My wife and I are finishing our basement this year, most likely with a late April or early May start date. While the basement will have other areas, my current focus is what I'm generally calling the media area: basically the area which will become the main viewing area in the house. Unfortunately, whether to go with a projector or a TV seems to give me whiplash: one day I'm convinced a TV is the only viable option, the next I'm convinced a projector is in play. My wavering comes down to one key question: Is a projector viable for our proposed build?
I've attached a cropped .pdf of one proposed layout (cropped out the title block information). A closed-off area - more in-line with a dedicated theater room - is not an option, so the media area will be opened to rest of the basement. The approximate available dimensions of the media area are shown on the .pdf. There is one "typical" basement window which could affect the media area; it is in the lower right corner of the plan. I can mitigate that issue as needed, however, with the appropriate window treatment.
The wall at the top of the media area framing the stairs is another potential issue. I've attached a picture of its current configuration, which is just a standard frame. My initial thinking was to simply finish that wall, however my wife is interested in "opening it up" after both seeing pictures online and speaking with the last contractor we met. I've attached a picture of another set of stairs in our house; this generally represents what my wife is interested in doing though the logistics of it - especially as it would affect A/V items - are still TDB. I'm concerned about light bleeding down from the kitchen.
In addition to the corner window and the potential wall change, the final issue (so far...) is just general lighting. First, my wife will not accept the stereotypical cave many people think of when controlling light. Second, when watching TV my wife tends to look through her never-shrinking stack of catalogs, so we'll need some light in the area (even if it's a table lamp). Third, we'd like to entertain in the room, too (think Super Bowl parties), so we don't want people sitting in complete darkness. For movies, though, bringing down the lights is happening!
Typical uses: TV programming (currently DirecTV with potential for streaming only) and movies (Blu-ray). We don't have kids and we don't have any gaming systems (though our nephews sometimes bring theirs). I'm not really interested in 4K or 3D at this time.
So, after probably too much preamble...is a projector feasible in this set-up?
I think so. Have a dim area for the screen with no light hitting the screen directly like in the second photo by the windows. While my room is primitive, we still do a 169 inch image with the lights on. Of course the image takes a hit but we leave them on while exercising and eating.
I have a friend with five kids whose wife wanted the basement open except for a guest room and a bathroom. He has taken a small portion of the room with a natural recess and is painting that area a dark color while having the wall painted to use as a screen. Everything is contained in that area and there are play areas for the kids and an area for guests/friends with the rest of the room being white since his wife doesn't want a cave. Keep in mind that when you are talking about a 120 to 180 inch screen everyone on in the basement can see it for the various areas. Even as I type this I am 18 feet from the screen in a room with all the lights on and I can still see my "screen/wall" wall just fine which is in the main room of the basement.
In my already finished basement, I have 5 hundred watt light shining down and all I did was make the area around the screen dark and remove two light which directly hit the screen. (photo example)
You might be surprised at what the wife will agree to when you have a theater in your basement.
Epson HC2000; Screen - 151.5" 16:9/TV or 143.5" 2.35:1/HT at a seating distance of 13 feet; Yamaha RXV675 for 7.3; Speakers - Infinity Primus; Subs - 2 Polk PSW10s, 1 BIC F12; Headphones - 4 JVC wireless; Sony 3D Blu-ray player/six pairs 3D glasses.
I think that's a great space for a projector and 150" screen. Either wall would be fine as long as all lighting in the basement is of the "spot" rather than "flood" variety and any of even the "spot" variety that are within 6' of the screen wall are on separate switches.
Placing the screen on the 13'10" wall would prevent light bleed from an open stairway better than using the 15' wall, but the 15' wall would allow for at least some view from the adjacent area of the basement. People sitting at the bar will be able to see the screen no problem on either wall. Acoustically, using the 13'10" wall would seem a tad better as the main LCR speakers would have side walls to funnel sound back symmetrically while if the screen is on the 15' wall the left channel speaker will gets lost and confused in that bar area and provide no handy place to mount the surround speakers on that side -- especially for anyone sitting at the bar the sound will be confused as they would be sitting outside the left channel and get mostly mush.
I have halogen spots over my seating area 11' away from my screen, and the image is fine even with the spotlights bright enough to read by.
BenQ W1070 VuTec 122" Screen
Harmon Kardon AVR 247 Parasound L&R Amp
Psycoustic Mark III L&R Towers, Boston Center
Energy Take 5 Surrounds, HSU Research Sub