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post #1 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Decent Projector For Outdoor Event

Hi guys, I am planning on hosting an outdoor viewing event and I'm looking for recommendations on a projector that can do the job. I was thinking of getting an inflatable screen like the one pictured below. There are lots of used projectors on craigslist in my area (NY/North NJ) but I have no idea what to look for. Anyone have any recommendations?

I was planning (if possible) to place the projector on the roof of the extension pictured below with the screen sitting on my lawn. I renovated my yard recently and redid the extension which is now wider so the projector can be placed right in the center. Any suggestions would be really helpful. Thanks!



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post #2 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 11:33 AM
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No projectors fare well in daylight. You will need to shield the image from light somehow.


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post #3 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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No projectors fare well in daylight. You will need to shield the image from light somehow.


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The event will be at night
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post #4 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 12:00 PM
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The event will be at night


Ok so you will either need to figure out how to invert the PJ and max out the vertical shift or get a PJ with a very generous vertical shift.

That roofline looks very high. I think it might be a struggle to square up an image.

What is the horizontal distance between the PJ and the screen?

If it’s not at least 1.5x the screen width that will cause issues also.


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post #5 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardl3y View Post
Hi guys, I am planning on hosting an outdoor viewing event and I'm looking for recommendations on a projector that can do the job. I was thinking of getting an inflatable screen like the one pictured below. There are lots of used projectors on craigslist in my area (NY/North NJ) but I have no idea what to look for. Anyone have any recommendations?

I was planning (if possible) to place the projector on the roof of the extension pictured below with the screen sitting on my lawn. I renovated my yard recently and redid the extension which is now wider so the projector can be placed right in the center. Any suggestions would be really helpful. Thanks!



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The inexpensive inflatable screens tend to sag under their own weight and blower noise can be excessive and annoying. A good quality inflatable will start at ~$500-$700 for a 12 foot screen. You can get into over $1000-$2000 very quickly. Open Air and Air Screen are both good brands to take a look at.

You have a nice space to work with. My recommendation would be to pick up a Finished Edge FlexiWhite Screen from Carl's Place. They are very good quality and almost bullet proof for outdoor use. You can get a 165" diagonal, ~14', for $185.00 or a kit with fittings to build a free standing frame for ~$220.00. Carl's has plans available and the necessary fittings to build a screen frame from inexpensive 1" EMT electric conduit tubing. EMT conduit is inexpensive and readily available from Home Depot, etc.

Here's a link to Carl's: https://www.carlofet.com/carls-backy...-screens.html/

While mounting the projector on the roof of the building seems like a good idea, it may cause you more problems than you want to work with. If you go this route, the screen will probably need to be raised in height to avoid excessive projection keystoneing. This is where the top edge of the picture will be more narrow than the bottom in your case.

The other and most important consideration is the projector throw distance. This is the distance from the projectors lens to the screen. Depending on the projector you end up with, you may need to move the screen closer to the building for a given screen size. Most of the projectors you're going to run into on Craigslist will have a throw distance of ~14 feet for a 165" screen which doesn't look like it will work from your picture for a roof mount.

If you're shopping on Craigslist, you'll want to find a projector with something around 3000 lumens for a 165" screen. You can get away with 1500-2000 lumens with a 144" screen. I would look for an Epson HC1040 or HC1060, HC1450, HC3100, HC3700, HC2045, etc....

DLP based projectors should be a minimum of 2000 lumen output.

I would not plan on using a Bluetooth speaker because of audio latency especially with HDMI source players.


FWIW here's my backyard setup. I use a VisualApex 144" screen wtih an Epson HC1040/1060 projector. The screen comes with a breakdown aluminum frame and takes less than 10 minuets to set up. We do a 5.1 surround with Blu-ray and media center sources.

https://visualapexscreens.com/collec...ojector-screen

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post #6 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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The event will be at night


Ok so you will either need to figure out how to invert the PJ and max out the vertical shift or get a PJ with a very generous vertical shift.

That roofline looks very high. I think it might be a struggle to square up an image.

What is the horizontal distance between the PJ and the screen?

