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-   -   Just getting started - opinions on a suitable projector (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-digital-projectors-under-3-000-usd-msrp/1498333-just-getting-started-opinions-suitable-projector.html)

madcity 11-06-2013 10:52 AM

I just completed finishing my basement and am looking to put in a home theater system. I have been looking at the Epson 5020 projectors because of the contrast ratio. The projector will be located 15' from the screen and the viewing distance will be approx. 12'-6" from the screen. I would like to use a 120" screen. The basement is a walkout so there are several windows, they will have blinds but it will still be a somewhat light room. Because of the layout I had to work with I need a projector that has both vertical and horizontal lens shift. Use will be watching sports, movies and gaming. None of those have any priority over the others although I am not a huge gamer.

Are there any other brands/models that I should be looking at? Given what I stated above what are the specs that the projector should have as a minimum? The 5020 would be at the top of my price range ideally.

Thanks in advance for the help

AV_Integrated 11-06-2013 01:26 PM

The 5020 is a great model. You certainly have some DLP options, such as the BenQ W7000 which work well.

You do want to be very careful with the lens shift as it is limited on the models. The more vertical lens shift you use, the less horizontal is available. So, be cautious thinking that you can max it out.

If you want the 'best' image that is there, the JVC RS46 is my favorite. It has the best black levels I've seen, period.

Of course, if you have white walls, while ceiling, light carpet, etc., then getting a better projector doesn't make as much sense.

madcity 11-07-2013 05:24 PM

thanks, so if I have a room that is lighter (white ceiling, walls are a tan color and carpet is medium) I won't benefit as much from the higher contrast ratio of say the 5020 vs something less?

AV_Integrated 11-07-2013 06:01 PM

That's correct. There's a reason why theaters are so dark.

At the end of the day, the biggest improvement anyone can make to a home theater comes in a $50 can of dark paint for the walls and ceiling.

People often talk about 'light control' as if it means turning the lights out. But, true light control means that you are actually controlling the light that is coming off that screen. So, if your room is less than ideal, then spending more on a better projector doesn't make sense unless you are willing to get the dark walls, ceiling, and carpet to make the most of it. Not saying that better projectors still aren't better, but certainly you are going to harm image quality at such a level that I don't think it makes as much sense to spend the money on a really good home theater projector, when you are using it in a rec room, or just a spare room instead of an actual theater. There's no real need to spend the extra if you don't have to.

But, if you need lens shift or other specific functionality, that may only be available in higher end models.

madcity 11-13-2013 06:41 PM

Here is a picture of the basement.  The projector will be mounted above the window and the screen on the wall between the two wall sconces.  What recommendation would you make for a projector that gives the best picture without paying for quality that won't be realized because of the windows and white ceilings?  thanks for any suggestions

AV_Integrated 11-14-2013 07:00 AM

Realistically, in a room that light, you will be fine with a BenQ W1070 or the Optoma 131x. I would relocate the wiring if at all possible and pay for drywall repair over spending $1,000 more on a projector which gives you some lens shift. Especially looking at the location of the wiring which appears to be on the far left side by the window back there. Who made that huge mistake? I'm not sure any projector will hit the screen square with it being that far off center. Lens shift generally makes up for the height just fine, and can deal with a few inches left/right. Maybe even a foot or two, but that's way off, and will be tough to compensate for properly.

Anyway, those two projectors come in at a much better price and deliver a great image for the money which will leave you some cash to have drywall repaired and a bit of painting done if necessary.

I wouldn't spend much more than $1,000 on a projector in that space. It's simply not a home theater, but a multi-purpose room. If your goal is home theater and it is YOUR home, then use some of that extra money to take the room to a medium/dark color and paint the ceiling. Maybe add a dark area rug in the space closest to the screen. It's your home, and your decision as to how much quality you will want/get from the system.

Oh, and if you just want to hang something and go, then the Epson 5020/5030 offers the most lens shift out there and is a solid performer.

madcity 11-14-2013 08:27 AM

Thanks, I can see how with the pictures I sent it would be deceiving.  Here is a layout of the area.  I would agree that it is not a dedicated theatre, I just want a screen that is larger than a TV could provide, at least without spending a significant amount of $.  As you can see from the layout the wall that the projector is on is not centered on the bump out where the seating will be located.  Less than ideal I know but I could not talk my wife into extending the wall at the stairs into the room as it would have created an awkward entrance into the bathroom.  I even tried getting her to let me angle the wall so that it was more direct to the viewing area.  Now that I think about it more I remember that I offset the projector towards the window so that I would not need to use horizontal lens shift.  It is centered on the screen.  It took a lot longer than I thought to finish the basement so I haven't thought about the video part for several months.  I greatly appreciate the advice you have given.  I definately want to get the best projector that the layout can handle without spending more for features that won't be seen.  The lighting is set up so that I can make the room dark at night other than the color of the carpet and ceiling which it sounds like is just as important as ambient lighting!  What I am asking is that at night when it is pitch black in the room the lighter carpeting and ceiling will affect the picture quality just as much as sunlight through the windows will during the day?


Based on this would you still recommend the W1070?  What about a screen recommendation?


Thanks so much for your help.

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