play around with different sizes and make a choice that everyone can live with before committing either way.
Quote:
2. The W1080ST has no vertical lens shift so the projector needs to be only 1.5" or so above the top of the screen which may work out well for your low ceiling.

Good point. If I don't keep the W1070, it will because I switch to the W1080ST
Quote:
3. I have a 120" paint on wall screen and the projector is mounted as far back as possible which is only 7'. If you are looking for something to mount in front of your beam, this would be it. I picked it specifically so we could stand up in front of the couch and play the Wii.

Sadly, I think 120" will be to tall. Bottom of the picture would be too close to the floor. (Curse these 50s houses and their low ceilinged small basements)
Quote:
4. Ideally you would want the ceiling dark, but with your low ceilings and already dark walls, I totally understand that this isn't an option. Naturally a white ceiling will reduce the contrast of your screen, but its definitely livable. I have a white ceiling, but it is 2ft above the screen and it doesn't bother me at all. I'm sure if I painted it black it would make a difference, but mine is a multipurpose room instead of a dedicated theater so a cave just wasn't an option.

One thing I could do is paint the front bulkhead/box, which might help a little with reflected light at the top of the screen. I will experiment with some black sheets in the front half of the room and see how much difference it makes. The back half definitely has to stay white though, and so a two-toned ceiling might look a bit weird.
Quote:
5. I'm assuming you're talking about switching between 2.35:1 and 16:9??? With your budget, I just wouldn't worry about it. Project onto a 16:9 screen and when the lights are off, you can't really see the black bars at the top and bottom.

Done and good.
Quote:
6. I got the W1080ST for around $1100 and the painted screen cost me about $50. I'm sure a $200-$500 screen would make a difference, but I'm happy with the paint.

In your thread, I would love to see more explanation of how you did your screen. e.g. how you prepared the surface and got such a sharp straight line between the white screen and the black matting (was that some sort of frame you attached?).
Quote:
Looks like you have an electrical junction box mounted on the left wall about 5.5' up. Can you tap off that and run power up the wall and across the ceiling to the projector location?
Where is your AVR and other equipment mounted?

Unfortunately just a jumble of cable TV wiring. The joists run from front to back of the room (if you think of the screen as the front of the room). Irrespective of where I put the projector, I plan to run HDMI and PowerBridge to the screen wall under the left speaker. The A/V equipment is all there and all of the existing in-wall wiring comes out there. I still need to sort out some sort of rack shelving there (currently using an old TV stand that I had lying around)
Quote:
I'll try to get a pic posted tonight when i get home.

Would love to see updated pics of your space with projector in place in your thread. The woodwork is nicely done and I'm impressed by what you've done with such a challenging shaped room. (I bet it's an awesome place to live in though.)
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-18-2013, 12:13 PM
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Is it just me or is the couch in a different position in each picture???
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-18-2013, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cripes View Post

In your thread, I would love to see more explanation of how you did your screen. e.g. how you prepared the surface and got such a sharp straight line between the white screen and the black matting (was that some sort of frame you attached?).

I measured and marked out where I wanted the screen in relation to where the wood surround would be, then sanded the wall with extra fine sanding blocks until all the texture was gone. I was starting with pretty smooth walls to begin with, but this took off any roller marks to make it super smooth.

http://www.amazon.com/3M-24302XF-4-5-Inch-8-Inch-Sanding/dp/B0077AKZWY

I then used the old school method of flat Behr Silverscreen paint mixed with Polycrylic. I don't have an exact ratio as I just dumped in what was left of the polycrylic into the paint, but I would guess somewhere around 6 or 8 parts paint to 1 part poly. I rollered it on with a 1/4" nap roller in three coats. Then let it dry for a week or so.

