UST projector viable for backyard movie night? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 82 Old 05-24-2020, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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UST projector viable for backyard movie night?

For pandemic summer evening activities we are thinking about putting together a backyard projector setup for distance movie watching with friends. Initially I was thinking a relatively inexpensive 1080p standard projector and screen with stand. Then I started thinking if I spend a little more maybe I could get something that I would be happy still using indoors the rest of the time since outdoor use won't be a terribly frequent activity and only during summer. We have our primary quality set up in the living room with a 65" OLED (see sig for details) and a secondary setup in the basement that kids occasionally use. Neither is really suitable for a standard projector set up but an UST would work. I don't think I'm ready to trade the OLED quality for an UST despite the screen size advantage and additionally there is an HVAC vent that would be in the way of a large screen. So the basement setup may be a good place plus it doesn't get much light. So I was looking at the VAVA UST projector as it's not terribly expensive. Any thoughts on using this for an outdoor projector? I would think it would be fine as these seem to be reasonable for living rooms even with some light but I have no projector experience. Ideally we would want to start watching before it's totally pitch dark out so it's not so late for kids. Thanks for any input or other thoughts.

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post #2 of 82 Old 05-24-2020, 01:56 PM
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The biggest issue with UST screens is they require a very flat screen. Do to the steep angle of projection any irregularity will cause a shadow so getting a screen very flat outside might be more challenging.

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post #3 of 82 Old 05-24-2020, 02:00 PM
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Even with a perfectly flat screen UST projectors are very fussy about being in the perfect position to throw the best image. Longer throw models are not only more forgiving of a screen that's not perfectly flat but they're much easier to set up in proper position.
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post #4 of 82 Old 05-24-2020, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rekbones View Post
The biggest issue with UST screens is they require a very flat screen. Do to the steep angle of projection any irregularity will cause a shadow so getting a screen very flat outside might be more challenging.
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Even with a perfectly flat screen UST projectors are very fussy about being in the perfect position to throw the best image. Longer throw models are not only more forgiving of a screen that's not perfectly flat but they're much easier to set up in proper position.
Thanks. Glad I asked the question. So maybe my initial plan of a less expensive but bright 1080p standard projector delegated to just outdoor use may be best.

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post #5 of 82 Old 05-24-2020, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by confinoj View Post
Thanks. Glad I asked the question. So maybe my initial plan of a less expensive but bright 1080p standard projector delegated to just outdoor use may be best.
Right, and another negative for UST projectors is that they don't work as well on larger screens due to their lens geometry. The most frequently recommended backyard movie projector on this forum is the Epson Home Cinema 1060. It's inexpensive, bright, light weight and easy to set up. It could be considered a medium-short throw model in that it can throw a 150" image from as close as 11' 2" lens to screen.
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post #6 of 82 Old 05-25-2020, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Right, and another negative for UST projectors is that they don't work as well on larger screens due to their lens geometry. The most frequently recommended backyard movie projector on this forum is the Epson Home Cinema 1060. It's inexpensive, bright, light weight and easy to set up. It could be considered a medium-short throw model in that it can throw a 150" image from as close as 11' 2" lens to screen.
Thanks for the projector recommendation. Will it still need to be totally dark out to get a reasonable image for that level of brightness? Sunset here in Cleveland is late around 9pm during summer being at the edge of the time zone. Not sure I want to step up to a 4k model for limited outdoor use but if I did any recommendations?

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post #7 of 82 Old 05-25-2020, 08:16 AM
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@confinoj , for outdoor movies it's really not possible to predict how much ambient light someone else is willing to tolerate. Any light at all will produce some image washout and different people have different tolerances for image washout. The ambient light changes so rapidly as twilight deepens that a much brighter projector may only allow you to start a movie 10 minutes earlier. The only sure way to know for sure how far the sun needs to be below the horizon for acceptable image washout is to see it with your own eyes. Hopefully @b curry will comment here as he has experience using the 1060 for outdoor movies and may have some images to share.

The good thing about starting earlier with little kids is that they're not as picky about image washout and will be more focused on image size. However, just remember that the bigger the image with a given projector the dimmer the image will appear. You are spreading the same number of projector lumens over a larger surface so you end up with fewer foot-lamberts of brightness per square foot of image. The projector, screen and environment work together as a system with each variable affecting the others.

