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Screen advice for low power projector?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I hadn't really planned on getting a PJ, but I couldn't pass up the Circuit City BF special (especially since my son works there), and I picked up a DV10, 1000 lumens, 4000:1 contrast. There's supposed to be a free screen & speaker coming as a rebate, but it's taking forever, and I figure Optoma will probably send a cheap screen anyway, considering the overwhelming response to the special (which is apparently why it's taking so long to send). So I'm looking at a short-term solution, but one that might become a long-term, depending on how cheap/bad the free screen is.

I'm set up in my basement den, no windows, 100% light control, PJ about 12' back, sitting about 15' back. I've tried a couple of obviously bad things: 1) beige wall, 2) white sheet (worse than wall). Right now I have painted a couple of coats of Kilz 2 on the wall (looks much better than before), but I note that I'm getting some reflection from my white ceiling (changing that would be met with resistance from wife), and I expect that it's worse since the DV10 is a tabletop PJ, shooting up onto the wall. And I wouldn't mind the picture being brighter.

I'm wondering what my best bet would be for this PJ. I've been reading through the threads, but everyone seems to have projectors with more power than mine. For instance, if laminate, would DW be what I would need for this PJ, or would it need some flavor of grey. Or if paint, maybe Tiddler's suggestion of Behr Sterling with Poly top coat (I read in another thread that Silver Screen was too dark for the DV10, but I don't think that person had tried putting a poly top coat on it), or would just plain Behr UPW be better for this PJ, with or w/o the poly. I seriously doubt I have the painting skills for anything other than a roller solution.

Any advice appreciated. Has anyone on here tried a DV10 and gotten good results with something?

Thanks!
post #2 of 14
You won't want anything darker than an N9 shade, or something like Sherwin William's Soothing White. Designer White will of course make an excellent screen especially since you have total light control. Like any white screen though (and that's most likely what they are sending you) black will only look as good as what the projector can do, but DW will perform many many times better than the screen you are probably going to get and I'd be surprised if you wanted to swap them out after seeing it. If you can, try shooting onto a nice flat white wall to check your blacks and see if they are satisfactory to you.

If they aren't up to your satisfaction, like I said you are only going to want a very light gray and I recommend Soothing White (don't let the name fool you, it is a light gray). If you end up liking white, but want to stay with paint, try Rosco's Off Broadway White White and I think you will be amazed. It's a matte vinyl based paint that looks like UPW but for those that has used it that's where the similarity ends... it really performs. I think it's the matte finish and vinyl composition that is making the difference.

If you are one of the fortunate ones that can get Doable, you really should check it out. You could go with any of these options and I think you will be very pleased.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Looks like there's a conspiracy going on here. Not only is there no parkland poly or doable in my area (Huntsville, Alabama - where I'm surrounded by Lowes, HD, a couple of paint stores, other building material stores and cabinet shops, all within 10 miles of my home) but I tried to get hold of some Wilsonart DW from a local cabinet shop I found through Wilsonart's website. They say the regional distributor doesn't stock that color, and the distributor would have to order it - $108 for a 4x8, $168 for 5x10. !!! The closest WA color sample I found at Lowes was called Frosty White, which appears to be to be less grey and more ivory than DW.

Lowes sells 4x8 sheets of white Formica for about 45 bucks, but it was piled behind some big boxes and I couldn't read the exact color name. I'll have to carry in my DW sample chip to compare it. The lady in the Lowes cabinet area also suggested some 4x8 white coated hardboard they sell that looks like white erasable markerboard for about 10 bucks, but it looked very shiny, just like actual erasable markerboard, so from my reading on here I doubt that would do the job.

Kinda looking like paint...
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwhisent View Post

Looks like there's a conspiracy going on here. Not only is there no parkland poly or doable in my area (Huntsville, Alabama - where I'm surrounded by Lowes, HD, a couple of paint stores, other building material stores and cabinet shops, all within 10 miles of my home) but I tried to get hold of some Wilsonart DW from a local cabinet shop I found through Wilsonart's website. They say the regional distributor doesn't stock that color, and the distributor would have to order it - $108 for a 4x8, $168 for 5x10. !!! The closest WA color sample I found at Lowes was called Frosty White, which appears to be to be less grey and more ivory than DW.

Lowes sells 4x8 sheets of white Formica for about 45 bucks, but it was piled behind some big boxes and I couldn't read the exact color name. I'll have to carry in my DW sample chip to compare it. The lady in the Lowes cabinet area also suggested some 4x8 white coated hardboard they sell that looks like white erasable markerboard for about 10 bucks, but it looked very shiny, just like actual erasable markerboard, so from my reading on here I doubt that would do the job.

Kinda looking like paint...

