Originally Posted by Jaitap
Am deciding on my first home theater options!
I have about $4.5k budget for screen + projector for a 2.5 car garage-size media room (right above my garage). 7.1 speakers, blu-ray player, receiver also there but separate budget for them.
I am not sure what is a better choice for viewing quality as well as from long-term perspective -
A projector like Epson Home Cinema 8350 + Screen Innovations 100" Black Diamond 1.4
A better projector like Epson Pro 9700 UB + A 100" Stewart-like gray screen.
One of my friends says that invest in a Black Diamond now and it will last a while, and upgrade the projector later after a few years.
Any pros and cons of the choices?
Hmmm. I'd have to agree with some of the other guys. A/T is certainly the way to go if you can afford it. But if you don't mind a DIY project for the frame/false wall then cost isn't so much an issue - you should be able to get an acoustically transparent material that also allows for a "real good" picture for well less than your budget. And, I fully agree, with the size of your room (pretty large) and the quality of screens and projectors (pretty darn good, compared to just 5 years ago, and a comparative steal too) I'd say a 120" screen might be the absolute smallest to consider. You might even consider going with a 2.35:1 screen (see CIH threads for maximum discouragement - I mean enjoyment). That is where I'm heading... I think. And, I'm assuming you would have a pretty much 100% light controlled room, over the garage, not used for anything else (well, maybe play room...?); this makes screen selection (and price) somewhat easier.
Is your room full of windows and other ambient light? That is what the BD is for, making front projection possible in a room with ambient light. If you plan on making your room like a theater with little or no light and dark walls, ceiling and floor around the screen the BD is not worth the money in my book. The other issue with the BD is it does not come in larger sizes.. what if you want/need a 120" screen? You should spend a LOT of time doing your research and under stand the different types of screens and what they are good for as well as all the things you must think about when planing a HT. How big will your screen be? How far will you sit from the screen? Where will your projector be mounted? How much room do your speaker take up when place the proper distance from the wall? Do you care about sound quality (opens another oil drum of worms)? Have you started your planning on paper yet? Do you have a construction budget? They are MANY compromises to be made balancing perceived value to real budget $$, you just have to find what will work best in your environment..
Good luck and drop down to the HT forums and take a look around, lots to learn there form folks that have already made mistakes.. no need to repeat them!
Good luck and happy reading!
Superior advice, this. I've just started my notebook - there are so many more things to consider than one might think at first. Headings right now are
Drawings (max vertical viewing angle 15 degrees sets top of screen, 30 or 36 degree viewing angle for front row seating sets distance from screen (for 16:9 viewing), add in distance of throw for projector, how will you mount projector (flat ceiling or vaulted?), can you get projector down to top of screen level conveniently?, etc.
Carpentry (false wall if you go a/t, how to mount screen and frame for masking, manual masking for sides when viewing 16:9 media, if you go with a 2.35 screen...)
Electrical Considerations (my breaker box is only about 30' away, so I'll probably run one dedicated line to one hospital grade outlet, into which I'll plug in my surge protector/ups - which has room to plug in 10 or 11 pieces of equipment, two of which allow for ups (projector will plug into one of these; if power goes out, HOT bulb continues to be cooled...). You think about it, (with my setup at least), with a separate processor and three amps (and CD player and pre-amp for music listening) one can easily have ten pieces of equipment running off one circuit breaker. No point all your home theater equipment to the lights and whatever else was on an existing circuit, if you can help it.
Sound Treatment (for odd corners, closet walls that stick out...)
Audio and DVD,
Cables and Cords, and
If my general experience with almost everything else I purchase holds true, I would think there is a level of screen that you "must" purchase, as a minimum, to have a good quality picture no matter which projector you use. Maybe if screen were quality rated from low to high as junk, fair, good, very good, excellent, and $uperior, I'd be thinking a very good screen would be where "it's" at. Especially if you do DIY, and an absolute requirement if you do acoustically transparent.
OK, enough advice from the guy who's only a month ahead of where you are - but good luck and happy buying and viewing!