Need help with basement media room / living room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-24-2013, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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We're finishing our basement (after 13 years in this house!) and while we're not doing a dedicated theater room, we are looking to put in a front projection system for all-around use in the downstairs living area. It's basically a big L-shaped room where the screen will be located at the bend in the L.

You can read a little more about the overall project in my build thread.

Here's the parameters...

  • I'd like a 120" screen (16;9). (I was thinking about doing a 150" 2.35:1 screen instead, but I think that's a bit beyond me at this time.)
  • The projector will be located about 13' from the screen. I'd like to keep it there so that it's close to a beam behind it.
  • seating will be about 13' from the screen. The back of the couch will be 14.5' from the screen, so I think 13' for eye position is about right.
  • all lights will be dimmable, so we can go from comfortable ambient light for watching a game to completely dark for watching a movie (it's a basement). We want something that gives us some flexibility for going back and forth between the two lighting options. A little more noise from the projector when running in ambient light is fine, but I want it quiet when we're watching a move in the dark.
  • I can recess the screen into the wall and frame with black velvet, but the walls will be a medium pewter and the ceilings will be white.

What we'll be watching...

  • 20% TV (we have a 50" plasma upstairs that we'll keep for most TV)
  • 50% Movies (almost all 2D)
  • 30% Gaming with FPS and Kinect dance games, etc.



I've been reading a lot about different projectors and I think I'm potentially interested in...

  • Epson 8350 (reasonable price, good for gaming, OK 2D performance)
  • Epson 5020 (better for movies, bright for 3D, not so good input lag for gaming, not sure I want to spend this much over the 8350 for better 2D movie moving)
  • BenQ W1070 (bright, good for gaming)
  • JVC RS45 (great 2D performance, but not sure I want to stretch the budget this high)

What else should I consider for this environment?
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-24-2013, 09:00 PM
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In your price range, only the JVC's, Panny 7000/8000, or MIts hc4000, or Mits hc8000 will be able to properly show 16:9 content on a 2.35 screen, .
The problem with CIH isn't 2.35 movies (any PJ can do this by overshooting the black bars), but the problem is watching 16:9 content on the 2.35 screen. The 16:9 content will overflow past the screen's border, not just the black bars but actual content. That is why you need a resizer or lens memory (via automated lens shift) to watch 16:9 on the 2.35 screen. If you do not care about 16:9 viewing at all on the screen, then you can pick any projector.

The Mits hc8000 would be a good choice at 120" screen, but not for a 150" screen. For a 150" screen, the JVC is your best bet. The Panny will also work, but the PQ is not as good. There are other ways to handle it, like buying a Lumagen which can do the 16:9 re-scale or watch all 16:9 content on an HTPC player. The Lumagen is the 2nd best option, but it's pricey for a budget setup and robs you of other places you could have spent the money on.

That said the Benq w1070 + Lumagen is about the same cost as the lowest model JVC's.


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post #3 of 17 Old 02-24-2013, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Coderguy, thanks for your comments. You've convinced me that I'm not ready to tackle CIH. I need to get a good 16:9 setup that can handle movies, TV and games. I'll deal with letterboxing on cinemascope movies.

It's something I'd like to do some day, but I know my limits and I need to focus on getting this project to completion soon. I can always do CIH in version 2.

With that said, would your recommendations change?

P.S. Im going to edit the first post to reflect that change.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been reading a bit more and I'm concerned about the 8350 in ambient light. I really want to be able to watch TV (sports) and play games with some lighting in the surrounding area. I can turn off the lights in front of the screen and dim the other lights behind the projector and by the kitchenette, but I want some lighting on.

Would I be a lot better off with a 5020? Or some other projector with a brighter image? Should I move to a smaller screen size? 106" instead of 120?
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 11:59 AM
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I have a very similar set-up in my L-shaped "multipurpose" basement / Home Theatre.
Quote:
the walls will be a medium pewter and the ceilings will be white.

I went with darker matt earth-tones (but not to dark). The walls adjacent to the screen are darker, and the ones further are lighter. I also have an earth-tone ceiling.

When you go for mat, you may also want to spring for "ultra washable" ... to get some of the advantages of a higher sheen paint without the glare.

I believe this is a good compromise between light control, and not making the basement look dark and dingy. Put in a lot of lighting, you can always dim it down, or have it separately switchable for different purposes.

I used to have a 8350. While usable, it was not the epitome of brightness. My new 3020 (similar lumens as 5020) does much better in ambient light.

150" screen will make it struggle much more in ambiant light.

Holler if you have not yet found instructions to get your kinect wired behind the wall for longs distances, in case your x-box will not be up front.
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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steveCay,

I definitely need help with the Kinect and Wii sensor wiring. I'm going to put the equipment rack under the stairs off the side of the viewing area (and slightly behind).

I'd rather take the image size down and keep it brighter for ambient light viewing. I think the most I would do is 120". Maybe I should look at 106" instead. Here is what the projector calculator is telling me...



