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post #1 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to pick a projector for my basement media room. A few facts:

Room is 18' x 18'
Ceiling is 9'
Screen size will be 100"
Throw distance around 14'

Is there a specific projector that you'd recommend? I'm looking to spend no more than $1300 - 1500.

A few that I've looked at include:

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350. I like that it has horizontal and vertical lens shift

BenQ W1070, Optoma HD25LV, and BenQ W1080ST also got good reviews, but they only had vertical lens shift.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 10:56 AM
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Are you hoping to do 3d? If so, brightness will be a very important factor to consider - calibrated brightness, not the number on the box, those can be very different.

A lot of this has to do with your preference of LCD vs DLP models, both have their pros and cons, right now epson is the budget darling for LCD home theater projectors. Have you looked at the powerlite 3020? You should be able to find one for under $1500 or thereabouts, it is in a whole new build quality class above the 8350.
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post #3 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.

The problem with the 3020 is that it does't have lens shift. How important is that?

I figured that the 8350 would give me some flexibility with installation (in case I'm a little off centered) or if the mount doesn't move enough from a 9' ceiling to center it correctly on my screen.
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post #4 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 12:11 PM
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Are you going to ceiling mount? I'm finding that vertical lens shift is very important with a ceiling mount on my 9'8" ceiling. In order to get the image low enough on the wall (I'm shooting for around 28-30" off the floor), I had to lower the projector down about 36", which put it at head level. This was with an Epson 2030. The Epson 3020 would be a little better, I would only have to lower it 30". I wanted 3D, so I figured out my choices with lens shift in the 1000-1500 range were the BenQ W1070, and the recently price reduced Mitsubishi HC7900WD. I ordered the Mits, I just hope it is bright enough. I don't think the Optoma you mention has lens shift, and the 8350 doesn't do 3D.

Use the manufacturers' projection calculators to see where the image will project on the wall.

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post #5 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Yes, I'm doing a ceiling mount.
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post #6 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 12:18 PM
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Just keystone it in, don't worry about lens shift!

Ok, sarcasm aside, Lens shift is very nice and unfortunately, projectorcentral does not have offset date loaded. Epson does provide an offset guide in the use manual but from what I have heard, it does have a larger offset than indicated in the user manual, making that info suspect.

Lens shift really is a glorious thing when you are trying to figure out your placement, once that is done, it doesn't matter one bit. I will say this, I have noticed that brightness goes down quite noticeably when you move away from the native position, every time I have had the option of using lens shift, I have wound up finding a way to get it to in the native position for the extra brightness.
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post #7 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 12:21 PM
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BTW, with having a 100" screen and 9' ceiling, it is likely that you may not need the lens shift as much as others do, I am in an ultra short basement and I would love the extra height to play with and get my screen off the floor.
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post #8 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I was using the calculator to figure out throw distance, etc. for the various projectors.

The BenQ W1070 recommends a throw range of 8'4" to 10'10" based on a 100" screen

The Optoma HD25-LV is 10'11" to 13'1" based on a 100" screen.

What happens if I go further than the recommended throw range? Do I lose picture quality? Does it not focus as well?
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post #9 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 12:40 PM
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It will focus fine, the image just won't be 100" anymore, you will have gone outside the zoom range. So if you want a 100" screen with the W1070 and you put your projector 12' back, the smallest it will go is larger than 100", conversely, if you move it forward to 7' away, the max image size will be smaller than 100".
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post #10 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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That makes sense. I'd like to keep the screen at 100". It is looking like Epson is the way to go since the throw distance is around 13 - 14" and my outlet has been located in that area.
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post #11 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 03:07 PM
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What colors are you walls, floor and ceiling. The Mits HC7900Dw will work at 14' and a 100" screen and has the lens shift and of set designed for a high ceiling. At $799 this projector is comparable to the Epson 5020 at a 3rd the price. Unless you need LCD and a brighter projector the 8350 would be a down grade over the mits. The mits I would suggest a dark painted room and full light control with a 1.2 or 1.3 gain white screen.

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post #12 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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walls and ceiling will be beige. Carpet will be light.
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post #13 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieVT View Post

walls and ceiling will be beige. Carpet will be light.

unfortunately those colors are the worst choice for any projector. If you can't at least darken the area surrounding the screen then image will be less then ideal. You may need to look at a brighter projector with a gray screen.

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post #14 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I understand. The room isn't just for home a theater, so we don't want a dark room.

