Size vs quality dilemma - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-25-2020, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Size vs quality dilemma

Long story short, we moved into a house with an existing home theater room a couple years ago. It’s a room with a fair amount of ambient light, so I think an ALR screen is a must. I was about to pull the trigger on a 110” Elite Aeon Cinegray 3D when I finally processed that the existing 90” screen is a Stewart Firehawk. Which after educating myself in these forums I now know is quite a quality piece.
So my question in a nutshell - better to go with the bigger screen or stick with the smaller Stewart? Any input appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-25-2020, 02:21 PM
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I would either go with the 110" screen or get a 77" OLED - the latter being leagues better picture quality wise and at handling ambient light.
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-25-2020, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosierhoo View Post
Long story short, we moved into a house with an existing home theater room a couple years ago. It’s a room with a fair amount of ambient light, so I think an ALR screen is a must. I was about to pull the trigger on a 110” Elite Aeon Cinegray 3D when I finally processed that the existing 90” screen is a Stewart Firehawk. Which after educating myself in these forums I now know is quite a quality piece.
So my question in a nutshell - better to go with the bigger screen or stick with the smaller Stewart? Any input appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Ambient light will be a problem unless the image is bright, and even then there will be a contrast reduction.

It depends on the content (as mentioned), source and intensity of ambient light, it's location viz a viz the screen, color of walls, etc. Treating the room (walls, ceiling), dimming the lights, blackout blinds, making sure light does not hit the screen, will help. But even here the dark parts will be affected.

I don't know if you saw this, but I made test case scenarios for exactly this purpose:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...l#post58809924

How long is the room, or how far away can be projector be placed?

How far away is the seating position?
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-25-2020, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noob00224 View Post
Ambient light will be a problem unless the image is bright, and even then there will be a contrast reduction.

It depends on the content (as mentioned), source and intensity of ambient light, it's location viz a viz the screen, color of walls, etc. Treating the room (walls, ceiling), dimming the lights, blackout blinds, making sure light does not hit the screen, will help. But even here the dark parts will be affected.

How long is the room, or how far away can be projector be placed?

How far away is the seating position?
To answer your questions first...Walls and ceiling are painted a dark blue. The light is coming from a bank of west facing windows behind the projector (screen is facing the windows). Unfortunately, not much option as it is a relatively long, skinny room. And full blackout blinds or curtains are not an option.

Room is about 20’ total length. Projector will be at the location of the current ceiling mount, 11’8” from screen. Seating is currently at about 10’ and can move comfortably back to 14’ or so.

I just purchased an Epson HC3200, recognizing that the light situation would wipe out most of the added benefit of the 5050UB.

To phrase the question another way - is the Aeon close enough in ALR capability and screen quality that the extra screen size would be worth it? Or would I be taking a big hit in image quality by moving away from the Stewart?
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-25-2020, 08:23 PM
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The answer is.. fix the room so the walls and ceiling are not reflective, use a TV during the day if you can not fix the ambient light.. keep the screen you have till you figure out what you really want.. There is no issue in having both projection and TV in the same room.
Have fun!
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-26-2020, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosierhoo View Post
To answer your questions first...Walls and ceiling are painted a dark blue. The light is coming from a bank of west facing windows behind the projector (screen is facing the windows). Unfortunately, not much option as it is a relatively long, skinny room. And full blackout blinds or curtains are not an option.

Room is about 20’ total length. Projector will be at the location of the current ceiling mount, 11’8” from screen. Seating is currently at about 10’ and can move comfortably back to 14’ or so.

I just purchased an Epson HC3200, recognizing that the light situation would wipe out most of the added benefit of the 5050UB.

To phrase the question another way - is the Aeon close enough in ALR capability and screen quality that the extra screen size would be worth it? Or would I be taking a big hit in image quality by moving away from the Stewart?

ALR screens also must be placed at a certain distance to avoid artifacts. The recommended distance is ~1.9x throw ratio.

The difference between the Cinegrey 3D and Stewart will not be that big. However angular ALR screens act like a mirror and will reflect any light at the same angle. This is why no light must come from the same direction as the projector. Blinds that are not opaque will let in too much light. IMO that room is not compatible with a projector setup during the day.

You could try a low negative gain and some type of blinds, but the image will still be severely affected.

The advantage of projectors is diagonal. It's not worth using a 90' screen since you mentioned daytime use.


If you're going to go with the projector route use the unit for a while on the wall or some kind of surface to determine the proper size. The general ratio is 10-12" for every foot in distance. So for 10' that would mean 100 to 120". I would go for a larger 130" because movies look better on a larger screen. An 125" scope screen would be ok, along with the 5050UB that has motorized lenses. With the 3000 series if you want to change the aspect ratio, i.e. watch something in 16:9 it has to be done manually. And a white screen.
This is of course for use when there is no ambient light, artificial or natural.

As I mentioned above, it depends on what type of content is watched, and how much of it is watched during the day. Most content is dark. So if most of the viewing is going to be done during the day with regular content a TV would be more suitable.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-05-2020, 08:01 PM
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Um.... Just get blackout curtains and turn the lights off and no more problem....

I'd ditch the Firehawk. It may be an expensive brand but it's only 90" which is tiny in projector screen terms. I doubt you'd get $400 for it on ebay. LG's 87" LCD TV's start at just $1700. It's only worth using projection on 120"+ screens these days IMO. Go big or go TV.

Also, the Firehawk is not very good as an ALR screen. I'd never use one to watch with the lights on and definitely not for movies. It's just a gray screen at the end of the day. Blacks will looks washed out with the lights on. The Elite Cinegrey 3d and 5d is no different in this respect.

If space is limited, you could get an ultra short throw and a floor rising UST ALR screen (which you could put in front of the window to avoid light coming from the same direction as the projector). Or... Put the UST projector behind the drywall (with a hole cut obviously) and use a black or dark gray rear projection screen. This solves the space and ambient light issue. It would probably deliver the best lights on performance from a projector for the least amount of money.
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