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post #1 of 23 Old 08-20-2017, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Projecting to patio screen through window, looking for advice

Goal: Watch TV outside occasionally. Not concerned with top notch PQ but would like to be able to tell what's going on

Budget: $700 ballpark (~$1000 CAD)

Screen size: 60" would be fine

Seating distance: 11 feet

Must haves: At least 720p resolution

Question TLDR: What kind of projector should I be looking at? Will the projection work through a window?


So I have a pergola with seating in it and I'd like to watch TV out there at night. My proposed solution is to use a projector through a window onto a screen hanging off the pergola (I have attached a pic of the planned set up). I estimate the throw distance at roughly 12.5'. I'm not overly worried about sunlight as the house blocks the eastern light and only the setting sun in the west really brightens up the area, but that would be at the back side of the screen.

From my research, it seems I should be looking at something with a brightness of 3000 or higher. I'm not very knowledgeable on projectors and I am only looking for a 60" or so diagonal; can projectors 'zoom' to get a smaller image? I know they have some adjust-ability in terms of focus and picture size but I'm not clear on this aspect of them. I am looking for advice or direction on what kind of projector I should be considering for this application. Any help would be much appreciated.

I think projecting through the window would work fine as long as I keep it clean, but are there any gotchas with this concept that I should be aware of? Theaters seem to do something similar but maybe they have special movie glass?

Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 23 Old 08-20-2017, 07:41 PM
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A 60" screen is tiny by front projection standards. It's doubtful that anyone on this forum is using such a small screen. Further complicating things is that the further away from a screen a projector is the bigger the image gets. So your goal of a 60" image from 12.5' is totally unrealistic. From 12.5' most projectors won't be able to produce an image smaller than ~120". Projecting through window glass is also a bad idea as it will distort the image. Also, if the window is closed how do you propose to get sound? Do you have any Plan B ideas?
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post #3 of 23 Old 08-20-2017, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Bunmer, I was afraid of that haha. I might be able to get away with 120" screen, I'd have to give it a test. I'll see if I can borrow one and test blasting it out the window.

This actually is plan b! I was originally going to get an outdoor tv but it was too expensive.

For sound I am using a wireless headset, it's just two of us so it works out well.

Thanks for your feedback
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post #4 of 23 Old 08-20-2017, 08:06 PM
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That will/can work fine. That's exactly how I do my backyard movies. Avoids bugs in the projector!

Have you ever looked over your shoulder at the movie theater? The projector is most always projecting through a window pane. It loses some brightness but does not cause any distortion of note.

I have the source inside as well and transmit audio to powered speakers via bluetooth.

Good Luck!
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post #5 of 23 Old 08-20-2017, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Stittle View Post
I think projecting through the window would work fine as long as I keep it clean, but are there any gotchas with this concept that I should be aware of? Theaters seem to do something similar but maybe they have special movie glass?

Thanks for your help!
Well, just for you, I removed the sliding panel of my living room window and held it is front of my projector. It isn't even particularly clean, but it worked just fine. Very little dimming or distortion of the image. Just make sure the projector's lens is not more than a few inches away from the glass. My window is single-pane rather than the newer dual or triple pane glass, so I don't know if that will make a difference.
@Dave in Green is quite correct about your image size, though. Projectors in the $700 price range have relatively short throws, and 120" from 12.5' is the smallest they'll go. The Benq HC1200 is sometimes available as a refurb for $500 that has a longer lens and could go as small as 85". https://www.benqdirect.com/benq-outl...00-refurb.html This is a very good projector and was over $1200 when first released. Your picture shows the projector mounted in the middle of the screen, but most projectors will require they be hung upside down and a few inches above the top of the screen height.

This could be an economical solution if you mount the projector on a swivel mount so you can rotate it to shine outside or inside on the opposite wall. One projector, one sound system, two screens.

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post #6 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Ha, thanks for doing that experiment and recommending a few options.

That little wrinkle of mounting the projector up high could be a problem. I didn't even consider it! That window extends up above the pergola and is behind a couch, so there is no ceiling area to mount it to. There are well placed end tables I was hoping to reuse. One idea I'm considering though, maybe some kind of telescoping mount that I can raise up and down as needed. I like the dual function swivel idea! Another option might be to tilt the projector upward slightly. The image will get distorted but it might be acceptable.

Seems like I need to get my hands on a projector and run some tests.

Thanks you guys
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post #7 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 06:55 AM
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At 12’6” a projector like my Viewsonic PJD555w will throw a 104 16:9 image with potential brightness of 44 FL. It is a WXGA projector or 720P and will be more than acceptable for what you want. On the brightest setting you would have enough firepower for a DIY gray screen and that would be your best bet for keeping cost down along with the projectors low price, and maintain some CR that could be watched. It normally sells for $430 on line. Depending what you drive the projector with some sort of wireless speakers is what I would use.

