New to Projectors - Is my room viable and other general questions! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-15-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I have just recently moved into our first house and have wanted to look into getting a projection system for a long time now. Even held off on buying a big screen TV for years due to wanting to hold off on getting a projection system (Still have my 10+ year old 21 inch TV). We do not have cable, so we would only use this system for the occasional movie / gaming nights, so for now it would get limited use.

I have attached a floor plan along with some pictures of the room, and where it does have 2 small windows on the north side, but it stays pretty dark in the room, so light level should not be a problem. The walls are about 8 foot tall before it starts angling toward the ceiling.

The layout I was thinking about was projecting the screen onto the West wall and having the projector on the east wall, maybe in that little nook (if possible).. Would there be a better layout for this room?

Some questions I had about projectors:
  1. Are some walls better to project the screen onto than others?
  2. Does the projector have to project strait at the wall? (example: Could I put the projector in the little nook in the east wall and project the screen in the west wall beside the fireplace?)
  3. What would be a good screen size to go with on this size of a room?
  4. Do I need a backdrop to project onto or wold strait onto the wall work (Wall is a cream color)
  5. I have a couple projectors I am looking at, but are there any you might suggest for this specific room?
  6. Are they any hints, tips, tricks you with you woudl of had on your first projector project?



Room pics in spoiler:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)





Thanks for all your help!
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-15-2013, 02:07 PM
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From the looks of that room and your intended use I would not recommend a projector at all. I don't think you intend to make this a dedicated theater room for movies etc. A screen is preferable but not required. All projectors must be mounted level and perpendicular to the screen, most entry level require to be mounted in the center and a few inches above or below the top or bottom of the screen. Ambient light is not the only concern as light colored walls, floor and ceiling will reflect light from the projector back to the screen and wash out the picture. A large flat panel LCD or Plasma would be more compatible to your room and a great improvement over a 21" TV

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post #3 of 17 Old 08-15-2013, 03:41 PM
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I think you have a great space to explore a projector. Get a screen or maybe tackle a DIY screen. Whatever size you get, make sure you accommodate your speakers. Sure darker walls & floor would offer improvements, but as long as you cover the windows, you'll have a great experience.
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-15-2013, 04:09 PM
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It looks possible, perhaps not ideal. One Issue I see is the fireplace. When lit, it either illuminates your screen or its light interferes with your vision. This means you can't really operate the projector and the fireplace without impairing either your vision or the image itself. .

I have a fireplace in my media room, but is is positioned at a right angle to the screen and does not illuminate much except its immediate surroundings. In addition, when there is a fire in it, I look one direction to see the fire and the other to see the screen. With yours, on the wall to either the left or the right of the fireplace, you are looking at both at the same time.

Other than that, painting the room a neutral color, projectors can be pretty bright. Perhaps if you timed the fire to not be blazing during the times you were using the projector, that might work. Of course you would also have to limit the ambient daylight coming from the windows.

As far as sound is concerned, some of the audiophiles here and there are fanatics for audio perfection. I like good sound, sure. Just as an example, I was advised on this forum not to take my Yamaha speakers out of their boxes and mount them in the wall. Well I tried it anyway, and even though the enclosures of the speakers are now very different (about 1/4 the volume) from what they were in their Yamaha boxes, the sound is very good and I can't tell the difference before and after.

As far as placement of the screen, I'd look at the 3.6 meter wall. I am pretty sure you could get a 120 inch diagonal 16 : 9 widescreen on there. Maybe a popcorn machine on your immediate right as you walk in the door.

Good luck.
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-15-2013, 06:47 PM
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While the room isn't ideal I would make the following recommendations...

1. Put the screen where your TV currently is. About a 110" diagonal.
2. Put the couch directly across from it.
3. Get VERY good blackout curtains and shades for complete ambient light control capability.
4. Buy a couple of cans of paint and ditch the cream walls and white ceiling. Go as dark as you can. It's cheap, and is the single biggest improvement you can make.
5. For a projector... Optoma, BenQ, Epson, etc. There is a good list of projectors which are good or better.

You will still need speakers and equipment... I would consider putting the equipment in a stand just to the right of the door and behind the couch right when you walk in. Put the subwoofer behind the couch, check out how it sounds.

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post #6 of 17 Old 08-15-2013, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey all,

Thank you for all your suggestions and information. Would like to clarify a couple things if you all don't mind.

I know a few people have mentioned room color. The entire room ceiling and walls are a light brown / cream color.. Will this impact the picture a lot, or just slightly? We just painted the living room after moving in to match the rest of the house, not sure if I can talk the wife into doing it all over again with a new color that is completely different from the rest from the house.