If it’s not at least 1.5x the screen width that will cause issues also.


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Just measured, the roof is about 9ft high. Horizontally the closest I wouldn’t want the screen is 15ft, ideally I’d place it at 25ft horizontally from the PJ. What do you think? You mentioned 1.5x the screen width, so for a 14” screen I would want to place it 21ft away from the PJ? Would it matter if it was further?
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post #7 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardl3y View Post
Just measured, the roof is about 9ft high. Horizontally the closest I wouldn’t want the screen is 15ft, ideally I’d place it at 25ft horizontally from the PJ. What do you think? You mentioned 1.5x the screen width, so for a 14” screen I would want to place it 21ft away from the PJ? Would it matter if it was further?
That's going to require a longer throw lens. Longer throw lens' cost more and drive the price of a projector up. You can easily find one new. Snagging one on Craigslist is not impossible but will be harder to do.

If it were me, I'd plan on putting the projector on your patio.

Again, if you're shopping on Craigslist and see a projector that you're interested in, you will need to check the projectors spec's to see what the throw distance is for your preferred screen size.

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post #8 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Just measured, the roof is about 9ft high. Horizontally the closest I wouldn’t want the screen is 15ft, ideally I’d place it at 25ft horizontally from the PJ. What do you think? You mentioned 1.5x the screen width, so for a 14” screen I would want to place it 21ft away from the PJ? Would it matter if it was further?
That's going to require a longer throw lens. Longer throw lens' cost more and drive the price of a projector up. You can easily find one new. Snagging one on Craigslist is not impossible but will be harder to do.

If it were me, I'd plan on putting the projector on your patio.

Again, if you're shopping on Craigslist and see a projector that you're interested in, you will need to check the projectors spec's to see what the throw distance is for your preferred screen size.
Thanks for your previous detailed response! Your setup looks amazing. The reason I wanted to place the projector on the roof other than keeping it out of the way, is that I will be using my laptop as the source and the content will be streamed. I also wanted to send the audio to my Apple Airport Express which is connected to my backyard speakers. My WiFi signal is poor unless I’m very close to the house.

So the two things I need to consider are lumens (about 3000 is optimal?) and throw for my screen size (I’m thinking of going with a screen about the same size as yours)?
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I agree with b curry - throw ratio is going to govern a lot of what will work versus what won't. Ideally you wan't something very bright (3000 lumens) unless it will be pitch black at show time.

The 1.5x screen width was meant to give you a guide. Most PJ throw ratios start at about 1.39 from the lens. The projector box itself takes some more space so I always use 1.5 as a rough proxy for distance.

Usually having the PJ closer to the screen will result in a brighter image but not always.

Also not sure what the content is but be aware that brightness and color depth are not friends. You turn one up, you start to lose the other.
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post #10 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 02:15 PM
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Thanks for your previous detailed response! Your setup looks amazing. The reason I wanted to place the projector on the roof other than keeping it out of the way, is that I will be using my laptop as the source and the content will be streamed. I also wanted to send the audio to my Apple Airport Express which is connected to my backyard speakers. My WiFi signal is poor unless I’m very close to the house.

So the two things I need to consider are lumens (about 3000 is optimal?) and throw for my screen size (I’m thinking of going with a screen about the same size as yours)?
You need to first zero in on a screen size. Then you can select a projector.

If you're set on placing the projector on the roof and you plan on a 21' throw distance with a 14' screen, you need to look for a projector with a zoom lens range of ~1.35 – 2.84; the big number is the important one. The Epson's in the 4xxx -5xxx model numbers will usually work. I'm suggesting the Epson units as they're are popular, good quality, and easy to find used. Other projectors can be found and used of course for your situation. It's only money!

Something around 2000-3000 lumens will give you a good image on a ~14' diagonal screen. What you're interested in is a measurement call Foot Lamberts. Foot Lamberts are the amount of light reflected back from the screen to your eyes. A commercial theater is around 14-16 fL's. The equation/calculation is: Luminance in fL= (Lumens / Screen Area in Ft2) * Screen Gain.

