Am I a good candidate for making the switch to projection? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-15-2014, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Am I a good candidate for making the switch to projection?

I've decided it's time to move up my display's screen size, since my family has started to enjoy watching movies together, and viewing a 60" LCD from 15ft away is not cutting it.

I'm leaning towards and hoping that I can make the switch to a projector and 120" screen, because no TV that costs less than a car will give me the size for an immersive experience. However, I am fearful that a projector will have limited usability since my family room has several large windows plus a skylight (which cannot be darkened) about 20 feet to the left of the seating area. I have light blocking shades on the windows, so the room can be significantly dimmed during daytime. Attached are pics of the living room with curtains open and closed.

I am hoping that an ambient light reflecting screen (e.g. Elite Cinegrey 3D) with a bright projector (e.g. Epson 5030, Sony VPL-HW40ES) will allow me to have the flexibility to watch casual TV shows (news, kids cartoons, sports) during the day with a "usable image" without having to completely draw my shades every time. For movies where high quality video performance is desired, we generally watch at night.

I'd very much appreciate any feedback that can help me feel good about pulling the trigger, or confirm that my environment is not projector-compatible. I'm avoiding the TV + pull down screen approach as it's a bit more complex, less reliable, and aesthetically less pleasing to have a screen housing hanging from the ceiling (there's a wife approval factor that I need to meet, and don't want to spend huge dollars on a recessed screen install).

If I'm a candidate, here are some follow up questions I'm hoping to get answered:

Screen type: Is an ambient light rejecting screen the right choice? I assume it is since flexible usage in a room with significant ambient light is a priority, so long as this doesn't mean blatant hotspots or a very limited angle viewing cone.

Projector location: I have to mount on my 8ft ceiling, and can place it anywhere from 9-22 ft from the screen. I understand closer will be brighter, but also results in stronger hotspotting. Elite Screens recommends at least 1.5 screen widths away for the Cinegrey 5D, which would be a little more than 13 ft for a 120" screen. Given the viewing position is 15 ft from screen, what's the ideal distance to mount the projector without giving up adequate brightness to watch during daytime?

Screen height: I have my AV components in a 2 ft high cabinet below the screen area, and a 3" crown molding at the ceiling. As such, the screen must be mounted at least 2 ft off the ground, and can be raised only 5.5 inches above the cabinet before it hits the crown molding. Could this be problematic for the viewing location to be in the best viewing cone of an ALR screen?

Brightness: I'm hoping I can use different projector modes to handle different lighting conditions. Put it the absolute brightest/inaccurate color mode when kids want to watch cartoons in the afternoon, use a less bright/modestly calibrated mode when watching movies during daytime with shades drawn, and the dimmer/best calibrated mode when watching at night. I'm not expecting incredible display quality when I have much ambient light- just a reasonable image that my wife and kids will never complain about. Could this work? Would it be easy to toggle the modes with a single remote button (vs. digging into menus)? I'm thinking the Epson 5030 would be the best candidate here since it can go into a super bright albiet inaccurate color mode, while the Sony's brightest mode is supposedly a bit dimmer to maintain some color dignity.

I'm planning to wait to see what type of new products get announced at CEDIA, then hopefully pull the trigger on the hardware if my situation is projector compatible. Many thanks for any feedback or guidance!
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-15-2014, 08:23 PM
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If it were me I'd get an 80" TV for daytime viewing and a 130"+ A/T electric tab tensioned screen for nighttime watching (or the biggest you can go for your room). You'll never hear someone say 'I think I went too big!' The screen housing won't look bad and would act as a conversation piece.....push the button and down comes the screen, watch your friends drool when the projector lights up the screen. Hot spotting? never experienced that with any projector/screen I've owned....maybe old technology issue???

I would go with a projector that can produce good blacks....blacks are where it's at! You don't realize the impact till you watch a projector that produces good blacks. Ive owned 4 projectors, trust me...blacks are where it's at!

If you are dead set against a dual operation, the Epson would be a really good choice (5030). Bright mode (living-room) for day light watching (blacks don't matter cause even a good black producing projector will lose that capability with ambient light) and best mode for light controlled watching. If you went with a dual 80" TV and a JVC X-35, that would be killer. Ive owned two Epson's (8500Ub, 8350) a BenQ (W7000) and a JVC (X-55) won't be disappointed!

Good luck!

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post #3 of 12 Old 08-15-2014, 08:31 PM
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Your room is really quite bad for front projection, and it would be a shame to lose those windows anytime you wanted the TV on - and you would need to. The amount of light they let in right at the screen location is horrendous in a projection world and would leave you with extremely unsatisfying results.

I'm very much in favor of you getting a 80" or larger display in that location.

I've tried working in a setup similar to what you have, and the experience was so poor that I ended up getting a flat panel and using the projector with it. The dual setup was excellent and gave me the best of both worlds.

But, with the prices of 80" flat panels dropping so significantly, it's certainly an option worth consideration.