The wall and ceiling color is definitely going to be a compromise. We both really want an inviting living room feel and I really appreciate tips on how to meet that challenge. The "ultra washable" paint is something I've never heard of before. I'll need to check that out. It may also be possible to do a different color ceiling in the rectangle defined by the viewing area and the support beam behind the projector.
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 12:42 PM
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Have you thought about flipping the positioning of the projector and screen so that you're on the opposite wall (In the L)? That would address A LOT of your light issues with that window. Having the speakers in the L will help with sound as well I think?

If placement isn't flexible and you're concerned about the light from the window/cans consider looking at the panasonic ar100. For nearly the same price as the 8350 you get almost double the light output.

Flipping your screen to the opposite wall also addresses the ceiling issue...you could paint the back wall and ceiling a darker color, while leaving the side walls and the ceiling behind the beam light.

Basically...I dont see any situation where flipping the screen to the wall where the ping pong table is as a bad move...

"Damn, you can't get black levels like that on your projector!"
- My brother, just before he realized his LED display had died.

Link to my Basement build
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1529034/conspiracy-basement-build
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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There's a window centered on that back wall by the ping-pong table where the screen would go. I could block it out, but I was trying to make compromises that worked within the room. I'll look at it again, but I'm not sure I want to close off a window like that. I guess I could put in a pull down screen and some kind blackout material that pulls down over the window opening so I could put it all up when not using the projector during the day. I was thinking fixed screen, but maybe a pull down wouldn't be a bad idea.

I also have a dream that I want to open up that window and make it into a door with steps up to the back porch. But that will probably never happen. wink.gif
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 05:33 PM
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Here is how you extend a Kinect for $20 or so (worked perfectly for my newer generation xbox):

Get a "Kinect USB power supply" if you have a new xbox (if you have an old xbox, you probably already have this piece)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-USB-AC-Adapter-Power-Supply-for-Xbox-360-XBOX360-Kinect-Sensor-Free-Shipping-/390413728678?pt=Video_Games_Accessories&hash=item5ae678bba6

Plug wall wart into a plug up front where your Kinect is, plug in the orange Kinect connector into the orange plug on this contraption, and extend the USB plug on this thing.

To extend the USB over long distance, use an active USB extension cable of appropriate length:
http://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Meter-Active-Extension-Female/dp/B004AGX4YO/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1361841593&sr=1-4&keywords=usb+active+extension

The other end of the USB then plugs into one of your xbox usb connectors (instead of dedicated Kinect connector)

Disclaimers:
1) Not endorsing those vendors, just the first ones that pop on on search for illustration purpose. I bought whatever similar at the time and it worked just fine!
2) Test before burying behind your walls!
3) Microsoft says not to do this, and buy their expensive and short "licensed" cables instead!
http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/kinect/usb-extension-cables-and-hubs-kinect-sensor
http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/en_US/pd/ThemeID.27509700/Xbox-360-Kinect-Extension-Cable/productID.220830800
$50 for a useless 10ft! And you cannot chain more than one according to them ...
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 05:44 PM
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For paint I used Sherwin Williams Duration. Matte, yet advertised as the "ultimate in washability".

In the store they had a demo where they wrote on it with marker, and it washed right off. Luckily have not had to test that aspect in real life at home!

Painted myself, and worked well for me. The room does light up a bit in bright scenes, but there is no way I am painting my basement matte black!
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-02-2013, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Corning has some optical USB cables coming out soon that would allow for up to 100m runs. I might see if I can get one of those and run it from the Kinect back to the Xbox about 10-15m away.

I'm thinking of framing out the space with some columns to match up with the column around the support beam. That would define the screen space, allow me to paint a darker shade in that area, and still allow for a 106" 16:9 screen. I don't think I want to cover the back window with the screen, and I think we will enjoy having it more central to the basement.

I could go with an 80" LCD too, I guess. But I still love the idea of a projector and 106" screen.

Here's a picture of the framing around the support column that would be one of the corners of the viewing area.

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post #12 of 17 Old 01-23-2014, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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My project has been put on hold for the last 9 months. I'm starting up again and looking at the Optoma 131Xe because it seems like the right budget 1080p projector for my 13' throw distance to a 106" screen. I decided to put in the columns that frame out the screen area and because I was limited by a support post in the back of the space, the dimensions only allowed for 106" screen. I'm happy with the way it looks though.

I probably won't be ready for the projector for a couple months, but the choices are somewhat limited for my room. I could go to a W1070, but I'd have to move the projector well in front of the back beam and that looks tacky to my imagination.
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-23-2014, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's what the calculator results look like for my setup. This seems to indicate that it will be too bright, but maybe I just drop it into eco mode and it will be perfect?

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post #14 of 17 Old 01-24-2014, 08:05 AM
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Eco should be fine. And you'll appreciate the extra brightness for 3D, or if you go with an Acoustically Transparent or gray screen.
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-27-2014, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, PrimeTime. I'm still about a month out from finishing drywall, but I'm going to put that projector at the top of my list.
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post #16 of 17 Old 02-15-2014, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I ordered a HD131Xe today. Looking forward to getting it hooked up!
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post #17 of 17 Old 02-18-2014, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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The acoustic transparent screen that I'm looking at uses the Seymour AV material and it's actually 1.2 gain. I'm getting a little concerned that I'm going to be way too bright. I suppose a $70 ND filter will fix it if it comes to that.
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