Wow that is way too much for laminate. You could actually order it online and it would be cheaper I think. I do have Formica color data, let me know what they have and I can tell you what the color composition is. Also check the Wilsonart site and use their Dealer/Distributor locator.

The white board that looks like eraser board is going to be way too glossy and will hot spot like mad for you.

There is nothing wrong with painting a screen, my current screen started out as a test screen and is still up, and it's a painted screen. You are about to get inundated though I think with lotsa posts and PMs
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
The Formica sheets carried by the local Lowes are just plain white - color 949-58, color name listed by Formica is just "White". They stock a few other colors, but nothing anywhere close.

Got a better price on the Wilsonart, though - $75 for 4x8, $118 for 5x10, from a local hardware store. That seems much more reasonable than the prices quoted by the cabinet shop I called first (although I would bet they get it from the same distributor), and I assume would be worth the $$ difference to get the Wilsonart.

Edit - I found your formica data, and I see the difference between WA DW and Formica white, and I'm reading your discussion now. Thanks for that good info.
post #6 of 14
Wilsonart sells for $2.25 a square foot in MN. And that's direct from Wilsonart.

mech
post #7 of 14
All the places I have called sell it for $1.60 a square foot, but there is always tax, and sometimes a handling fee which raise it to the $2 or so mark a square foot. The fact that there have been people in Maryland get a 5x8 sheet for $51 shows that these other places have a huge markup. Wilsonart has distributors, which is where Lowes, HD, and the local shops all get their orders from, so if the prices vary it's the store adding on and unlikely the distributor is charging different prices. I wouldn't be surprised if store cost is almost half of what they sell it for...

If you or anyone know a contactor they should be able to buy directly from the local distributor and that would save a lot of bucks!
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by wbassett View Post

All the places I have called sell it for $1.60 a square foot, but there is always tax, and sometimes a handling fee which raise it to the $2 or so mark a square foot. The fact that there have been people in Maryland get a 5x8 sheet for $51 shows that these other places have a huge markup. Wilsonart has distributors, which is where Lowes, HD, and the local shops all get their orders from, so if the prices vary it's the store adding on and unlikely the distributor is charging different prices. I wouldn't be surprised if store cost is almost half of what they sell it for...

If you or anyone knows a contactor they should be able to buy directly from the local distributor and that would save a lot of bucks!

That's what "gets my goat". Most everyone is getting it cheaper than me and I'm going right to the distributor. Irks me a bit. I probably could've called around but I always figured goin' right to the source would be best.

Anyway, enough of my pet peeves...

mech
post #9 of 14
Mech you have a distributor that will sell directly to the public? All the distributor's up here were rather blunt, and even nasty at times on the phone... one even hung up. What do you expect from NY though?! lol But none of them would sell direct...
post #10 of 14
Yes. It's the actual Wilsonart distributor in the north metro. Huge place! They've got thousands upon thousands of laminates in back. I never asked but I'd assume they stock everything. In the front they have a little mini (10X10 foot) showroom.

mech
post #11 of 14
Damn, I'm moving!
post #12 of 14
dwhisent,

For a temp solution, you could not have done better than Kilz2. I'd say your next best move would be to deal with the white ceiling nearest to your screen. If that's not an option, then your picture quality will suffer no matter what screen you use. UPW likely would not be worth the expense and trouble, as it may not give you a noticeably better or even preferred picture as compared to Kilz2.

For projectors in general and especially for lower lumen projectors, the best thing you can do to improve the picture is darken the reflecting surfaces in the room, ceiling walls, etc, especially those nearest to the screen. Otherwise, you use a darker screen to help deal with the ambient light produced by the light colored ceilings/walls which darkens the picture , or you spend ~$200 for a DaLite HighPower to get a brighter screen that performs well with ambient light. If interested, go to the main screen forum and read the HighPower threads.
post #13 of 14
"or you spend ~$200 for a DaLite HighPower to get a brighter screen that performs well with ambient light."

although this is NOT an option for a ceiling/near-floor mounted or high offset projector.....

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
1Time, I think you're right. Before I saw your post, I put a couple coats of UPW over the Kilz2, I saw very little difference. No loss, I'll be using the UPW for other stuff anyway. But based on suggestions I have read from Tiddler, last night I put a coat of Behr Matte Poly over the Kilz2/UPW, and that made a REAL difference. The colors, particularly fleshtones, don't seem nearly as "muddy" as before. I'll put on a second coat tonight.

Doing this a bit at a time... I have some black velvet on order, and I'll see what I can do about cutting down reflection with that. After my free screen gets here (which is looking to be a long time), and I see how bad it is (Optoma tells me it's going to be a matte white pulldown) I may go for a sheet of DW. Or, my wife may take away my checkbook...

But at least things are starting to look better.
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