Projector newbie. Is a projector an option for me? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Projector newbie. Is a projector an option for me?

Hey guys. I'm a regular in the Plasma TV and Subwoofer forums. Long story short, my absolutely beloved Panasonic 65VT50 met a tragic end after it was hit by my 2 1/2 year old's sippy cup. It didn't hit it very hard, but the set was warm, and a small crack got bigger in the next few days and the TV died. I adored that TV.

But I can't fix it, so I must move on. And I was entertaining the idea of a projector. I find it hard to find really simple guides for beginners that I understand, so I'll just list my specific situation & questions here. Any help is appreciated.

This would be in my living room. Distance from the seating to the screen would be approx 16 ft. This would be corner to corner as far as room placement goes. I was thinking around an 85 inch screen, maybe bigger if I could, but 85" is about the distance apart that my speakers are.

What I miss most about my VT50 is watching movies at night. So this would be for almost exclusively that purpose. Not daytime TV. Only Blu rays, and some gaming maybe. I'll use a regular TV for everything else.

My handicaps are these. My wife is big on looks, space, etc. And it's a rental house. So I can't install a pull down screen. So I would need one of those tripod mounted screens, and also I would likely not be able to mount the projector to the ceiling. It would have to be on a corner shelf or something. I also would have to move the screen when not in use, so I'd have to mark it's position I suppose. And she does not want any more wires running the length of the room, which I thought would kill the deal until I read about this Epson 3020e that has wireless HDMI. I could use something like that, if it works.

So first of all, does this all sound do-able, or just a dream? And second, how would the picture on something like that Epson 3020 compare to the VT50? I love that softer look of the plasma picture. Color accuracy too. As long as black are decently close, I'd be ok with them. Thanks!

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post #2 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 04:25 AM
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I would stick with a TV. Black level will be dismal compared to a plasma especially if its a light colored room, a rental usually is. That small of a screen isn't that much of an impact over a large screen TV. Having setup and take down a screen all the time is also not ideal.
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post #3 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 06:12 AM
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Well... anything is possible if you really want to do it. That said, I see more drawbacks and hassles in the potential projector set-up then it would be worth to me. I have a projector and love it, but would not want to deal with some of the challenges you have.

Any chance you could mount a hanging pull-down screen? It wouldn't cause any long term damage to the house (at least not more than hanging a picture), and would be MUCH easier to deal with then moving the screen for each use.
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post #4 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Well... anything is possible if you really want to do it. That said, I see more drawbacks and hassles in the potential projector set-up then it would be worth to me. I have a projector and love it, but would not want to deal with some of the challenges you have.

Any chance you could mount a hanging pull-down screen? It wouldn't cause any long term damage to the house (at least not more than hanging a picture), and would be MUCH easier to deal with then moving the screen for each use.
I might. It just depends on how well I can sell the idea that it won't damage the house. I had thought that installing a pull down screen was a big thing.

As for screen size, I picked 85 " because that fits between the 2 speakers I have. I guess most people just put the speakers behind the screen? If so, I can move that screen forward and go bigger.

Only other problem I was learning about last night is my walls. They are white, and would be light reflective to a degree.

But at least a projector setup could withstand a sippy cup impact!

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post #5 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 09:25 AM
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I'm a relatively new projector owner myself and have the Epson 5030. The adjustment I'm still trying to make is that it will never compare to my plasma in terms of deep blacks and crispness unless I have a dedicated HT room that is completely light controlled - not just eliminating ambient light sources but also completely blacked out to avoid light from the screen being reflected back and impacting the picture. So if you have light walls and white ceiling I think you'll be happier skipping the projector. If you love plasmas then grab yourself a Samsung 64H5000 while you still can. Otherwise, you can go a bit bigger with ne of the high end LED sets. If I were in your position I'd grab the 64H5000 nor for $1300 and give OLED a year or two to come down in price.
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post #6 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 10:03 AM
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Omni-I love my projectors but for reasons already mentioned I really think you should stick with a nice TV for now. I think you'll (& the wife!) be much happier that way.
JMHO


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post #7 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I think I will do a bit more research and planning. I'll look into hanging a screen. Can that be done with just a single hook?

The walls are not entirely white. One the right, the white wall turns into a brick fireplace, and on the left, it becomes an open space into the next room. Not sure if that hurts or helps.

If not for the wireless deal, I'd be happy to try out one of these cheaper projector just to see how it goes. Maybe I'll open up negotitations with the wife about trying one with a long HDMI cord that will only come out at night.

