Question about visual quality capability projectors vs plasma (go easy I'm new to this). - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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So up until now I've been all about plasma and never really gave projectors a real chance. Now I'm possibly going to home theaterize (yup I'm trademarking that word) the basement in a house that we are purchasing and I was thinking about stadium seating, 7.1 booming sound, a projector and the whole 9. My only question is how close a projector can come to sharpness and detail to a top of the line plasma tv when it comes to 1080P content? So after reading this question you might be thinking to yourself "well duh Mike, a projector can definitely be as good as a plasma" OR you could be thinking "Man Mike you're a moron projectors blow plasmas out of the water" and while one of those things might be true, I don't actually know that from experience so that's why I'm asking people who would know smile.gif So my questions are:

1.) How good can projectors get in terms of visual quality? Is it a matter of just cost in that after a certain size 70"+ plasma (or any tv for that matter) become much more cost prohibitive so projectors are the way to go OR can projectors really keep up and/or surpass quality of the plasma?
2.) How much would a good projector that can keep up or even leap ahead of plasma in visual quality cost on average and what's a good price? Can an amazing projector be had for $4k or less or what should I expect to pay?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read and respond to this. smile.gif
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post #2 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 05:35 PM
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The most important thing to worry about before buying a projector would be to make sure you have an appropriate room for a projector. That is, you want it dark, with no ambient light issues and a treated ceiling and walls with black colored light absorbing material. If you want something that resembles a plasma (great contrast performance) the room is going to be the most important thing because any light that spills onto the screen, whether it be ambient or reflected light, is going to wash out the image. In the under $4000 range you're best option is a JVC DLA-RS46 or last years model, the JVC DLA-RS45. These two models will give you the best 2D image in your price range.
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post #3 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

The most important thing to worry about before buying a projector would be to make sure you have an appropriate room for a projector. That is, you want it dark, with no ambient light issues and a treated ceiling and walls with black colored light absorbing material. If you want something that resembles a plasma (great contrast performance) the room is going to be the most important thing because any light that spills onto the screen, whether it be ambient or reflected light, is going to wash out the image. In the under $4000 range you're best option is a JVC DLA-RS46 or last years model, the JVC DLA-RS45. These two models will give you the best 2D image in your price range.

Interesting, I was actually looking at the Panasonic PT-AE7000U just because it was recommended by someone else who's set up looked pretty nice but the JVC will give superior quality to that Panasonic eh? Light won't be an issue, I'm having the contractor design it so there will be no light leakage. What material would you suggest treatingr the ceiling and walls with to absorb the light? Also You mention the JVC was good for 2d, how much would I have to go up in price to be good for both 2d and 3d?
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post #4 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 05:55 PM
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I'm not sure that any consumer-level projector can rival the sharp picture and native contrast ratio of a top-of-the-line (or even merely great) plasma TV. For the money, IMHO, a state of the art plasma is going to give you a much much higher bang for the buck in those two areas. That being said, image size is a very real factor in terms of overall engagement and, beyond certain sizes, projectors clearly become the more economical purchase.

I own a 42" plasma and a "budget" projector (Epson 8350) and while my plasma offers a generally sharper picture with more contrast and punch, there is no substitute for the sheer power that a larger-than-life projected image can have when viewed on even my modestly-sized 100" screen. For group viewing, especially, allowing everyone in the room to have a great, wide angle of view is a magical thing. That's when I use my projector most -- for creating a shared movie-magic experience. Even if the contrast ratio is higher on my plasma, there is no way a room full of viewers would feel so immersed looking at a 42" screen vs. the 100" projection.

Anyway, short version of the story: Plasmas have sharpness and contrast ratios that would take a LOT of money for a projector to begin to match, but even at budget prices, a less-than perfect projected image can compensate with its sheer scale.

Just thinking out loud really, but I hope this helps in any way. Peace.
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post #5 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 05:58 PM
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You'd be better off buying a cheap single chip DLP for strict 3D usage as there isn't any projector that does 2D and 3D brilliantly under $10000. A good compromise projector that has solid (though not the best option for 2D or 3D by themselves) would be the Sony VPL-HW50ES. Many on this forum are going to tell you to stay away from the Panasonic. The Epson 5020 is a much better performer for the same price. But at your budget you can definitely do a 2 projector setup and have some of the best 2D and 3D out there currently. The JVC DLA-RS45 for 2D and something like the Optoma HD25 (or possibly the BenQ W1070) for 3D is a killer combo that you'd have to spend a lot more (like 5000-10000 dollars more) to get noticeable PQ improvements.
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post #6 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anthrojohn View Post

I'm not sure that any consumer-level projector can rival the sharp picture and native contrast ratio of a top-of-the-line (or even merely great) plasma TV. For the money, IMHO, a state of the art plasma is going to give you a much much higher bang for the buck in those two areas. That being said, image size is a very real factor in terms of overall engagement and, beyond certain sizes, projectors clearly become the more economical purchase.