For 4K performance with roughly the same brightness as the Epson Home Cinema 1060 the Epson Home Cinema 3800 is often recommended. It's obviously more expensive and is also a much larger projector that's not as easy to move around as the 1060.
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post #8 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confinoj View Post
Thanks for the projector recommendation. Will it still need to be totally dark out to get a reasonable image for that level of brightness? Sunset here in Cleveland is late around 9pm during summer being at the edge of the time zone. Not sure I want to step up to a 4k model for limited outdoor use but if I did any recommendations?
The sun is a very powerful source of light that is difficult and expensive to counter. You would only get a few minutes extra anyway.
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post #9 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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The sun is a very powerful source of light that is difficult and expensive to counter. You would only get a few minutes extra anyway.
Thanks. That seems to be the general consensus. To quote They Might Be Giants - "The sun is mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace"

I went with the Epson 1060 and a 135" Elite Yardmaster 2 screen. Now looking into sound options. Looking into a pair of portable bluetooth speakers that do true stereo pairing that I would pair with an Apple TV and try to hang on each side of screen frame. If that doesn't work out then likely a powered bookshelf pair. The bluetooth route is simpler and wire free so hoping I find something that sounds good enough for the backyard.

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post #10 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confinoj View Post
Thanks. That seems to be the general consensus. To quote They Might Be Giants - "The sun is mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace"

I went with the Epson 1060 and a 135" Elite Yardmaster 2 screen. Now looking into sound options. Looking into a pair of portable bluetooth speakers that do true stereo pairing that I would pair with an Apple TV and try to hang on each side of screen frame. If that doesn't work out then likely a powered bookshelf pair. The bluetooth route is simpler and wire free so hoping I find something that sounds good enough for the backyard.
The Epson HC1060 is a pretty solid choice for back yard theater. It will also do a good job indoors as a pop-up display for Super Bowl parties etc. and there are many that use it as a home theater projector. It's primary weakness is black levels, but the picture quality is otherwise quite good. You can spend more and you may get some improvement in contrast but you realistically won't be able to start the movie any sooner.

With a 135" screen you're going to have picture brightness similar to an LCD TV with a dark sky.

There isn't a projector available that can compete with sunshine and everyone wants a projector that can start early "for the kids". If backyard movie in daylight is your goal, it's better to look at the largest LED TV you can buy.

You're not that far away from me in the Cleveland area, I'm near Ann Arbor. You will be able to start a movie outdoors near the end of what's called "Civil Twilight". "Civil Twilight" is approximately 30 minuets after the official sunset time for your area. So what that means is that near the end of June it will be around 10:00PM for the start of a movie. I use the US Navy Observatory site to check sunset/civil twilight times in advance for planing a start time.

I'll attach a picture of an HC1060 with an image on a 144" screen in July at about 20 minuets after the official sunset time as a reference for you. The setup is in a forest with the leaves blocking much of the sun, but you'll be able to get an idea of what to expect.

Bluetooth audio is not such a good idea and especially so if you plan on using any type of HDMI input source. There is inherent latency in Bluetooth audio and it was never designed to synchronize audio with an HDMI source. In other words, the audio won't sync with the video.

The simplest audio solution is to use a powered speaker, something like an Ion Block Rocker fed by the audio out of your source. Keep in mind, you don't have to place the speaker by the screen. I set up a full 5.3 surround in my back yard. Some people use an FM transmitter and small transistor radio's for each person to simulate the speaker in the car sound of old drive-ins.

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post #11 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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The Epson HC1060 is a pretty solid choice for back yard theater. It will also do a good job indoors as a pop-up display for Super Bowl parties etc. and there are many that use it as a home theater projector. It's primary weakness is black levels, but the picture quality is otherwise quite good. You can spend more and you may get some improvement in contrast but you realistically won't be able to start the movie any sooner.

With a 135" screen you're going to have picture brightness similar to an LCD TV with a dark sky.

There isn't a projector available that can compete with sunshine and everyone wants a projector that can start early "for the kids". If backyard movie in daylight is your goal, it's better to look at the largest LED TV you can buy.

You're not that far away from me in the Cleveland area, I'm near Ann Arbor. You will be able to start a movie outdoors near the end of what's called "Civil Twilight". "Civil Twilight" is approximately 30 minuets after the official sunset time for your area. So what that means is that near the end of June it will be around 10:00PM for the start of a movie. I use the US Navy Observatory site to check sunset/civil twilight times in advance for planing a start time.