Thanks for the tips. I have more work to do. Good thing is, I feel like time is on my side here, with projectors always getting better and cheaper. Getting a great plasma now is like hunting down a unicorn. (Thanks for the tip TH3_FRB, I hadn't heard of that model before.)

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post #8 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 11:59 AM
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I personally wouldn't run a PJ as a primary display in a general purpose room. Plus the impact from an ~85" image from 65" isn't going to be that huge. Even my 110" screen seems small to me these days at ~11-12' seating distance.


I like my old school 58" Panny plasma as well, but if I were looking for a set now in my family/living room, I'd probably get an LCD with a matte finish to block reflections better and get a little more peak brightness. But I do have a projector to go watch movies on, so maybe I'm just not seeing the pull of the plasma blacks that much (and my Mitsu HC7900 really isn't that far from the plasma, if at all).
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post #9 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I personally wouldn't run a PJ as a primary display in a general purpose room. Plus the impact from an ~85" image from 65" isn't going to be that huge. Even my 110" screen seems small to me these days at ~11-12' seating distance.
Would be just for watching movies at night with the lights out, and maybe a sporting event or something. Primary display would be a tv still.

85" was just a guess as to what might fit. I could go bigger if it is deemed OK to have the Left and Right speakers behind the screen. Then I'd have lots more room.

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post #10 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 12:35 PM
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Interesting thread. I have a 60in f8500 that I am considering selling for more than what I paid, buying a cheaper LED to throw above the fireplace, and turning the basement into a dedicated theater room.

For those that jumped from plasma to projector - offer any insight? I work long days, not usually home till about 7 when it is dark. My wife and I will watch a tv show or two in the dark then off to bed. Weekends I do sports and movies which would be awesome on 110in. Was thinking of selling and picking up a benq w1070 but not sure if I will regret the pq of the f8500
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post #11 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MrGoomba View Post
Interesting thread. I have a 60in f8500 that I am considering selling for more than what I paid, buying a cheaper LED to throw above the fireplace, and turning the basement into a dedicated theater room.

For those that jumped from plasma to projector - offer any insight? I work long days, not usually home till about 7 when it is dark. My wife and I will watch a tv show or two in the dark then off to bed. Weekends I do sports and movies which would be awesome on 110in. Was thinking of selling and picking up a benq w1070 but not sure if I will regret the pq of the f8500
I've got a Panasonic plasma in the living room. Picked up a new BenQ W1070 projector at Christmas to replace a dead Panasonic AE500 LCD projector in the family room. The screen is 100" for now but one day I will get a 120" screen. All I can say is, watching movies and sports on the BenQ is many times more enjoyable than watching on the plasma. The size of the image, along with the outstanding clarity and color saturation of the BenQ, make it an immersive experience. I seriously doubt you would regret the purchase of the BenQ. Better get on it though. Only a few more days till Super Sunday!

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post #12 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 02:07 PM
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The 64H5000 is an amazing bargain right now. It's the last high PQ plasma available with a few relatively small cons - no AR coating, no 3D, no smart features, pentile display. You'll pay 3X as much for a 64F8500 if you are lucky enough to find the last new one in existence.

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Getting a great plasma now is like hunting down a unicorn. (Thanks for the tip TH3_FRB, I hadn't heard of that model before.)
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post #13 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 02:57 PM
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Would be just for watching movies at night with the lights out, and maybe a sporting event or something. Primary display would be a tv still.

85" was just a guess as to what might fit. I could go bigger if it is deemed OK to have the Left and Right speakers behind the screen. Then I'd have lots more room.
Speakers can only go behind a screen if the screen is acoustically transparent (commonly called an "AT" screen). Pull down screen are generally not that good at staying nice and flat over time and they introduce waviness to the projected image. AT pull down screens are also pricey.

For 85" I wouldn't bother with a projector. If going bigger means speakers behind and requiring a pull down screen, I wouldn't bother even with a larger screen. An AT screen really demands a fixed frame to show well. You can do that, building a large one with a wooden frame and white spandex over black spandex for under $200. And you could set it up in front of your speakers on an "easel" or something and then set it aside against a wall when not in use. Sounds like a lot of hassle, though.

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post #14 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Speakers can only go behind a screen if the screen is acoustically transparent (commonly called an "AT" screen). Pull down screen are generally not that good at staying nice and flat over time and they introduce waviness to the projected image. AT pull down screens are also pricey.

