Is now a bad time to buy a damn good projector? (Also: JVC + Ambient Light?) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Is now a bad time to buy a damn good projector? (Also: JVC + Ambient Light?)

If you want to spend $1,000-$5,000 on a projector that will knock your socks off, now seems like a good time to buy... or does it?

With the advent of the new Ti chips, laser-based models like the Optoma ZU510T, and true 4K projection falling in price, it feels like the projector you'll want to invest in and keep for years is not quite out yet. Of course, it always feels like that with technology, but having read up on what's coming I'm curious to hear everyone's advice regarding the purchase of a high end projector today:

I'm a cinematographer and film colorist (read: annoyingly picky about image quality) and I want a home theater setup that I'll be happy with for years to come. My main consideration is that my living room has a bit of unavoidable ambient light. NYC streetlights filter into through large windows. I don't want to install blackout curtains; I want to find the right projector that can overwhelm a very slight amount of ambient light, and still produce "wow" factor black levels and accurate color.

With this in mind, I'm thinking about starting off with an Optoma 142x, rather than the JVC or Sony models I've been reading about all year. Am I correct in assuming that the more accurate, higher contrast JVC will be washed out in any ambient light? Or are there other JVC owners out there who might assure me otherwise? I haven't done much reading about the latest offerings from Epson, but I've always found their picture to be a bit "flashy," kind of "Pixar" looking, and I want a projector with a natural, as-intended color response.

Thank you, everyone, for any advice you might have to offer.
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post #2 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_d_f View Post
If you want to spend $1,000-$5,000 on a projector that will knock your socks off, now seems like a good time to buy... or does it?

With the advent of the new Ti chips, laser-based models like the Optoma ZU510T, and true 4K projection falling in price, it feels like the projector you'll want to invest in and keep for years is not quite out yet. Of course, it always feels like that with technology, but having read up on what's coming I'm curious to hear everyone's advice regarding the purchase of a high end projector today:

I'm a cinematographer and film colorist (read: annoyingly picky about image quality) and I want a home theater setup that I'll be happy with for years to come. My main consideration is that my living room has a bit of unavoidable ambient light. NYC streetlights filter into through large windows. I don't want to install blackout curtains; I want to find the right projector that can overwhelm a very slight amount of ambient light, and still produce "wow" factor black levels and accurate color.

With this in mind, I'm thinking about starting off with an Optoma 142x, rather than the JVC or Sony models I've been reading about all year. Am I correct in assuming that the more accurate, higher contrast JVC will be washed out in any ambient light? Or are there other JVC owners out there who might assure me otherwise? I haven't done much reading about the latest offerings from Epson, but I've always found their picture to be a bit "flashy," kind of "Pixar" looking, and I want a projector with a natural, as-intended color response.

Thank you, everyone, for any advice you might have to offer.
The bolded above, is an oxymoron You cant have one without the other I'm afraid.

What you could do though, is look into a good ambient light rejection screen to pair with whatever unit you buy, which will mitigate at least some or possibly even all of the effects of the stray light you may have.

That Optoma... I cannot recommend that. 1080p only. 1800:1 full on/off contrast. That is not even close to being a home theatre projector, its a glorified business projector. When you could get a JVC that can do 130k:1, best in class 3D, full DCI... with a little attention to your room, the right screen, supposing the little bit of stray light is not so bad, these are still going to be HUGELY noticeable differences. 1800:1 is absolutely pathetic. There is no possibility for colours to POP with that kind of contrast. Never going to happen.

The JVC or the 4k Sony's will eat the Optoma for breakfast in pure detail too... I would avert your eyes from that model.

I would argue you do not need 5000 lumens either, overkill.

My currrent JVC is calibrated to grey scale and colour under delta E of 0.6 across the board. That is about as reference as you can get, literally. They can be calibrated to STUNNING accuracy, as can the Sony's. However, bang for buck and in lieu of the Sony Degradation thread (Which is real) you might want to think about weather spending the serious extra cash on the Sony is worth it. A lot of us have sold out Sony's and now reside with JVC for a pretty good reason.

OR, look at an Epson LS10500, a spectacular laser projector, with full DCI colour, 30k hours of life in it, and pretty respectable brightness, though I personally wish it was a few hundred lumens brighter, so not super ideal for your case, but the image they throw is incredibly natural and should not be mentioned in the same sentence as all of the other Epsons at all, a different beast.

