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Old 08-11-2014, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Projector Selection Help Needed -- Details and Photos Included

So I have decided to convert a room in my home into a media room -- my large open living/family/breakfast/kitchen area just does not lend itself to a full experience for audio (over 6,000 ft^3) and my seating from my 60" VT60 plasma is too far for a real movie experience.

The room I'm going to convert is in photo below -- a music room. This room measures 11'4" wide and 15' 10" deep. Windows are already covered -- and light bleed from the main hallway is minimal; this would only apply to daytime viewing. With the lights out the room is dark, even during the day.

This is where is gets dicey -- because this room is open to the main hallway (photo below) (and with speaker placement) -- I MUST place the screen on the wall where the piano is shown in the photo. Meaning depending on the depth of the projector and distance from the back wall (where the brass planter is) -- I am going to be pressed for throw distance. Probably looking at right around 9.5' to 10' depending on the depth of the unit.

I would like to do a 84-92" screen, as seating would probably be around 9.5' feet away once setup a little off that back wall.

I am looking at an Elite Screens EzFrame Screen with the CineGrey material -- probably know I will have to go with the 84"??

So what projector will serve me well in this room. I've been looking at:

Epson 8350
Panny 100U
BenQ W1070
Optoma HD30b

I'm open to options that will work best for this space.

Appreciate the help greatly!!
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Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
--Hector Berlioz

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Old 08-11-2014, 08:15 PM
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That's a really nice (and pretty closely matched in many respects) list of projectors, but first I'd like to address the screen. There's a decent chance at that sort of close throw-ratio the cinegrey will hotspot a bit. If your light-control is generally pretty decent and because your screen-size is modest and projector choice nicely bright..I'm pretty sure you'll be able to fight a fair amount of sneaky hallway light even using one of their more plain screen materials. At the very least, get the projector before you get a screen and try it on the wall to get a rough idea how bright it can be on a matte surface and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how much light it'll still beat. If it looks good it means you can simply go with a plain white (and lower natural gain) material with better uniformity, color, and less artifacts. The cinegrey may work alright, but I'd test first before dropping the money on it unless they actually accept returns/exchanges.

Now the projectors. All can make that size within 10' or less and all are fairly bright in accurate modes with great contrast for under $2000. The Panasonic is likely to have a contrast advantage over the rest while the other three are VERY close with eachother in CR (in best to least it's Optoma, Benq, Epson, but it's close enough it probably won't matter much). The Benq and Epson are probably half the price of the other two with the Benq costing the least, so that's something to consider with how close they all are in performance. If you're fairly noise-adverse the Epson is very quiet while the Benq is likely the loudest. 3d and fast motion will be nicer on the Optoma and Benq while the Epson doesn't have 3D at all.

If price is no real object I'd take the Panasonic for the nicer contrast I'd expect from it..otherwise I'd take the Benq as it's either a tie or close second in most respects and a very competitive price with that in mind.

Just to add something more for you to deal with..if the Panasonic and Optoma aren't too expensive, for $200-500 more the Sony hw40 is a quite noticeable step above in contrast while giving a bright, accurate, all around fantastic image with great flexibility and incredibly low operating noise. It simply is VERY good at everything and is THE ONE to shoot for if you're shopping near the $1900-2500 point.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.

Last edited by Ftoast; 08-11-2014 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ftoast View Post
That's a really nice (and pretty closely matched in many respects) list of projectors, but first I'd like to address the screen. There's a decent chance at that sort of close throw-ratio the cinegrey will hotspot a bit. If your light-control is generally pretty decent and because your screen-size is modest and projector choice nicely bright..I'm pretty sure you'll be able to fight a fair amount of sneaky hallway light even using one of their more plain screen materials. At the very least, get the projector before you get a screen and try it on the wall to get a rough idea how bright it can be on a matte surface and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how much light it'll still beat. If it looks good it means you can simply go with a plain white (and lower natural gain) material with better uniformity, color, and less artifacts. The cinegrey may work alright, but I'd test first before dropping the money on it unless they actually accept returns/exchanges.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply Ftoast...

I hadn't thought about the hot spotting issue given my short throw range. I was thinking I would need/use the CineGrey material to help boost black levels since I'm not looking to spend a fortune on a project right off the bat -- and also to help reduce the brightness a bit given I have a fairly well light controlled space.

