Ever since we (my wife & I) moved in to our current house (5 years ago), I've been wanting to put a projector setup in the basement. We always said we would do it when we remodeled, but 5 years have gone by and we have yet to remodel. We've decided to just take the plunge and work with our current layout for now, then figure things out when (if) our remodel happens.
We currently have a 61 inch Rear Projection TV, with our primary seating approximately 14 feet away. I tried to create a picture of my layout in excel:
Picture2.JPG 425k .JPG file
to help with the discussion. This is our primary viewing space.
Years ago, I originally sold my wife on the projector idea by proposing that we get an Electric screen that I would build in to the ceiling (height is only 6.5ft due to drop ceiling taking up 7 inches). Idea being that we would spend most time watching the 61 inch, then drop the screen down for movie viewing only. This was back when bulbs generally only lasted 2,000 hours and using the projector continuously would have meant a new bulb almost every year based on our viewing habits. After doing a ton of research here, I've decided on the Epson 5020UB. As it turns out, it has a bulb that lasts twice as long and has a relatively low ($299) replacement cost. I'm thinking I can use it exclusively as a display device without breaking the bank.
Additionally, when comparing screen prices, I'm beginning to dislike the idea of using most of my screen budget for the "mechanics" of an electric tensioned screen versus the actual material. For example, the Vapex 120 inch electric tensioned screen (my preferred electric choice due to cost, size, etc.) costs $899, but the Vapex 120 inch fixed frame screen costs $399. Assuming the screen material is the same and makes up the majority of the fixed frame cost, I'm effectively paying $899 for $300 worth of screen material in a $599 case. I'm wondering if my money would be better spent buying a Carada 126 inch Brilliant White fixed frame for $1100 (price is comparable to the $899 Vapex as far as I'm concerned). If I wanted to save a little money and benefit from an acoustically transparent screen, I would go with a Jamestown screen with Seymour Center Stage XD for about $600. Obviously these options would require me to remove the current 61 inch TV setup.
Finally, I come to my questions:
1. For those of you with less "audio/video enthused" spouses, will it be overwhelming to use a 120+ inch screen for normal everyday viewing, where approximately 70% of viewing will be cable TV? I would truly enjoy the experience, but my wife can't see herself sitting in front of such a big screen for 3 hours per day, 5 days a week. She likes the idea of being able to switch back to the 61 inch if she wants to. I would hate to finally have my projector setup, but not be able to use it that often because my wife would rather stay in the livingroom with a "manageable" TV screen size.
2. Am I overestimating the screen quality difference between the above screens? I can't shake the notion that the Carada or Seymour material will produce a much better picture than the Vapex material. The Seymour would allow me to put my front & center channels behind the screen, which would be a plus. Is the picture quality of the Carada much better than the Seymour?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.