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170" Epson 5020UB

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just moved into a new house and installed my new Epson 5020UB in my theater room. The projector lens sits about ~16.3 feet from the opposite wall, and at maximum zoom the picture is ~170" (just projecting on the white wall for now).

I haven't seen too many mentions of really large (150+) screens in the forums, and I'm just curious why more people don't go really really big. What are the drawbacks to having such a large screen?
post #2 of 15
First and foremost would be the mortgage payment in my mind. You would need a good sized room for that puppy.
post #3 of 15
Big is great if you have the lumens to light it up and you don't sacrifice audio for it. The 5020 could light up a 170" screen in its brighter modes (living room and dynamic) and an acoustically transparent screen can be one solution to solve audio issues. You wouldn't be able to use the Epson in its best picture quality modes. Even in Living Room mode you might have to change the bulbs more frequently so the picture wouldn't t get too dim as the bulb ages, in dynamic mode you would get almost full life out of the bulb. As you get to that size screens especially AT screens will cost a lot more unless you go the DIY route.
post #4 of 15
There's definitely TOO big when it comes to projectors. TVs? Not yet, lol. But you can definitely have an image too large to take in comfortably with a PJ in most scenarios.

Example: I'm at (just) 84" with mine and at 10-11' feet it's great, but I also have seating around 7' and just about everyone thinks it's too much at that distance.

Matter of fact I'd say right around/much less than screen width for VD is over the top...in your case with a 170" screen that would be about 12'.

Go ahead and try it at 12 feet and let me know how my POV holds up! I'd bet it's something to see...for 20 minutes, then the reality of watching a 2 hour movie at that distance would quickly become apparent: too much, too long.

And as mentioned- especially if you do not have a AT screen so you can place the speakers behind the screen- how many have the sheer real estate (literally, lol) for a 140+" screen (and lumens for many non-dedicated rooms)?

Edited by mastermaybe - 3/5/13 at 5:47am
post #5 of 15
WOW, I just thought about it and your proposed 170" would literally be almost EXACTLY the size of my ENTIRE front wall!!! eek.gif

My wall is 7' 2" tall and 13 1/2' feet wide and the screen would be 7' tall and over 12' feet wide. Not even enough room for a proper screen border!

This pic was taken about 12' away from my current 84" screen:

Holy schnikeys would that be a laugh!

post #6 of 15
Another consideration is the seating distance and it is personal reference for many. But closer seating with a larger screen will show the pixels of the projector and give a screen door effect especially on an LCD projector which have bigger gaps between the pixels. Going smaller besides the added brightness will have a sharper looking picture. But, this depends on seating distance and personal preference for immersion. Some like it some don't.
post #7 of 15
I also think it's a matter of preference. At the movie theaters, we always sit close to the screen. I feel it's more immersive and engaging. But at home, I've also gone the route of filling up my entire front wall with a 165" screen. My living room is not big at 13' wide and I don't mind seeing pixels as long as the picture is huge. Even with certain LCDs at stores, you can see pixels up close. So you'll never achieve a perfect picture. So my theory is to go as big as possible. My thoughts are that as time goes by, projectors are getting brighter, better, and cheaper. And eventually large screens like yours of 170" will be the norm with people going even bigger.
post #8 of 15
Yes of course it's about what one prefers. That said, I would reason that unless you're the only one viewing, it probably makes sense to account for others if you are indeed concerned about their viewing experience, as well.

In theory, no different than a volume dial I suppose- some like to listen much louder than others- although it's (viewing experience) much less easily traversed/modified once a 170" screen and seating is in place.

In the case of the cineplex- at least 95% of the one's I visit anyway- the first quarter of the seats closest to the screen are the last to be filled, with the the other 3 quarters varying depending upon the film/viewer-age/audience.

With a 170" screen, 12 feet is over 50% closer than the THX recommended distance which- in my opinion- is already fantastically immersive.

Do what's best for your application, in totality.

Edited by mastermaybe - 3/5/13 at 9:03am
post #9 of 15
Might introduce some neck strain if you do any long gaming periods on it?
post #10 of 15
170" at 12' would put my feet into the scene in my recliner. I'm all for bigger is better but seriously, feet in the screen.
post #11 of 15
I used to want to go bigger. I'm at 119" now. I could go a little larger, but then the screen would be to low to the floor. I'd need higher ceilings in my room to go any larger with my seating.
I just replaced my sharp xv z12000 markII with the epson 5020. I'm seriously considering using the Sharp in my game room as the primary TV in that room, but maybe going 84 or 92". Going that small would make even the Sharp plenty bright.
post #12 of 15
I am very curious about the size discussion here.