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post #3 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 02:38 PM
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I have the Epson 6040 in a Non light controlled media room and it's fantastic. For 3500 you cannot beat it...2500 lumens, supports 4k media albeit with a shift pixel solution but the end result is breathtaking. Only upgrade I may make its to get an ambient light rejecting screen. Do you want to spend 11k on the BENQ projector and another 2500 on a decent screen?


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post #4 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 04:28 PM
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I have the Epson 6040 in a Non light controlled media room and it's fantastic. For 3500 you cannot beat it...2500 lumens, supports 4k media albeit with a shift pixel solution but the end result is breathtaking. Only upgrade I may make its to get an ambient light rejecting screen. Do you want to spend 11k on the BENQ projector and another 2500 on a decent screen?


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I didn't see any mention if he wants to a full CMS? Can you get one without and simply get a VideoEQ and then have a combo deal that would be less expensive and just as good as the more expensive CMS capable projectors.

And then lets mention buying CMS calibration software, with a a good colorimeter.

I'm in the boat do I get another projector with CMS or go with out? Currently, I have a JVC RS25 with but I still use my VideoEQ. Just seems easier still to me to use.

And really, would a JVC from a year or so ago be just as good? I'm not on board with 4k just as I don't think 3d was a great thing. But that's really another discussion.

Curious where this goes.
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post #5 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 05:02 PM
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I didn't see any mention if he wants to a full CMS? Can you get one without and simply get a VideoEQ and then have a combo deal that would be less expensive and just as good as the more expensive CMS capable projectors.

And then lets mention buying CMS calibration software, with a a good colorimeter.

I'm in the boat do I get another projector with CMS or go with out? Currently, I have a JVC RS25 with but I still use my VideoEQ. Just seems easier still to me to use.

And really, would a JVC from a year or so ago be just as good? I'm not on board with 4k just as I don't think 3d was a great thing. But that's really another discussion.

Curious where this goes.
The current generation of JVC's are much brighter than previous JVC's, by quite a bit.

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post #6 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Javs View Post
The bolded above, is an oxymoron You cant have one without the other I'm afraid.

What you could do though, is look into a good ambient light rejection screen to pair with whatever unit you buy, which will mitigate at least some or possibly even all of the effects of the stray light you may have.

That Optoma... I cannot recommend that. 1080p only. 1800:1 full on/off contrast. That is not even close to being a home theatre projector, its a glorified business projector. When you could get a JVC that can do 130k:1, best in class 3D, full DCI... with a little attention to your room, the right screen, supposing the little bit of stray light is not so bad, these are still going to be HUGELY noticeable differences. 1800:1 is absolutely pathetic. There is no possibility for colours to POP with that kind of contrast. Never going to happen.

The JVC or the 4k Sony's will eat the Optoma for breakfast in pure detail too... I would avert your eyes from that model.

I would argue you do not need 5000 lumens either, overkill.

My currrent JVC is calibrated to grey scale and colour under delta E of 0.6 across the board. That is about as reference as you can get, literally. They can be calibrated to STUNNING accuracy, as can the Sony's. However, bang for buck and in lieu of the Sony Degradation thread (Which is real) you might want to think about weather spending the serious extra cash on the Sony is worth it. A lot of us have sold out Sony's and now reside with JVC for a pretty good reason.

OR, look at an Epson LS10500, a spectacular laser projector, with full DCI colour, 30k hours of life in it, and pretty respectable brightness, though I personally wish it was a few hundred lumens brighter, so not super ideal for your case, but the image they throw is incredibly natural and should not be mentioned in the same sentence as all of the other Epsons at all, a different beast.
With 5k max budget, the LS10500 is not an option. The RS400 is an option and a B-stock LS10000 is also an option. Also could look at Epson 5040/6040.
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post #7 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 08:18 PM
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Every year the question comes up, "Should I wait another year?". No matter what is released next year, it will be asked again.

With that budget, I would go with the RS400.
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post #8 of 69 Old 12-29-2016, 09:27 PM
 
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Every year the question comes up, "Should I wait another year?". No matter what is released next year, it will be asked again.