An Epson HC5040 is rated at 2500 lumens and independent testing rates it at 1115 in bright cinema mode. So (1115 lumens/ 83.7)= ~13 fL. That's very watchable depending on the ambient light you may have out side and a screen with 1.1 gain would bring it to ~14.5 on a new lamp. The Epson is available in the used market and the zoom lens range fits your needs. Dropping back to a 144" screen with a 1.1 gain screen value will get you ~19.7 fL. See where/how this works?

So more lumes are better for the fL value. Sometimes a projector will sacrifice contrast for more lumen output.

Again, I've suggested Epson LCD projectors as they usually deliver the spec'd lumen value. I personally prefer DLP but you normally need even higher lumen out put because of the way DLP manufactures spec their units.

Setting up outside requires contending with street light, ambient light form nearby housing, the moon and stars, etc. Additional lumens will help to over come these issues. Realistically, don't plan on any kind of picture quality until around 30 or more minuets after sundown. The picture of my set up was taken mid July last year at ~9:45-10:00 PM and again about 30 odd minuets after sundown or what is called "end of civil twilight" and we are in a forest without street lamps. You can see there is still some sunlight to deal with.

Last edited by b curry; 05-02-2019 at 03:19 PM.
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post #11 of 36 Old 05-02-2019, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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You need to first zero in on a screen size. Then you can select a projector.

If you're set on placing the projector on the roof and you plan on a 21' throw distance with a 14' screen, you need to look for a projector with a zoom lens range of ~1.35 – 2.84; the big number is the important one. The Epson's in the 4xxx -5xxx model numbers will usually work. I'm suggesting the Epson units as they're are popular, good quality, and easy to find used. Other projectors can be found and used of course for your situation. It's only money!

Something around 2000-3000 lumens will give you a good image on a ~14' diagonal screen. What you're interested in is a measurement call Foot Lamberts. Foot Lamberts are the amount of light reflected back from the screen to your eyes. A commercial theater is around 14-16 fL's. The equation/calculation is: Luminance in fL= (Lumens / Screen Area in Ft2) * Screen Gain.

An Epson HC5040 is rated at 2500 lumens and independent testing rates it at 1115 in bright cinema mode. So (1115 lumens/ 83.7)= ~13 fL. That's very watchable depending on the ambient light you may have out side and a screen with 1.1 gain would bring it to ~14.5 on a new lamp. The Epson is available in the used market and the zoom lens range fits your needs. Dropping back to a 144" screen with a 1.1 gain screen value will get you ~19.7 fL. See where/how this works?

So more lumes are better for the fL value. Sometimes a projector will sacrifice contrast for more lumen output.

Again, I've suggested Epson LCD projectors as they usually deliver the spec'd lumen value. I personally prefer DLP but you normally need even higher lumen out put because of the way DLP manufactures spec their units.

Setting up outside requires contending with street light, ambient light form nearby housing, the moon and stars, etc. Additional lumens will help to over come these issues. Realistically, don't plan on any kind of picture quality until around 30 or more minuets after sundown. The picture of my set up was taken mid July last year at ~9:45-10:00 PM and again about 30 odd minuets after sundown or what is called "end of civil twilight" and we are in a forest without street lamps. You can see there is still some sunlight to deal with.
My head is spinning a bit haha. I found the following for sale locally:

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 810 - 8 years old, asking price $800 (more than I want to spend)

Epson EMP-TW1000 - price not listed

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 - asking price $450

Epson EX7220 - asking price $220

Epson PowerLite 705 HD - a few listings priced as low as $100

I am thinking of going with a screen size of 120-144". Would any of these do the trick? Preferably the cheaper ones? The picture doesn't have to be perfect. If I mount it on the roof the closest I can get the screen is about 15'.
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post #12 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 02:54 AM
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I think for the small investment the Epson 705HD might be your best choice. It is not ideal for your situation but at least it will give you some experience with a projector for very little investment. To put it on your roof it needs to be upside down (as most all of these types of projectors) to shoot down to a screen. It does have vertical keystone correction as with its fixed offset you would also need to tilt it down to shoot a low enough image. Its a bright 16:10 AR 720p business class projector. 15' throw will give you between about 130" to 160" screen. Hang a sheet from a rope for a temporary screen.