For 85" I wouldn't bother with a projector. If going bigger means speakers behind and requiring a pull down screen, I wouldn't bother even with a larger screen. An AT screen really demands a fixed frame to show well. You can do that, building a large one with a wooden frame and white spandex over black spandex for under $200. And you could set it up in front of your speakers on an "easel" or something and then set it aside against a wall when not in use. Sounds like a lot of hassle, though.
Thanks for the tips.

Well...I could always move the speakers a bit forward and father apart. That would put them on the side, and make my viewing distance a bit less than the 16 ft that I originally estimated. Right now my speakers are about 92 inches apart. I could get that to about 100 inches or so. Not sure exactly what screen size that would correspond too.

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post #15 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 04:13 PM
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Thanks for the tips.

Well...I could always move the speakers a bit forward and father apart. That would put them on the side, and make my viewing distance a bit less than the 16 ft that I originally estimated. Right now my speakers are about 92 inches apart. I could get that to about 100 inches or so. Not sure exactly what screen size that would correspond too.
A 100" diagonal screen is roughly 95-100" wide depending on how wide the border on the 87" wide viewable area is. How tall are your speakers and how high is your ceiling? I have 9ft ceilings and my 110" screen drops just to the top of my towers so they are actually not placed as wide as the screen without needing an AT screen.
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post #16 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 04:27 PM
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I've got a Panasonic plasma in the living room. Picked up a new BenQ W1070 projector at Christmas to replace a dead Panasonic AE500 LCD projector in the family room. The screen is 100" for now but one day I will get a 120" screen. All I can say is, watching movies and sports on the BenQ is many times more enjoyable than watching on the plasma. The size of the image, along with the outstanding clarity and color saturation of the BenQ, make it an immersive experience. I seriously doubt you would regret the purchase of the BenQ. Better get on it though. Only a few more days till Super Sunday!
Need to sell the f8500 first to have the cash lol.
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post #17 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 09:23 PM
 
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As a counterpoint to your list of issues :

I lived in a fancy, brand mew condo, and just drilled 8 holes in the ceiling, 4 for an electric screen, and 4 for the ceiling mount of my projector. It was super awesome having the remote to bring down the screen, very classy and you can even raise it a bit when you watch cinemascope format movies.

I haven't had a single issue with kids running around breaking stuff here, or parties with hundreds of people. I used my projector as my main PC monitor for 4+ hours a day for nearly two years before replacing the bulb, until it blew. Then it cost 80 bucks to replace. The projector cost me 850, about half of what a decent TV would cost, but in exchange for blacks I get a MASSIVE FREAKING 138 INCH IMAGE whoah. I'm not even projecting onto a screen right now, just a white wall. I told my Elite screen because it was only 100 inches and I live in a loft right now.

So, yeah, projectors are awesome and cheap and a ton of fun.

The main negative is that it's so enthralling that you end up watching way more shows, movies, and games than you used to, and that tends to make you get fat.
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post #18 of 45 Old 01-28-2015, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
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A 100" diagonal screen is roughly 95-100" wide depending on how wide the border on the 87" wide viewable area is. How tall are your speakers and how high is your ceiling? I have 9ft ceilings and my 110" screen drops just to the top of my towers so they are actually not placed as wide as the screen without needing an AT screen.
My ceiling is 8 ft, but my speakers are on the small side at 35" (almost 3 ft). I have the Andrew Jones budget 5.0 setup.

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post #19 of 45 Old 02-02-2015, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I talked to my wife, and it seems I was wrong about the limitations on our rental home. We are allowed to put in shelves, screws, etc, as long as it's something that can be patched over later. Also, not only can we paint, she was already planning to paint some of the adjacent rooms a new color. She says she wants accent colors..."Green...maybe even a brown" she says, wondering why I am smiling.

So it's game on now. After more research, I have changed my projector picks. I am now looking at either the BenQ 1070, or if budget allows, the one I'd really want is that Sony HW40. I'd have to get either a stand alone wireless or maybe just a really long HDMI cable that I can get out of site when not in use at nights.

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post #20 of 45 Old 02-02-2015, 11:25 PM
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I think you should get a decent 60" lcd screen, something on the cheaper scale.
and then buy the Benq 1070 as well, have the remote roll down screen which will come down in front of the lcd when you want to use.
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post #21 of 45 Old 02-03-2015, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I think you should get a decent 60" lcd screen, something on the cheaper scale.
and then buy the Benq 1070 as well, have the remote roll down screen which will come down in front of the lcd when you want to use.
That's an option for sure. If I get the Sony (whenever I have that money) I'll have blown it all basically and be stuck with my 42 inch Panny S1 with rising blacks. I'd have to go super cheap with a new tv.