I was wanting to go as big as possible as well. I will be placing a projector at 21 feet away from the wall. The wall will be 8 feet tall and I think about 14 feet wide(approx) for the screen area ( more then that but rest will be used for bar later and will be checking the measurements again closer to move date). We are setting the sectional pretty much right under the projector so sitting around 20 feet away. So I was wondering what would be the proper size distance for me as well?

Personally when we go to a theatre we like to sit dead centre lined up with the centre of the screen if that helps with calculations.

I think 12 feet away would be too close on a 170 inch screen for me and my family and that is saying something as I like it big. I just not sure how big i think one should go. My sound system is done on sides and surround mounted off the ceiling so not sure why everyone is saying you have to have the Audio screens. There are options. Depending on the screen you should be able to mount the centre in a way that it is not impacted by the screen. At least that is my plan. I don't see why you need to have all the speakers in the front or am I missing something. I just ran the speakers in the wall and mounted the 7.1 system. I have run the wires already but have not moved in yet to connect everything. The centre will be above the fixed frame (or diy screen if I change my mind and paint). The 2 fronts will be off to each side of the screen. The other speakers all mounted on the ceiling. I don't really see why one would need audio as a factor in the screen.
post #13 of 15
I think one of the problems with HT is there are few places to get a good demo. Audio is just as important as video to get a good HT experience. Placing speakers where they are convenient is not going to give good audio, it will give you sound but hardly quality audio. Good acoustics starts with location, location, location! Location of seating, location of speakers and location of subs. So lets start with some very basics.

1. Seating - Do not place against walls! Moving the seating at least 18" from the wall is going to make a difference. It might not be the best spot but it will be a big improvement. It is too much to discuss now but do not place them in poor modal areas. You can do your own research on that. I realize many are doing media rooms and not dedicated HT rooms. But getting the seats away from wall is big.

2. Speakers - You can also do your own research on where speakers should be placed, Dolby, ITU, THX, etc.. Start with not placing your speakers near corners, the floor or ceiling. If they have to be near walls or surfaces those need to be treated, research SBIR to start. Front speakers at the same height for a good front soundstage and panning, ideally placed at ear height. Well set up speakers will have good clarity, focus, envelopment, dynamics and response. The soundstage should be seamless all around you.

3. Subwoofers - Yes at least two. Bass response in small rooms have a varied response between seats when using one subwoofer. Unless of course you can place that subwoofer somewhere in the middle of the room which is rarely practical and also decreases output significantly. Two or more subs is used maintain seat to seat consistence in the bass response. Again do your research, Harman has some good papers for this.

4. Acoustic Treatments - OK. I understand many people aren't going to this level for their acoustics but if steps 1-3 are done well you can still have a great HT experience.

5. EQ - The final tweak. EQ can not fix room acoustics. Although they call it room correction it really does not correct the room. There is no type of EQ that stops sound from reflecting off the various surfaces of the room. EQ done well is the icing on the cake. EQ done to correct poor acoustic set up is a band aid for a large hemorrhage. In fact studies as well as user experiences show that EQ sometimes makes problems worse. These auto-magic EQ systems can't solve these problems.

If you want to trade off acoustics for a big screen that is fine, but know that it is a big compromise. You trade off dialogue intelligibility, clarity, good imaging, a great soundstage and envelopment with terrific dynamics that can't be achieved if the screen is where we need to place the speakers. If you are going to place you center above the screen you should place your L/R speakers above the screen as well and treat the ceiling. All aimed towards the listening position at least they will all be on the same horizontal plane and you can keep your L/R from being in the corners if your screen takes up the front wall. While not as good as an AT screen it is better than mismatched height between the L/R and center and avoids corner placement. You will get the effect of being spoken to from god but if the seating is not too close it is reasonable compromise for a media room. In ceiling speakers for side surrounds are not as good. There are some specialty ones that can work but most regular ceiling speakers I wouldn't recommend for this application. Some speakers placed high on your side wall slight behind your seating would be much better.

Going back to big screens in general and not just the acoustic compromises of not using an AT screen. There are two other big considerations at this type of size. As stated before one is the pixels get large and you get that effect of looking through a screen door. This is more prevalent with LCD projectors like the 5020 as the pixels have a bigger gap between them making it easier to notice. Other technologies like LCOS and DLP have a smaller gap between the pixels and you can be further back before you notice this effect with them. In fact the JVC with E-shift would be ideal to not notice this effect but is more expensive.