The window straight on shouldn’t be a problem. I reflect my image off a mirror and to my screen and that is like going thru two windows. If your window has thermal coatings or many layers of glass it could degrade the image some.

In your sketch you show the projectors height centered on the screen. Modern cheep projectors don’t work like this. They sit near the height of the bottom of the screen or if inverted the top of the screen

No projector is designed to work with loads of ambient light but some will produce images that don’t look to bad with some ambient. The setup you are showing would work quite well after the sun goes down and most likely not look so hot mid summer day.

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post #8 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 07:48 AM
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If some are getting this type of setup to work then I was obviously too negative in my initial response. There will be some distortion shooting through a plain glass window but the amount of distortion will depend on the quality of the glass and it may not be enough to bother you if you aren't especially picky about image quality. Certainly when I use my binoculars for bird watching in my backyard through a window I can see a visible image degradation over what I see when using my binoculars outdoors from the back deck. Commercial cinemas that project through glass use high grade glass to avoid distortion.

However, if your Plan A was to get an outdoor TV and you have a budget of ~$1000 CAD, a quick check of Canadian TV prices shows that there are 60" 1080p models available at that pricepoint. They may not be the highest rated TVs but you wouldn't want a fancy, expensive TV outdoors anyway. With a plug-and-play TV you wouldn't have to worry about ambient light let alone all the various setup issues in terms of proper positioning, Blue Tooth speaker, etc.
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post #9 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 08:23 AM
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The Epson 2040 has a slight upward projection angle and can be a few inches below the top edge of the screen when mounted upside down. It's available as a refurbished unit for $520 from Epson.

https://epson.com/Clearance-Center/H...p/V11H707020-N

The throw distance allows it to hit a 120" diagonal from about 12'6" lens to screen. The furthest it may be is 12'9", so make sure your measurements are very accurate.

The window will not be an issue. While theaters do project through glass, they use optical grade glass with very low reflectivity. It's not the same as a window pane in your home. Don't even ask how much a projection porthole costs. Still, regular glass, while it will reflect more and may slightly impact image quality, it should not be noticeable to you unless your glass has a real issue.

Another option would be the Epson 8350 or 8345: https://epson.com/Clearance-Center/H...p/V11H416120-N

While they are no longer in production, they were very much admired for years for their extremely high placement flexibility and image quality. That same 120" diagonal can be hit from 11'9" to as far away as 25'! Or, from your estimated 12'6" throw distance, you can get a diagonal size from between 60" to 128". That's a ton of flexibility there.

As well, it has full lens shift. Allowing you to place the projector anywhere from half a screen above the top of the image, to half a screen below the bottom of the image, or ANYWHERE between. So, mid-height is just fine. You just use lens shift (optical) to shift the image to where you want it to be. An extremely useful feature that really opens up the door for your placement needs at the right price.

Remember: Outdoor projection = after dark only for acceptable results. During the daytime, you can't get a usable image really while outside.

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post #10 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 09:18 AM
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It seems the OP is in Canada which is obviously pretty far north. The further north the longer it stays light in the summer when you're most likely to want to sit outside. I recall when living in Michigan that in the summer it was still fairly light even after 9:00 p.m. Since the OP was originally talking about a 60" projection screen it seems there was more interest in saving money over a 60" TV than in having a big front projection screen. The bigger the front projection image the dimmer it will be and the more likely it will be washed out by evening summer light in Canada. With the availability of ~$1,000 CAD 60" 1080p TVs in Canada I still think his Plan A makes more sense.
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post #11 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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The Epson 8350 sounds very promising! I am borrowing a projector this weekend to see what kind of results I get. Just some cheapo one but at least I can figure out placement ideas and get a ballpark for what I'll be dealing with. If all goes well I think I'll look a bit more intensely at that Epson!

I am in Canada, yes. In the summer it does stay light out until after 9pm. In the winter it gets dark after 5pm. Though watching tv in the snow might be a little much lol. The problem with a tv is I can't use a regular tv outside, I need to use a weather proof one which costs way more ($3500 for 55"). A regular tv will get destroyed from condensation according to CNET. Makes sense to me, condensation is evil
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post #12 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Stittle View Post
... The problem with a tv is I can't use a regular tv outside, I need to use a weather proof one which costs way more ($3500 for 55"). A regular tv will get destroyed from condensation according to CNET. Makes sense to me, condensation is evil
Simple solution: Put a standard TV on a cart with wheels and move outside only when using. Modern 60" TVs weigh less than 60 pounds and could be easily wheeled in and out of the house. But it sounds as if you are in full front projection mode so it will be interesting to hear about your adventures.
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post #13 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Stittle View Post
The Epson 8350 sounds very promising! I am borrowing a projector this weekend to see what kind of results I get. Just some cheapo one but at least I can figure out placement ideas and get a ballpark for what I'll be dealing with. If all goes well I think I'll look a bit more intensely at that Epson!