I own a 42" plasma and a "budget" projector (Epson 8350) and while my plasma offers a generally sharper picture with more contrast and punch, there is no substitute for the sheer power that a larger-than-life projected image can have when viewed on even my modestly-sized 100" screen. For group viewing, especially, allowing everyone in the room to have a great, wide angle of view is a magical thing. That's when I use my projector most -- for creating a shared movie-magic experience. Even if the contrast ratio is higher on my plasma, there is no way a room full of viewers would feel so immersed looking at a 42" screen vs. the 100" projection.

Anyway, short version of the story: Plasmas have sharpness and contrast ratios that would take a LOT of money for a projector to begin to match, but even at budget prices, a less-than perfect projected image can compensate with its sheer scale.

Just thinking out loud really, but I hope this helps in any way. Peace.

That is simply not true. JVCs top of the line projectors have measured native on/off contrast ratios of 150000:1. Please show me any flat panel that can do that. Plasma's are sharp but with film content there are several single chip DLPs out there that look equally sharp, especially when one is watching video. Plasma displays are noisey as hell due to the built in technology to prevent any sort of burn in on the panel. You don't get that with higher end digital projectors like the ones being discussed here. I own a 50" Panasonic plasma and it's nice to watch TV on but for movies size matters and I think my Planar PD8150 puts out a much nicer, cleaner, equally sharp and detailed picture which is more than 4 times larger. A plasma can't touch most $4000+ projectors in terms of overall PQ and I think many here will agree.
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post #7 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 06:57 PM
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The measured On/Off and ANSI combination does not work the same on a Plasma as it does a projector, even though most Plasmas cannot get that high in on/off, the actual intrascene contrast in things like starfields will be much higher than a JVC, even compared to a JVC that measures about 80,000:1. The intrascene ramp on a TV works different than a projector, partly due to the fact that the ANSI is preserved, and partly because the light source is enclosed on a TV. Some Plasmas have well over 4000:1 ANSI alone.

I've read that when calibrated, ON/OFF contrast is around 35,000:1 on/off with a 50ʺ Kuro Plasma. Not sure how accurate that number is, it's just how I recall it. However, add even the tiniest amount of bright stars and the Plasma's superior intrascene ramp quickly beats out a JVC's intrascene contrast.

Even watching Harry Potter on a cheap $600 LG Plasma you will notice that in LOW APL scenes with some bright spots (even not a lot of bright), the Plasma looks more contrasty, though some of that might also come with the reflectivity characteristics of the screen.

Plasmas do have a bit of an edgy digital look to them though, so in one way a projector is better because the projector looks more natural and film-like. As far as noise, hmm, depends on the Plasma, some are cleaner than others.


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post #8 of 26 Old 08-31-2013, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrt2 View Post

My only question is how close a projector can come to sharpness and detail to a top of the line plasma tv when it comes to 1080P content?

I'd originally planned my home theater around a 65" 1080p Panasonic plasma, several years ago. When I investigated projectors as an alternative perhaps the biggest surprise
was how damned sharp the projected images could be (depending on the projector). I actually found some projected images as sharp or sharper looking than a plasma, and my JVC RS55 projector that I own now continues that: it can produce a ridiculously sharp, detailed image such that even people who own flat panels remark on it's clarity.

Not to get your hopes too high about projection: a flat panel can look more vivid given it's higher light output and higher ANSI-type contrast. And you have to remember it's also about image size/viewing distance. One of the reasons flat screens look sharp is because their image is so much smaller and in a typical set up they take up a smaller field of view. So on those reasons alone it gives an advantage to a flat screen. But if we are talking about projection, we are talking about increasing the field of view for a more immersive experience.
Start getting that close to a flat screen and they'll look less sharp.