It is a basement, with French doors in the room. They'll have blinds on them. Also, there is a deck above the doors, so not much light comes in.
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post #15 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 08:59 PM
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Paint the room darker, add lights. Don't make it 'another room' of your home, but a more purpose built space instead of the downstairs family, living, and bedroom which you already have everywhere else in your home. I mean, truly, there is no need to make a basement with 9' ceilings look just like every room you already have. Or, mix up the color scheme to help make one of the grandstanding features of your basement look as nice as possible.

Lens shift is nice, but not required and only a few projectors, including the 8350 have enough lens shift to be really worthwhile with higher ceilings. But, a projector like the aforementioned Mits. 7900 has a lot of offset, which means you can have it a fair distance above your screen and still have good results.

How did you arrive at a 100" screen? Did you just pick a size out of a hat, or did you calculate it based upon your seating distance and your typical seating position at your local theater? It seems a lot of people do the former, when they should be doing the later.

I would go with the Optoma or the Mits. and not look at a projector design from several years ago even though it is a solid model.

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post #16 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 05:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.


We looked at where we would be sitting in the room, and put tape up for a 100" screen. It looked pretty good for the wall. I don't want to feel like my eyes are bouncing around all over the place.

However, I'm going to get the projector first and see how certain sizes look on the wall and then get a screen.

I'll look at the paint color.

The thing with the Optoma is that the throw range seems to be off for the size screen that I want. I put the outlet about 14' feet back, which seems to line up perfectly for an Epson projector (100 - 110/120" screen).
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post #17 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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And we will have 6 recessed lights in the room with a dimmer.
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post #18 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 07:57 AM
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Honestly, if I was not going to have a dedicated theater, or at least decorate the room to be more suited for one, I wouldn't get a projector. I have seen SO many very nice homes that have these quasi theaters in them and the image quality from the projectors is atrocious. Even if you only watch films at night or when you have perfect light control, the amount of light reflected from the walls and ceiling will completely wash out your picture. In the end, you will wind up with an image that has 100:1 contrast ratio and lousy colors.

With how cheap large tv's are these days, I would go that route in a heartbeat over a projector in bright room, especially since you only want to go as large as 100" in the first place. You can get a nice 75" tv for just a bit over $2000 or a 70" tv for around $1500, even though the image is smaller, you will be able to see what is going on a lot better.
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post #19 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 08:22 AM
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You'll have 6 recessed lights switched OFF wink.gifbiggrin.gif

I'm like you and have a general purpose room. We ended up going with a dark blue, as it still looks like a "room" when not a theater. Also like you, have two doors on the side, with blinds and curtains. Shady back yard with a deck above. Light control is important with a PJ too smile.gif

Good luck with your journey!
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post #20 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought some projectors were good for a standard living room?

I can looking into painting the walls in the theater room darker. Maybe some kind of grey.

I haven't seen too many 70-75" TVs for $1500 - 2000
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post #21 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 09:49 AM
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The projector has nothing to do with whether or not it will be suited for a room with poor light control, sure a brighter projector can make the whites and colors pop more, but the blacks won't be there since there is no way to project anything darker than is what on the wall already, if that is a white screen, (typical) then your black levels will suffer tremendously.

I just got a 4000 lumen projector and tested it out in our living room, white walls, white ceiling, and a light rug on hardwood floor, the blacks were so bad that my wife went back to watching on her 27" iMac vs on 120" projector screen. I am no expert on TV's, but a family member just picked up a 75" samsung that he said was $2200 at Best Buy, he isn't the sort to shop things out at all, he just walks into a store, when his wife says "yes" they buy. My wife and I almost bought a 70" tv on Black Friday last year for $1200, maybe after the crazy deals ended, you still can't get one for $1500, it was an assumption, I could be off base.

Painting the walls darker will help greatly, but the biggest thing that helps is the floor and ceiling, this is because there is a lot more light from the image that gets closer to these than the walls. If you think about it, with a 100" image, you will have about 87" of image that is about 1-2ft away from the ceiling, on the walls, you have 49" of image that is typically several feet away from the nearest boarder. The washout that occurs nearest to the screen is most serious but the whole room affects things a lot.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy projectors, its great when people make the step into large screens, I just want you to be happy with the results and understand what the results will be if you take this route. There are also some great paints to look into that use grays that can greatly help black levels in rooms without perfect light control, use this with a nice bright image (which you will likely have at 100" diag) and you may get some very pleasing results.

