(replying in forum with Jeff's permission, as I prefer to reply to my home theater emails in the forum - so that other people can join in to help, and to reduce my email load)>>"Quick question. I'm setting up my own home theater experiment, using an Electrohome 8500 projector. I would also like to use 16:9 45"x80" screen. I think I'm going to use same width 4:3 to use more raster, though I do understand the negatives of doing so (like the inherently lower quality signal of NTSC media."
I usually use a 14:9 mode (via my HTPC aspect ratio controller, not via a projector memory) to fill my 4:3 sources to my full 16:9 screen. This is similiar to one of the Toshiba HDTV set zoom modes. Basically, about 5% vertical cropping at top and bottom, and a simple horizontal stretch with no cropping. Other people don't like this, and prefer 4:3 centered in the middle of 16:9.>>"So...the question: Which screen are you using now? I think the one on your homepage is the M2500. Is that correct?"
Yep, that's correct!>>"I will be using a very similar setup to yours, and will be sitting only about 11 feet from the screen (roomsize limitations), and the overall specs of our projectors are very similar."
I think 45x80" is perfect for an 8" CRT projector using an M2500. M2500 can show a lot more problems with the new superbright digital projectors, but it's excellent for many CRT projector setups. I don't think you'll be dissapointed. You'll worry more about fiddling with the projector instead!>>"Any recommendations if not the 2500? I know it's had its share of bad press, like coarse texture, etc. I figured you'd be the ultimate objective evaluator, since not only are you very well versed (I've read many of your 1000s of posts), but I would assume that your visual perception is brilliantly astute given the hearing impairment. I've read your homepage...very informative for those who are not in the know.">>"I do want a high gain screen. 2500? Draper Pearlescent? I'll be ceiling-mounted, and want high gain to both save CRT life and because the output from HTPC-based material will be darker, given the lower voltage of vid cards vis a vis standard DVD.
I found that my HTPC is brighter than a settop DVD player at 480i. But you may be comparing a HTPC to a settop DVD player piped thruogh a line tripler/quadrupler. If you are worried about the voltage of the VGA output not being high enough, get a recent GeForce2 graphics cards. They are supposedly brighter than the original GeForce256 cards in VGA voltages of peak whites.>>"Thinking about things like how much overscan "padding" do I need, etc."
I usually go for about 3-4 pixels of overscan so that it does not interfere with my usage of Windows, and to accomodate normal image shifting during warmup, as well as the projector's picture orbit mode. If you need more overscan, you can simply use software aspect ratio controllers such as YxY. To keep your life simple, use only one CRT projector memory for all your modes and use aspect ratio controller software to do other modes.
The aspect ratio controller can also allow you to have 4:3 in the middle of 16:9, and also being able to do nonanamorphic widescreen DVD's, while using only your existing anamorphic 16:9 projector memory.