I masked it off with Frog tape then rolled on 2 coats of Behr flat Mouse Ears Black (which I think is discontinued, but the formula is the blackest paint they can make.) This paint is super thick so it needs quite a bit of time to dry between coats.

http://www.amazon.com/82021-Painters-Masking-2-Inch-60-Yards/dp/B0019RWIOE

Once all the paint was dry, I built the initial framework out of 2x3s and attached them to the wall. Then I built the facing in sections out of 4/4 Sapele, finished them, then attached them to the framework. For exapmle: The piece that goes up the sides and across the top was made all as one piece on the ground, then lifted up into place. It's a snug pressure fit so it's only held in place by three nails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cripes View Post

Would love to see updated pics of your space with projector in place in your thread. The woodwork is nicely done and I'm impressed by what you've done with such a challenging shaped room. (I bet it's an awesome place to live in though.)

I'll get some pics up tonight. The house is really cool, but isn't for everyone. Definitely some interesting acoustics with the dome shape, but after living here for 7 years, I couldn't imagine living in a traditional home.
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-18-2013, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I think its the same position, just the wide angle lens playing tricks (and I might have taken the shots at different heights as well). We actually sit further back than shown. We are more directly under the pillar at around 9' from eyes to screen.

EDIT: Looking again at the bottom photo it does look like the couch is further back. That's probably more like how it is now.
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-18-2013, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thinking more about screen, no wall or ceiling in this basement is straight & level so I have concerns about projecting straight onto a painted wall. Has anyone tried to build a frame on wall using this Carl's blackout cloth?

http://www.amazon.com/Carls-Blackout-110x150-inch-Projector-Material/dp/B007KA5G0W
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-18-2013, 09:32 PM
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Here is a pic that shows what a white ceiling looks like with the lights off.

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post #11 of 19 Old 07-19-2013, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Hard to judge from a photo, but it looks like a lot less light reflection from the ceiling than I see with my 70" edge-lit Sharp LCD. If I can get the screen to look as good as that I'll be happy.

On the screen, I caved and bought a fixed projection screen. Someone doubted my DIY abilities eek.gifsmile.gif

I picked up this completely unreviewed one on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Ticket-HDTV-16-Projector/dp/B00DGVHZSA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1374241427&sr=8-4&keywords=ticket+projector+screen
Have no idea of the quality of "Silver Ticket", but the instructions for putting it together were for some reason compelling. We'll see how big a mistake I've made in a couple of days rolleyes.gif Even though Elite screens have good reviews on Amazon, it seems like people on these forums have had mixed experiences with them (who woulda thunk it smile.gif )
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-20-2013, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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BenQ w1070 projector arrived last night. In short, the edge lit TV (Sharp LC-70LE650 70-inch) goes back today for three main reasons:

1. Reflection city (those are recessed can lights at the back of the room, it's even worse from the sitting position)
9326869263_cefc325182_b.jpg
IMGP7350.JPG

2. Cloudy screen, very distracting in dark scenes
9326871637_89a66beb71_b.jpg
IMGP7343.JPG

3. At just over half the price with a make shift 92" screen made from two longs sheets from a roll of paper and some painters tape gets you this (with the lights at the back of the room on!! -- deliberately over exposed, this thing is a light cannon)
9329659346_7294abdb49_b.jpg
IMGP7373.JPG

Screen arrives Monday. Can't wait!!
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-21-2013, 10:22 AM
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I am also looking at a 92" or a 96" fixed frame screen for about 10' seating with the W1070 and I am not building it as a dedicated theater. Anyhow, let me know how that silver ticket screen works out for you because my budget is the same as yours.
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post #14 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I am also looking at a 92" or a 96" fixed frame screen for about 10' seating with the W1070 and I am not building it as a dedicated theater. Anyhow, let me know how that silver ticket screen works out for you because my budget is the same as yours.

It arrives today. My main worry is that the screen material looks shiny in the images on amazon suggesting it is a high gain screen. We'll see...

Projector install is turning into an odyssey. Tried a mount, but I didn't like how low off the ceiling it hung. Now I am building a shelf into the box covering the central I beam. It isn't deep enough so I need to extend it forward a little with a thin shelf or board. Then I will use some carpet/felt to damp the fan noise. Oh, and I also need something to use as adjustable feet for the upside down projector. (BenQ dropped the ball with screw in as the only ceiling mount option.) Anyone done this and have pointers?

