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post #1 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Switching to a projector setup?

First off - been reading the AVS forums for the last couple years to educate myself on a variety of topics. Wealth of information on here! New member and first time poster...

So I have started to give some thought to going with a home theatre projector setup in my basement. I have started doing some reading to get an idea for how intricate the process really is and what things I should be considering. I currently have a 50" Panasonic plasma (50u50) that I really enjoy but thinking it's time to go big!

Looking for some feedback/advice from people with a projector setup. Keep in mind I am brand new to this...up until I started researching yesterday I had no background knowledge in the area.

Here is some relevant info to consider:
- Basement room is about 18.5 x 10.10 feet; ceiling height is about 7.5 feet for half the basement and dips down to 6.6 feet for the other half (estimate...haven't measured officially) - the ideal wall for me to project onto would be in the shorter ceiling portion of basement
- Basement is relatively dark...no windows although the big window coming down the stairs still offers some natural light
- I do not have cable TV right now so pretty much all viewing would be for movies/streamed TV shows
- Don't foresee 3D being a priority (so if I can save a bit of $$ on a projector without 3D capabilities that could be an option)

Here are some specific questions/concern I have:
- Cost; looking to keep it under $1500 CAD (for everything: projector, ceiling mount, screen, audio setup, wire concealing etc.); Will I be able to get a worthwhile setup with that budget?
- I think a ceiling mount would be the best option (I have stipple ceiling...I assume that won't be an issue?)
- Is wire management difficult? (i.e would I need to hire someone to do it properly?)
- Should I be looking at a short throw or longer throw models? Keep in mind the projector would ideally be 8-10 feet away from the wall (suspended from the ceiling)?
- Anything else I should be considering?

Here are two models of projectors I am considering:
1. Optoma HD25e
2. BenQ w1070
Both are on sale right now...

Any other models I should consider in that price/quality range??...again, 3D is not a must.

Here is a screen I'm looking at:
Accuscreen (106 in.) fixed-frame
- I don't really need the acoustically transparent feature though...so seems like a waste to pay for that.
- I would really like a pull down screen....are those more expensive?

I will try to post a couple pictures of my basement to give you a better idea of the space I am dealing with.
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post #2 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 03:18 PM
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I think you can have an excellent "movie room" experience for $1500. We love our cheap "room" or "rooms" (I was learning as I went so I have enough stuff for two rooms in my basement.)

First, projector central for the projector's throw distance calculator and Amazon for pricing/reivews.

I have a inexpensive setup and well I tried to include the picture, but am limited at work. I haven't dressed up my wires since the projector will be coming down in anywhere from 198 days to a couple of years (retire and move south), so I went for easy up/easy down...but, a couple of HDMI cables, component cable in for older games systems and a audio out to a Logitech 2.1 200 watt THX speaker set are fairly easy to cover without the expense/effort of running wires. I do have a 5.2 setup with audio coming from the blu-ray player and cable box, but the kids (18 and 20) still use the 2.1 since it is easy to use and if they blow it up, I don't care. The 5.2 wires tend to be messy, but I use furniture to cover the wires.

My cost: projector $800 (first one $349), 2.1 Logitech $99, wires $100, blu-ray/Amazon "stream" $100, 5.2 (gets pricey cause I messed up and got weak speakers which I had to replace, so lets say approx $1,100), paint for "wall" screen $50. *Trying to get the 5.2 to sound as good as the $99 2.1 became a quest...a quest that became expensive for a cheap set up.*

The w1070 is highly rated, so why limit it to a 106 inch screen. I went from a 70 inch TV, to 92 inch screen, to a "wall" 135 inches to 150 inches, and finally to 169 inches. I would go bigger but I'm out of space. Last night, I told my girls (18 and 20) they should catch some movies at the new theater (2 miles from the house) and they said "why, we have a theater in the basement".

Money is not really a limiting factor with today's projector prices. It is kind of like buying a cheap "off brand" TV, is the picture as good as an expensive TV...not really...but do you (really) notice the difference without putting the two side by side?

For example, a co-worker of mine went with a $300 sound system (he caught a great sale) and a $400 projector (720p). His family loves the experience and he has the guys over for sporting events all the time. (His family has more expensive "tastes" than mine and his wife was okay with a simple/cheap set up in the basement...easy up/easy down.)

Also, I watch a SVGA projector on a 92 inch screen when the family throws me out of the main projector room and I prefer it to my Sharp 70 inch TV.

Good luck and I promise you will enjoy a projector verses a TV.

I have pictures on my "build" thread...which was painting a wall and putting up a projector so build is not the right word...maybe "setup" is better.
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post #3 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 03:56 PM
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The BenQ 1070 would be your best choice. I would not recommend the screen you noted as its a gray .8 gain acoustically transparent. ( unless you are placing your speakers behind it and have very light colored ceiling and walls). A fixed frame 1.2/1.3 gain cinewhite screen is the best screen for a good room. Pull down screens that are not Tab Tensioned will always develop ripples or curls. $1500 is very doable. I would put a 110" screen (about $300), 5.1 surround system with separate AVR (no theater in a box) they can be had online through discount sights for between $150 -$400, $75 for a mount, under $800 for the projector, and a BR player is a must if you don't have one $60 and up. As far a cabling goes it depends on your skill level for hiding wires but their are options for surface channels that will keep wires from being seen. Note the the biggest picture enhancing you can do for the least amount of money is to paint the walls and ceiling a dark flat color especially at least 3' around the screen.
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post #4 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 03:57 PM
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Mike. Looks like you have things figured pretty good. Of the two projectors, I would pick the Benq1070. I've seen them both in action. The 1070 seems a little sharper from edge to edge.
Your choice of a fixed frame is right on, but I would stay away from AT screen unless it's needed. There's plenty of regular white screens you can get at a good price.
The only type of drop screen that can match a fixed frame is a tab tensioned screen, which will surely bust your budget. Stay with a fixed frame if you can.
Good Luck.
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post #5 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 04:18 PM
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Without even discussing which projector is really better the Optoma will not hit that size screen from where you want to mount it. The W1070 will.

