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Is the Screen Size Relative?  

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've had my heart set on upgrading from a 100" to a 120" screen. I'm wondering if I'll notice much of a difference.

If I'm in a complete dark room, will I be able to tell the difference between screen sizes if I sit 10' from a 100" screen verses 12' from a 120" screen?

I'm running out of space at the front of my room for speakers and I'm trying to decide if I should compromise on sound or picture.

My goal is to have a Sony G90 in 6 months or so. My current projector is a Sharp LCD.

post #2 of 12

I am assumming that you are talking about a 4x3 NTSC screen. If you are, here is the math:

A 100" diagional 4x3 screen has 4800 square inches of screen surface. (60x80)

A 120" diagional 4x3 screen has 6912 square inches of screen surface. (72x96)

By going to the larger screen, you are increasing your screen surface by 44% over what you have today. You are only increasing your viewing distance by 20% (10' to 12').

The new screen will definitely look bigger even though you are siting back further. The G90 should be able to handle a screen this size as long as you can control 100% of the ambient light in the room - ie, none when PJ is on.

Bigger is better...that is my motto. I have a 16x9 which is 106" width which would equate to a 144" diag.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Your post makes sense. But let's say that I moved the seating back for the larger screen so the screen width filled an equivilent field of view (30 degrees or whatever). Wouldn't that make the different screen sizes appear similar.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Another point: I had assumed I'd get a 1.33 screen, but I guess I should consider a 1.78 or 1.85 screen. That would give me plenty of room under the screen for my center speaker.

If I used a 1.78 screen, how would I watch 1.33 video? I'd need a device that scaled and chopped the image, or added gray bars to the side. Who makes something like that?

post #5 of 12

Go look at the post called 4x3 or 16x9 dated 2/21/00 @ 6:45. Scroll down to my post on that thread. It shows you the three options you have for viewing 4x3 on a 16x9 screen.

Forget the 1.85 screen. Go with a 1.78 as that is the size of HDTV. The 1.85 movies will only show a sliver of black on top and bottom.

Forget the issue of 30 degree viewing. Only the center seats can do this. Anyone else in the room will be off center.

If you can sit back 14 feet you could go with a 60x107 screen. The G90 can handle this but it would be getting towards the max as far as brightness levels using a 1.3 gain screen.

post #6 of 12

I've also wondered about this difference. I've come to the conclusion that the larger screen will appear larger, even though it has the same field of view because you're sitting further away.

I think that our brain determines how big the screen is by how it compares to other objects in the room (if the room isn't perfectly black), and also by how the screen appears to move when we move our head. The further away you are, the less it appears to move when you move, so your brain determines that it is larger.

Clearly subjective differences, though. Technically, identical fields of view will give you the same picture, but the smaller one will be brighter (assuming the same screen gain).

Since a lot of movies are 1.85, not 1.78, I think I would prefer to chop off a bit of the 1.78 than have the less sharp "sliver" border when watching 1.85 movies. Of course, this may change as HDTV gets more popular.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've decided I can't use a 1.78 screen. I use my projector for computer games and I need a 1.33 screen for that. I'm not willing to sqeeze in on to a 16:9 screen. I think I'll have to go with a 100" screen; there won't be room for a M&K 5000 under a 120" 4:3 screen. A 110" screen might be a possibility. I guess I have to spend a little more time looking at my options.


[This message has been edited by toddmclaughlin (edited March 03, 2000).]
post #8 of 12

Have you considered a perforated screen? This will allow you to place speakers behind the screen (not Subwoofers). The Stewart Perforated screen has such small perforations that from 12 feet away, they disappear. Not the THX screen which is very expensive.

post #9 of 12
A 12' screen viewed from 12' away will look exactly the same size as a 10' screen from 10' away, because of the inverse square law. This is not to say that it won't look subjectively bigger.

post #10 of 12
Lee wrote:

"I have a 16x9 which is 106" width which would equate to a 144" diag"

Hmmm... I have a 120" wide 16:9 screen which is 138" diagonal. One of our measurements has to be off.

I agree that if the video source material is high resolution like scaled 16:9 enahnced DVDs, or HD material, a larger screen from the same viewing distance looks better. At least to those of us with a preference for bigger screens.

I like Mark's point about the screen size relative to the other objects in a room. You can get comparable resolution and field of vision to a FPTV by watching a movie on a 20" monitor from 2 feet away, but you mind knows the difference and it affects your perception of the screen size, and the movie watching experience overall.


The 4:3 image size on a 120" 16:9 screen is not much smaller than a 100" 4:3 screen with a full screen image.

I think that you will find that computer games are easily big enough, but widescreen movies will look visibly smaller on the narrower 100" 4:3 screen.

I went from a 4:3 screen to a 16:9 screen and I prefer the look of it more, especially with DVDs and HD material. With 4:3 material you can always use curtains to mask the unused screen area if you want.

post #11 of 12

You say you want both 4:3 and 16:9 screens in the same home theater?

Have you considered an automatic masking screen? One that automatically changes from 4:3 / 16:9 / 1.85:1 / 2.35:1 .... They do exist. Draper sells them too!

Mark Rejhon

[This message has been edited by Mark Rejhon (edited March 04, 2000).]
post #12 of 12
Since I watch all sorts of programming and wanted an optimized viewing for each, I designed a screen system that can quickly be sized for each program, whether it is 2.35, 1.85, 1.77 or 1.33 or any other. This is not difficult with good planning and a roll down 4:3 screen. I will be doing a feature on this installation soon on my web site. While it is not fully automatic, I can set it up in under 30 seconds for any movie or program AR even those rare odd ball OAR's like 2.7 and 2.0 AR and the recent shrunken HDTV picture on some Showtime HD's upconverts. Now I never have those annoying "bars" to contend with.

Don Landis
NEW! Home Theater Pics at:www.scubatech.com updated 2/15/00
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