106" front projection & 55" panel ... VS ... just an 80" panel? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-01-2012, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I've wanted a front projection system for 12 years. Now, two houses and three kids later, I FINALLY have the required combination of budget, wife's permission, and a suitable room, to pull the trigger on a projector and screen. I was on the phone ready to order the new Panasonic PT-AE7000U or the older PT-AE4000U the other day, but happened to come across the Sharp 80" LED tvs for a street price of $4000, and now I'm wondering if I've actually waited to the point where a large panel is now better for my specific room and applications than a front projector plus a smaller panel?

The 30x15 room has 7 foot high drywall ceilings. Double glass doors to a walk-up stairway are on the end of the room opposite the screen.


Fair amount of daylight, mostly indirect and never directly on the screen. The watching would be mostly Bluray and 720p streaming movies for 4 to 8 people (11' eye-to-screen distance), Xbox/Kinect and Wii gaming for the 10 and 8 year old, and occasional sports viewing but probably not large group entertaining. I don't really care about 3D, but maybe the kids will inevitably want 3D.

We currently have a 55" LED tv, in-wall 7.1 speakers, and an AVRak media cabinet built into the side wall out of sight behind the viewing plane. So the room is pretty clean looking and can be used as a huge play area, as a big video gaming area, or for movies. In our main floor family room we have another panel tv with 5.1 as our primary TV, so this basement room will evolve into the kids' space for their friends as well as a family movie space.

So now I want to upsize the video, and have been thinking front projector in the $2 to $3k range. We'd keep the 55" panel for daylight and instant-on viewing convenience (and Xbox Kinect games that might obstruct a projector), but for better movie immersion we would now finally add the projector and a 106" electric in-ceiling screen to drop down right front of the 55" panel.

We a prefer multi-purposed space, not a dedicated home theater. So the walls and ceilings are light like the style of the rest of the open basement floor plan. When we finished the basement, I wired and framed for a future in-ceiling drop screen and a projector ceiling location 14' from the screen location. I always imagined rigging some type of manual projector lift to totally conceal the projector between the 2x10 joists when not in use, because the ceiling is only 7 ft and I didn't want the projector vulnerable to head collisions or flying objects from the playroom half of the room. And because we'd like to keep the clean look of the in-wall speakers and all in-wall wiring.

When I add up $2 - $3k for the projector, a few hundred for lift materials to deal with the low ceiling, $1000 for a tensioned electric screen and trim kit, $1000 for keeping the 55" LED tv (instead of repurposing it), the additional 16-20 hours of my installation time to cut into the ceiling and mount and adjust everything, a few hundred for drapes on the glass doors and hopper windows, it all adds up to about 1.5x to 2x the street price of the Sharp 80" panel. The 80" panel actually seems to have decent picture quality, would be more convenient to start-up, allow gaming on a bigger 80" screen than the 55" (though movies at 80" would be smaller than on a 106" projection screen). Daylight would never be a problem, and I'd have no bulb costs, etc.

I realize 106" is a bigger wow factor than 80", but 80" is not bad for 11' primary seating distance.
http://www.displaywars.com/80-inch-1...-106-inch-16x9

I thought I'd post here to see if any projector advocates can point out pros and cons I'm missing. Because to be honest, I'm kind of disappointed that after 12 years of wanting a projector and recommending them to others, a projector might not be the best choice for this room after all.

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

- Jamie
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-01-2012, 09:54 PM
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I setup my HT with a projector beginning of 2006, at the time for big screen viewing it was the way to go and don't regret it at all. Now when the bulb on my Hitachi PJ-TX200 goes I will seriously look at a large LCD. Mitsubishi has a 92" which is probably the biggest I could fit down into my basement.
When I built my basement, I tried to future proof it, so it's ready to accept a big TV where the screen is now with power and conduit waiting...
The projector has been great, but at the price point now, I don't believe a PJ can match the black level or contrast from the LCD, nor do we have to worry much about bulb life or dimming.
If I was to buy today, with the price so close, I'd say big LCD hands down IMHO.

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post #3 of 7 Old 01-02-2012, 12:30 AM
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You have 30'X 15' room an 80" screen is way too small. A projector and screen of at least 106" is the ticket. No doubt about it. The new espon 5010 looks like the best choice for your multipurpose room.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-02-2012, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCroly View Post

You have 30'X 15' room an 80" screen is way too small. A projector and screen of at least 106" is the ticket. No doubt about it. The new espon 5010 looks like the best choice for your multipurpose room.

Thanks for your input. Only half the room is used for viewing. The viewing distance is 11'. That's why there's doubt about the projector, especially when I'd need a panel tv anyway in addition.

And the Epson looks interesting but is too deep to lift up between 16"-on-center ceiling joists. The Panasonic fits.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-02-2012, 06:32 AM
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Once you watch a movie or two on a 100+" screen you won't want to watch a movie on something as small as an 80" (as stupid as that sounds). Projector all the way but I'd play with screen sizes before you bought a 106". I'd bet you'd be wanting a larger screen before long even with an 11' viewing distance.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-02-2012, 08:16 AM
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I have always preferred the front projection route, 106" vs 80" is a lot. My first projector 7 years ago was on a 80" screen then 3 years ago I upgraded to another projector and went to 100" then to 120" the same year. 20" increasements is a lot in a screen. I just purchased the epson 6010 the other week and plan to upgrade the screen to 135" sometime this year. I would go to the biggest screen you can comfortably fit and view , I sit 12 feet back from a 120" screen and wouldn't want any smaller, but every one is different.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-02-2012, 10:02 AM
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80" is a pretty nice size but 106" is ~65% larger in square inches. that's significant - especially at 11' viewing distance. just remember if you go with the 80, you will always wonder about the 106.
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