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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Floyds Knobs, IN, USA
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Response from private email to me from Hardwire (it may help others too):
I mount my LT150 on a shelf hung on the rear wall 54" from ground above the couch. I sit below it. I have LT150 pointed downward slightly due to extreme vertical shift of image to fit on screen which is DIY 54" wide blackout cloth on a 96"X54" wide 16X9 format. There is some downward keystoning so I pull my screen's bottom outward towards sitting position so that it corrects keystone (bungie cords at each end hooked to 10# dumbells on floor). This is nice in that the 3 kids can't mess with wires or PJ (finger print on lens, etc.). My center channel speaker is on a shelf hung from the front wall (you could also use a 24" speaker stand) immediately below screen (the lower on floor the worst the sound and don't put speaker on floor as sound is muted) aimed directly at couch)
You're correct in that ceiling mount will give better image control but worst noise and more difficult mounting (hushbox and mounts, etc.). I'd recommend you use the table mount method: 1) build a shelf and screw to bottom of cheap, wooden coffee table (this table can be scooted back and forth to "zoom" and to position image on screen. It also acts as a partial husbox which helps noise. Use throw rug to hid wires between table and couch), 2) backwall like me with or without hushbox, 3) under couch (build a platform/hushbox and put LT150 under/in it and put couch over (elevate couch legs on bricks) or even slightly behind it--using the platform as a step stool and wires will be under couch), 4) on/under coffee table against back wall between 2 couches (one on L of table, one on R of table), 5) build hushbox and put on floor between 2 couches.
If you want portability for business use, then ceiling mount is not practical (screwing the mounting plate off LT150's bottom is a pain). Plus you may drop it with multiple hooking and unhooking LT150 from ceiling mount.
Hipower has best gain using floor mount. If you go with ceiling mount, then just buy Video Spectra (1.5 gain) and save some money.
As far as alternatives to LT150, the XW15 is a XGA LCD for 2K new but it'll have more screendoor and less contrast (250:1 and no rainbows of course). You may have other LCD issues (dead pixels, banding, green fog, brighness uniformity, dust blobs, panel convergences (ghosting)). You'd get LCD advantages: less noise, less moving parts, better colors, better sharpness (contribute to more screendoor), better pans (less judder/studder on horizontal and vertical pans), and less heat.
I recommend 16:9 as the black bars fall outside the screen (especially high power which can highlights the black bars and turn them gray due to brighness enhancement). If you float your screen (have it 6" from wall) it gives you the appearance of no black bars. If you want to watch 4:3 you can 1) change LT150 to native resolution and it'll shrink the image to 640X480), 2) use "cinema" mode to squish the 4:3 image into your 16:9 screen, 3) use HTPC to vary aspect ratios or zooming image, 4) move PJ (with table mount mode, it's easy).
If you want 4:3 then masking can be done easily with black velvet, felt, or weed-out fabric glued (sprayon glue available) on cut-to-size thin styrofoam boards (available at Home Depot or Lowes). The 2 masking boards can then be velcroed at the screen edges (don't put velcro in middle of screen, no need as this stuff is light and firm) to your permanent or pull-down screen (use black velcro if you have black borders on screen, white velcro if you have no black borders). The velcro will blend in well when masking is off for 4:3 sources. There are more elaborate masking out there (custom blinds from ceiling, black curtains for bottom masking, electric masking--very expensive). Of course you can just pull screen down to the 16:9 format (96"X96" square screen can just be pulled down to 96"X54" 16:9 format) and image can be shifted via LT150 menu or PJ repositioned (put on books, etc.) and less masking will be needed. You can also mask at the PJ using black poster board but it won't be as sharp.
There is no perfect PJ at under 10K price range. You have to give and take. Even the "great" CRT has disadavantges: size, weight, dimness, requires video processor, noise (some worst than others), requires calibrations periodically, requires professional setup initially (to get best image unless you're ISF certified).