But there is a fairly large sweet spot for a good projector where you will get a much larger, more immersive image than any flat screen but it won't be so big as to to make a good source image look soft. For instance, Blu-Ray movies regularly look astoundingly sharp at around 100" diagonal, on my set up, from between 9 to 11 feet away, seemingly giving little away to a flat panel. The better the source, the bigger the image can go and remain sharp and detailed. Good Blu-Ray images can look super sharp up to 135" diagonal or so from the same distance.

YMMV...
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post #9 of 26 Old 09-01-2013, 09:56 AM
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I own a 65 vt50 and a sony hw50es with a 92 inch screen and a mosly light controlled room and the picture quality it very close between the two. Watching movies or playing games on the projector does not look like your looking at a projector, it looks more like a 92 inch plasma on the wall. It's all about your room, if you throw a projector in a room with light walls and windows you will not get a picture that comes close to a good plasma. With the right room setup and a get a good projector you will not be disappointed. If you have a room with no windows or maybe one or two smaller ones you can cover and some dark flat paint you can have a very good picture.
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post #10 of 26 Old 09-01-2013, 10:05 AM
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I just replaced a 70" Sony SXRD with this projector and a 126" 16:9 Carada Screen, thanks Mike at AVS for all the help!

This is my first projector setup, and all I can say is WOW! The jump in size in amazing, and also the picture quality is better than what I had previously. A stunning picture, and I'm really impressed with how the Sony performs in both 2D and 3D. Such a quiet fan, which is really nice.

We watched Jurassic Park 3D last night and it was quite an experience, and such a step up from what we had before. I debated the plasma route, but in the end, my wife summed it up best...."Do you want a TV Room or a Home Theater?" I'm glad we went with a Home Theater!
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post #11 of 26 Old 09-01-2013, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by andy2sp View Post

I just replaced a 70" Sony SXRD with this projector and a 126" 16:9 Carada Screen, thanks Mike at AVS for all the help!

This is my first projector setup, and all I can say is WOW! The jump in size in amazing, and also the picture quality is better than what I had previously. A stunning picture, and I'm really impressed with how the Sony performs in both 2D and 3D. Such a quiet fan, which is really nice.

We watched Jurassic Park 3D last night and it was quite an experience, and such a step up from what we had before. I debated the plasma route, but in the end, my wife summed it up best...."Do you want a TV Room or a Home Theater?" I'm glad we went with a Home Theater!

Which projector did you replace your Sony SXRD with?
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post #12 of 26 Old 09-01-2013, 11:43 AM
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I replaced my 70" Sony SXRD with the Sony HW50ES, very happy with it.
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post #13 of 26 Old 09-03-2013, 11:25 AM
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it's definitely all about the room

I have two comparably priced, 'high-end-ish' displays in the same room. a 64" Samsung f8500 plasma, and jvc x35 projector. the plasma is just about as good as it gets, the projector, well it's about as good as it gets at the same 3k price range. due to buying the projector online and not paying taxes, I actually paid about 200 less for the projector.

anyway, with the lights on, no contest the plasma wins. blacks still look black, and it's brighter than I could ever want.

with the lights dimmed, it's a trade off of size for deep blacks. the extra size of the projector is sometimes worth giving up the darkest blacks and shadow details. especially if you're watching something not super dark.

with the lights off, it's projector by a landslide. not only do you get the extra size, but it's actually darker too! i'm sure if I wanted to get picky, I could comment on things like color reproduction, motion, input lag etc, but those are more about the individual models I own, not a plasma vs projector thing.

bottom line is, I feel that the limiting factor is still the content. a 1080p signal is not getting distorted through the projectors lens. the only way you're going to get a more clear image at 100+ inches is with a higher resolution. if they made a 100" plasma it would have some benefits over my projector with regards to brightness, ansi contrast, and bright room use, but I do not believe it could be any more clear.

the truth is, I 'had' to replace my old projector because after getting the new plasma, I knew I was never going to watch anything on the 'crappy' projector again. now, i'm thinking I wasted my money on the plasma cause i'll never watch anything 'critical' on the plasma again. my completely subjective opinion is that the x35 throws out an overall 'better' picture than the f8500.

and that's only 100inches, which is pretty darn small for projectors. my opinion, with today's projectors there is no reason to stick with a plasma for 'theatre' viewing. if you've got the right room, the right lighting control, go with a good projector and screen and don't look back.