Interestingly enough, I looked at the manual for both the 8350 and Panny 100U -- and they both show a closer throw range for an 80" screen than what I see on the projector central calculator. They are both showing about a minimum 7.6 feet for 80" which means I won't have any issue with an 84" screen from about 9.5 feet and could even perhaps squeeze out a 92" if I wanted.

Not sure what is up with the projector central calculator -- perhaps it's set to be conservative.

For me I think it's really down to the 8350 and 100U as I only care about 2D performance. Suppose it will be interesting to see if either gets an update at CEDIA as they have both been around for a while now...

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:28 AM
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About how much does the 100u cost right now? I'm pretty sure it's cheaper than I'm thinking, but I'd like to know for sure.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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About how much does the 100u cost right now? I'm pretty sure it's cheaper than I'm thinking, but I'd like to know for sure.
Believe it can be had for between 1,000-1,200. It's 1,299 on projector people.com now -- but that seems high.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:09 AM
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That's good news, I'd though it was around $1500 or something. That and I keep thinking it's discontinued (or might be confusing it with an older high-end model). It should be competitive either way. The DLPs BOTH might have better contrast afterall, but it still shouldn't be a large difference and those LCD models have hung on so long because they are ridiculously good compared to every other LCD under $2000-2500. I wouldn't expect anything new to replace them in a good way, the Epson 3020 tried and lost a bit of contrast as well as the amazing lens (great zoom and shift..out the window so the company can make a higher profit margin and push sales toward its $2000+ end for anyone needing good zoom or shift). But hey, it gained 3D..that's something.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:27 AM
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Here's a crazy thought.

Why not consider a retractable screen? You could probably mount it on the ceiling in front of the curtains shown in the first picture. This could give you more flexibility since you will be using the room in the "long" dimension.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jrm21 View Post
Here's a crazy thought.

Why not consider a retractable screen? You could probably mount it on the ceiling in front of the curtains shown in the first picture. This could give you more flexibility since you will be using the room in the "long" dimension.
JRM -- I had considered this, but the ceiling on that end of the room is trayed which would make mounting the screen housing tricky. Plus I want to have between 3-4 theater chairs, and this would nearly span the width of the room versus putting the seating against the opposite wall. Not to mention fitting in my PB13 SVS and speakers is going to be tricky in this space...

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:34 PM
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JRM -- I had considered this, but the ceiling on that end of the room is trayed which would make mounting the screen housing tricky. Plus I want to have between 3-4 theater chairs, and this would nearly span the width of the room versus putting the seating against the opposite wall. Not to mention fitting in my PB13 SVS and speakers is going to be tricky in this space...
Yeah, the tray ceiling could be an issue. I imagine there might be a way to work around that with the right type of mount. My room has similar dimensions... Roughly 12.5' x 16.5' with the back opening into a common area. I am placing a retractable screen on the 12.5' wall. My screen is AT so I was able to go with in-wall behind the screen. AT screens give you more options and would work for you... Except the center channel would be an issue with that door/window.

I am planning on 6 theater chairs... Two rows of 3 seats. Phi found some nice ones through this forum that will fit well in that space. In your case you could do two rows of 2 seats, giving you four with plenty of width to spare.

I realize that you are pretty set in you layout. Just trying to tank out of the box. Setting up on the long dimension may seem a little more difficult, but might make more sense in the long run as you avoid issues like short throw length and close viewing distance.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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So I have been doing some more research I was really leaning towards the Epson 8350 as I am only going to be using this for 2d -- have no interest in 3D. But now the opportunity to get a Sony-HW30ES for only $500 more than the 8350 has presented itself...

So given this, do you think springing for the Sony 30ES is the right things to do, over the 8350??

I'm a little reluctant of the 8350 with all the reviews I see of bulb and sharpness issues...

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Still looking for input -- given a $500 price difference -- would you go Epson 8350 or Sony HW30ES for. 2D only viewing here...

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
--Sergei Rachmaninov

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
--Hector Berlioz
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:32 AM
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I have an 8350. Very good projector. But given a choice between the two, I'd take the Sony.
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I have an 8350. Very good projector. But given a choice between the two, I'd take the Sony.
Thanks Ben -- on the fence -- given this is my first projector...

I have a short throw distance and think the Epson might be a little more flexible in that regard...

It's distracting when you get bogged down in all the reviews and tech specs. One thing I don't like seeing is the numerous convergence report issues with Epson...