With that budget, I would go with the RS400.
With his $5000 budget he could definitely find an RS500 and that I would recommend more. If he's weary about going close to his maximum budget then I think the RS400 would be next best and then the Epson 5040. Considering the native contrast advantage the RS400 has on the 5040 PLUS the much better implemented dynamic iris, it's hard for me to recommend the 5040 (and especially the 6040). Street price between the RS400 and 5040 is only a few hundred dollars if you find the right dealer. You also have a fourth generation eshift system on the JVC that is quite remarkable when rendering a 4K image. Epson's implementation optically softens the image a tad, whereas on the JVCs, you don't get that. I've personally seen this phenomenon on the LS10000 and cine4home confirmed it's still there on the 5040. As mentioned above, the Epson is capable of 2500 lumens but only in it's "Dynamic" mode which adds a green tint to the image. When put in it's best out of the box mode that adheres to the same D65/REC709 standard as the JVCs, it comes down in brightness essentially to the same amount as the JVCs which is a little under 2000 lumens at max zoom. Factor in the near perfect 3D performance, full 18Gbps HDCP 2.2 HDMI inputs and it's auto-calibration software and I just can't recommend the Epson 6/5040. It's just a step behind in most image quality aspects. He has the budget for better, so he might as well buy better.

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post #9 of 69 Old 12-31-2016, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post
With his $5000 budget he could definitely find an RS500 and that I would recommend more. If he's weary about going close to his maximum budget then I think the RS400 would be next best and then the Epson 5040. Considering the native contrast advantage the RS400 has on the 5040 PLUS the much better implemented dynamic iris, it's hard for me to recommend the 5040 (and especially the 6040). Street price between the RS400 and 5040 is only a few hundred dollars if you find the right dealer. You also have a fourth generation eshift system on the JVC that is quite remarkable when rendering a 4K image. Epson's implementation optically softens the image a tad, whereas on the JVCs, you don't get that. I've personally seen this phenomenon on the LS10000 and cine4home confirmed it's still there on the 5040. As mentioned above, the Epson is capable of 2500 lumens but only in it's "Dynamic" mode which adds a green tint to the image. When put in it's best out of the box mode that adheres to the same D65/REC709 standard as the JVCs, it comes down in brightness essentially to the same amount as the JVCs which is a little under 2000 lumens at max zoom. Factor in the near perfect 3D performance, full 18Gbps HDCP 2.2 HDMI inputs and it's auto-calibration software and I just can't recommend the Epson 6/5040. It's just a step behind in most image quality aspects. He has the budget for better, so he might as well buy better.
Yes, if he can find an RS500 for his price limit, it's definitely worth the extra money over the RS400. Its wider color gamut will also help with UHD BD.

Having upgraded from an RS4810 (which is slightly higher contrast than the RS400) to an RS500 recently, I am still trying to lift my jaw up from the floor with its better, striking black level. Although proper room treatment required.
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post #10 of 69 Old 01-01-2017, 12:05 PM
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It is expected that JVC will announced updated models at CES this coming week, with shipping units with a few weeks. So I suggest holding out fthe RS400 replacement. This should work price-wise for staying within a $5K price budget for projector + screen. A light rejecting screen could help with some ambient light as long as the light is not coming from the back of the room (i.e., the wall opposite the screen and behind the projector). However, most ambient light rejecting screen materials will degrade the image in terms of color accuracy and introduction of texture and/or sparklies, as compared to a quality unity gain matte white screen fabric. The best ambient light rejecting screen fabric I have seen is the new Stewart Phantom HALR, but as with all Stewart screens it will be expensive.

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post #11 of 69 Old 01-01-2017, 12:23 PM
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Also keep in mind if you have to spend more money on a better screen - it might be more justified given you are unlikely to change it anytime soon (unless you plan on moving to a different room, home, etc. relatively soon). Projectors seem to come and go more frequently for a lot of enthusiasts, but screens tend to stay.
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post #12 of 69 Old 01-01-2017, 01:54 PM
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The still emerging HDR is holding me back. Dolby Vision may or may not become a thing, but with the Oppo 203 offering a Dolby Vision upgrade in the spring, well, I have to wait.

I have not personally auditioned any HDR hardware, but on paper it sounds promising. Dolby Vision offers a lot more performance (again, on paper) than the other HDR standards.

That said, this may be a totally moot point. Time will tell. If I was to pull the trigger now it would be for the Epson 5040 for the best price I could find.
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post #13 of 69 Old 01-01-2017, 02:37 PM
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The still emerging HDR is holding me back. Dolby Vision may or may not become a thing, but with the Oppo 203 offering a Dolby Vision upgrade in the spring, well, I have to wait.

