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Screen or Projector

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
All,

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

Or

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?
post #2 of 18
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!

Start out with this info provided by Tryg. Some of it is a few years old, but not much has really changed in the screen end of things.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=262466
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=240074
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=228371
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=773065

There is also the DIY forum if you are interested in making your own screen, Mississippiman is very helpful, knowledgeable and willing to walk you through the process if you choose that route.

Biggest thing is to lean how it all works and why.
post #3 of 18
There certainly is wisdom in buying a better screen as it will last longer. Airscapes is right on the money about specialty screens though. Personally, I invested in a budget screen as I wasn't sure how devoted we were going to become. I'm not sure that is a bad strategy either. We paid around $320 for an Elite white 120" screen, and I can certainly get $150 if I decide to sell.

You need to decide about acoustically transparent (do you want speakers behind the screen), screen color, gain, off axis light rejection, fixed vs retracable, etc. All of that stuff is very room dependent. For me, it made more sense to get something up quickly and learn what I really needed as I moved along on the project.

Also, that Epson 9700 is the absolute high end of the line and is simply an 8700 with an extended warranty and a couple of accessories bundled in. It is proiced higher to give margin to custom installers. You can save $hundreds by buying the 8700 instead.
post #4 of 18
My screens tend to last about 3-4 projectors. I would spend it on the screen but balance is also important. Also with the BD screen I feel it makes a 2k projector look like a 10k projector.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaitap View Post

I have about $4.5k budget for screen + projector...

You should consider the JVC RS40 and a Da-Lite Model B with the High Power fabric IMO. If you have the room I'd also recommend that you consider a larger screen size than 100". The 100" that looks so great when you first hang it may seem a bit small after you've lived with it a while...
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by henrich3 View Post

You should consider the JVC RS40 and a Da-Lite Model B with the High Power fabric IMO. If you have the room I'd also recommend that you consider a larger screen size than 100". The 100" that looks so great when you first hang it may seem a bit small after you've lived with it a while...

Agreed - go with the High power screen and the RS40, do not go with the black diamond screen with a lower-end projector, it will not look better with a cheap projector as comparing it to a JVC on a High Power screen, that claim is ridiculous.
post #7 of 18
Always get the best projector you can afford. The screen is only a passive device!
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaitap View Post

All,

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

Or

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.


Quote:


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.
Screen,
Masking,
Projector,
Sound Treatment (for odd corners, closet walls that stick out...)
Audio and DVD,
Cables and Cords, and
Budget.

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!
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tryg View Post
Always get the best projector you can afford. The screen is only a passive device!
Amen to that. And I'd avoid the diy arena for a screen. In my research, I found that a simple Elite fixed screen performed well. But it really depends upon the environment.
post #10 of 18
I have to respectfully disagree with some of the above and as Jaitap hasn't been back in a few days the discussion may be purely academic.

Nonetheless it's a good topic many newcomers are faced with.

I have always looked at this as an equation of three variables those being room, projector and screen type and size. Any two variables will dictate the third. To buy the best projector you can afford along with the best screen you can afford and not having control of the best room you can afford may not yield the best viewing experience, IMHO.

The three run so much hand in hand they all have to be considered together with keeping in mind the outcome wants to be optimal. Cost constraints are always going to play a part but don't have to limit quality. When people ask me what component played the biggest role in my PQ, I tell them the gallon of flat black paint I used on the walls and ceiling adjacent to the screen. That's not an option for many people though.

Sure the room and screen will outlast the projector but the new projector will have to work with the other two.

The room like the projector has a variable component. The screen being static passive device. In the case of the room lighting may change or wish to be changed for certain type viewing, and that has to be plugged into the equation.

The issue of DIY screens may or may not be right for a person to consider, and may or may not work to perfection. If DIY has one major plus it would be it teaches you as you go how the screen interacts with the room and projector. After experimenting with DIY I feel better equipped even if I wanted to buy a screen.
post #11 of 18
You need to balance everything, video and AUDIO. You ask on a video forum everyone forgets about audio. There are always trade off's. The question on screen size depends on ceiling height, and room with and of course the projector. Do some quick research and see where to place the speakers in the room for optimal imaging. The corners or near a wall is usually not correct. lay out your sound. From there put your speakers in or cardboard boxes to size and see from your seating positions where they start to encroach on the edges of the screen, also how high your center will be, and how high you want the screen to the celing, mark this. This is a trade off the center sounds best at ear level but most of the time theigh high tilted up a tad. Next measure height and with and see what your limiting factor is and that will give you your max screen size. You can go smaller but can't go bigger without compromise.