But if I split the difference, I could afford maybe a good sized LG plasma or a cheaper model Samsung (if they're still around), and use the rest to get a BenQ1070 and a screen. Can always upgrade later I suppose, and it seem time is really on my side with PJ tech getting better and cheaper as opposed to trying to hunt down the last of the plasmas before they're gone.

Question. Can a projector screen unit be screwed into the ceiling without much in the way of holes and gear? Something that could be patched over later, right?

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post #22 of 45 Old 02-03-2015, 06:06 AM
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I had a friend go with this until he finishes his basement. http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Apex-Pr...ojector+screen . Looks like it is just two hooks and cheap. (Only using the screen and not the legs.)

Since he only moved in last month, I haven't checked it out yet, but I could ask him for his opinion and a photo.
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post #23 of 45 Old 02-03-2015, 10:04 AM
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I will say that when I rented I checked with management about hanging my plasma and my screen and they said the same thing: "Anything that just needs normal patching can go on the walls AND the ceiling."

So, I put the projector on the ceiling, put the plasma on the wall, and installed a roll down screen in front of the plasma that I could pull down when I wanted the big screen experience.

Your projector could have some significant placement limitations based upon your throw distance. While it's nice to say "I will get a W1070" - If your intent is to put that projector 15' from the screen in the back of the room, then your image size may only be as small as 138" diagonal.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/BenQ...ulator-pro.htm

Make sure you know how to use this projection calculator, and make sure the projectors you are looking at fit this space.

In contrast, the HW40ES can hit a 95" to 151" screen from 15' lens to screen throw distance.

My suggestion would be that you need to consider your viewing habits. The HW40ES is a very good model, as is the W1070. Neither will perform as well in rooms that have light colored paint. They also can't combat ambient light well. So, daytime viewing may be completely out depending on your room.

I'm a fan of my projector, but it's in a basement with no windows. My family room has a 64" plasma in it and still struggles during the daytime.

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post #24 of 45 Old 02-04-2015, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are some pics of things as they are now. First pic is the corner I would have the screen in, in front of the TV. Second is the corner where we sit and where the projector would go (approx 15-16 ft away). Also included pic of the room in the dark with only my 42 inch Panny S1 plasma, with it's rising blacks as bright as the sun now, turned on. Pic via Iphone camera.

But the walls may be able to be repainted. It's white now, but not a 100% pure white really. I know it's hard to get a good judgement with these pics, but here they are. And the wall on the left turns into a brown brick fireplace, while the right wall becomes an opening to the next room.
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post #25 of 45 Old 02-04-2015, 02:11 PM
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That's a tough room for a projector. Personally I would still get the largest LCD I could afford (plasma max's out at 65") and go that route. Although not nearly plasma blacks it will be about the same as a BenQ 1070. Save your money for a Sony when you have a better room.

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post #26 of 45 Old 02-04-2015, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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That's a tough room for a projector. Personally I would still get the largest LCD I could afford (plasma max's out at 65") and go that route. Although not nearly plasma blacks it will be about the same as a BenQ 1070. Save your money for a Sony when you have a better room.
Won't the BenQ be not only bigger (with screen), but cheaper than a huge LCD? (799 or so + 200) I don't care much for LCD's, so even with size advantage I'd probably still get the cheapest plasma I could find.

If I paint the walls dark green or brown even, and I'm only using this at night 90% of the time, you think that would make it decent? With the white walls, I know that getting that really nice Sony would be mostly a waste of $...

I will be making the official pitch to the wife tomorrow, so then I will know what I can and can't do. Then I will really know how well this could work. But if she wants the walls a different color anyways, and is ok with mounting shelves/screen, then I think I'm going ahead with this idea. I just can't resist now that I've looked into it. But thanks to you and others, I have a realistic idea of what to expect.

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post #27 of 45 Old 02-04-2015, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Omni009 View Post
...Distance from the seating to the screen would be approx 16 ft. This would be corner to corner as far as room placement goes...
Reading your post, looking at your pics and doing some geometry, your seating will not be 16 ft (IMO). If it is 16ft diagonal from corner to corner, you'll have to square off the corners for the screen (8-10ft across) and the couch. Therefore, either your screen size will be small or you could be sitting close to a large screen if you get a short throw projector.