I have not personally auditioned any HDR hardware, but on paper it sounds promising. Dolby Vision offers a lot more performance (again, on paper) than the other HDR standards.

That said, this may be a totally moot point. Time will tell. If I was to pull the trigger now it would be for the Epson 5040 for the best price I could find.
None of the already released 4K UHD Blu Rays have Dolby Vision, nor have I heard of any upcoming ones having it. It's not something I'm worried about myself. I could be dead before Dolby Vision is included in both projectors and 4K Blu Ray's.
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post #14 of 69 Old 01-01-2017, 03:15 PM
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None of the already released 4K UHD Blu Rays have Dolby Vision, nor have I heard of any upcoming ones having it. It's not something I'm worried about myself. I could be dead before Dolby Vision is included in both projectors and 4K Blu Ray's.
Craig, excellent points. Dolby Vision could fail in a thousand ways, being an end to end licensed product with from what I've read more than a trivial cost it has a lot to overcome. I wouldn't have given it a thought if Oppo wasn't making it a point to offer a DV upgrade. Oppo has bright people -- if they see something there I'm willing to wait a bit to see what happens.

And it's not like I don't have a decent projector. I'm running a Sony 35 ES projector that is nicely settled in and doing nicely. So I can wait a bit and see what happens without much sacrifice.
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Originally Posted by Friendly Fire View Post
The still emerging HDR is holding me back. Dolby Vision may or may not become a thing, but with the Oppo 203 offering a Dolby Vision upgrade in the spring, well, I have to wait.

I have not personally auditioned any HDR hardware, but on paper it sounds promising. Dolby Vision offers a lot more performance (again, on paper) than the other HDR standards.

That said, this may be a totally moot point. Time will tell. If I was to pull the trigger now it would be for the Epson 5040 for the best price I could find.
If DV is does not make it, dynamic HDR10 might hold some promise (but does nothing for current display/projector owners). The whole HDR thing is going to be messy for a long time.

However, I wouldn't let emerging HDR hold you back as whatever happens is going to be an evolution for some time.

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post #16 of 69 Old 01-03-2017, 01:37 PM
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If DV is does not make it, dynamic HDR10 might hold some promise (but does nothing for current display/projector owners). The whole HDR thing is going to be messy for a long time.

However, I wouldn't let emerging HDR hold you back as whatever happens is going to be an evolution for some time.
If a native 4K projector of merit hits the sub-$3000 price point before HDR bears fruit I will make the plunge. The Epson 5040 is close, but I want true-4K. My guess is that 2017 will make some progress in that regard.

I really dislike buying the last of the old -- an ongoing problem in consumer electronics and tech in general.

Thanks
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Originally Posted by Friendly Fire View Post
If a native 4K projector of merit hits the sub-$3000 price point before HDR bears fruit I will make the plunge. The Epson 5040 is close, but I want true-4K. My guess is that 2017 will make some progress in that regard.

I really dislike buying the last of the old -- an ongoing problem in consumer electronics and tech in general.

Thanks
True

If talking true native 4K, I would not get my hopes up for a 3k price point for 2017.
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True

If talking true native 4K, I would not get my hopes up for a 3k price point for 2017.
Mike,

Understood. With only a handful of Sonys and one JVC native 4k available, there is no pressure to move that price point. All I've read suggests that Epson's simulated 4k actually looks better than the native 4k machines. Very tempting.

And waiting is hard. I may just say the heck with it and dive in.

Thanks
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Originally Posted by R_d_f View Post
If you want to spend $1,000-$5,000 on a projector that will knock your socks off, now seems like a good time to buy... or does it?

With the advent of the new Ti chips, laser-based models like the Optoma ZU510T, and true 4K projection falling in price, it feels like the projector you'll want to invest in and keep for years is not quite out yet. Of course, it always feels like that with technology, but having read up on what's coming I'm curious to hear everyone's advice regarding the purchase of a high end projector today:

I'm a cinematographer and film colorist (read: annoyingly picky about image quality) and I want a home theater setup that I'll be happy with for years to come. My main consideration is that my living room has a bit of unavoidable ambient light. NYC streetlights filter into through large windows. I don't want to install blackout curtains; I want to find the right projector that can overwhelm a very slight amount of ambient light, and still produce "wow" factor black levels and accurate color.