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post #14 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post


the truth is, I 'had' to replace my old projector because after getting the new plasma, I knew I was never going to watch anything on the 'crappy' projector again. now, i'm thinking I wasted my money on the plasma cause i'll never watch anything 'critical' on the plasma again. my completely subjective opinion is that the x35 throws out an overall 'better' picture than the f8500.

and that's only 100inches, which is pretty darn small for projectors. my opinion, with today's projectors there is no reason to stick with a plasma for 'theatre' viewing. if you've got the right room, the right lighting control, go with a good projector and screen and don't look back.

Thank you, I found this post very useful. I have a 50" Pioneer (8th gen) and I've been a bit hesitant about replacing it (with a Sony HW50). Could you compare the motion handling of the F8500 to the X35? Is there any soap-opera-effect on the X35?
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post #15 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 01:03 AM
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tmavs... Tell us were you are located, and I'm sure someone around your area may schedule a demo of their theater.
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post #16 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 01:30 AM
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tmavs... Tell us were you are located, and I'm sure someone around your area may schedule a demo of their theater.

Thanks for the offer but live in Johannesburg, South Africa wink.gif I have also updated my profile's location.
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post #17 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tmavs View Post

Thank you, I found this post very useful. I have a 50" Pioneer (8th gen) and I've been a bit hesitant about replacing it (with a Sony HW50). Could you compare the motion handling of the F8500 to the X35? Is there any soap-opera-effect on the X35?

if you turn on the FI processing, yes, HEAVY soap opera effect. I don't think it's watchable, but i'm very against any kind of FI processing.

I also find the FI on the f8500 completely unuseable, so when comparing the two, it'll be with all that turned off. the jvc definitely has worse motion handling. it's fine if something moves quickly across the screen(think like sports maybe, a baseball is hit, or watching tennis, where the background remains relatively stationary) but it's very bad when the camera pans quickly during movie 'action' scenes. I think some of this is the fact the screen is so large it makes all faults that much more noticeable, but the weak spot for Lcos is motion handling, and I do find watching fast action scenes a little nauseating when sitting close(1-1.2x screen width)

I've heard the sony is better in this regard. it does motion better than other lcos based projectors. i'm just not sure i'd want to give up the blacks I get. they are great, but (being a kuro owner i'm sure you can appreciate this) I always want darker. also remember the blacks depend heavily on your room. if I aim my cellphone at the screen, I no longer get plasma deep blacks for example. it doesn't take much light spilled on a white screen to mess up the blacks
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post #18 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 05:47 PM
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If it were me, if my budget would have allowed, I would go for the following set up:

1- A JVC projector with E-shift feature such as RS4810,
2- Oppo BDP-103D featuring with Darbee technology,
3- A high gain screen such as Da-lite high power (in 100-120" range),
4- Since this is a basement not your living room, I would paint the wall and ceiling all very dark matte paint. (having textures on the walls also helps in eliminating reflections).

I have seen plasmas though I never owned one. I think unless it's a very high quality large size plasma (or any other type of tv), it wouldn't match the picture quality the above set up would give. Mine was a JVC RS40 with 110" High Power Da-Lite and it was already amazing.

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post #19 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 05:55 PM
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Unless you were planning on watching a LOT of 3D there is no need to pair a high gain screen of that size with a JVC. I have a X55R (RS4810) and with the iris fully closed (-15) on low lamp mode I get a very bright image at ~106" diagonal.
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post #20 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 08:32 PM
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Depends how many hours he puts on the projector and if he wants to spend extra on lamps.


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post #21 of 26 Old 10-17-2013, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

Unless you were planning on watching a LOT of 3D there is no need to pair a high gain screen of that size with a JVC. I have a X55R (RS4810) and with the iris fully closed (-15) on low lamp mode I get a very bright image at ~106" diagonal.

i second this. even with 3D, it's pretty bright at that size with the iris open and/or high bulb mode.

the money could be better spent elsewhere. a cheap high gain screen will do more harm than good(sparklies, hot spotting etc).

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post #22 of 26 Old 10-17-2013, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

i second this. even with 3D, it's pretty bright at that size with the iris open and/or high bulb mode.

the money could be better spent elsewhere. a cheap high gain screen will do more harm than good(sparklies, hot spotting etc).

With the new 2.4 Da-Lite High Power screen, I have not observed any sparkling or hot spotting. I guess, satisfaction is objective because I personally thought even with the high gain screen in 3D (lamp in high mode), it could even be better if it were brighter. With 2D i found brightness level was right on spot. I realized the right level of brightness has a significant impact on my perception of satisfaction.