The picture quality will be different with a projector.
- kids don't care
- you'll love the size if you can get it 10-12-14 feet diagonal (if you're not sitting too close)
- the "3D" effect (due to sharpness/color rendering?) of plasmas and LEDs will be lost. The picture will be 100% flat (but big).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omni009 View Post
Question. Can a projector screen unit be screwed into the ceiling without much in the way of holes and gear? Something that could be patched over later, right?
No and yes.
1. The holes I put in my ceiling for a 135" screen were about 1/2" to accommodate the anchors. TOGGLER brand:
TOGGLER 1/4-in x 2-1/2-in Toggle Bolts
2. Patching is not an issue, per se, but the texturing and painting to match might be. Ceilings can go a LONG ways, so painting to match is not like a wall that ends at the corner.


I have a 55" Panny plasma and a projector. Love both, but for movies (and special TV shows) and sporting events, I still prefer the projector and 120" screen. I'm not an "inky black" videophile, so all is good.
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Last edited by SpinControl; 02-04-2015 at 03:09 PM.
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post #28 of 45 Old 02-04-2015, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinControl View Post
Reading your post, looking at your pics and doing some geometry, your seating will not be 16 ft (IMO).
Thanks for the reply. I measured with a tape measure. From where I would sit on the couch to just in front of the Panny TV is 16 ft. I photographed the corners, but the room is much bigger than it seems to be.

Forgive all the kids toys in the pic, but here is what it looks like roughly from my seat (first pic), and here is all the space in between (second pic). You can see why my old 42 inch just won't cut it here. Hell, even the now broken 65 inch didn't really do it for me in this new room when we moved in! It gets swallowed in the space. I would grab a chair at night, and put myself in the center of the room. Lights off. All speakers in their proper places relative to me. That experience is gone now. A projector might make it live again, and I could actually sit on my own couch for a change to enjoy it the same way if the screen is big enough. (edit: If this info helps to envision screen size, the space in between the 2 pioneer front speakers in the first pic is almost exactly 100 inches.)
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post #29 of 45 Old 02-04-2015, 03:57 PM
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Its the corner location with a max screen size of about 90" that will be a problem. A cheap pull down screen will also develop waves eventually if not right off the bat. If you could get a 110"/120" screen in there it would be better at your seating distance. BenQ projector would need to be at no more than 10' from screen putting it in front of your seating distance. A good pull down AT tab tensioned screen would be $2000+ to put it in front of your speakers. Its also true a flying Sippy cup wont hurt your screen like an LCD/Plasma (LCD is a little tougher than plasma). An 80" Viso is around $3000. I love my projector and almost never watch my ST60 in the great room, great picture its just too small.

"Smart enough to know better, to old to care" ------ Dedicated Bat Cave Home Theater, JVC RS49U/Mitsubishi HC7900DW Projector, 110" 16:9 Jamestown screen with variable power masking for CIW 2.50:1 to 16:9, Marantz 7009 with 7.1.4 Atmos with Ohm mains,3 DIY Subs (2 15" (1 ported, 1 sealed and a 12" 4th order bandpass), 1 DIY butt kicker, Custom Built HTPC, 18TB DroboFS NAS
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post #30 of 45 Old 02-04-2015, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omni009 View Post
Thanks for the reply. I measured with a tape measure. From where I would sit on the couch to just in front of the Panny TV is 16 ft. I photographed the corners, but the room is much bigger than it seems to be.

Forgive all the kids toys in the pic, but here is what it looks like roughly from my seat (first pic), and here is all the space in between (second pic). You can see why my old 42 inch just won't cut it here. Hell, even the now broken 65 inch didn't really do it for me in this new room when we moved in! It gets swallowed in the space. I would grab a chair at night, and put myself in the center of the room. Lights off. All speakers in their proper places relative to me. That experience is gone now. A projector might make it live again, and I could actually sit on my own couch for a change to enjoy it the same way if the screen is big enough. (edit: If this info helps to envision screen size, the space in between the 2 pioneer front speakers in the first pic is almost exactly 100 inches.)
Looking at that room, I've gotta say I would not place the screen in the corner. I would place it where the birdcage is, with a new larger plasma behind it hung on the wall. Move the birdcage over b the fireplace. The existing TV stand can stay in the corner with the equipment but the speakers out to either side of the screen with one sitting on the rear corner of the equipment stand and the other on a small stand of the same height. Cover the glass of the equipment stand with tablecloth so you don't get reflections off it. Where are you planning to run the HDMI cable to the projector ? Through the ceiling or across the floor ?

*********************
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