"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 #13 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I think for the small investment the Epson 705HD might be your best choice. It is not ideal for your situation but at least it will give you some experience with a projector for very little investment. To put it on your roof it needs to be upside down (as most all of these types of projectors) to shoot down to a screen. It does have vertical keystone correction as with its fixed offset you would also need to tilt it down to shoot a low enough image. Its a bright 16:10 AR 720p business class projector. 15' throw will give you between about 130" to 160" screen. Hang a sheet from a rope for a temporary screen.
Thanks, would a 120” screen work at 15’? Seems the further back from the screen you go the larger the screen needs to be?
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My head is spinning a bit haha. I found the following for sale locally:

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 810 - 8 years old, asking price $800 (more than I want to spend)

Epson EMP-TW1000 - price not listed

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 - asking price $450

Epson EX7220 - asking price $220

Epson PowerLite 705 HD - a few listings priced as low as $100

I am thinking of going with a screen size of 120-144". Would any of these do the trick? Preferably the cheaper ones? The picture doesn't have to be perfect. If I mount it on the roof the closest I can get the screen is about 15'.
Ok we'll throw out the first two.

The next three that you've found will work with a 144" screen at a 15' throw distance.

The quick answer or my choice would be to go with the HC2045 placing the EX7220 and the HC705HD second place but coming in at a close tie. I'll explain.

The EX7220 and the HC705HD are very close to being the same projector with regards to specifications. They are both 720P machines with regards to resolution. The EX7220 would have an slight edge over the HC705HD with regards to contrast (Black levels on screen) and the price on the HC705HD is terrific if you're guying on price. Brightness of the two units is essentially the same. That's assuming they are both in good condition.

The HC2045 is simply the better unit with regards to picture quality. The HC2045's contrast ratio is much better than the other two by a factor of 10+ which will make the on screen image much more pleasing if you compare the three side by side. The HC2045 is also a full HD or 1080P unit with regards to resolution and as such may give you better picture detail and sharpness. The price is not too bad and if it's Craigslist, most people will come down on price 10-20% if you're good at horse trading.

Again, my opinions are with the assumption that all three are in good repair.

You may need to buy a new lamp for any one of them as they are used units and it's maybe a good idea include that factor into your thought process.

So my preference with regards to performance:
  • HC 2045 contrast ratio 35000:1 - 1080P resolution
  • EX 7220 - contrast ratio 10000:1 720P resolution
  • HC 705HD contrast ratio 3000:1 - 720P resolution

Again the HC 705HD is a killer price.

With regards to mounting the projector on the roof... All three units have what's called an off set where the center of the projectors lens will need to be placed just below the top of the screen, a few inches, upside down in your case with roof mounting. If you go with the VisualApex 144" screen, this should not be too much of a problem as the 144" screen is 104.5 " tall and your roof is 108". VisualApex does make some extension legs for the screen or you could elevate the screen with some bricks, etc.

I think you'll be very happy with the HC2045 paired with the VisualApex 144" screen. We have a very expensive purpose built theater inside our home but we always look forward to using our simple backyard theater in the summer. There is something about being outside, watching a movie under the stars that adds a whole new layer of fun to the experience. Good Luck
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post #15 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 07:22 AM
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Just an after thought...

Since you're needing to place the projector on your roof and the fact that the projector needs to be mounted upside down...

You might consider building yourself or having someone build for you a four or three leg stand where the projector is mounted. This could be done with some 2x2" wood or unistrut channel, etc. If you're clever, you could have some bolts attached at the bottom of the legs where by screwing/unscrewing the bolts, you can level the projector relative to the screen. Such a mount would aid you with placement repeatability and shorten the time required in setting up the projector. You would simply place the projector in the same spot on the roof each time you setup and maybe requiring only a few small adjustments relative to the screen's position.
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post #16 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 07:25 AM
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Thanks, would a 120” screen work at 15’? Seems the further back from the screen you go the larger the screen needs to be?
120" is too small at 15' for those projectors.
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post #17 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok we'll throw out the first two.