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post #4 of 12 Old 08-16-2014, 03:42 AM
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There are a few negatives to this room for a projection system to be an effective choice for anything other than nighttime viewing.

1. Way too much sun coming in during the day. A specialty screen will help to preserve some of your contrast during the day, but you'll still have to block out all that sunlight. I'm sure you have to do that now with the 60 inch LCD as well, but the LCD will give you a much richer picture in this scenario. However, if it's just a "usable" image you want during the day for casual viewing, the Cinegrey 5D can do that.

2. Not enough wall. If that's what a 60inch tv looks like in your room, It doesn't look like you have enough room for 120 inches at 16:9. More like 100 inches. Unless you're planning on moving out those really nice cabinets under the TV.

3. Lots of bright, light reflecting surfaces. Especially that white carpet. If you can replace the carpet with a dark one, it would help a lot. If you can repaint that part of the house in darker colors it will help a lot. And you might want to move out that mirror as well.

I'm in agreement that a dual setup will give you a "Best of both Worlds" experience. And you wouldn't need a specialty screen in this type of setup. But even in this scenario, you'll still have to make changes to get it all working (Walls and Carpet are still too bright.) And it will involve more expense and work than you may be willing or able to take on.

If you don't want to go the dual setup route, then you must make the space more "projector friendly". (Darker walls and ceiling, darker carpet, more sunlight blocking.) And you may still need to move out those nice cabinets under your tv if you want a good size screen.

You have some choices to make my friend. Good luck.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-16-2014, 08:10 AM
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I was in the same situation as you several months ago.
Had a 52" Sony XBR4 in my living room with lots of ambient light and I enjoy sunshine.
Wanted something bigger than the 52 and was looking at the Sharp 80s.
Started thinking outside the box and outside the TV boxes. <G>
Started lurking here in the projector area and finally contacted Craig Peer at AVS for his insight.

I now have an Epson 5030 with an Elite 120" Cinegrey 5D with the Epson mounted 14' from the screen and seating at around 16'.

Admittedly, during the day I don't have the best image but it is certainly very watchable with all of the incoming light and when the sun goes down it is great!

Go for it.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-16-2014, 10:52 AM
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I second the dual set up with your light issues i.e. skylight/doors/windows. Why lose the outdoor view of your back yard when you could have the best of both worlds.

I assume completely covering the windows/doors and painting the walls/ceiling black is not an option, so for daytime viewing, get a 70 or 80 inch TV and then an entry level 1080p pj such as the Epson or Benq for late afternoon/evening viewing. Say a 70 inch Sharp/Sony/LG for $1000 - $1400 (on sale) and then a Benq or Epson for $700 or $750 and a retractable screen.

Another option is to get a pj and try it out in the room. Rent or borrow one and see how it looks on just the painted wall before investing in something that might not work for you. I experimented with a SVGA pj in different rooms to see what worked for us prior to spending more for a cheap 1080p pj.

My Sharp 70 vs a $349 pj below at 11p.m in the family room. I have a 18 or 20 foot ceiling and six windows (plus the kitchen windows) overlooking a pond, so a pj for daytime viewing is out in this room.

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post #7 of 12 Old 08-17-2014, 12:45 AM
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I have it worse then you my friend. I would go with a 5030 and an ambient light rejecting screen for the day time and you'll enjoy every minute. I have a 5030 and a Screen Innovations Slate Zero Edge on the way. Before that I was using Matte white. Similar to a few posts up and was still watchable. But I will want you once you go projector you never go back.

Ps now looking at the rest of the pictures a 5030 would power through that on dynamic during the day and thx at night.
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-18-2014, 12:42 PM
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I've got a similar situation, I mounted a 60" plasma on the wall for daytime/casual viewing and then mounted a 120" electric screen that comes down right in front of the plasma for movie nights and sporting events.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-18-2014, 04:12 PM
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There is also another way around this too. With epson pro cinema series projectors they have a few that are 4000 and 5000 lumen with1920x1200,so higher resolution then 1080p and that would cut through any light no matter the time of day. For a very reasonable price.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-18-2014, 05:29 PM
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Can you not mount a retractable screen in fron of the tv? During the day you aren't going to be happy.

Never mind I see it's already been mentioned.
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-19-2014, 08:37 AM
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I agree with everyone else; don't switch to projection, add projection.

I mean, you might be able to see it okay during the day. But you've got a lot of light going on.
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post #12 of 12 Old 08-20-2014, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Many thanks for the excellent suggestions and guidance. I could install a retractable screen, but was just concerned about the aesthetics of having the screen housing drawing attention. I'm going to see if the wife could live with that, or if my constantly begging will exhaust her into acceptance.

I at least have the ok to get a projector mounted on the ceiling, so the screen is just a matter of deciding on a retractable or fixed (knowing that it will be a compromised experience during daytime if I do the latter). Really appreciate the advise from the community!
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