With this in mind, I'm thinking about starting off with an Optoma 142x, rather than the JVC or Sony models I've been reading about all year. Am I correct in assuming that the more accurate, higher contrast JVC will be washed out in any ambient light? Or are there other JVC owners out there who might assure me otherwise? I haven't done much reading about the latest offerings from Epson, but I've always found their picture to be a bit "flashy," kind of "Pixar" looking, and I want a projector with a natural, as-intended color response.

Thank you, everyone, for any advice you might have to offer.
Do you game? If you do some projectors will not be suitable and you could eliminate those from the list.
How big will the screen be ( diagonal or width) and ratio ( 16:9 , 2.40:1) ? If you go with a large screen you'll need more lumens, especially if you watch 3D material .

Any ambient light will destroy contrast and color . For example: I have a dedicated theater 100% light controlled and very dark. Area around the screen back to the viewer is black velvet. Last night watching Star Trek Beyond I noticed the left side of my screen was washed out . Turned out that it was caused by one single little blue led indicator on my HEPA filter 15 feet back from the screen . Life is a compromise , you can't have it both way unless you put in countermeasures. Even if you hang black curtains only during the movie it will go a long way. Black out curtains on windows and turn off EVERYTHING, yes, even those little insignificant little LED indicators from chargers .

Keep the screen as small as possible and go with a known high quality light rejecting material. Even then, the picture will be compromised , it is unavoidable unless the conditions are perfect.

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post #20 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friendly Fire View Post
Mike,

Understood. With only a handful of Sonys and one JVC native 4k available, there is no pressure to move that price point. All I've read suggests that Epson's simulated 4k actually looks better than the native 4k machines. Very tempting.

And waiting is hard. I may just say the heck with it and dive in.

Thanks
Resolution wise, simulated (E-shift) does not look as good as actual 4k native, but it is not that far off. Hard to tell a difference with moving pictures.

Added the missing word "not" to my post.
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post #21 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 10:05 AM
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Everyone seems to be forgetting this:

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Originally Posted by R_d_f View Post
My main consideration is that my living room has a bit of unavoidable ambient light. NYC streetlights filter into through large windows. I don't want to install blackout curtains; I want to find the right projector that can overwhelm a very slight amount of ambient light, and still produce "wow" factor black levels and accurate color.
With that statement, I could not recommend a projector. Any ambient light "ruins" a projected picture. Put up a white sheet or piece of paper in your room. That is the best black can be with a projector.

Now I use my RS600 with ambient light on frequently, but not for any serious viewing, it's usually only when I have friends over and we're eating/socializing before the main feature. There's no way I'd consider putting a projector in a room where I could not, or would not control ambient light. If the best case scenario for your room is streetlights shining in, IMO get a flat panel.

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With this in mind, I'm thinking about starting off with an Optoma 142x, rather than the JVC or Sony models I've been reading about all year. Am I correct in assuming that the more accurate, higher contrast JVC will be washed out in any ambient light?
It will, but the contrast and picture will still be better on a JVC, but nothing will be as good as a flat panel if you have uncontrolled ambient light in the room.
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post #22 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 10:06 AM
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Craig, excellent points. Dolby Vision could fail in a thousand ways, being an end to end licensed product with from what I've read more than a trivial cost it has a lot to overcome. I wouldn't have given it a thought if Oppo wasn't making it a point to offer a DV upgrade. Oppo has bright people -- if they see something there I'm willing to wait a bit to see what happens.
Don't expect Dolby Vision to come to projectors any time soon, if ever, it's just not made for them.
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post #23 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 03:44 PM
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Don't expect Dolby Vision to come to projectors any time soon, if ever, it's just not made for them.
I'll be stripping that out eventually too.

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post #24 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
Everyone seems to be forgetting this:



With that statement, I could not recommend a projector. Any ambient light "ruins" a projected picture. Put up a white sheet or piece of paper in your room. That is the best black can be with a projector.

Now I use my RS600 with ambient light on frequently, but not for any serious viewing, it's usually only when I have friends over and we're eating/socializing before the main feature. There's no way I'd consider putting a projector in a room where I could not, or would not control ambient light. If the best case scenario for your room is streetlights shining in, IMO get a flat panel.