On the fireplace, it is a gas fireplace and it s stays pretty dim even on the highest setting and does not really fluctuate. I don't think I should have to much of an issue with it, but with 0 experiance with projectors, I could be completely wrong on that point. Thanks for pointing it out though, i never really considered it to be a potential issue.

Ill definitely look into some blackout curtains. If I go with something like the optima HD25 LE that has decent lumens. Would I need it very dark in there to really get a decent picture, or would a little light not hurt it much?

I have been wanting to get a projector setup for a while now, but from the sound of it, I kind of need a dedicated dark room to do so. As most people said, it would be possible in this room, but not optimal. With this going into the living room, would it be best to just buy a 50-60 inch TV and be done with it? I am not looking for a flawless picture as I have lived on a 21 inch TV for years and probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a just OK image and a great one. That being said I also don't want to spend $2000+ on equipment and end up with a bad, blurry, miss colored image either.

Thanks again for everybody's help!
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-16-2013, 04:25 AM
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I would try a projector. There is nothing like a ten foot diagonal screen in a man cave. My room isn't optimal either. Although I did paint the wall behind the screen a medium gray, a lot of the rest of the room is white. This means that, with careful light control, you can have a good theater room.

I am happy with my imperfect hybrid room. I would go with a projector. Everyone has an lcd display.
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-16-2013, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Cloud View Post

I am happy with my imperfect hybrid room. I would go with a projector. Everyone has an lcd display.

I'll echo Lone Clouds statement, my room is far from perfect (living room, not a dedicated room, several windows, beige/cream colored walls) so it's not ideal by any means, which I knew going into it. You just somewhat adjust your viewing, I pretty much do all my movie watching at night, and during the day it'll really only be sports/cable viewing. During the day it's not a theater like shot, but I'm watching football or basketball so if the black levels aren't super deep it's not a huge deal as its casual viewing. At night movies look great, and for the same price a TV just won't compare. My screen is 110" and I was using an Epson 8100. After having a projector frankly I couldn't imagine going back to a 60in TV.
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-16-2013, 08:48 AM
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If you are a video nerd or videophile, go with the projector. If you are an every day Joe, go with the TV.


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post #10 of 17 Old 08-16-2013, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goose4540 View Post

I'll echo Lone Clouds statement, my room is far from perfect (living room, not a dedicated room, several windows, beige/cream colored walls) so it's not ideal by any means, which I knew going into it. You just somewhat adjust your viewing, I pretty much do all my movie watching at night, and during the day it'll really only be sports/cable viewing. During the day it's not a theater like shot, but I'm watching football or basketball so if the black levels aren't super deep it's not a huge deal as its casual viewing. At night movies look great, and for the same price a TV just won't compare. My screen is 110" and I was using an Epson 8100. After having a projector frankly I couldn't imagine going back to a 60in TV.

Your room sounds a lot like what mine will be. What would you suggest for a screen? I here people talking about white, grey, black etc. If I am just running the projector in a normal room setting and wont be getting the best picture from the get go, does the screen color make that much of a difference?

Also, how would I go about determining the size of the screen? Would the distance between the wall and the projector determine that?
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post #11 of 17 Old 08-16-2013, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiepo View Post

Also, how would I go about determining the size of the screen? Would the distance between the wall and the projector determine that?

Distance between the screen wall and the projector (Throw Distance) is a large portion of what will determine how big your screen can be. The projector's zoom and lens shift capabilities also come into play. Look at the projector calculator, (http://www.projectorcentral.com/projection-calculator-pro.cfm) for a few models you are considering as a starting poi,t. Do your homework first and determine what you want, what you need and what will work... do all of this BEFORE you start buying stuff.

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post #12 of 17 Old 08-17-2013, 07:35 AM
 
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You have two primary walls to put a screen unless using an electric screen.  The wall where your TV is now and the one to the left of the fireplace.  I wouldn't use the east wall, too small unless using an electric or pulldown screen.  I would put black out shades on the windows.  Keeping your room the same color I'd look at more of a specialty screen if budget allows.  With a screen with no optical coating you could use that nook on the east wall with a projector with horizontal lens shift.  I wouldn't recommend that nook if using a specialty or gain screen, those work better when centered on the screen horizontally.  Because, you are in the under $3k projector forum I assume that spending as much on the screen as the projector is not in the budget?  Correct me if my assumption is incorrect.

 

 Since this looks like a multipurpose room where viewing conditions will be mixed, sometimes with ambient light other times in the dark I'd look for a versatile projector that can handle these conditions.  One of the most versatile projectors in my experience is the Epson 5020/6020.  It has very good picture quality when viewing in the dark but has brighter modes for viewing with ambient light.  I wouldn't go too big for a screen size to maintain picture and audio quality 100-110".   With ambient light use and your color walls I would go with a gray screen, it reduces brightness a little but has better black levels for perceived better contrast.