I'll attach a picture of an HC1060 with an image on a 144" screen in July at about 20 minuets after the official sunset time as a reference for you. The setup is in a forest with the leaves blocking much of the sun, but you'll be able to get an idea of what to expect.

Bluetooth audio is not such a good idea and especially so if you plan on using any type of HDMI input source. There is inherent latency in Bluetooth audio and it was never designed to synchronize audio with an HDMI source. In other words, the audio won't sync with the video.

The simplest audio solution is to use a powered speaker, something like an Ion Block Rocker fed by the audio out of your source. Keep in mind, you don't have to place the speaker by the screen. I set up a full 5.3 surround in my back yard. Some people use an FM transmitter and small transistor radio's for each person to simulate the speaker in the car sound of old drive-ins.

Thanks for your input. The fair black levels may bother me a bit but for this purpose hard for me to justify stepping up the cost. Yes I'm aware standard bluetooth may have AV sync issues in most applications. However current version of tvOS on Apple TV can actually perform an AV sync using an iOS device (it plays test tones and measures delay). Will look into your suggestions as well.

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post #12 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post
The Epson HC1060 is a pretty solid choice for back yard theater. It will also do a good job indoors as a pop-up display for Super Bowl parties etc. and there are many that use it as a home theater projector. It's primary weakness is black levels, but the picture quality is otherwise quite good. You can spend more and you may get some improvement in contrast but you realistically won't be able to start the movie any sooner.
Just out of curiosity any other projectors with better contrast but similar brightness that are still under 1K that you would recommend?

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post #13 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by confinoj View Post
Thanks for your input. The fair black levels may bother me a bit but for this purpose hard for me to justify stepping up the cost. Yes I'm aware standard bluetooth may have AV sync issues in most applications. However current version of tvOS on Apple TV can actually perform an AV sync using an iOS device (it plays test tones and measures delay). Will look into your suggestions as well.
aptX Bluetooth is an improvement but still a problem. Good luck.
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post #14 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 08:45 AM
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Just out of curiosity any other projectors with better contrast but similar brightness that are still under 1K that you would recommend?
The HC2150 will trade lumens for contrast and also has a lens shift feature.

It will not be as bright but should be fine for your screen size. The unit is a bit bigger in size.

There's no projector out there that will give you LG OLED black.
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The HC2150 will trade lumens for contrast and also has a lens shift feature.

It will not be as bright but should be fine for your screen size. The unit is a bit bigger in size.

There's no projector out there that will give you LG OLED black.
Thanks. Certainly not expecting anywhere near OLED blacks. I think I'd rather have the brightness. However the lens shift does add some convenience in terms of set up. How much flexibility will I have vertically with the 1060? Does is have to be dead center?

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post #16 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by confinoj View Post
Thanks. Certainly not expecting anywhere near OLED blacks. I think I'd rather have the brightness. However the lens shift does add some convenience in terms of set up. How much flexibility will I have vertically with the 1060? Does is have to be dead center?
The HC1060 has a negative lens offset. There is no lens shift. For your screen size of 135" the projector lens center will need to be placed ~4" above the bottom of the screen. If mounted overhead, it would need the lens center ~4" below the top of the screen.

The HC2150 has positive offset so it can sit below or above the top/bottom of the screen. The lens shift function allows for 15% of vertical image height shift. So it adds a good deal of flexibility in setup.

If you note in my attached photo, I use a VisualApex projector stand. It allows me to adjust projector height as well as pitch and roll for any situation. It makes setup easy and fast. I'm able to setup everything, including 5.3 sound in less than 1 hour.


EDIT: I just checked... The offset for a 135" screen with the HC2150 would place the projector lens center ~7" below the bottom of the screen. You would then have the 15% shift adjustment on top of that.
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post #17 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confinoj View Post
Thanks. Certainly not expecting anywhere near OLED blacks. I think I'd rather have the brightness. However the lens shift does add some convenience in terms of set up. How much flexibility will I have vertically with the 1060? Does is have to be dead center?
Calculators:
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Eps...ulator-pro.htm
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Eps...ulator-pro.htm

For the 2150, after inputting the screen size, at the bottom of the page there is a section called lens shift.
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post #18 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 12:07 PM
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The discontinued Epson 3100/3700 if you can still find them are well under $1k (also check for refurbed). This would be a significant step up from the 1060 and even the 2150. Lots of lens shift, Home theater class blacks and very bright.