A have a couple of very good friends from back in college who I helped to get a projector several years ago, they re-did their basement with dark walls but very light maple floors and white ceiling, the image the got was definitely washed out and did not demonstrate the projectors excellent black levels, however, they didn't care one bit, and I doubt most of their friends cared either, they LOVED having a nice big screen.

The other thing that plays in is light spillage from other rooms, even when they had all the lights off in the projector area, if one of them would open the bathroom door, or even have the lights on upstairs with the open staircase, the image got a lot worse. They had a very nice wet bar as well, when they turned on the can lights over this area, it made the image on the PJ downright unwatchable.
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post #22 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I understand.

I would likely paint the walls and ceiling the same color (maybe grey). The carpet would likely be a lighter color.

There is only the one set of French doors in the room with the theater. The sun hits that part of the house in the morning, so I'm thinking blinds on the doors and black out curtains would be fine. The other rooms (bedroom and bathroom) will have doors. The bedroom has windows, but will have blinds and also only gets sun in the morning.

Maybe a grey like this?

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-family/SW7059-unusual-gray/

It is a little disappointing thinking of looking at a TV.
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post #23 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 11:40 AM
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Bringing the color down from white helps a ton, going with that shade will be far better than a bright white, grey is neutral so it won't affect the color either. I think that with each shade you change to, the image will have a noticeable difference, especially if you are willing to paint the ceiling. From an aesthetics standpoint, I don't recommend painting the ceiling the exact same color as the walls, personally, I find that it just looks too dull, even using a different shade on the ceiling helps to give the room greater depth.

As for the windows, treating them depends completely on your viewing habits, I have found that blinds really don't darken a room very much, they do prevent people from seeing in but they diffuse the light more than they block it. If blocking the light is important and splashes on the screen, black out cloth is the only way to go and in my opinion, it looks a lot better as well. Obviously though, we all have our own priorities and lifestyles, this will be have to your call.
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post #24 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Understood. The walls weren't going to be white. They were going to be a light beige, but probably close enough to white.

All of these variables make this process a little frustrating where I'm contemplating a TV.

This 70" Vizio at Costco is $2k.

I do know that my wife isn't going to want the room to look like a cave. Grey walls (like the color I provided earlier) and curtains over the door SHOULD work just fine, right?
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post #25 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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post #26 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to figure out if I can set up a projector and have some lights on and what not? I'd like to have people over to watch games during the day time, or have people over at night with a few lights on.

Does it always have to be dark in the room?
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post #27 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 06:38 PM
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Here is some lighting examples, and a grey room (dark green screen wall)...
http://www.avintegrated.com/lighting.html

You should zone lights so that the lights near the screen can be off while lights over seating can be on, and you can have a LOT of lighting on while viewing sports or other non-critical viewing material.

You should sit down with your wife and pick a dark color together. Deep mustard, greens, browns, reds, etc. The darker the better, but DARK is the key. There are plenty of ways to go darker while maintaining nice colors. You can also do things away from the screen to help brighten the room. I would strongly suggest more than 6 lights. That's one of the biggest things you can do to brighten a room - put lots of lights in it! If they are dimmable, they don't have to be as bright when not needed, and when you want a lot of light, you just turn them up brighter.

I must say, that you can't tape a wall and get any idea of screen size. Screen size should be based upon your personal viewing habits at a movie theater and the science that goes with it. Screen width should equal .66x your viewing distance. So, if you plan to sit 10.5 feet from the screen, then 100" is 'middle of theater' in size and is fine. If you plan to sit 15' from the screen, then shoot for about a 133" diagonal. You have no idea how quickly you get used to that larger screen size. It's astounding and absolutely NOT something an inexperienced viewer can ever get right. Period. This has been an argument I've had with my own customers over and over and over, and every single time I've talked a person into a larger screen, they have been thankful at the end. It takes about 1-2 weeks to get used to a properly sized screen and then people start wondering if they should have gone larger. It is also supported that the number one complaint people have after buying a TV is that they wish they had bought the next larger size. So, a starting point is .66x your viewing distance. If you like being closer than the middle of a movie theater, then larger than .66x is recommended.

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post #28 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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hmmm...I don't have zoned lighting in the room. Just 6 recessed lights. They can be dimmed, and maybe we add a lamp somewhere in the room.
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post #29 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieVT View Post

hmmm...I don't have zoned lighting in the room. Just 6 recessed lights. They can be dimmed, and maybe we add a lamp somewhere in the room.
Get a TV.

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post #30 of 33 Old 02-27-2014, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I've come to that decision.

Thanks for the help everyone.

I'm going to leave the cables and outlet in place for the potential of installing a projector.
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