I am in Canada, yes. In the summer it does stay light out until after 9pm. In the winter it gets dark after 5pm. Though watching tv in the snow might be a little much lol. The problem with a tv is I can't use a regular tv outside, I need to use a weather proof one which costs way more ($3500 for 55"). A reular tv will get destroyed from condensation according to CNET. Makes sense to me, condensation is evil
I suppose it's not impossible but the CNET statement (I looked up the article) seems like the guy is speaking from a hole that's not necessarily located in his head.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that you mount a conventional TV directly exposed to rain and/or snow. However if you travel, especially in the southeastern United States or the coastlines in these areas, you will find the areas suffer from exceptionally high humidly. An environment where condensation readily occurs. Yet, you will see countless numbers of bars, pubs, restaurants, and public gathering places that have open air access with conventional TV's mounted for the enjoyment of their customers to watch primarily televised sporting events while drinking a beer, etc.. Heck, I drive south about 45 minuets to cross into Southern Ontario. I've never had condensation as a problem for any electrical appliance left outdoors.

I've yet to hear any anecdotal stories about the TV that blew up in the beach/sports bar. I looked up the article on CNET and frankly, I just don't buy it. Again, I'm not suggesting that you mount it in such a way that it doesn't have some cover or a way to protect it from direct rain, but, there are too many non-weather proof TV's in outdoor sports bars for me to take the CNET article seriously. Besides, if the TV is plugged in, it's normally in a standby mode if not in use. There's still power in the unit that's generating heat. That enclosed heat is going to produce a rather stable operating temperature that's going to keep it dry.

Having said the above, your results with a projector are going to be marginal at best until sunset.

For a 60"- 65" screen, you'll be way ahead of the curve to pick up an inexpensive LCD TV. You'll get better black levels than a cheap projector can produce and you'll easily get 3-5 times the brightness level compared to a projector. You'll both need and appreciate that extra brightness if you want to do any viewing before 9-10 PM in the summer time in the "Great White North". Locate an awning company in your area and have them sew up a sleeve from water proof material to cover it when your not using it if you must leave it outdoors.

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post #14 of 23 Old 08-21-2017, 08:17 PM
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Another option would be the Epson 8350 or 8345: https://epson.com/Clearance-Center/H...p/V11H416120-N
If I recall correctly, didn't the 8350 have less than 500 lumens calibrated with accurate color ? It might be fine for his intended small grey screen and Dynamic mode for outdoor sports because Dynamic has 1200 lumens, but serious cinema use indoors with a decent sized screen would be tough. It would be a shame to have an indoor mounted projector that could not do dual duty.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Stittle View Post
I am borrowing a projector this weekend to see what kind of results I get. Just some cheapo one but at least I can figure out placement ideas and get a ballpark for what I'll be dealing with. If all goes well I think I'll look a bit more intensely at that Epson!
Keep in mind that projectors can be mounted with wall mounts. Hiding HDMI and power cables for a high mounting needs some planning, especially over a window where you can't simply hide them behind a drape or tapestry.

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post #16 of 23 Old 08-22-2017, 05:55 AM
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If I recall correctly, didn't the 8350 have less than 500 lumens calibrated with accurate color ? It might be fine for his intended small grey screen and Dynamic mode for outdoor sports because Dynamic has 1200 lumens, but serious cinema use indoors with a decent sized screen would be tough. It would be a shame to have an indoor mounted projector that could not do dual duty.
This projector did very well at 150" diagonal on a 1.1 gain screen the last time I installed it. The brightness is plenty for typical use, and I would expect for non-after dark use, the lack of serious black levels and use of dynamic mode on high brightness wouldn't be the end of the world if the placement flexibility becomes a very limiting factor.

With about 1,400 lumens in bright mode/dynamic at the mid-zoom point, it's possibly closer to 1,500 lumens with the lens at about 12.5' from the screen.

http://www.projectorreviews.com/epso...350-brightness

But, it certainly isn't as bright as some of the other models which are out there right now.

If the OP can get around placement requirements, then the Epson HC1040 would be one of my first choices I think. Since the overall image quality isn't the key factor here, but price is a critical factor, then the jump in max lumen output to nearly 3,000 is a huge plus and the price is in line with the needs. Plus, it has a bit of zoom range which could allow it to go down a screen size to 110" or so from 12'6" lens to screen which could be useful to boost brightness a bit.