 

 You'll have to check the throw of whichever projector you choose, the Epson I mentioned would work fine in your room at either location.

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post #13 of 17 Old 08-17-2013, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Awesome, thank you for the help.

Not 100% sure where I am going to put it yet, but if I were to put the projector in that nook, I would need to buy one with a horizontal lens shift. I will make sure and keep an eye out for that.

The Epson 5020/6020 you mentioned might be a bit out of my budget for the time being. Would the Optoma HD25-LV work in this type of a room? I know it might be a small budget, but I am looking to stay under $2000 dollars for the projector and screen. if possible, I would like to throw in some surround sound in there as well, but I can always get that later if the $2000 cant accommodate it up front.

Thanks again for all your help!
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post #14 of 17 Old 08-17-2013, 09:33 AM
 
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The Optoma would work in that type of room and is certainly bright enough.  Definitely a gray screen to help with black levels with that projector even if your room was black.  The Epson mentioned is a big step up for picture quality.  Once you get to projectors above the Epson like Sony or JVC the law of diminishing returns applies where picture quality improvements start costing a lot more to get to the next level.  But the jump from the under $2k to the Epson level is significant.  I would consider upping the budget or waiting a little longer if needed.  

 

The Optoma doesn't have lens shift and has a fixed offset for height, so no shelf mounting with the Optoma.  It will need to be placed upside down using a ceiling mount or a wall mount near the ceiling.  The top of the screen will be at least 10" from the top of the wall.  In that price range the Epson 8350 has lens shift does but doesn't do 3D.  If you are looking for projectors with lens shift you also have to make sure it has enough lens shift.  Some only offer a small amount so if you are slightly off center you can correct for it.  The Epsons' will have a little more than 3 feet of horizontal offset for 100" screen.  So you can only be off to the side from the center of the screen about 3 feet.

 

One advantage of the Optoma is the built in speaker.  Neither of the Epsons mentioned have that.  Some of their other models do but don't have lens shift either and I would go with the Optoma over those.  So with the Epson 8350 or 5020 you will need something for sound and that is another factor for budget.

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post #15 of 17 Old 08-17-2013, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry if this is a dumb question, but why would I have to mount the Optima on the ceiling? I have played around with the screen size calculator, but need to do a bit of reading as I am not 100% sure what all the sliders and aliases actually mean.

Could I not mount the optima on a shelf in front or behind where I might be sitting? If not, is it hard to ceiling mount? I figure the actual mounting wouldn't be to bad, but getting power and all the video / audio cables up there without having all the wires running along the walls might be a bit of a trick.

Is there a good projector that would allow for shelf mounting if the optima cant?

Thanks!
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-18-2013, 04:48 AM
 
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If you were to place the Optoma on a table at 2' high the bottom of the screen would be ~ 2' 8".  Because it projects upward the bottom of the picture is above the height go the projector.  So if you can mount the Optoma on a shelf at ~2' high you'll be fine.  If you want the shelf to be higher the picture would be too high on the wall and onto the ceiling.  So the projector needs to be upside down and you would use a ceiling mounts or a wall mount (placed near the ceiling) with an extended arm that can hold it upside down. There is a setting in the projector for a ceiling mount so the picture is not upside down.  Now when it is upside down it projects downward and the top of screen will be about 10" below the ceiling, 2" for a very shallow mount and 8" for the projector.

 

 This projecting upward/downward is called offset and needs to be calculated to make sure it will work for your screen placement.  The amount offset changes depending on screen size, the larger the screen the more offset.  The 8" is approximate for 100" screen, you will want a mount with some up/down (not tilt they all have that) adjustment capability to make installation easier for a projector without vertical lens shift.  Projectors with a fixed offset take a little more time to install and make sure everything is perfectly aligned and you also have to make sure they will fit where you want them to go.

 

 There are other projectors with lens shift that can be shelf mounted and just adjust the lens.  Projectors that have vertical and horizontal lens shift are Epson 8350 and 5020, Panasonic 8000, AR100, Sony HW30.  Some with just vertical lens shift that can be shelf mounted are Mitsubishi HC7900, Sharp 30000.  Many of these can be found for under $2k except the Epson 5020 and Panasonic 8000 but not much under that for some.  The Acer 9500 and BenQ 1070 have a minor amount of vertical lens shift but still would have to ceiling mounted but it does make placement easier.

 

You'll have to check the throw distance and amount of lens shift each of these have to make sure they will fit where you want.

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post #17 of 17 Old 08-18-2013, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you,

that clears things up a lot. Now a lot of people including yourself have mentioned screens, particularly grey ones for my setup. What are some good brands for screens? Is there anything specific I should look for in them besides size? Whatever I go with I will probably have the projector right in front of the screen.
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