I have to admit this new 2.4 material looks so different from the old 2.8 type. I used to have the old type before. The old one had a thick glass bead texture while the new one is merely a paint on the screen surface. The old one seemed brighter too and had sparkles. I did like the old type and there was nothing wrong with it.

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post #23 of 26 Old 10-17-2013, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

if you turn on the FI processing, yes, HEAVY soap opera effect. I don't think it's watchable, but i'm very against any kind of FI processing.

I also find the FI on the f8500 completely unuseable, so when comparing the two, it'll be with all that turned off. the jvc definitely has worse motion handling. it's fine if something moves quickly across the screen(think like sports maybe, a baseball is hit, or watching tennis, where the background remains relatively stationary) but it's very bad when the camera pans quickly during movie 'action' scenes. I think some of this is the fact the screen is so large it makes all faults that much more noticeable, but the weak spot for Lcos is motion handling, and I do find watching fast action scenes a little nauseating when sitting close(1-1.2x screen width)

I've heard the sony is better in this regard. it does motion better than other lcos based projectors. i'm just not sure i'd want to give up the blacks I get. they are great, but (being a kuro owner i'm sure you can appreciate this) I always want darker. also remember the blacks depend heavily on your room. if I aim my cellphone at the screen, I no longer get plasma deep blacks for example. it doesn't take much light spilled on a white screen to mess up the blacks

Thanks smile.gif
I'm going to have a light controlled room. My SO has even agreed to black walls and when I suggested some dark grey/blue as contrast she said "I thought you were making everything black?" biggrin.gif
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post #24 of 26 Old 10-18-2013, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by raminolta View Post

With the new 2.4 Da-Lite High Power screen, I have not observed any sparkling or hot spotting. I guess, satisfaction is objective because I personally thought even with the high gain screen in 3D (lamp in high mode), it could even be better if it were brighter. With 2D i found brightness level was right on spot. I realized the right level of brightness has a significant impact on my perception of satisfaction.

I have to admit this new 2.4 material looks so different from the old 2.8 type. I used to have the old type before. The old one had a thick glass bead texture while the new one is merely a paint on the screen surface. The old one seemed brighter too and had sparkles. I did like the old type and there was nothing wrong with it.

is it cheap?
that was more my point, that it costs a lot more money to make a 'good' high gain screen. so if we're doing this within a budget, a matte screen frees up money for something that's going to be more required, since i'm assuming he'll have to figure out a way to dim the projectors outputs to use sugh an high gain screen at a small size anyway.

and if the da-lite is cheap, they let's say it's EASIER to find a good matte screen. more options, more chance of finding the right size, right location, etc. probably not an issue for you yanks, the da-lite would be easy to get there i'm sure.

Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
AVR: Pioneer VSX-1018AH, 5.1 audio
Sources: HTPC(Mediabrowser), PS3, XBOX360, Wii, Sony DVP-CX995V
Control: Harmony One
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post #25 of 26 Old 10-18-2013, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmavs View Post

Thanks smile.gif
I'm going to have a light controlled room. My SO has even agreed to black walls and when I suggested some dark grey/blue as contrast she said "I thought you were making everything black?" biggrin.gif

sweet deals. i just wanted to add, since your question i've been paying a little more attention to motion blur on both my displays, and i need to report back that most of my sources are likely the cause, not the display. so i may not be able to accurately compare the two. if i pause playback during a fast scene, it's blurry on both. so i'm thinking i just noticed it a lot more on the huge screen.

Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
AVR: Pioneer VSX-1018AH, 5.1 audio
Sources: HTPC(Mediabrowser), PS3, XBOX360, Wii, Sony DVP-CX995V
Control: Harmony One
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post #26 of 26 Old 10-18-2013, 07:28 AM
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Mrt2, I was in your shoes a couple of years ago. I now have a 60” 9g Kuro I would love to unload. After I built a dedicated room like you describe I no longer watch my plasma. I have a JVC RS45 in a light controlled room projected on a 136” 1.3 gain screen and find it plenty bright. I know others prefer higher gain but it has tradeoffs and this is a detail you can upgrade in time. It’s more than just video quality (although it’s excellent) it’s more immersive and enjoyable. Add a couple of subwoofers that will shake the house and I bet you won’t regret it.

Good luck and make sure you look in the theater construction forum here at AVS.
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Reply Digital Hi-End Projectors - $3,000+ USD MSRP

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