Best projector for room with white walls and large windows? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Best projector for room with white walls and large windows?

This is for a great room with white walls and floor to ceiling windows around half of the room. Obviously this is not going to be a top cinema experience, but looking for advice on what might work best.

We currently have a projector in this room (a Mitsubishi HC5500), but it's about 10 years old and according to the manual puts out about 1,200 lumens. If there's any daylight, the picture is really washed out.

There's some projectors at work that I've noticed do surprisingly well in a lit room with the windows open during the day. I know there's screens that are better optimized for lit rooms, but for aesthetic reasons, we don't want to put a screen on the wall here or use a different paint.

The distance from projector lens to wall is 18.5 ft. I'm assuming that whatever I get here the picture is likely going to be pretty compromised. Thus, I'm not looking to spend a bunch of money on this, but I'm not sure what's available.

In this situation, what specs should I be looking at? Does this just come down to the amount of lumens a projector produces?
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post #2 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 09:30 PM
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You have a good start by already knowing that your current projector is inadequate for use in ambient light in your room at home. You also have the advantage of having access to projectors in your workplace that you think would be satisfactorily bright in your home environment. You should take advantage of that by getting the brand and model number of those workplace projectors so that you can see what their specs are, especially the lumen rating. Then it's a simple matter of finding home projector models with similar lumen ratings to the business projectors in your workplace.

Then it comes down to compromise. The best projectors for dark theater environments are not the best performers in ambient light and vice versa. If you want to view in both ambient light and in the dark you will need to compromise on a projector that's pretty good at both but not the best for either environment.
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post #3 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plug View Post
This is for a great room with white walls and floor to ceiling windows around half of the room. Obviously this is not going to be a top cinema experience, but looking for advice on what might work best.

We currently have a projector in this room (a Mitsubishi HC5500), but it's about 10 years old and according to the manual puts out about 1,200 lumens. If there's any daylight, the picture is really washed out.

There's some projectors at work that I've noticed do surprisingly well in a lit room with the windows open during the day. I know there's screens that are better optimized for lit rooms, but for aesthetic reasons, we don't want to put a screen on the wall here or use a different paint.

The distance from projector lens to wall is 18.5 ft. I'm assuming that whatever I get here the picture is likely going to be pretty compromised. Thus, I'm not looking to spend a bunch of money on this, but I'm not sure what's available.

In this situation, what specs should I be looking at? Does this just come down to the amount of lumens a projector produces?


What is the size of the projected image, diagonally?

Some of the brightest home cinema projectors out there are the Epson HC3100/HC3700 for 1080p and HC3200/3800 for 4K.


However, no matter what projector you get the image still will be washed out. A TV is the solution.


What about a drop down screen?
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post #4 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Then it comes down to compromise. The best projectors for dark theater environments are not the best performers in ambient light and vice versa. If you want to view in both ambient light and in the dark you will need to compromise on a projector that's pretty good at both but not the best for either environment.
Interesting. What qualities are sacrificed in a projector optimized for ambient light?
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post #5 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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What is the size of the projected image, diagonally?
156"


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However, no matter what projector you get the image still will be washed out. A TV is the solution.

What about a drop down screen?
It's a nice clean wall. The wife doesn't want any stuff on the wall/ceiling. I did wonder about something that could descend from out of the ceiling, but not sure that would work since the joists are going in the wrong direction, and also the ceiling is 20 ft tall, so it's a pretty long drop.
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post #6 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 10:24 PM
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Interesting. What qualities are sacrificed in a projector optimized for ambient light?
Mainly contrast and color accuracy. Business projectors push the white level by sacrificing color intensity in DLP or color accuracy in LCD. LCD is more suited for home video in poor light conditions as it doesn't reduce color intensity but will elevate the black floor for poor black level. A UST with a floor rising ALR screen is by far the best possible solution in a room like you describe but is most likely out of your budget. Epson has some very bright Data Grade projectors that will work a little better then what you have but don't expect a vast improvement.
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post #7 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plug View Post
156"




It's a nice clean wall. The wife doesn't want any stuff on the wall/ceiling. I did wonder about something that could descend from out of the ceiling, but not sure that would work since the joists are going in the wrong direction, and also the ceiling is 20 ft tall, so it's a pretty long drop.
The screen could be hanged with metal wires, and may not be aesthetic.

An drop down 156" ALR screen would be very expensive. The throw range is 1.6x, so there will probably be some hotspotting. Not to mention no light would have to come from the projector side, other than the projector's beam itself.
A grey screen would help (less than the ALR) but still expensive in that configuration.

The four Epson models mentioned above are some of the HC brightest units.
What is the budget?

What are the other projectors that you saw that did well?
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post #8 of 23 Old 12-10-2019, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like the Epson HC1450 is an interesting option. 4,200 lumens, $1,430 new, $1,000 refurbished:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B06VWVK3RL

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07DBFW6V6

Looking at the manual, looks like it will work for my screen size (156") and throw distance (222"):

https://files.support.epson.com/doci..._plhc1450.html

$1,000–$1,500 is a good price range.