The next three that you've found will work with a 144" screen at a 15' throw distance.

The quick answer or my choice would be to go with the HC2045 placing the EX7220 and the HC705HD second place but coming in at a close tie. I'll explain.

The EX7220 and the HC705HD are very close to being the same projector with regards to specifications. They are both 720P machines with regards to resolution. The EX7220 would have an slight edge over the HC705HD with regards to contrast (Black levels on screen) and the price on the HC705HD is terrific if you're guying on price. Brightness of the two units is essentially the same. That's assuming they are both in good condition.

The HC2045 is simply the better unit with regards to picture quality. The HC2045's contrast ratio is much better than the other two by a factor of 10+ which will make the on screen image much more pleasing if you compare the three side by side. The HC2045 is also a full HD or 1080P unit with regards to resolution and as such may give you better picture detail and sharpness. The price is not too bad and if it's Craigslist, most people will come down on price 10-20% if you're good at horse trading.

Again, my opinions are with the assumption that all three are in good repair.

You may need to buy a new lamp for any one of them as they are used units and it's maybe a good idea include that factor into your thought process.

So my preference with regards to performance:
  • HC 2045 contrast ratio 35000:1 - 1080P resolution
  • EX 7220 - contrast ratio 10000:1 720P resolution
  • HC 705HD contrast ratio 3000:1 - 720P resolution

Again the HC 705HD is a killer price.

With regards to mounting the projector on the roof... All three units have what's called an off set where the center of the projectors lens will need to be placed just below the top of the screen, a few inches, upside down in your case with roof mounting. If you go with the VisualApex 144" screen, this should not be too much of a problem as the 144" screen is 104.5 " tall and your roof is 108". VisualApex does make some extension legs for the screen or you could elevate the screen with some bricks, etc.

I think you'll be very happy with the HC2045 paired with the VisualApex 144" screen. We have a very expensive purpose built theater inside our home but we always look forward to using our simple backyard theater in the summer. There is something about being outside, watching a movie under the stars that adds a whole new layer of fun to the experience. Good Luck
Thanks so much! Before your reply, I was really leaning towards the EX7220 because of the 3,000 lumens and because of the price (if 2,500 and 3,000 lumens isn’t that big of a difference I’d probably consider the $100 705HD). The HC2045 is attractive for the 1080P capability as well as the other advantages you mentioned, I was just concerned about it only putting out 2,200 lumens.

So for projecting at 15’ should I rule out a 120” screen? By the way, I’m wanting to literally lay the projector on top of the roof not actually mount it from the ceiling.
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post #18 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 07:39 AM
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Those contrast #'s @b curry listed are dynamic the native contrast of all three of those projectors I doubt is better then 500:1. No the 705HD can't shoot a 120" screen from 15' as most entry level projectors don't have that long of a throw distance. I would never pay that much for a 2045 as its biggest complaint is its very poor black level performance, its replacement the 2150 was drastically improved.

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post #19 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 07:49 AM
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@Yardl3y , @b curry is a reliable source of information for outdoor projection setups so pay close attention to his advice. Since forum rules state that we aren't supposed to discuss pricing from specific vendors in this forum I won't go there. But if you visit the Epson Clearance Center website you'll see that you can get a refurbished 2045 with a factory warranty for virtually the same price as the used 2045 you saw advertised which likely would not come with a factory warranty. Unless you can get a really good price on a used projector from a reliable source a safer bet would be to go with a factory refurbished model. Below is a link to the Epson Clearance Center for projectors:

epson.com/Clearance-Center/Home-Entertainment/c/cc301
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post #20 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 07:51 AM
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Thanks so much! Before your reply, I was really leaning towards the EX7220 because of the 3,000 lumens and because of the price (if 2,500 and 3,000 lumens isn’t that big of a difference I’d probably consider the $100 705HD). The HC2045 is attractive for the 1080P capability as well as the other advantages you mentioned, I was just concerned about it only putting out 2,200 lumens.