With that out of the way, the sharpness and color accuracy of the W1070 is fantastic. You will have not problem with your budget and while you think you are not spending a lot compared to flat panel TV's you are going to be amazed at the picture the projector will produce. I am every day and the flat panel that I own is a 65VT60 so my standards are pretty high when it comes to overall PQ.

Blacks won't be that dark but they get the job done and everything else about the picture is great. I was at the movies the other day and the black levels in the theater seemed no better then the black levels that my W1070 produce and I never found myself complaining about the picture in a theater.

I was a noob a few months ago when it came to projectors and just had an impulse to buy a projector setup in my master bedroom sitting room. Now that I own one I have become a lot more educated on them and the projector lingo and will always have a projector setup in my home. Absolutely no regrets with the purchase and the choice to go with the W1070. I wanted to stay as cheap as possible so I ordered a pull down screen (first thing to be upgraded in the future), a 2.1 sound system, a used like new Samsung 3D blu-ray player, and necessary cables and everything came out to less then $1,000. You have at least another $500, probably more to use on a better screen and better sound so you should be A-OK.
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post #6 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies!

Couple more things to note/ask:
- The walls in my basement are painted a very light grey and the carpet is also a light grey. If projecting onto a fixed frame screen then is it still recommended to paint the surrounding walls in a darker color?
- Would it be advisable to mount the projector on a stand/table instead of the ceiling? Like have it sitting behind the couch about 6 feet up on a stand. It would be about 11-12 feet away from the wall if I did that. Celling mount would be more like 8-9 feet from the wall. These are rough measurements...still have to do precise measurements. Table mount seems so much easier for setup and wire management...my basement is already finished so hiding the wires in the walls is not an option.
- I heard that in general longer throw models are better quality than shorter throw models like the BenQ w1070...is that misinformation?
- Could you provide some links to some screens that I should look into?
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post #7 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 06:43 PM
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All screen types can benefit from a darker, flat painted room (especially ceiling). It'll help darks to not get washed out by table-lamps and light from the projector itself.

Table mounting (setting it down) will only work well if the projector is a couple inches below the bottom of the screen. Otherwise you'll need to use digital keystone correction to make the picture square and using it makes the image look rescaled and more pixelated.
It'll probably only work well if you can split your seating in half to make room for the projector.

The longer-throw projectors have slightly less lens distortions and chromatic aberrations, but nothing you'll probably notice. What you MIGHT notice is their placement will be more finicky to get a square image and it'll make any imperfections in your screen more visible.
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post #8 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ftoast View Post
All screen types can benefit from a darker, flat painted room (especially ceiling). It'll help darks to not get washed out by table-lamps and light from the projector itself.

Table mounting (setting it down) will only work well if the projector is a couple inches below the bottom of the screen. Otherwise you'll need to use digital keystone correction to make the picture square and using it makes the image look rescaled and more pixelated.
It'll probably only work well if you can split your seating in half to make room for the projector.

The longer-throw projectors have slightly less lens distortions and chromatic aberrations, but nothing you'll probably notice. What you MIGHT notice is their placement will be more finicky to get a square image and it'll make any imperfections in your screen more visible.
Ok, thanks for the reply. That rules out table mounting as I do not have floor space for the projector to sit that low....couches are in the way.

I'm going to take some pictures and do some measurements to hopefully get a better idea of my options. I would really like to be able to have the plasma TV in my basement and have the projector in front of it...but a fixed frame will not allow for that.

So much to consider....
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post #9 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 07:05 PM
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You could always hang the fixed frame from the ceiling (or wall brackets) slightly in-front of the TV. Then lift up the bottom so it hangs nearly flush with the ceiling when not in use.

I didn't want the problems of a wavy rollup screen, so that is basically what I ended up doing. Might look a little odd while your ceiling is light colored and the back of the screen is black, but it works well.

I've heard good things about the inexpensive fixed-frame elite screens in white. And Walmart appears to have them available at a good price with the added benefit of money back no hassle returns for 30-90days.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Elite-Scre...06WH1/14958731

They are available in many different sizes if needed.
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post #10 of 32 Old 06-24-2014, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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So I did some measurements and took a couple pics (brutal quality but hopefully gives you an idea of the space I have).

The ceiling is 78.5 inches high in the shorter portion (area I would ideally like to project onto - wall that TV is currently mounted on). The ceiling raises to 89 inches after about 98".