I would spend my money evenly but onthe room first, then the screen then the projector. That is the order in the way things get replaced. If you then have the buget for different screens go look at some. They are different and all have compromises.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post

I have to respectfully disagree with some of the above and as Jaitap hasn’t been back in a few days the discussion may be purely academic.

I am very much here and soaking in the differing thoughts here on this thread and other threads! (besides battling the weather here in Texas!). I have found that (like in everything else) there is not a single perfect answer and you have to find what fits your own needs and senses, and all of it within your budget.

More information on my room:
We plan to have 0 ambient light in the media room. Carpet is dark brown, walls/ceiling will be colored dark, windows draped. The room will not be used for any other purpose. The projector/screen will be used by our daughter to play games on (possibly couple of times a week), and probably weekends for movies/TV. If families/kids come over, it will be used then too. It will not be used every single day.

We also went and saw the Black Diamond 1.4 again at a retail store. Based on what we saw + read here (airscapes, others) and our room, we came to the conclusion that the BD will really be overkill for us. Also, we had thought that the speakers, projector, screen were like a one-time expense. Though now I can imagine that I may be spending again on a projector in a few years (Technology will happen!). Keeping that in mind, I think we will be reducing our budget. Currently we are reviewing the Epson 8700 UB visualapex package (thanks to jayn_j). Also thinking of a bigger screen since it can be easily accomodated in our room.
post #13 of 18
If you have no ambient light get a Carada Brilliant White or an Elite CineWhite screen and spend the money saved on a projector.
post #14 of 18
Me personally, I tend to recommend that people buy as good a screen as they can. I would consider it more of an investment. There are way more advances in projector technology making them better and more affordable. Screen technology doesn't change much. I've had many projects where I'm working with a customer on getting a screen material replaced. Original parts ordered roughly 15 years ago.

Many of us like to think that we will buy a good projector and stick with it for many many years but the truth is that it rarely happens. We all have that itch where we see better technology on the horizon and want it....sometimes need it. I am sure that once you have your set up all said and done, that projector will get upgraded at least twice before you even think of doing anything with the screen.

Again, not saying i'm right or wrong, just my own personal opinion.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmiejohn View Post
If you have no ambient light get a Carada Brilliant White or an Elite CineWhite screen and spend the money saved on a projector.
If you are in a state that Home Depot carries the Doable board for $20 a sheet and you only want a 100 inch scree, then start with a sheet of this material. I just got a sample of the elite Cinewhite and its practically identical to the doable.... then you will have a cheap starting point. figure out what do and don't like about that screen after calibrating and watching it for a bit then order up the free screen samples for various vendors. see the screen forum for more info. If this is your first projector I would say its almost impossible to pick the right screen first time around. So start cheap then look for that perfect match. but buy the best projector you can afford...
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benito Joaquin View Post

Me personally, I tend to recommend that people buy as good a screen as they can. I would consider it more of an investment.

Projectors are in a major transitional phase right now. Buying a screen for an investment for future projectors may be a bad decision, giving that we have LED coming out, 3D, and most brands changing to LCOS.

Furthermore, the Da-Lite HP Model B screen is a bargain for the level of no-sheen and film-like look you get, and this is the best bang-for-buck screen out there other than maybe a DIY. The HP screen won't work in everyone's room, although I tend to think this is exagerrated and it should work in 90%+ of people's setups, even if you have a DLP you can make it work given the low price and other great characteristics for a bargain screen.
It's also cheap enough in price that it is a perfect hold over screen.
post #17 of 18
If you dont have a light problem, then you dont need to spend the money a BlackDiamond. Get yourself a Stewart and Dalite screen with the better Epson and you will be very happy
post #18 of 18
Besides Visual Apex, please consider dealing with th the folks who bring you this forum, AVS. Daniel, above, will help you and, though I've been out of the market for a while, their prices have been competitive and their service and advice are great.
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