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@b curry , what is your solution for powered speaker, as I no not think the Epson 1060 has a speaker. I have the same VAPEX screen, and am looking at summer movies again, but now looking for outdoor projector. Thanks, Russ.
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post #20 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 01:34 PM
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@b curry , what is your solution for powered speaker, as I no not think the Epson 1060 has a speaker. I have the same VAPEX screen, and am looking at summer movies again, but now looking for outdoor projector. Thanks, Russ.
Any powered speaker can work. I've used an ION Block Rocker as well as 2 channel PA speaker setups in the past.

It more or less depends on what type of source you want to use and what audio quality you're expecting.

We now use a Denon AVR with a 5.3 surround setup. That's 5 speakers and 3 subwoofers. The AVR approach gives you the most flexibility for source connection.

We've streamlined the equipment to a point where it takes 5-6 extra minuets to set up the 5.3 system over a 2 channel PA type setup and the sound is so much better. The electronics are all mounted inside a 6 unit portable rack case. The front 3 channels and subwoofer cables are bundled as one "snake" cable. Speakers are mounted on tripods with 1/4" jack connections. All of the speaker connections are color coded for quick connection. It takes me about 45 minuets to setup. With 1-2 helpers after a move, it's all packed up in 15-20 minuets.
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post #21 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 02:54 PM
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WOW! @b curry , that is a great outdoors experience...
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post #22 of 82 Old 05-26-2020, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rekbones View Post
The discontinued Epson 3100/3700 if you can still find them are well under $1k (also check for refurbed). This would be a significant step up from the 1060 and even the 2150. Lots of lens shift, Home theater class blacks and very bright.
I thought I read another forum member state they upgraded from the 3100/3700 because the ELPLP85 bulbs are unavailable is this an issue?
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post #23 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 01:04 AM
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I thought I read another forum member state they upgraded from the 3100/3700 because the ELPLP85 bulbs are unavailable is this an issue?
I have read from time to time that the lamps are often out of stock. I think the new 3200/3800 use the same lamp so they must still be in production.

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post #24 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 12:01 PM
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Seems like a LOT of trouble for a sub-par image just so you can watch a movie outside. Not to mention things like bugs that are attracted to the light of the projector and on the screen. And the inevitable pop-up shower/thunder storm in the summer. It seems like one of those ideas that sounds good until you have to actually execute it the first time then it’s like, “F that. Never again.”
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post #25 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 12:19 PM
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Seems like a LOT of trouble for a sub-par image just so you can watch a movie outside. Not to mention things like bugs that are attracted to the light of the projector and on the screen. And the inevitable pop-up shower/thunder storm in the summer. It seems like one of those ideas that sounds good until you have to actually execute it the first time then it’s like, “F that. Never again.”
Actually the image is quite nice.

Bugs stay away from the projector, the heat from the lamp is not something they like, it's too hot. We also use a yard spray from Cutter. Long story short, bugs are not a problem.

Pop-up shower/thunder storms in the summer, not a problem. We look at the weather report. Really no different than any other outdoor summertime event as far as weather.

Maybe you're better off staying inside or perhaps you're too young to have experienced the fun of Drive-In movies ...

Here's what's possible ...



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post #26 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 12:59 PM
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With a permanent/semi permanent installation like that, that’s a little different. But having to drag out a screen, projector, speakers, run power, etc., like in that earlier pic, that’s just a hassle. And the weather forecast doesn’t mean a thing in the summer. As a matter of fact, one of the worst rain storms I’ve ever been in, was in Michigan in the summer when the forecast was 100% clear. We finally ran that race two days later... Good life lesson, though. That’s why I always have my rain gear with me, even when there isn’t a cloud in the sky. BTW: I’m typing this sitting in my truck, in the middle of a rain storm waiting to do my next live shot in about an hour and a half. When it will be raining even harder.

Not too young to remember drive-ins. As far as a pure “movie experience”, they sucked. The last one around here closed over half a decade ago. But the last time I went to it was back in the 90’s. Going to the drive-in was just a social experience.

You have a nice looking set-up, though.
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post #27 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 01:09 PM
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Wow that is a really impressive setup!

I agree there are challenges and compromises to be made viewing outdoors with some ambient light and so on. Personally, I think most of my audience will be focused on the novelty and experience more than the ultimate picture quality.

That said of course I am interested in hitting the sweet spot with respect to the few projector recommendation made through this thread.