It will, but the contrast and picture will still be better on a JVC, but nothing will be as good as a flat panel if you have uncontrolled ambient light in the room.
I have a family room setup, where I have large uncovered windows and off white walls and ceiling. I would not trade my 127" image on my FireHawk screen for any 90" TV. I can only use this system at night time, but as soon as it is dark, on goes the projector. Is the image as good as my black pit dedicated room, no, but still a nice image.
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post #25 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Garrett View Post
I have a family room setup, where I have large uncovered windows and off white walls and ceiling. I would not trade my 127" image on my FireHawk screen for any 90" TV. I can only use this system at night time, but as soon as it is dark, on goes the projector. Is the image as good as my black pit dedicated room, no, but still a nice image.
But do you have "complete" light control when you use it? The OP describes his setup as having light from outside at all times. specifically he says he's got street lights outside and does not wat to hang curtains to block it.
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post #26 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 06:21 PM
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If the ambient light is slight as he says, another option *might be* to have a modest flat panel for day time viewing and a drop down screen that comes in front of the flat panel for night. The combo may push the $5000 budget limit, but something to consider.
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post #27 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 06:26 PM
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So after reading every post in this thread, I'm more confused than ever. Some say they'd never do away with their projector even with some ambient light, others that they'd never bother with a projector unless in an unlit cave.

I'm in the midst of building an addition to my home. I currently watch TV and movies in my living room, 23'x12', so a bit narrow. I have 3 of Roman's top line recliners with the powered headrests, 8802A, Emotive Gen 3 7 channel amp, Revel 208's, JL F212, f112, and a 1080p 75" Samsung.

It's only my wife and me and we do not game at all. She watches a ton of sports: Hockey, NFL, Yankees, etc. I like BluRay movies, concert DVD's, etc.

The new room we are building will be open to a new kitchen, 23'x22' with a 15 foot cathedral ceiling. I want a projector and screen. It will not be a super dark cave. The walls will not be black, but I will probably paint them Sherman Williams Peacock Blue (I think is the color name) which I've read has little to no reflectance.

I'm leaning toward the Epson 6040 or the JVC equivalent. I want at least a 120" screen. I don't think I'll be able to fit much larger. I want a zero edge screen mounted on the wall. That means no flat panel as there would be nowhere to put it. I'd be quite content with a really nice 85" flat panel, but at 9k, I don't feel there's value in it.

Now to those who say ambient light is a killer, a buddy of mine, with much more money than me, set up a theater in his basement. Professionally installed. 130" screen, Epson projector. I've never seen it look good or impress me. I can't say I've turned every light off however. Always looks a bit washed out.

Also, as I'm going to have a cathedral ceiling the one beam across the ceiling will be structural and thus in the middle. I'll have to hang a pole to mount a projector so it will be half of 23" away from the screen mounted on the wall.

I'm looking at spending about 3-4k on a projector and about 3k on a screen, still a savings from a 9k flat panel.

What say you so far about my above ranting?

Mark
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post #28 of 69 Old 01-04-2017, 06:27 PM
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btw, here's a very short time lapse of the construction.


And here I kind of surprised the workers when my Inspire One drone came overhead.

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post #29 of 69 Old 01-05-2017, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post
If the ambient light is slight as he says, another option *might be* to have a modest flat panel for day time viewing and a drop down screen that comes in front of the flat panel for night. The combo may push the $5000 budget limit, but something to consider.
The question is, how much is "slight". I'm personally guessing us projector owners have a very different idea of "slight" than what the average, non-projector owner thinks is "slight". Roxy is a good example of a projector owner, he noticed something wrong, that he had some ambient light and it turned out to be from a pale LED 15 feet away. Where as when I envision the OP's situation, with street lights lighting his room, I image something most of us projector owners would consider "significant".

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Originally Posted by MDJAK View Post
So after reading every post in this thread, I'm more confused than ever. Some say they'd never do away with their projector even with some ambient light, others that they'd never bother with a projector unless in an unlit cave.
Maybe it's a terminology difference, but I don't think we're really disagreeing here. There are really two light related issues when it comes to projection, ambient light and reflected light. When I say ambient light, and what the OP describes is having "active" light coming from sources other than the projector. In the OP's case it's streetlights, through untreated windows. Then there's the issue of reflections.