The next is how bright the screen is going to be. The bigger the screen, the dimmer the picture gets. There is a standard to get good 'pop' out of the picture. There is a minimum reference standard for cinema, it is 12 ft/l (foot lamberts) for film and 14ft/l for digital projection in theaters. Many theaters do not achieve this. We try to get al least 12ft/l in the home. If you are going to have ambient light you'll want more. For reference 10-12 ft/l is still pretty good for viewing, not reference but enjoyable, 8-10ft/l is watchable but it is noticeable that it is getting dim. 6-8ft/l watchable in a bat cave and we lived with this for many years in the CRT realm but picture is DIM. So let's look at how this translated to the 5020 and 170" screen. In its best picture quality mode the 5020 puts out ~700 lumens +/- 150 depending on placement. Within the zoom range of the projector there is a 40% difference in brightness between placing the projector at its closest point from the screen compared to its furthest point. But we will use 700 for basic calculations on a 1.0 gain screen. This gives ~8 ft/l, definitely dim especially with a new bulb.

Now the Epson has brighter modes such as living room which has about 1500 lumens and dynamic which has about 1900 lumens mid zoom. So this big of a screen can be used in these modes but you are trading off picture quality. The other thing to consider is bulbs lose 50-65% off their brightness as they age and about 20% in the first few hundred hours then they gradually decrease over their lifetime. I usually recommend people start with at least 20ft/l with a new bulb or if they choose changing their bulbs more frequently to maintain brightness is an option. Also, if this is a media room and you plan to watch with light in the room I'd start with more than 20ft/l, more like 30ft/l+ would be better. It does depend on how much light and where it is placed to determine how much it will affect the picture.

Working in this industry we often hear people say they want the biggest screen they can fit. I like big screens myself but know the limitations and the tradeoffs. Sometimes bigger is not better.
post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by hockeyrama View Post

I am very curious about the size discussion here.

Personally when we go to a theatre we like to sit dead centre lined up with the centre of the screen if that helps with calculations.

I think 12 feet away would be too close on a 170 inch screen for me and my family and that is saying something as I like it big. I just not sure how big i think one should go.

1.2x screen width for a 16:9 screen is a decent general rule of thumb for people that like it big, and I would sit at least 1.2x back with an Epson LCD (probably 1.3x personally due to SDE). Too close (or max for the die hard) would generally be around 1x screen width, this is about 7.25 feet back for a 100" (most would prefer to be back farther though, generally 9 feet to 10 feet back for 100" ).

Buy the projector before the screen, watch it on the wall for a couple weeks and that is the way to decide how BIG you like the screen. Though the easier solution is if the seats are not bolted in or too heavy, then you can move them closer to the screen slightly as time passes.

You might look at a B-Stock LCOS projector or a DLP like the Benq w1070 for those that like larger screens. The most ridiculous I have seen was I had to sit in the front row at an Imax theater, though it was a tall aspect screen rather than wide like we are used to, still it was horrendous. The front seats were a complete joke it was so close felt like my nose was inside the movie.

The problems with sitting too close are also that the image appears to be a lower resolution, poorer sources like cable TV stand out more, and there is more SDE or visible pixelation. I don't game much, but in some of the PC games I play the text is somewhat unadjustable and very small, in that case I prefer to be about 1.0x back from the screen, but in movies 1.2x to 1.3x is better.

The pixelation and image noise on many of these projectors becomes more distracting even as you move slightly closer to that barrier.
post #15 of 15
We have a 165" ( 7' x 12' ) ScreenGoo CRT White screen in our main theatre. We sit about 13' from the screen. We're currently using an Epson 8350 and don't have any issue with SDE. You might possibly see it if you have better than 20/20, be we certainly don't. I need binoculars to focus using the pixel grid. The screen has a gain of about 1.4 and the theatre is a bat cave. Jet black ceilings, walls, and carpet. We used theatre / low lamp for about the first 500 hours of the lamp, and then switched to theatre / high lamp. I must stress that the all black surroundings are critical to pull this off. Anything less black would require one of the brighter, less accurate, modes.

We're just on the cusp of Coderguy's 'die hard' category at about 1.1x. We've had tons of friends and family over for screenings in the last 9 years, including a couple of neighbours who come over for weekly screenings. No one has ever mentioned that they thought the screen was too big, or uncomfortable to watch. In our 'livingroom' theatre we sit about 12' from a 92" screen, or about 1.8x screen width. On more than one occasion people have commented that they thought the screen was too big, including those who happily watch movies in our main theatre. I think part of it is due to the surroundings and visual cues. In the basement, the screen floats, you have no point of reference. In the livingroom you can see the environment. Those points of reference make the screen look 'big'.

BobL is absolutely correct. In most rooms you have to compromise speaker placement to accomodate a picture that size. In our case, since we only have one row of seating and it's only 4 seats across, and most of the time it's just me and my wife in the centre two seats, we can effectively aim the L/R. The centre is on the floor firing up at us, and I've never really considered it distracting. There is a good 7' behind the seating with a lot of uneven surfaces on the back wall to break up slap.

Coderguy offered the best advice. Buy the projector and try different screen sizes on a wall before you decide on a screen.

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