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!