The way you deal with ambient light is to make sure that your sources are blocked from shining on the screen, and so is light from other rooms and outside. Usually this means curtains or doors or something similar. The issue here is that the absolute black floor of your image is raised by the external light sources, and it doesn't take much light to significantly raise the black floor.

The way you deal with reflections is to make a bat cave, cover every surface you can find with as dark, and non-reflective material as possible. The issue here is that the room will reflect light back onto the screen, which will reduce the intrascene contrast, but only relative to how bright the scene is. In other words the room has more effect in scenes where it's less important (because there's more bright objects) but things like fades to black and starfields can still look good.

The important distinction is that I don't think anyone here would forego, or not recommend a projector for a non-ideal room as far as reflections go. Even if you've got a white cube for a room, you can still have a great projection experience because in the most demanding, dark scenes, the room has the least effect since there's the least light bouncing around. However if you've got light coming in from another room, or outside that you can't block, that's effectively the opposite, affecting the darkest, most demanding scenes the most.

Quote:
The new room we are building will be open to a new kitchen, 23'x22' with a 15 foot cathedral ceiling. I want a projector and screen. It will not be a super dark cave. The walls will not be black, but I will probably paint them Sherman Williams Peacock Blue (I think is the color name) which I've read has little to no reflectance.
That looks like a pretty dark color, and should work very well. The important question for you is, will you be able to turn all the lights off in the kitchen for critical viewing. Perhaps that is where your confusion comes. When I read the OP, it sounds like there will always be potentially significant light coming in all the time, which IMO is a problem. Like I said above, I use my HT with the lights on at times, for non-critical viewing it works great. But when Rogue One comes to my HT, you can be sure I'll have every light off or blocked and all the curtains pulled.

You don't have to have a black pit all the time, you can use projectors with some ambient light, but to get the most out of a projection setup, you really need to be able to control all your lighting for critical viewing/main feature type occasions.

Quote:
Now to those who say ambient light is a killer, a buddy of mine, with much more money than me, set up a theater in his basement. Professionally installed. 130" screen, Epson projector. I've never seen it look good or impress me. I can't say I've turned every light off however. Always looks a bit washed out.
It sounds like a JVC is more up your alley. Though if he had lights on when he showed you, that will kill the picture.
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post #30 of 69 Old 01-05-2017, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for all these helpful replies. Thank you!!

MDJAK and I are in the same boat, more or less: we want to leverage modern projection technologies (screen and projector) to setup a light controlled, not-quite-batcave environment. We know we can't expect the jaw dropping black levels of a truly perfect room. (At my office, I have a $13,000 OLED reference monitor for color grading my films: I certainly don't expect a projector to come anywhere near that in terms of black level and contrast.)

My ambient light is a faint, faint amount of non-direct "city glow." I haven't measured it in foot candles, but I wouldn't call it "significant:" nowhere near enough to read by. Hell, I can barely discern color, it's that dim. It's also very much coming from a 70-80 degree angle, so ambient light rejecting screens would deal with it very well. My challenge is that I don't have MDJAK's budget for a $4k projector + $3K screen... more like $4K all in, as I also need to look into some surround sound headphones + installation costs. Good news for me, my space is a good deal larger than MDJAK's — meaning much less reflected light from the screen — and I'll be talking to my housemate about window shades. (Sidebar: can anyone recommend highly affordable blackout shades, ideally low profile, retractable, rather than thick heavy drapes?)

To wrap up this rant, I'm torn between where to put the money I've been saving for this project. If you were me, would you go with the RS500 (or in truth, it's soon-to-be announced 2017 CES replacement) — with a wider color gamut and other advantages — or a great deal on a 2016 or older JVC, coupled with an ambient light rejecting screen? My remaining huge questions:

1) Do ALR screens affect color accuracy in a perceivable way? I saw an SI black diamond / high end Epson combination recently, watching in dim, diffuse daylight: contrast looked pretty good given that awful environment.

2) Is a high end projector truly totally wasted in a non-batcave? As in, would my budget best be spend on a truly amazing ALR screen and a decent-option projector? The occasional daytime movie marathon is on my mind here, where the image just as to be acceptable.

3) Does anyone know of a dealer in the NYS / NJ / CT area where one can see different projection screens side by side?

If anyone else is using a not-truly-batcave room with otherwise high end projector and screen, I'd be so grateful for your experiences. Thanks again!
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