I think the main thing is how the test goes with the projector which is borrowed and what the expectations are. Projectors aren't flat panel displays, so the desired results and the real results may not be acceptable.

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post #17 of 23 Old 08-22-2017, 09:15 AM
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One thing I would note about buying a refurbished Epson 8350 is that this model is a 7-year-old design that went out of production nearly two years ago. Some of the refurbished models that people have received have had several thousand hours on them. So it's not likely that you will get one that was used for only a few hours and returned for restocking. When a projector has been out of production for nearly two years most of the refurbs are going to be units that were returned for warranty work after already having been used for many hours.
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post #18 of 23 Old 08-27-2017, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, so I borrowed an Epson 77C and did a mock set up. The setup consisted of hanging a shiny blue tarp as the screen and setting the projector on a makeshift stand. I didn't bother cleaning the window, which had some calcium build up (it's double pane). Although the projector isn't widescreen it gave a good enough ballpark I feel.

The nighttime result was great! The large picture wasn't a problem. It was actually a bonus, gave the whole thing a unique feel compared to my standard TV setup.

The results during the daytime were bad... worse than I expected unfortunately. I was hoping to at least get a bad picture; like something very faint but with washed out colours and whatnot. In reality I couldn't see anything other than some faintly visible text when in a high contrast menu.

Some things I noticed were:
- The projector needs to be really close to the window. After about 7 inches or so the image gets reflected back into the house and all over the walls. I put mine as close as I could get it and there was no noticeable reflection inside. Essentially the front of the projector was touching the window (the lens in inset a couple inches)
- The projector light attracts flies. Bug zapper would be ideal
- Outside is cold, need blankets or something
- Tarps make terrible screens
- Projectors run crazy hot, holy cow!
- The adjustment tools for focus and zoom were awesome and necessary to get it to fit right


So my plan going forward is to wait a bit before I pick up a projector. The idea of double usage is a great one and I am currently working on finishing my basement. Getting a screen that I could hang from a couple of hooks and move inside/outside would be ideal. Along with a portable projector set up too. I'll also be able to up the budget for something a little more fancy. I never really planned to have one in the basement but the big screen is pretty sweet. Might have made a mistake running these tests... not sure my bank account is going to be thrilled ha.

Thanks for all the help you guys
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post #19 of 23 Old 08-27-2017, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
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...
So my plan going forward is to wait a bit before I pick up a projector. The idea of double usage is a great one and I am currently working on finishing my basement. Getting a screen that I could hang from a couple of hooks and move inside/outside would be ideal. Along with a portable projector set up too. I'll also be able to up the budget for something a little more fancy. I never really planned to have one in the basement but the big screen is pretty sweet. Might have made a mistake running these tests... not sure my bank account is going to be thrilled ha.
The link below should take care of you then and they are a good company too...

The screen is portable, folds up for storage and can be used with or without the legs. It has eyelets on the top of the frame to hang without the legs. With a 100" screen, it's within you budget too.

http://www.visualapex.com/projector-...ectoScreen_100

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post #20 of 23 Old 08-28-2017, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Stittle View Post
- Tarps make terrible screens
Especially dark colored tarps like that blue one ! Hanging a white sheet with bungee cords at the corners holding it tight would be a much better test. At least buy a couple cans of flat white spray paint and paint the tarp !

A retractable screen at a smaller size like 120" for outdoors and a larger fixed frame screen for indoors where you can better control the light would be a better solution. I would not mess with taking a big bulky screen in and out of the house. I noticed today that Fry's Electronics has the Benq HT1070 for $499 which seems like a deal to me. It has all the features of the earlier W1070 or current HT2060 except for lens shift. If you have the flexibility to mount it 6" higher than the top of the screen, it seems like a great buy.

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post #21 of 23 Old 08-28-2017, 06:38 AM
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...
I noticed today that Fry's Electronics has the Benq HT1070 for $499 which seems like a deal to me.
...
The problem with Fry's is they don't have stores in Canada and the Benq HT1070 is "Not Available Online for Shipping". Unless you live near a Fry's, you're SOL for a lot of what they sell.
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post #22 of 23 Old 08-28-2017, 10:10 AM
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@b curry , I've got HT1070 2 weeks ago from Amazon for the same ~ $500:
https://www.amazon.com/BenQ-Projecto...dp/B01LD12E1C/
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post #23 of 23 Old 08-28-2017, 12:07 PM
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@b curry , I've got HT1070 2 weeks ago from Amazon for the same ~ $500:
https://www.amazon.com/BenQ-Projecto...dp/B01LD12E1C/
Yep, they are out there and not too hard to find. I was just saying you're not going to get one from Fry's sent to Canada...
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