Am I missing anything?
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post #9 of 23 Old 12-11-2019, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plug View Post
156"




It's a nice clean wall. The wife doesn't want any stuff on the wall/ceiling. I did wonder about something that could descend from out of the ceiling, but not sure that would work since the joists are going in the wrong direction, and also the ceiling is 20 ft tall, so it's a pretty long drop.
Your wife doesn't want anything on the ceiling or walls ? So you are just going to have a 12' wide section of white wall left blank in the room ? Really, a dark gray painted wall and a very bright projector are the best solution in a "white room with windows".



Another alternative would be to create a room-within-a-room.



This can be done with drapes that come out from the screen wall by several feet. If the ceiling is 20ft, then having a dark drapery ceiling may not even be necessary. The nice thing about this solution is that the drapes can be pushed up against the wall when not in use so it doesn't change the decor.



If you didn't want to leave the 12' wide section blank, you could create large pieces of art work with black velvet on the reverse side and then hang them using hinges on the outer edges; that way you have art covering the wall when the projector is not in use, but when opened 90 degrees from the wall you have large black flaps protecting the projected image from light entering the side windows.
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post #10 of 23 Old 12-11-2019, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plug View Post
This is for a great room with white walls and floor to ceiling windows around half of the room. Obviously this is not going to be a top cinema experience, but looking for advice on what might work best.

We currently have a projector in this room (a Mitsubishi HC5500), but it's about 10 years old and according to the manual puts out about 1,200 lumens. If there's any daylight, the picture is really washed out.

There's some projectors at work that I've noticed do surprisingly well in a lit room with the windows open during the day. I know there's screens that are better optimized for lit rooms, but for aesthetic reasons, we don't want to put a screen on the wall here or use a different paint.

The distance from projector lens to wall is 18.5 ft. I'm assuming that whatever I get here the picture is likely going to be pretty compromised. Thus, I'm not looking to spend a bunch of money on this, but I'm not sure what's available.

In this situation, what specs should I be looking at? Does this just come down to the amount of lumens a projector produces?
You're working with a compromised situation and you seem to have a good understanding that you're going to have compromises' with regards to picture quality.

In it's day, the Mitsubishi HC5500 was a fairly high lumen output projector. Using it this long, you've no doubt a good understanding of it's short comings.

Yes, I think you're on the right track looking for high lumen output. The problem with high lumen output projector's is that they tend to offset contrast and color accuracy for brightness. This is especially true with projectors at lower price points.

The Epson HC1450 is not necessarily a bad choice given your needs, but it will not offer the best color accuracy and contrast. I would suggest that you take a look at the Epson HC3700 or the new Epson HC3800 4K projector. They will have slightly less light output compared to the HC1450 but much better color/contrast. The HC3700/HC3800 will both offer a substantial improvement in light output and picture quality over your Mitsubishi HC5500.

The HC3700 can be found for ~$1000 and the new HC3800 is at a comparable price to the HC1450. The new HC3800 also supports 4K 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0; so there's that too. They booth have a good lens, lots of placement flexibility, and will project your desired 156" image size and throw distance without breaking a sweat. I would add that you could reduce your image size during the daylight hours to increase the perceived brightness as well.
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post #11 of 23 Old 12-11-2019, 08:30 AM
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@Plug , as others have said, projectors optimized for use in ambient light sacrifice contrast and color accuracy for increased lumens and projectors optimized for use in the dark sacrifice lumens for increased contrast and color accuracy. Perhaps the most noticeable downside of using a bright room projector in the dark is elevated black levels that result in greyish blacks. Some people are more sensitive to this than others.

In compromising between adequate bright and dark room performance it's important to understand what's most important to you. For example, I do all my serious reference viewing after dark and only casual viewing when there is light in the room. So I'm willing to accept a dimmer image in ambient light for my casual viewing in return for superior contrast with convincing black levels and color accuracy when I'm doing more serious viewing in the dark. Others may prefer the opposite.

I agree that the Epson 1450, 3700 and 3800 are all good candidates to replace your current 1,200-lumen projector. While all three would work both in ambient light and in the dark, the 1450 would be better in ambient light due to its 4,000+ lumens whereas the 3,000-lumen 3700 and 3800 would be better for viewing in the dark due to better contrast and color accuracy. Even the 3700/3800 will be 2.5 times brighter than your current projector (3,000 vs. 1,200 lumens). The 3700 is currently on closeout sale because it's being replaced by the 3800 which is a much improved model. The 3700 is native 1080p while the 3800 has pixel shifting for 4K capability and other new features. There's an active thread here on the new 3800 where you can see user comments.

The suggestion from @b curry to use lens zoom to reduce image size during daylight hours to increase perceived brightness is a great idea to consider.
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post #12 of 23 Old 12-11-2019, 09:39 AM
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The suggestion from @b curry to use lens zoom to reduce image size during daylight hours to increase perceived brightness is a great idea to consider.
On that note...

Reducing the image from the OP's desired 156" image size to a 100" image size, based on the manufactures spec's, the foot lambert value or the perceived brightness would be more than double. A 100" image still being a relatively large image.