So for projecting at 15’ should I rule out a 120” screen? By the way, I’m wanting to literally lay the projector on top of the roof not actually mount it from the ceiling.
Sounds like a plan. Maybe go take a look at both and see which is in better condition. Yes on the 120", it ain't gonna work with out spilling the image over the sides of the screen. Without using a sharp pencil, you would need to be 12'-14' for a 120" screen.

I think you'll find trying to lay the projector upside down troublesome with regards to aiming it at the screen. Be careful to not block any of the cooling vents or impede air flow in any way for the unit.
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Originally Posted by Yardl3y View Post
Thanks so much! Before your reply, I was really leaning towards the EX7220 because of the 3,000 lumens and because of the price (if 2,500 and 3,000 lumens isn’t that big of a difference I’d probably consider the $100 705HD). The HC2045 is attractive for the 1080P capability as well as the other advantages you mentioned, I was just concerned about it only putting out 2,200 lumens.

So for projecting at 15’ should I rule out a 120” screen? By the way, I’m wanting to literally lay the projector on top of the roof not actually mount it from the ceiling.
Sounds like a plan. Maybe go take a look at both and see which is in better condition. Yes on the 120", it ain't gonna work with out spilling the image over the sides of the screen. Without using a sharp pencil, you would need to be 12'-14' for a 120" screen.

I think you'll find trying to lay the projector upside down troublesome with regards to aiming it at the screen. Be careful to not block any of the cooling vents or impede air flow in any way for the unit.
Time to reach out to the sellers! I’m really considering the HC2045 after your recommendation. You think I will be ok with 2,200 lumens?
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@Yardl3y , @b curry is a reliable source of information for outdoor projection setups so pay close attention to his advice. Since forum rules state that we aren't supposed to discuss pricing from specific vendors in this forum I won't go there. But if you visit the Epson Clearance Center website you'll see that you can get a refurbished 2045 with a factory warranty for virtually the same price as the used 2045 you saw advertised which likely would not come with a factory warranty. Unless you can get a really good price on a used projector from a reliable source a safer bet would be to go with a factory refurbished model. Below is a link to the Epson Clearance Center for projectors:

epson.com/Clearance-Center/Home-Entertainment/c/cc301
Good call on the Referb Dave!



Looks like there is an HC2150 there for just a few dollars more... Newer unit with double the contrast.

https://epson.com/Clearance-Center/H...p/V11H852020-N

Last edited by b curry; 05-03-2019 at 08:15 AM.
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post #23 of 36 Old 05-03-2019, 08:09 AM
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Time to reach out to the sellers! I’m really considering the HC2045 after your recommendation. You think I will be ok with 2,200 lumens?
Yes, independent testing is showing 1848 lumens in bright cinema mode. That should put you around 20-24 fL on the 144" visualApex screen.

As @Dave in Green has pointed out, factory direct from Epson for a referb unit gets you a new lamp and a 2 year warranty for ~ the same price.

Personally, I would go for the referb HC2150 over there for $551.00 if you can make the stretch. It's a newer unit, better spec's, and it supports your 21' throw with a 144" screen. It would also give you the option to use a little larger screen too if you like, maybe 165"-168".

https://epson.com/Clearance-Center/H...p/V11H852020-N
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The reason I suggest the 705HD is for such a small investment you can find out if a projector will even work for you. If your willing to up your budget to $800 the 3100 is really the right projector for what your trying to do. It can be mounted right side up on the roof and has a much larger zoom/shift so you would have a much larger range of screen sizes and very simple setup with screen alignment as I assume you will need to take it down when your not using it. It also has the advantage of the second brightest home theater class only beat by its brother the 3700. But now you see it is getting more expensive and we just love spending other peoples money.

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Oh boy, now I’m almost ready to buy the refurbished 2150 which is much more than I wanted to spend. @rekbones I’m going to have to tap out at the 2150 although the 3100 sure seems nice.
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The reason I suggest the 705HD is for such a small investment you can find out if a projector will even work for you. If your willing to up your budget to $800 the 3100 is really the right projector for what your trying to do. It can be mounted right side up on the roof and has a much larger zoom/shift so you would have a much larger range of screen sizes and very simple setup with screen alignment as I assume you will need to take it down when your not using it. It also has the advantage of the second brightest home theater class only beat by its brother the 3700. But now you see it is getting more expensive and we just love spending other peoples money.