There could be an option to project onto the wall on the wall with higher ceiling but it is wall that is more exposed to the natural light from the big windows coming down the stairs to the basement.
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post #11 of 32 Old 06-25-2014, 12:30 AM
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Ooh, if you are facing that TV wall, are there stairs on the wall to your right? Would you be able to move that seat on the left side over to the right side instead? Is so, you might consider moving the television to that slanted wall toward the left and using the wall it's currently on for a dedicated screen wall. Seating will remain good for either use.

I'm guessing it isn't this easy because it rarely is, but I figured it was worth a shot.
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post #12 of 32 Old 06-25-2014, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ftoast View Post
Ooh, if you are facing that TV wall, are there stairs on the wall to your right? Would you be able to move that seat on the left side over to the right side instead? Is so, you might consider moving the television to that slanted wall toward the left and using the wall it's currently on for a dedicated screen wall. Seating will remain good for either use.

I'm guessing it isn't this easy because it rarely is, but I figured it was worth a shot.
If you are facing the TV wall the stairs are actually to the left. Putting the TV on the slanted wall over the fireplace might work but I don't know there are studs in that wall...and obviously with the weight of a plasma I need to mount the wall bracket on studs. I'll look into that....

I have attached another picture taken from the TV wall facing the other wall...it should give you an idea of the light from the window that would reflect onto that wall. It's too bad because that wall is bigger and would better accommodate a projector screen.
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post #13 of 32 Old 06-25-2014, 07:38 AM
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Projectors are fairly easy to mount. This mount ran about $24 on Amazon and it has an attachment where I could drop the projector another 12 inches. As you can see I have not painted my walls a darker color, but I did add curtains to control the light. (I know painting the walls would improve the experience, but the reflected light doesn't bother me enough to paint and then re-paint when I move.)

This is how I did it (I did move the projector a few times to get it mostly right):

Get the projector first and set it on something, then move it around the room using the walls as the screen. When you hit the spot/location that works best for you, flip the image on the projector to ceiling, raise the projector and try it about where you want it mounted on the ceiling. Make sure you still have focal adjustment (in and out play) when you mount it. Also, check the image in terms of inches, then select the appropriate screen for your application.
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post #14 of 32 Old 06-25-2014, 07:49 AM
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If that's a real fireplace and the wall above it gets hot (worth checking) I'd be worried about having the TV above it. If it stays at a good temperature when in use it looks like a good hight for it as well as a nice angle.
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post #15 of 32 Old 06-25-2014, 07:54 AM
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Per my last post, this is a fairly dark "cable" 720p image on my painted wall at dusk. You can see the reflected light on the walls and ceiling. The cable format is 16:9 and results in a 169 inch image. If this was a blu-ray source the image would be smaller as the aspect changes from 16:9 to whatever the blu-ray aspect is, so then I have to deal with additional reflected light from my unused painted "screen/wall". You can see I still have a slope to my image (at the bottom right) caused by the fact that the projector is not mounted in the center of the image, but we don't notice it because 169 inches at 14 feet fills our vision field...i.e. we look at the center of the image most of the time.
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post #16 of 32 Old 06-25-2014, 09:36 AM
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My thoughts on all of this:

If you own this place, then do it right. Don't talk about wire management like exposed wires are acceptable. They really shouldn't be considered as such, and if it is your home, doing it with hidden wires is the best way to do things.

There are 3 main things that have nothing to do with the projector which would really make this setup 'pop' IMO.

1. Add recessed lights to the ceiling on a dimmer. Putting in recessed lights means you cut holes in your ceiling to put those lights in. Those holes give you access to run video and power cabling to the projector ceiling location. Doing proper in-ceiling lighting also allows for more zoned control of lighting in the space, and gives you better value to your home. It's a fair bit of work, but not really that difficult to accomplish.

2. Figure out all your A/V wiring and get it taken care of. This is the most time consuming part of your setup. Hanging a screen and a projector is easy. Taking care of wiring is not. There are tons of videos online about running wires, but for the most part, I think it starts by looking in any parts of the basement which may be unfinished. Look for pathways behind walls, and across ceiling joists. Sometimes the best path is not the most direct. Sometimes it is. So, look for ways to run wires, and consider #1 (above) as a way to create pathways that don't need to be 'fixed' when things are done. A lot of planning goes a long way. Remember, your equipment should NOT be at the front of the room! Put it in an unfinished space, or way off to the side. Build it into a wall, whatever - but little LEDs blinking at you while you watch a movie aren't part of the theater experience.

3. Your room color sucks. As shown in the photos from the previous post, light bleeding onto walls and ceilings and equipment right below is very distracting to the experience. I mean, it's an awesome big screen setup, but the single biggest improvement anyone can make to a home theater setup is $50 in paint. You have a nice break point with the ceiling which would allow it to be painted dark, and you can go with any number of paint schemes to the walls to separate them out and make them darker. Dark browns towards the screen area, lighter browns towards the back of the room. You really want to create a 'space' which the theater exists within, even if it isn't a dedicated room.

Now, into equipment...

The BenQ W1070 remains a great option. Around $750 and minimal offset, allow it to be placed such that it only needs to be a couple inches above the top of the screen. That's ideal in your setup as the projector may need to hang from the higher part of the ceiling and have the lens just under the lower part of the ceiling. This gives you the most flexibility in placement of the screen.