FWIW, my living room has 24' ceilings with the west facing wall perpendicular to the projected wall and filled with 10' high windows for a 20' run. I've use an Epson HC1040/1060 (3000 lumen) to project a 100" image on the 24' high south wall in daylight for sports, etc. The wall is painted off white. While it's not a great picture, it's watchable and similar to what you might see in a lot of sports bars. That is, color is a little washed with contrast lacking.
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post #13 of 23 Old 12-11-2019, 04:27 PM
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May I suggest.... a TV?

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post #14 of 23 Old 12-12-2019, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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May I suggest.... a TV?
Very reasonable advice, but it doesn't fit the aesthetic. A projected image on the wall is way cooler. I have another room for more serious viewing.
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post #15 of 23 Old 12-12-2019, 10:42 PM - Thread Starter
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On that note...

Reducing the image from the OP's desired 156" image size to a 100" image size, based on the manufactures spec's, the foot lambert value or the perceived brightness would be more than double. A 100" image still being a relatively large image.

FWIW, my living room has 24' ceilings with the west facing wall perpendicular to the projected wall and filled with 10' high windows for a 20' run. I've use an Epson HC1040/1060 (3000 lumen) to project a 100" image on the 24' high south wall in daylight for sports, etc. The wall is painted off white. While it's not a great picture, it's watchable and similar to what you might see in a lot of sports bars. That is, color is a little washed with contrast lacking.
Thank you, you're giving me confidence that 3,000 lumens is enough for my situation, which makes the Epson HC3700 or HC3800 more attractive.

So now I'm trying to decide between these two. Either way, looks like I should wait a bit. The HC3800 will be out soon, and I'm assuming that will drive the price for the HC3700 down.
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I would suggest black out curtains for the windows.. its so dark even in the day time. you would think it was still night. I have the benq 2050a. I would suggest a screen more then the wall. better detail. I use a tripod type of screen from elite.

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post #17 of 23 Old 12-12-2019, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
If you didn't want to leave the 12' wide section blank, you could create large pieces of art work with black velvet on the reverse side and then hang them using hinges on the outer edges; that way you have art covering the wall when the projector is not in use, but when opened 90 degrees from the wall you have large black flaps protecting the projected image from light entering the side windows.
Nice, this is a really cleaver idea.
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post #18 of 23 Old 12-13-2019, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Plug View Post
Thank you, you're giving me confidence that 3,000 lumens is enough for my situation, which makes the Epson HC3700 or HC3800 more attractive.

So now I'm trying to decide between these two. Either way, looks like I should wait a bit. The HC3800 will be out soon, and I'm assuming that will drive the price for the HC3700 down.
The 3800 is out now and the 3700 is on close out prices.

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post #19 of 23 Old 12-13-2019, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I don’t even see the 3800 listed at Amazon. BestBuy is out of stock.

Where’s the best place to buy a 3700?
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post #20 of 23 Old 12-13-2019, 09:23 AM
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I don’t even see the 3800 listed at Amazon. BestBuy is out of stock.

Where’s the best place to buy a 3700?
Pricing and sourcing is not supposed to be discussed in this section of AVS Forum. You should check the Front Projectors Great Found Deals! section where that discussion is encouraged.
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post #21 of 23 Old 12-13-2019, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
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Thank you, you're giving me confidence that 3,000 lumens is enough for my situation, which makes the Epson HC3700 or HC3800 more attractive.

So now I'm trying to decide between these two. Either way, looks like I should wait a bit. The HC3800 will be out soon, and I'm assuming that will drive the price for the HC3700 down.

Well, they are both available now and easy to pick up at a Best Buy or the usual places that offer on line shopping.

If you have no plans to use UHD Blu-ray or want to save some money, I'd go with the HC3700. The HC3800 supports 4K, so if you're streaming any 4K or want to use UHD Blu-ray the HC3800 maybe the way to go. The HC3800 would also be more relevant going forward 10 years as you have with your Mitsubishi.

You probably would not notice much difference between the two with ambient room light during the day but at night the HC3800 might have a little better PQ depending on your seating distance.

Best Buy Magnolia stores will often have the HC3700 setup for display and I assume they will have the HC3800 at some time too. In typical Epson fashion, six months from now, you'll find the HC3800 at lower prices on sale no doubt. I see Best Buy is selling the HC3800 for $100 less than MSRP now.
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post #22 of 23 Old 12-13-2019, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok! I ordered the HC3800 :-) Will be here next week.

Anyone know if I need a different mount? My current mount is for the Mitsubishi HC5500.
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post #23 of 23 Old 12-14-2019, 04:10 AM
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Ok! I ordered the HC3800 :-) Will be here next week.

Anyone know if I need a different mount? My current mount is for the Mitsubishi HC5500.
Maybe, maybe not. Depends on what brand/type mount it is. Best determine that and look up if it will fit as that's what anyone here would have to do.

If it's a Chief or Paramount or Peerless etc. it may need an adapter plate but it will work.
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