Ultracontrast in a living room... worth it? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Considering between the BenQ w7000 and the Epson 5010. Both are very bright projectors that will help out in the living room environment, but the 5010 is noted for better blacks. I realize a dedicated, light-controlled room is the best option, but that is just not in the cards. Is there a significant gain to be had from a high-contrast projector if the walls/ceiling are light in color? Below is an ascii sketch of the room... windows all around the screen (blackout blinds can take care of those for the most part)... I see the main problem as light colored walls (on the viewing side of the room) and light colored ceiling throughout (the floors and back half of the room are very dark in color). The seating is about 14ft to the screen, the ceiling is 10ft, and the room is about 35 ft long (kitchen in back). Will I notice a difference in contrast/blacks between the W7000 and the 5010 in this environment? If not, how about between the 5010 and the 3010? This seems to be begging for a retroreflective screen with the dark backdrop to the viewing area, but finding a reasonable spot for the PJ in such a setup is challenging. Any thoughts welcome!

W: window or glass door
L: light colored wall (light beige)
D: Dark Cabinets (nearly floor-to-ceiling)


LLWLLLLLWLL
W..screen..W
W..............L
W..............L
L...............L
L...seating...L
W................
W................
D...............D
W...............D
W...............D
D...............D
DDDDDDDDD

"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. "
-Samuel Goldwyn

I wonder what he'd think about 3D IMAX?
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 01:37 PM
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I would go for the 5010, I tested a 8350 before I got my 8700, I think that's the right model number and the difference in blacks is apparent. Here is a link to my room, which kind of sounds a bit like yours. I had a ton of windows that I tinted and but blackout curtains on.

https://picasaweb.google.com/107542303479981403386/HT?authuser=0&feat=directlink

The windows behind the seats, I have another set to the right of those, and to the right of those on a smaller wall is a sliding glass door, so 2 of the walls are 70% windows and I could easily tell a difference with the blacks.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 02:31 PM
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Kaotikr, so you had an 8700UB and now have a 5010? How do you compare the two in regards to brightness for ambient light situation (watching sports), and for dark room conditions for watching movies. My guess is that for the dark room watching movies that the 8700UB is very comparable, but I have no idea how much difference there would be in ambient light for watching sports. If you have any input please let me know.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 02:34 PM
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I don't have a projector recommendation, but I have a combination den/theater.

The room has a lot of white and even some mirrors. Fortunately, the main light source - a bay window - is blocked out effectively by the screen. I used an Elite gray screen, motorized, for which I built a box/alcove. When the screen is up, the light pours in and I have my den/ home bar. When the screen is down, it's dark enough for a good theater experience.

I am just saying this to encourage you. Sure, a dedicated theater environment is going to be optimal, but our hybrid rooms can work quite well if they are well thought out.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 02:47 PM
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Light colored walls & ceilings are the bane of my home theater experience. With an Epson 8350, my contrast for worst-case scenarios (completely white scene w/ a tiny bit of black) went from 14:1 to 45:1 by getting a retroreflective (high contrast high power) screen & by using a black velvet curtain extending out 2ft from my screen on three sides (top, left, right). That's a 3x increase in contrast for worse-case scenarios (which, thankfully, does not make up most scenes in movies). Which is not at all trivial. Movies were unwatchable on my Elite 1.1 gain white screen.

In dark scenes w/ a little bit of white, I get ~1500:1 contrast w/ the HCHP screen, just for reference.