I would stick with a mount that allows you to use 1.5" pipe, or build a mount yourself that allows for this. You want your projector to be as tight as possible in location. Read this thread: My DIY mount for L300u $20 :) - That mount idea lets you control all aspects of the projector leveling (important) while keeping things inexpensive.

Screen - FIXED FRAME! - Manual screens are garbage overall. They often have waves in the material right out of the box. So, get a fixed frame screen. There are a lot of options out there. I would recommend the Elite Screens - Sable series. But, there are other choices that may be better suited to you up there. Likewise, if you are willing to put in the effort, you can build your own screen for a good deal less out of pocket expense. IMO, building a screen just isn't worth the time and effort considering the cost of the cheap entry level options. But, it's your time and money, not mine.

For cabling, check Amazon, but if you are putting in the effort to run wires behind drywall to the projector location, make sure you pull AT LEAST: 1 good HDMI cable, 3-4 cat-5e or (preferably) cat-6 cables. Use raw, unterminated cat cabling. It would be better to run conduit, but this is very unlikely to be able to do. If you find, that your wire paths allow you to add/remove wire at any point, pretty easily, then just run a single, high quality, HDMI cable to the projector. Redmere cables are a good choice if you can add/remove them later on easily.

For audio, there are a number of options, and it's worth having a completely separate discussion about. Figure out a budget, then go from there. But, if you have no audio, then Accessories4Less is a good starting point to look at. Specifically, they have pre-packaged home theater in a box kits that are of decent entry level quality for next to nothing.
http://www.accessories4less.com/
For example, this setup uses a proper A/V receiver with 5.1 speaker setup and 4 HDMI inputs. You may need to do some figuring with these guys or go elsewhere due to shipping policies, but there are definitely solutions.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...package/1.html

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #17 of 32 Old 06-25-2014, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
My thoughts on all of this:

If you own this place, then do it right. Don't talk about wire management like exposed wires are acceptable. They really shouldn't be considered as such, and if it is your home, doing it with hidden wires is the best way to do things.

There are 3 main things that have nothing to do with the projector which would really make this setup 'pop' IMO.

1. Add recessed lights to the ceiling on a dimmer. Putting in recessed lights means you cut holes in your ceiling to put those lights in. Those holes give you access to run video and power cabling to the projector ceiling location. Doing proper in-ceiling lighting also allows for more zoned control of lighting in the space, and gives you better value to your home. It's a fair bit of work, but not really that difficult to accomplish.

2. Figure out all your A/V wiring and get it taken care of. This is the most time consuming part of your setup. Hanging a screen and a projector is easy. Taking care of wiring is not. There are tons of videos online about running wires, but for the most part, I think it starts by looking in any parts of the basement which may be unfinished. Look for pathways behind walls, and across ceiling joists. Sometimes the best path is not the most direct. Sometimes it is. So, look for ways to run wires, and consider #1 (above) as a way to create pathways that don't need to be 'fixed' when things are done. A lot of planning goes a long way. Remember, your equipment should NOT be at the front of the room! Put it in an unfinished space, or way off to the side. Build it into a wall, whatever - but little LEDs blinking at you while you watch a movie aren't part of the theater experience.

3. Your room color sucks. As shown in the photos from the previous post, light bleeding onto walls and ceilings and equipment right below is very distracting to the experience. I mean, it's an awesome big screen setup, but the single biggest improvement anyone can make to a home theater setup is $50 in paint. You have a nice break point with the ceiling which would allow it to be painted dark, and you can go with any number of paint schemes to the walls to separate them out and make them darker. Dark browns towards the screen area, lighter browns towards the back of the room. You really want to create a 'space' which the theater exists within, even if it isn't a dedicated room.

Now, into equipment...

The BenQ W1070 remains a great option. Around $750 and minimal offset, allow it to be placed such that it only needs to be a couple inches above the top of the screen. That's ideal in your setup as the projector may need to hang from the higher part of the ceiling and have the lens just under the lower part of the ceiling. This gives you the most flexibility in placement of the screen.

I would stick with a mount that allows you to use 1.5" pipe, or build a mount yourself that allows for this. You want your projector to be as tight as possible in location. Read this thread: My DIY mount for L300u $20 :) - That mount idea lets you control all aspects of the projector leveling (important) while keeping things inexpensive.

Screen - FIXED FRAME! - Manual screens are garbage overall. They often have waves in the material right out of the box. So, get a fixed frame screen. There are a lot of options out there. I would recommend the Elite Screens - Sable series. But, there are other choices that may be better suited to you up there. Likewise, if you are willing to put in the effort, you can build your own screen for a good deal less out of pocket expense. IMO, building a screen just isn't worth the time and effort considering the cost of the cheap entry level options. But, it's your time and money, not mine.

For cabling, check Amazon, but if you are putting in the effort to run wires behind drywall to the projector location, make sure you pull AT LEAST: 1 good HDMI cable, 3-4 cat-5e or (preferably) cat-6 cables. Use raw, unterminated cat cabling. It would be better to run conduit, but this is very unlikely to be able to do. If you find, that your wire paths allow you to add/remove wire at any point, pretty easily, then just run a single, high quality, HDMI cable to the projector. Redmere cables are a good choice if you can add/remove them later on easily.