Yes exactly... It's very easy to spool up and do the job with better PQ and features that makes setup relatively painless. But the additional flexibility comes at a price, it takes spending money and you can do that very quickly.

The Epson 3XXX series maybe the best value for backyard theater for most setups. But it comes with a price. I use an HC1040/1060 and it works great for half the cost. I've used it up to 200" with 165" being my favorite image size for this unit outdoors. But I have down sized to 144" for ease of setup. The HC1040/1060 at 144" image size is close to an LCD TV in the dark of night.

The newer model Epson's generally make great backyard theater projectors. But like all of the lower cost units from any manufacture, throw distance is in the 12'-14' range for 100"-120" screen sizes. I've no doubt the HC705HD will work well if it's in good condition all be it with limitations on contrast and resolution and in the OP's case the desired throw range. Wishing to mount it on the roof at a 21' throw is the much bigger challenge.

It's maybe not intuitive, especially for a first timer, to work with throw distance/screen size. A 20' throw is nice to have out doors but it's limited to more expensive units.

If one can be patient and has the time, it's incredible what can pop up on Craigslist. Just the other day an Epson HC4010 came up on CL in my neck of the woods with very low hours and the seller was asking only $400. By the time I could call, it was of course gone.

Right now, the referb HC2150 at Epson best fits his physical requests, gives him good PQ IMHO with perhaps the cost being a problem. And that can change in a few hours or a day if you're looking at the used or referb supply.
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I agree that the refurb HC2150 is the sweet spot for price/performance, especially considering its longer throw zoom lens that's way more flexible for image size at a greater distance than any of the others. A 1.6:1 zoom lens is typically only found on projectors costing >$1,000 so from that sense the HC2150 is a true bargain. A refurbished HC1060 would be best for maximum brightness, but with its 1.2:1 zoom lens it needs to be mounted much closer to the screen to be able to throw the same size image as the HC2150. The HC2150 replaced the older HC2045 in the Epson lineup and is a much improved model.
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Hi guys, I found an Epson HC3020 for $375 locally supposedly with a new lamp. With this latest find, would the HC2150 still be the recommended one to get?

After all of this, I was looking through my storage room and found an old Infocus X2 projector. Now I know this is old with only a resolution of 800x600 (yet somehow it can do 1280x720? The world of projectors sure is confusing haha), but it seems like it has a very long throw. I ordered the Visual Apex screen and ended up going with the 132" option. I'm going to try the Infocus projector on it and see how it looks. I'm not expecting anything great.
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The 3020 is a fairly old projector with no lens shift and a fixed offset. I would still go for the 2150 with warranty.

"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 36 Old 05-04-2019, 07:35 AM
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Hi guys, I found an Epson HC3020 for $375 locally supposedly with a new lamp. With this latest find, would the HC2150 still be the recommended one to get?

After all of this, I was looking through my storage room and found an old Infocus X2 projector. Now I know this is old with only a resolution of 800x600 (yet somehow it can do 1280x720? The world of projectors sure is confusing haha), but it seems like it has a very long throw. I ordered the Visual Apex screen and ended up going with the 132" option. I'm going to try the Infocus projector on it and see how it looks. I'm not expecting anything great.
I would go with the HC3020 with no problem if you want to save the money. It's a nice unit, picture quality should maybe be a little better than the HC2150. It has a better lens assembly and contrast ratio is better too. It will support your 21' throw distance with no problem. Again that's all predicated on the condition of the unit. I would suggest that you move on it quickly at that price. Looks like a good find!

With the HC3020 on the VisualApex 132" screen, you should be around 25-30 fL on a new bulb. Nice bright image for the backyard.

The Infocus X2 can work too. The down side is the resolution as you know and it's 4:3 native panel will re-size/scale for a 16:9 image. Maybe expect to see some pixel structure on the image and it maybe a little soft as well. It looks like you can maybe squeak out a 132" screen image at around ~20' 5" with it.
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