My point being, don't underestimate the need to reject ambient light, even if you're watching in the dark with all lights off. These projector/screen combos light up your room like anything, & the retroreflective screens at least serve to light up your room less (less scattering), and furthermore reject a lot of the light that *is* scattered.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 02:48 PM
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Also FYI removing the black velvet curtains (triple black velvet from syfabrics.com) decreases worse-case scenario contrast even w/ my HCHP screen 1.5x for blacks near the top of the screen (near the ceiling)... not so much for blacks in the center of the screen of course... as edges of the screen are most effected by back-reflection of scattered light.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarangiman View Post

Light colored walls & ceilings are the bane of my home theater experience. With an Epson 8350, my contrast for worst-case scenarios (completely white scene w/ a tiny bit of black) went from 14:1 to 45:1 by getting a retroreflective (high contrast high power) screen & by using a black velvet curtain extending out 2ft from my screen on three sides (top, left, right). That's a 3x increase in contrast for worse-case scenarios (which, thankfully, does not make up most scenes in movies). Which is not at all trivial. Movies were unwatchable on my Elite 1.1 gain white screen.
In dark scenes w/ a little bit of white, I get ~1500:1 contrast w/ the HCHP screen, just for reference.
My point being, don't underestimate the need to reject ambient light, even if you're watching in the dark with all lights off. These projector/screen combos light up your room like anything, & the retroreflective screens at least serve to light up your room less (less scattering), and furthermore reject a lot of the light that *is* scattered.

got a picture??? How long does it take you to mask with the velvet? I am trying to minimize setup time as well smile.gif

"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. "
-Samuel Goldwyn

I wonder what he'd think about 3D IMAX?
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 03:58 PM
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We have a living room setup with a wall of windows on one side of the screen with curtains drawn most of the time and a connecting kitchen. Its kind of like the OP ers but with the viewing area rotated 90 degress. We compromised on warm grey walls (quite fashionable according to HGTV it seems...) and I ended up getting a bright DLP projector - IN83. I had a JVC, then a Sharp Z15000 which was better, the Sharp had the DLP 'pop' but the extra brightness of the IN83 makes a big difference and in our setup we don't miss the black level of the JVC. The native contrast is decent enough that when watching with the lights off I can barely see black bars. We use the IN83 with the contrast at 50 which, according to projecor reviews measured around 1900 lumens on a new bulb, so even after 1000 hours we are still well over 1000 lumens. The Sharp was around 1000 lumens with a new bulb and was OK but not really bright enough for a range of viewing conditions. Without carefully planning the room I would recommend getting as close to 1500 lumens or higher.
If you can't, or don't want to, control the light that much then a 100,000:1 contrast model will end up looking like a 5,000:1 model anyway so you may as well go for maximum brightness and clarity.

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 04:22 PM
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I would be seriously thinking about the screen first. Get a black diamond .85 gain screen and the brightest projector you can afford to match it. With ambient lighting and white walls/ceiling, the screen will make all the difference. I don't use one personally since I have black velvet covering all the walls and ceiling in my theater, but I did see the BD in person at a local store and was blown away. Go demo one and you will see what I mean.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danieledmunds View Post

We have a living room setup with a wall of windows on one side of the screen with curtains drawn most of the time and a connecting kitchen. Its kind of like the OP ers but with the viewing area rotated 90 degress. We compromised on warm grey walls (quite fashionable according to HGTV it seems...) and I ended up getting a bright DLP projector - IN83. I had a JVC, then a Sharp Z15000 which was better, the Sharp had the DLP 'pop' but the extra brightness of the IN83 makes a big difference and in our setup we don't miss the black level of the JVC. The native contrast is decent enough that when watching with the lights off I can barely see black bars. We use the IN83 with the contrast at 50 which, according to projecor reviews measured around 1900 lumens on a new bulb, so even after 1000 hours we are still well over 1000 lumens. The Sharp was around 1000 lumens with a new bulb and was OK but not really bright enough for a range of viewing conditions. Without carefully planning the room I would recommend getting as close to 1500 lumens or higher.
If you can't, or don't want to, control the light that much then a 100,000:1 contrast model will end up looking like a 5,000:1 model anyway so you may as well go for maximum brightness and clarity.