For audio, there are a number of options, and it's worth having a completely separate discussion about. Figure out a budget, then go from there. But, if you have no audio, then Accessories4Less is a good starting point to look at. Specifically, they have pre-packaged home theater in a box kits that are of decent entry level quality for next to nothing.
http://www.accessories4less.com/
For example, this setup uses a proper A/V receiver with 5.1 speaker setup and 4 HDMI inputs. You may need to do some figuring with these guys or go elsewhere due to shipping policies, but there are definitely solutions.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...package/1.html
Thanks a lot for the detailed response!

I definitely hear what you are saying about "doing it right" but if and when I pursue a projector setup it will be done in stages. I don't have the money or time to devote to a complete basement overhaul (cutting holes in the ceiling, painting etc.). I own the home but don't know how many more years I will be staying here so it would not be worth the hassle and expense (not to mention potential resale implications).

I am also the opposite of "handy" so I would need major help with any cutting, drilling, installing etc. that goes on. And generally help costs $$...which like I mentioned before starts to make this project not worth my while.

The more I think about all of the work required I may hold off for now and revisit this in a couple years when I better know my long term living arrangements. Would hate to put in the effort and $$ and not be able to enjoy it for years to come. With the knowledge I have garnered from you guys it will help me "do it right" in the future (especially if I buy a brand new home again as I will plan for this type of setup BEFORE the dry wall goes up). Hindsight is 20/20 but having a projector setup in my current house (bought in March 2013) was not even on my radar when I was going through the new house customization process.

Another potential bonus of revisiting this in a couple years means current technology (i.e. BenQ w1070) will hopefully be even cheaper!
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Edit: Oops, this posted after your last post MikeTK3. Sorry I am slow at typing:

Just to offer another opinion (again). Why not start simple, get a projector and try it. Set up it up "simple" and then if you use it/like it, do the build. You will find that $1500 will go fairly quickly, so you can always add updates over time. ( I have a co-worker who has more expensive tastes than I do. He told me that in his last house he had a dedicated HT room designed and installed. Since it was a gov move, they added $2500 on his appraisal for the HT which was a fraction of what he had in the room. He also told me that his family has used the $800 set up I did for him much more than they ever used the HT room in the last house. If one of his five kids breaks something, it is $400 or so to replace the projector or sound.)

AV_Integrated: Yes, my room color is "bad", but I don't care. I'm not going to make major (well... I don't like painting) changes to a house that I plan on selling in a short while. The next house will be my retirement/fishing/red neck/paid for house and I will do the room the "right way" which for me is to have it done while the house is being built around the room.

Since this the the under $3000 area, I try to represent the "little guy" or the "simple guy" or the "cheap guy" or the "lazy guy" who wants to have a projector experience without spending weeks/months/years/thousdands doing a build. "Not that there is anything wrong with doing it right."

To be honest, I have never been in a real "home theater" room, so I don't know what I'm missing...but, maybe that is better since I think my room is fantasic. Well, for the most part...I do want a better projector, 200 inch screen (300 would be better), better seating and a 7.3 or 9.3 or more surround system...but what I want more is to be able to retire.
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MikeTK3, I wish you were in my area! You would be amazed at what a couple of hours can get you in terms of a cheap projector and simple setup. I would throw every tv I have away for just my $349 projector on a shelf projecting on a $110 92inch screen using an old gaming sound system 2.0 and I have ton of TVs up to 70 inches. I kept going bigger and bigger until the first projector.

Why not buy the projector from Amazon and try it. Send it back if you are not completely happy with it.
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With your lower ceiling height I would go with the acoustically transparent screen. You don't have much space for the centre channel speaker otherwise.

I also live in Ottawa and would be willing to demo my setup to you.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve1106 View Post
AV_Integrated: Yes, my room color is "bad", but I don't care. I'm not going to make major (well... I don't like painting) changes to a house that I plan on selling in a short while. The next house will be my retirement/fishing/red neck/paid for house and I will do the room the "right way" which for me is to have it done while the house is being built around the room.
I tend to agree with this: the only "right way" to do a home theater is the way that makes you comfortable and gives you an image and a sound that you enjoy. Yes, a fully black-velvet-lined dedicated room with equipment in a separate area and everything hidden from sight aside from the screen is the ideal way to go from a purely image-and-sound oriented point of view, but if that just won't work with your living situation (or you just can't stand the aesthetics) it doesn't mean you should give up on the idea entirely. A white room is far from ideal, and it will hurt your contrast, but you can still get a large picture you'll more than likely enjoy anyway. Likewise with cables, hidden is best, but there are ways to hide them most of the way that don't involve any drilling.

Figure out your budget, figure out what you're willing to put up with, and go from there. You can always tweak later as your tastes change and you get a better feel for how you want things to look. The only thing that should really be set in stone from the beginning (at least in my opinion) is the projector placement, because that can be a real PITA to adjust later.
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AV_Integrated: Yes, my room color is "bad", but I don't care. I'm not going to make major (well... I don't like painting) changes to a house that I plan on selling in a short while. The next house will be my retirement/fishing/red neck/paid for house and I will do the room the "right way" which for me is to have it done while the house is being built around the room.

Since this the the under $3000 area, I try to represent the "little guy" or the "simple guy" or the "cheap guy" or the "lazy guy" who wants to have a projector experience without spending weeks/months/years/thousdands doing a build. "Not that there is anything wrong with doing it right."

