New to Projection, Need Advice - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-15-2014, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the process of overhauling my home theater. I currently use a 50" LCD for viewing. I mentioned the idea of a 80" screen and a projector to my wife and she got very excited. I'm interpreting this as "You are allowed to buy a projector as long as you don't spend all of our house renovation budget."

Let me summarize what I think I need, what my room allows, and what my goals are.

Desired screen size: 70-90"
Intended use: Watching 16x9 content in a dark room (light control and darkly painted walls and ceilings).
Room dimensions: 19'x12.5' (5.8mx3.8m), ceiling height: 8ft (2.4m)
Viewing distance: 7'-9' (2.1m-2.7m)
Budget: Projector + Screen + Mounts < $2000 (possibly some wiggle room)
Goals: An image that is detailed, not noisy, color accurate, and has very good black levels. My biggest complaint about the LCD I have now is the poor black level that becomes incredibly obvious when viewing in a dark room. I'd like a screen that is ceiling mountable and retracts, but a freestanding screen is ok too. I want a projector that is very quite.

I've based the screen size off the THX recommendation for the viewing distance I intend to use. So far, the projectors which have caught my interest are the Epson 8350 ($1300), the BenQ W1070 ($800), and the Epson 3020 ($1600). I haven't learned enough about screens to make an educated choice.

Please offer any comments on the projectors I've chosen and if they would suit my intended use (I've been reading many forum posts on them). Also please offer any other projector suggestions and possible screen pairings.

Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-15-2014, 11:46 AM
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I'd recommend a fixed screen - you get way more bang for your buck given it doesn't need to be tab tensioned to maintain its composure over time. I'd also rethink your screen size... you'll want bigger after you get used to the size. I'm max'd out at a 110" diag 16:9 screen in a 10.5' wide room, and I sometimes wish I had a tiny bit more screen sometimes. I sit about 9-10' away.


If you do want a smaller screen, I still wouldn't go smaller than 100" diag IMO. I know it sounds crazy when coming from flat panels, but keep in mind the screen size going up in this range is only going to tweak the price a very very small amount. If you're not going to watch a ton of 3D, I'd even think about a 110-120" screen personally...

Now, as for projectors, I wouldn't say any of those is going to give absolutely killer black levels. B-stock JVC's and Epson 5020/5030 are probably the cheaper projectors that are going to get you really low black floors. That said, low black levels in and of themselves aren't the most important thing in an image, as shadow detail is also important - so don't get too caught up in JUST the black level.


The Mitsubishi HC7900DW is on blowout now (Mitsu is exiting the PJ business), and it's $799 shipped at BHPhoto. This was originally a $1500-2000 projector, so it's performance is pretty stellar for a now <$1k DLP projector. It doesn't have a ton of light output, but at your small screen size (even at 100") you won't need it. The black levels and contrast are a step above the Benq W1070 due to having two irises, one variable (irii?). It's also got Mitsubishi's awesome build quality. The only potential negative is it does have a large vertical offset, so you need enough height to install it for your desired screen location. Off the top of my head, for a 110" screen you need it between 10" and 25" above the top of the screen. It does have more lens shift than the W1070 by quite a margin, but as you can see, you need that badboy mounted up against the ceiling for most screen heights. It's pretty quiet for a DLP projector, and mounting it up high does cut down on the fan noise reaching you slightly.


I'm not a huge lower end 3LCD fan vs. DLPs, so my opinion is also biased by that, but I'm not that impressed with the 8350 given its price, and really not impressed with the 3020 I saw. It's bright... that's about all I saw I liked given the $$$ on the price tag.


Give the HC7900DW a look - it's a great projector for the money if it fits in your room.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-15-2014, 12:31 PM
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Do a little research on the Planar PD8150 currently sold as the Runco LS5. There is one in the AVS Classified which is used. I also own the model and it will deliver all your needs. You did not say anything about 3D as it is 2D only. Mine is set up about 16' from a 110" Dalite HP screen and it outstanding. My seating is about 14' from a 110 and an 8' ceiling. It is not to big and could be a few inches bigger to completely fill vision but as it is I like seeing the entire screen without moving my eyes. You should consider a larger screen if you can do so. I do not know this avs member personally but I do know how this machine performs and if you do some searches you will see it is a great piece of high end gear built better than anything in the < $3000 from. Also OEM bare lamps are under $200, out of box color is spot on, only change the 2 point a couple of clicks to get all measurements well under DeltaE of 3 and could really not see any change between the out of box color and calibrated. If used is not your cup of tea, I get it but it really is something to think very hard on.
https://www.avsforum.com/t/1510836/planar-8150-dlp-projector-new-lower-price-before-heading-to-ebay/0_100

Please note this is not a really bright projector so keep that in mind. I use it on low lamp iris off on the HP 2.8 screen and it is almost to bright.. on a standard utility gain screen it may need to be run on high lamp.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-15-2014, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice so far. I've just read aloof info about the HC7900DW. Given my screen size will be in the 80-100" range and the completely dark lighting conditions I have, what screen would you suggest?

I read that the 7900 suffers a bit from the rainbow effect. Being new to projectors, I don't know if this will bother me. Any advice?
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-21-2014, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the help. After a lot of reading, I pulled the trigger today on the Mitsubishi HC7900DW. I bought a bundle with the 3D emitter and two pair of glasses for $899 after rebate. I had budgeted for more, so I'm pretty excited.

Painting my family room flat black this week...
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