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
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Old 08-18-2014, 01:42 PM
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There's good and bad whichever way you go. THE 8350/8345 has more placement flexibility and a cleaner looking picture. (Sony has some digital noise) The Sony is sharper and has better contrast. (And no screen door effect at close viewing) Not much difference between the two in terms of brightness. The Sony has 3D.(Which you don't care about) The 8350/45 does not. They're both pretty quiet. The Sony has adjustable convergence, the Epson does not.
Pick your poison.

If you do go with Epson, get the 8345. It's the same as the 8350 without the fast lamp burnout issues. The Different spec numbers mean nothing.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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There's good and bad whichever way you go. THE 8350/8345 has more placement flexibility and a cleaner looking picture. (Sony has some digital noise) The Sony is sharper and has better contrast. (And no screen door effect at close viewing) Not much difference between the two in terms of brightness. The Sony has 3D.(Which you don't care about) The 8350/45 does not. They're both pretty quiet. The Sony has adjustable convergence, the Epson does not.
Pick your poison.

If you do go with Epson, get the 8345. It's the same as the 8350 without the fast lamp burnout issues. The Different spec numbers mean nothing.
Appreciate it Ben. Part of me says to wait until CEDIA passes to see if anything new as these models have been around for a while -- especially the 8350.
But then again, I'm only looking for solid 2D performance and all the new models seem to be caught up in 3D functions as well, which I have no interest in...

As for the 8345 vs 8350 -- I will look into that more...

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Old 08-19-2014, 10:10 AM
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You are sitting awfully close and you might want to stay clear of LCD...I think you might want to research the pixel structure for your screen size-sitting distance....you may experience the SDE.

I would vote for an LCoS or DLP.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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You are sitting awfully close and you might want to stay clear of LCD...I think you might want to research the pixel structure for your screen size-sitting distance....you may experience the SDE.

I would vote for an LCoS or DLP.
I'm guessing that SDE = screen door effect?? As in motion blur during fast scenes -- sports/action??

But you are correct, seating will likely be around 10.5 feet from screen once I get the sectional in the room...

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Old 08-19-2014, 10:33 AM
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Appreciate it Ben. Part of me says to wait until CEDIA passes to see if anything new as these models have been around for a while -- especially the 8350.
But then again, I'm only looking for solid 2D performance and all the new models seem to be caught up in 3D functions as well, which I have no interest in...

As for the 8345 vs 8350 -- I will look into that more...
Since CEDIA is so close, and Epson is holding it's cards very close to its chest so far, It might be worth it to wait a little to see what happens.
Would love to see an updated version of the 3020 with improved contrast and a lens like the one on the 8350/45. A lens shifting 3D projector to compete with the low cost DLP's is something the LCD front really needs to make happen. I expect by next year, 3D will be a feature on every projector sold whether you want it or not.

As for the 8350 vs. 8345: Trust me on this. I've used them both extensively. The 8345 has a slightly less bright dynamic mode. (About 110 lumens less as measured from my buddy's light meter. Hard to notice the difference.)But everything else is the same.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:40 AM
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I'm guessing that SDE = screen door effect?? As in motion blur during fast scenes -- sports/action??

But you are correct, seating will likely be around 10.5 feet from screen once I get the sectional in the room...
Not so much blur, although my LCD's were not as good as my DLP for handling motion, but rather seeing the pixel structure itself...you'll start to see the grid pattern. When I moved in close thinking I was seeing the weave from my A/T screen in fact it was the pixel structure from my Epsons. Pixel strucutre from a DLP and LCoS is so much better for close viewing. Again, my screen is huge and that might have played a factor as well but definitely something to think about and consider.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Not so much blur, although my LCD's were not as good as my DLP for handling motion, but rather seeing the pixel structure itself...you'll start to see the grid pattern. When I moved in close thinking I was seeing the weave from my A/T screen in fact it was the pixel structure from my Epsons. Pixel strucutre from a DLP and LCoS is so much better for close viewing. Again, my screen is huge and that might have played a factor as well but definitely something to think about and consider.
That makes sense now -- which for me, given my limited throw distance, I'm hoping to get a 92" screen, but might have to go into the 84" territory. So this might not as much of an issue for me -- if it was going to be a 130" screen then I would certainly be concerned. But at my screen size, I don't think I'll be stretching the pixels nearly as much...

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
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