To be honest, I have never been in a real "home theater" room, so I don't know what I'm missing...but, maybe that is better since I think my room is fantasic. Well, for the most part...I do want a better projector, 200 inch screen (300 would be better), better seating and a 7.3 or 9.3 or more surround system...but what I want more is to be able to retire.
I certainly don't have a dedicated room, and I never plan to. Since this is the under $3,000 forum, I would think that the $50 in paint (maybe $100) is something most could afford. But, as I have said many times, I don't have to do this stuff, someone else does, and it doesn't change that it is an awesome experience to have that big screen. It's the little things that can be done which only cost a couple hundred bucks to do yourself, which can really improve things significantly - most notably is paint.

I might be more tempted in this situation, if running wires is not going to happen, and a more casual setup may be necessary, to suggest the W1080ST and a set of stereo speakers with a white painted board. It provides the setup, keeps costs down, and provides good sound without wires which are getting tripped over.

There are a ton of options, but on a budget, people have to assess their own ability to do things themselves and the complexity involved in doing those things, then scale accordingly. Installing half a dozen recessed lights yourself? A weekend of work, and about $200 for everything. Patching and painting? $100 and a few hours. These aren't expensive, and they aren't dedicated room things. They don't even take that long in the grand scheme of things. But, the choice for people to do so is their own.

We certainly didn't repaint our rec-room in the last house when we moved out. It was properly painted for front projection use. If some crazy wife-type wants another beige room in the house, then they can paint it that way. Rentals (of course) are a different story.

But, definitely understand, that the big screen experience is awesome no matter how it comes. All of my suggestions are just suggestions, and while your room isn't ideal, as I said, it's still an awesome experience and setup when you are able to deliver such a large image to enjoy in your home. My theater setup is no different than what many others have at this point, but I'm not moving in the next 20 years, so when I build out my basement, the rec room (not a dedicated theater) will be pretty darn cool. But still, not crazy expensive for the projector/screen setup (thanks eBay).

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post #23 of 32 Old 06-26-2014, 05:51 AM
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@OP, you have to realize that AV is a professional in this field and of course will tell you like it is to get the absolute best experience you can from a front projection setup. Also, while you might read his post and say holy crap that is a lot of work and what am I getting myself into, you also have to realize you can get away with a lot easier setup then he is suggesting.

I totally understand why he says what he does and there are a lot of great things that he says in his posts and it is up to the user and what their needs are. Something like doing recess lighting on my own and cutting holes in my walls and ceiling would scare the crap out of me and if that was what would be needed I would never have gotten a projector.

A projector setup can be as easy or hard as you want it to be. Of course the harder setups would have more benefits in PQ and and be closer to an actual theater experience.

Having said all that, I went with the easiest setup I could possibly due. I wanted a big screen experience with a good picture. The room I set it up in is far from an ideal theater room. It is a 11x10 sitting room in my master bedroom. Walls are AV's favorite color, beige : ). Not because my wife said so, just because when we bough the house we had to pick one color and we picked something neutral. Can I paint that room if I wanted to, I can but I hate painting and for my use it hasn't been disturbing to me at all. Will darker paint have a more positive effect on the pq, of course but I haven't found myself in a situation saying this sucks yet. Quite the opposite, every night I sit there and say how great this is!

My setup was as simple as you can get and took about 2 hours to setup. Hung the screen up with 4 screws. Hung up the ceiling mount with 2 screws. Placed the projector on it. The mount is at the back of the room and I have the wires running along the top pole of the curtains and down the side so really can't be seen at all, just need to use some imagination. Pushed a 50ft hdmi cable under my floor molding through one end of the room to the other so it cannot be seen either. Just used a little muscle pushing it under there. Threw my equipment on the side of the couch and went with a simple 2.1 sound system plugged directly into the back of the projector.

A little more then 2 hours later everything was done and to be honest I am more then satisfied for the time, effort and money spent to get to view something like this every night in my own home.

So my message to you is do not get discouraged and a projector setup can be as easy or hard as you want to make it out to be. There are benefits of doing it 'right' but there are also a lot benefits of just doing it!
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post #24 of 32 Old 06-26-2014, 06:34 AM
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Couldn't agree more, @eric3316 .

For most, the 'perfect theater' is something to work towards - something spanning a few years, even. It's a DIY project that's starts off simple, and gradually grows with time and effort.
Few people will re-purpose their entire basement as a dedicated home-theater before they move into a new house: they'd be more likely start off small, and take it from there.

That's the reason projectors that aren't specifically targeted at 'perfect' rooms have flourished of late.

Some people simply start off with projecting onto a wall; with using basic stereo audio. (A smooth wall of appropriate paint-color does a better job than one might expect). Improving light control in the room by adding block-out drapes to the windows often follows since that's something that's not impractical to a room. Thereafter (once they've decided on a comfortable screen size), they might purchase and mount an actual screen. Then they'd add a proper sound system, at which point they might improve the layout of their wiring to accommodate the extra speakers.

For many, repainting/redecorating the room to reduce reflections (which is invaluable to contrast ratio and has a very positive effect on picture quality) is actually the last step they take.

The point, then, is that part of the fun in a home front-projection system is that a 120" or larger image - regardless of anything else about the room - tends to be jawdropping from day one. Thereafter the journey towards getting it 'perfect' just adds to the experience.
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Absolutely agree with the above posts. You can get a very good setup rolling with very little effort. But, if you don't have a room which supports a 'back of room' setup, then things have already gotten a bit more complex and some thought will need to be put into it.