I am taking pics along the way and will post them later.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cripes View Post

It arrives today. My main worry is that the screen material looks shiny in the images on amazon suggesting it is a high gain screen. We'll see...

Projector install is turning into an odyssey. Tried a mount, but I didn't like how low off the ceiling it hung. Now I am building a shelf into the box covering the central I beam. It isn't deep enough so I need to extend it forward a little with a thin shelf or board. Then I will use some carpet/felt to damp the fan noise. Oh, and I also need something to use as adjustable feet for the upside down projector. (BenQ dropped the ball with screw in as the only ceiling mount option.) Anyone done this and have pointers?

I am taking pics along the way and will post them later.

Also can you take and post pictures of the build process of the screen. Can't wait to see if this is a good buy.
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post #16 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Installed the screen tonight. I will do a more detailed write up later explaining the pics, but for now you can see them at my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/damienmoore/9349402412/in/set-72157634105527780

Photos are in reverse chronological order. The beer, 5, and 7 year old all helped.

The screen is vinyl, tight as a drum in the frame and very smooth. With my BenQ w1070 at 8.5 ft it is super bright, but no obvious hotspots. My blacks are worse now (compared to the duller paper I was using), so I will need to do some more room treatment and probably invest in a ND filter.

It looks like the main benefit over the Elite screen is the rod and pocket system. That was a snap to install, though if I was doing it over I would have worked to get all four sides clipped in evenly instead of leaving one side to the end. The vertical rod that you install in the center of the frame to keep the frame straight after the screen is in the frame is a bit of a challenge. The instructions are mostly very clear, but I wasn't sure what screws to use initially, and one of the cuts in the screen pocket had not been made so I had to cut it myself.

This is my first projector and screen so I am not qualified to give a technical review but a cautious thumbs up so far. I briefly had an Epson rollout screen for testing the projector (ELPSC80). Compared to that one the Silver Ticket does seem to have slightly higher gain with a smoother texture to the screen but there's no comparison between fixed frame vs rollout in terms of quality.
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-23-2013, 10:23 AM
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The screen looks pretty good but can't judge the picture quality through an image.
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-23-2013, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RightSliced View Post

The screen looks pretty good but can't judge the picture quality through an image.

Very true. If there's a particular test you want me to do I can try.

I have no issues with picture quality so far (color, sharpness, evenness) but as I noted (1) I am certainly not nearly as picky as some here; and (2) I am finding it bright. I don't think that it is a super high gain screen, but I am not completely sure (the difference from the Epson rollout that I briefly had -- and this is based on memory alone -- pretty marginal). It's more likely just the fact that projecting 8 ish feet to a 92" screen with white ceilings probably calls for a grey screen or an ND filter.

You could probably get a Jamestown screen for similar price/quality with more happy users that can vouch for it on AVS. However, I definitely like the Silver Ticket's pocket system and all of the material used appears to be good quality.

Silver Ticket
9346599513_06b4d7056a_b.jpg

vs

Jamestown (see the second last image in the review, I don't know if this is still how it works)
http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/manufactured-screens/44058-jamestown-home-theater-screen-review.html
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-23-2013, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Ha ha. It looks like the "Silver Ticket" is made by the same people who make Monoprice's screens. Monoprice doesn't sell a 92inch, but here's a 106 inch
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=108&cp_id=10829&cs_id=1082914&p_id=7955&seq=1&format=2

In particular the frame + rod & pocket system appear to be identical:
http://www.monopricehub.com/files/manuals/7955_Manual_110826.pdf

That screen has a 1.0 gain, and monoprice sells it for more than $300 plus shipping. The silver ticket version is considerably less, here http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Ticket-HDTV-16-Projector/dp/B00CYLK1BQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374611264&sr=8-1&keywords=silver+ticket+screen

So I guess this answers my question... the silver ticket is probably 1.0 gain too and apparently a bargain.
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