Thanks... the challenge I have is that the floor in the entire room and cabinets on the back half of the room are a dark walnut, and that half of the space has a single window that is under a covered patio in the back yard... anyone except a home theater nut walks into the kitchen and thinks it is a dark room. So, painting the walls darker is not going to happen for the primary gathering spot in our home... it needs to feel open, airy and bright when not in theater mode. Luckily, all the shades are motorized and a press of a button blocks out most of the light from the windows... so it is just wall color that is the issue. Painting a light shade of grey may remove a color cast, but I doubt would help out much in my case... also might look kinda funky with all the earth-tones we've got in the room. I currently have the baby, baby brother of the in83... the x10. I'm personally a big fan of the 'dlp look' and am not bothered by RBE (see it, but only if I try)... the W7000 seems like a good choice in the DLP camp.

"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. "
-Samuel Goldwyn

I wonder what he'd think about 3D IMAX?
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-23-2012, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3dmaven View Post

I would be seriously thinking about the screen first. Get a black diamond .85 gain screen and the brightest projector you can afford to match it. With ambient lighting and white walls/ceiling, the screen will make all the difference. I don't use one personally since I have black velvet covering all the walls and ceiling in my theater, but I did see the BD in person at a local store and was blown away. Go demo one and you will see what I mean.

As soon as they start selling the motorized version of BD (they might be already), I'll agree with you and regret that I can't afford it wink.gif

"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. "
-Samuel Goldwyn

I wonder what he'd think about 3D IMAX?
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 06:26 AM
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1.4 gain BD screen would be an excellent choice. The electric screen will be expensive, but it will solve a lot of problems for those with light colored rooms with lots of ambient light. These are not available yet, but getting close.

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post #13 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post

1.4 gain BD screen would be an excellent choice. The electric screen will be expensive, but it will solve a lot of problems for those with light colored rooms with lots of ambient light. These are not available yet, but getting close.

Has pricing been announced? What are we looking at? $6K for 120" 16:9?

"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. "
-Samuel Goldwyn

I wonder what he'd think about 3D IMAX?
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-25-2012, 11:56 AM
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Unless you can't fully control ambient light, which will then set the on-screen black level, you will benefit from a higher on/off CR.

Noah
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-25-2012, 04:53 PM
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What will you be watching more often? Most of the time, the right projector is what you watch most of the time. For instance, if you watch sports and game, the best projector for movies is probably not what you want.
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-26-2012, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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No gaming... My kids maybe, but they'll just have to live with any gaming shortcomings. I enjoy sports and movies... Probably watch sports more, but am more critical of the IQ during movies (when it is more likely to be dark... No daytime movies).

"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. "
-Samuel Goldwyn

I wonder what he'd think about 3D IMAX?
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-27-2012, 08:17 PM
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Here are some photos of my setup of the velvet curtains extending ~2ft out from my screen:



Here's a more side-on view, showing the depth of the curtain. It's 2ft out from the screen right now. The curtain is actually 4ft wide, so I could extend it out further, since I can extend the pipes that are holding up the curtain further. However, that does two things: (1) makes the curtain more taut (aesthetically displeasing); (2) the increased torque can get to be too much if the pipes aren't secured to the wall tightly enough.



Here's an illustration of the piping holding up the curtains. I got them from Lowe's. You can use the couplers to piece more pipes together to make it longer. The pipe then screws into a base, which has 4 large holes in it. You can use washers/screws to secure the base to the wall (large washer with small hole for screw).



It's hard/impossible to tension the fabric across the entire ~110" screen width enough so that it doesn't sag in the middle, so you may need a pipe in the center. Since I didn't even have space to put another pipe in the center above the screen, I just nailed 3 small nails into the ceiling, & used strong neodymium magnets to pin the velvet up against the nail heads. Nice thing about this is that the nails make so small holes in the ceiling that you won't even notice them when you pull the nails out. Furthermore, using magnets makes the system flexible: you can still adjust the fabric by holding the magnets in place while pulling on the fabric. Here's a closeup of the magnets holding up the fabric:



Hope this helps!
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-27-2012, 11:25 PM
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Also, definitely check out the 1.4 gain Black Diamond screen before you purchase it. The texture on the screen in highlights was offensive & completely unacceptable to me, so you should see whether or not it bothers you before purchasing.
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-27-2012, 11:38 PM
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For sports, I prefer a dlp
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