A W1080ST in front of seating on a low shelf will allow for wires not to be run to a ceiling area behind the couch which isn't easy to get to. No holes, and it makes for a quick setup/breakdown upon moving, while keeping costs down.

Speakers could be as easy as a 2.1 stereo speaker set plugged into the projector itself. Project onto a decently flat wall, and call it a day.

I'm certainly not saying this won't work or that it is wrong. It does work, it looks good, and it's a great way to get started.

But, if you want the best you can get for your money, you also have lots of options, and everyone needs to weigh the amount of effort, time, money, and their skill set against this.

If anyone ever feels unqualified to do the work, and doesn't have the budget to pay others, then it very much becomes a question of evaluating which equipment will give the best experience within their skill set. Using the W1070 which really must be ceiling mounted based upon the room layout makes no sense. Instead, the 8350/8345 or AR100 has lens shift that allows it to be placed on a shelf behind viewers if desired, or the W1080ST (better IMO) can be placed in front of viewers on a lower shelf under the screen.

The speakers become a question of whether a full 5.1 setup is going to be able to be run throughout the room. Wires along the floor, exposed, may not work, but are still the best and only way to get good surround sound. But, a good stereo setup with a subwoofer is going to provide a very nice sound stage, with less wiring impact to the room.

With all those choices available, it's more a question of what the end user wants to do, and if there are more questions to be asked, or if they would rather just wait and setup something nicer, or pay to have someone else set it up for them later on. All of which are choices for the person with the money.
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post #26 of 32 Old 06-26-2014, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
Absolutely agree with the above posts. You can get a very good setup rolling with very little effort. But, if you don't have a room which supports a 'back of room' setup, then things have already gotten a bit more complex and some thought will need to be put into it.

A W1080ST in front of seating on a low shelf will allow for wires not to be run to a ceiling area behind the couch which isn't easy to get to. No holes, and it makes for a quick setup/breakdown upon moving, while keeping costs down.

Speakers could be as easy as a 2.1 stereo speaker set plugged into the projector itself. Project onto a decently flat wall, and call it a day.

I'm certainly not saying this won't work or that it is wrong. It does work, it looks good, and it's a great way to get started.

But, if you want the best you can get for your money, you also have lots of options, and everyone needs to weigh the amount of effort, time, money, and their skill set against this.

If anyone ever feels unqualified to do the work, and doesn't have the budget to pay others, then it very much becomes a question of evaluating which equipment will give the best experience within their skill set. Using the W1070 which really must be ceiling mounted based upon the room layout makes no sense. Instead, the 8350/8345 or AR100 has lens shift that allows it to be placed on a shelf behind viewers if desired, or the W1080ST (better IMO) can be placed in front of viewers on a lower shelf under the screen.

The speakers become a question of whether a full 5.1 setup is going to be able to be run throughout the room. Wires along the floor, exposed, may not work, but are still the best and only way to get good surround sound. But, a good stereo setup with a subwoofer is going to provide a very nice sound stage, with less wiring impact to the room.

With all those choices available, it's more a question of what the end user wants to do, and if there are more questions to be asked, or if they would rather just wait and setup something nicer, or pay to have someone else set it up for them later on. All of which are choices for the person with the money.
First off - thanks for your in-depth posts. Really helpful!

Why would the w1070 not make sense? The projector central calculator doesn't have an option to ceiling mount for calculations...at least not that I could see. I could always buy a ceiling mount like this monoprice one and mount it on the higher portion of the ceiling about 12-13 feet back and have it hang down to project onto the shorter wall where my TV is now. Or, hang the projector on the shorter portion of the ceiling and project onto the other bigger wall and deal with some natural light that reflects from the windows coming down the stairs.

The w1080st seems like a good alternative to ceiling mounting but am I paying more for less? It costs more than the w1070 and in general shorter throw projectors are considered a little bit inferior, aren't they?

My ideal screen size would be either 106 or 109" ....don't have the wall space for anything bigger anyways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric3316 View Post
@OP, you have to realize that AV is a professional in this field and of course will tell you like it is to get the absolute best experience you can from a front projection setup. Also, while you might read his post and say holy crap that is a lot of work and what am I getting myself into, you also have to realize you can get away with a lot easier setup then he is suggesting.

I totally understand why he says what he does and there are a lot of great things that he says in his posts and it is up to the user and what their needs are. Something like doing recess lighting on my own and cutting holes in my walls and ceiling would scare the crap out of me and if that was what would be needed I would never have gotten a projector.

A projector setup can be as easy or hard as you want it to be. Of course the harder setups would have more benefits in PQ and and be closer to an actual theater experience.

Having said all that, I went with the easiest setup I could possibly due. I wanted a big screen experience with a good picture. The room I set it up in is far from an ideal theater room. It is a 11x10 sitting room in my master bedroom. Walls are AV's favorite color, beige : ). Not because my wife said so, just because when we bough the house we had to pick one color and we picked something neutral. Can I paint that room if I wanted to, I can but I hate painting and for my use it hasn't been disturbing to me at all. Will darker paint have a more positive effect on the pq, of course but I haven't found myself in a situation saying this sucks yet. Quite the opposite, every night I sit there and say how great this is!

My setup was as simple as you can get and took about 2 hours to setup. Hung the screen up with 4 screws. Hung up the ceiling mount with 2 screws. Placed the projector on it. The mount is at the back of the room and I have the wires running along the top pole of the curtains and down the side so really can't be seen at all, just need to use some imagination. Pushed a 50ft hdmi cable under my floor molding through one end of the room to the other so it cannot be seen either. Just used a little muscle pushing it under there. Threw my equipment on the side of the couch and went with a simple 2.1 sound system plugged directly into the back of the projector.

A little more then 2 hours later everything was done and to be honest I am more then satisfied for the time, effort and money spent to get to view something like this every night in my own home.

So my message to you is do not get discouraged and a projector setup can be as easy or hard as you want to make it out to be. There are benefits of doing it 'right' but there are also a lot benefits of just doing it!
Thanks for the shedding some light on a less dedicated setup.

You must have a shorter throw projector for a room that size?

May buy a projector and mess around projecting on the wall from different distances/locations and then go from there in terms of screen size, type, ceiling mount etc.
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You must have a shorter throw projector for a room that size?

May buy a projector and mess around projecting on the wall from different distances/locations and then go from there in terms of screen size, type, ceiling mount etc.
I have the BenQ W1070. Mounted 9.5' and projecting on a 100" screen.

I think AV's reccomendation was based on it possible being hard to hide your wires if you ceiling mounted it based on your pictures of the room as the projector wont have wall behind it that you can easily drop them from. My guess is you would need to just get yourself some wire mold and run the wires on the ceiling and down a wall. That is the easiest way I can think of doing it without cutting holes in your ceiling which you do not want to do obviously.
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It has nothing to do with your room size. Here's the simple version:

If you buy the W1070 for your room, you will have to ceiling mount it because there's nowhere else to put it.

If you ceiling mount a projector and don't run the wires through either conduit or the ceiling, you are going to have a big ugly mess.

An easy, cheap way to avoid those things is to get the W1080ST instead of the W1070. It is a very similar projector with a short-throw lens, so you can keep it up at the front of the room on a low shelf.

You will not notice any differences between the W1070 and W1080ST unless you have both of them set up side-by-side and connected to the same source. There is no reason to worry about this. One fits your room easily, and the other fits your room with some difficulty. Since you've already expressed concerns about construction/renovation, the W1080ST seems like the best idea for you -- getting a projector properly ceiling mounted can be kind of a pain.
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Originally Posted by eric3316 View Post
I have the BenQ W1070. Mounted 9.5' and projecting on a 100" screen.

I think AV's reccomendation was based on it possible being hard to hide your wires if you ceiling mounted it based on your pictures of the room as the projector wont have wall behind it that you can easily drop them from. My guess is you would need to just get yourself some wire mold and run the wires on the ceiling and down a wall. That is the easiest way I can think of doing it without cutting holes in your ceiling which you do not want to do obviously.
Ok...that makes sense. I was thinking of buying some conduit to run along the ceiling and down the wall but that will obviously be more work and potentially an eye sore. Although, if I mounted towards the back of the shorter ceiling area (projecting towards the bigger wall) I could just run the wires down the back wall...and since they would be on the back wall away from everything it may look as obvious. But from what I understand the top of the projected image can only start a couple inches below where the projector is placed? This means that the projected image would be starting over a foot from the top of the wall...

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJC Bill View Post
It has nothing to do with your room size. Here's the simple version:

If you buy the W1070 for your room, you will have to ceiling mount it because there's nowhere else to put it.

If you ceiling mount a projector and don't run the wires through either conduit or the ceiling, you are going to have a big ugly mess.

An easy, cheap way to avoid those things is to get the W1080ST instead of the W1070. It is a very similar projector with a short-throw lens, so you can keep it up at the front of the room on a low shelf.

You will not notice any differences between the W1070 and W1080ST unless you have both of them set up side-by-side and connected to the same source. There is no reason to worry about this. One fits your room easily, and the other fits your room with some difficulty. Since you've already expressed concerns about construction/renovation, the W1080ST seems like the best idea for you -- getting a projector properly ceiling mounted can be kind of a pain.
True. I guess the challenge with the w1080st setup is finding an inconspicuous type table to have the projector/blue ray player on...something about a table in front of the viewing area seems awkward.
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post #30 of 32 Old 06-26-2014, 05:16 PM
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Red Neck solution (it is a basement for the 1070): How about a stand (Amazon $35 U.S. adjusts 36 -60 inches) or even a wire/bookshelf (six feet tall - Target about $29 to $59) rack behind the couch. The wires could go under the couch and a rug (or a home theater chair) used to cover the wires to the wall on the low traffic side of the couch. HDMI in, power in and the audio out to a 2.1 or 3.1 system. The wires could be attached to the rack or bookshelf and placed in some sort of cover...maybe black shelf and black pvc pipe. Any issues with the image could be adjusted with keystone (not perfect). (Might be an issue if you have climbing kids!)


A power strip and HDMI might be all you need if you have the AVR and blu-ray in the front of the room and the HDMI from the blu-ray to the AVR to the pj.


I use a similar set up in a spare room with the projector on top of my computer desk at about 6 feet (pj height) with the image flipped to "ceiling". The flipped pj still gets good air flow (wire rack). Ten feet with my cheap pj gets me a 92 inch image.

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