The major differentiators as I understand them are brightness, contrast and colour.

CR Brightness. Colour
1060 15000 3100 10 bit
2150 60000 2500 10 bit
3100 60000 2600 10 bit
3700 70000 3000 10 bit

My question is that with some ambient light (dusk sunset) is the added maximum contrast ratio Readily perceived as effective contrast ratio? (Sunset today at my latitude is at 9:45 so I will typically be screening prior to sunset)

Also I am finding it difficult to differentiate the colour space of these projectors. I am fairly certain non are P3 ... and perhaps it comes back to diminishing returns with ambient light.
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post #28 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 02:35 PM
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Wow that is a really impressive setup!

I agree there are challenges and compromises to be made viewing outdoors with some ambient light and so on. Personally, I think most of my audience will be focused on the novelty and experience more than the ultimate picture quality.

That said of course I am interested in hitting the sweet spot with respect to the few projector recommendation made through this thread.

The major differentiators as I understand them are brightness, contrast and colour.

CR Brightness. Colour
1060 15000 3100 10 bit
2150 60000 2500 10 bit
3100 60000 2600 10 bit
3700 70000 3000 10 bit

My question is that with some ambient light (dusk sunset) is the added maximum contrast ratio Readily perceived as effective contrast ratio? (Sunset today at my latitude is at 9:45 so I will typically be screening prior to sunset)

Also I am finding it difficult to differentiate the colour space of these projectors. I am fairly certain non are P3 ... and perhaps it comes back to diminishing returns with ambient light.

I believe P3-D65 for your list. To be honest, none of them have great CM systems but, the color is quite good out of the box for all of them and really very little to no difference in color between any on your list. I've not seen the HC3100.

Contrast is the big difference. The HC3700 wins hands down. But you paid for it in the original MSRP.

For the price difference in the HC3700 vs. HC3100 you most always will pick the HC3700 for its added brightness.

The HC2150 is a small step up over the HC1060 for contrast but you sacrifice lumens/brightness.

Then there is the physical size. The HC3700/3100 are about twice as big as the HC2150. The HC2150 is about 50% bigger than the HC1060.

None of them work worth a damn until 20-30 minuets after sunset.

So to your question "is the added maximum contrast ratio Readily perceived as effective contrast ratio?"; no not until it's dark and then it's mitigated by starlight, moonlight, streetlights, etc.

Not so long ago, picture quality that the HC1060 produces was impossible at it's price point.


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...
Personally, I think most of my audience will be focused on the novelty and experience more than the ultimate picture quality. ...
You statement pretty much hits the nail on the head in practical use.

My indoor theater room cost 40-45X more than what we use outside. Outside in the backyard is more fun.

The HC1060 will not disappoint any group watching a movie in the backyard. As a matter of fact, I bet you'll have some come forward and complement you on how good it looked.

If you want more contrast, spend more money.

The HC3700 is a very nice piece of kit for the price as is the HC3800 that replaced it.

The HC1060 is a big ball of fun for not a lot of money.

Just as a reference, here's an HC1040 on a 14.5 foot blow-up screen. The HC1060 replaced the HC1040.

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post #29 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 04:28 PM
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Thanks so much for the information, greatly appreciated.

Just today, I took a leap and purchased a 2150 after missing a 1060 deal (now expired) and deciding against 3100, 3700 due to bulb availability and cost.

The 1060 was a logical starting point given how much it will be used, however I was concerned the washed out blacks would bother me.

I probably have some time window time to upgrade to a 3100 (+16%) or 3700 (19%) open to input.

I am also interested in screen options. My plan was to mount a pull down under the eave of my garage ... but I was wondering if a larger foldable or roll option would be practical tensioned with bungee cords attached to garage eave and ground anchors.

I keeping it under the eave will protect the screen from some streetlight scatter and the spurious summer showers mentioned above.
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post #30 of 82 Old 05-27-2020, 04:46 PM
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Thanks so much for the information, greatly appreciated.

Just today, I took a leap and purchased a 2150 after missing a 1060 deal (now expired) and deciding against 3100, 3700 due to bulb availability and cost.

The 1060 was a logical starting point given how much it will be used, however I was concerned the washed out blacks would bother me.

I probably have some time window time to upgrade to a 3100 (+16%) or 3700 (19%) open to input.

I am also interested in screen options. My plan was to mount a pull down under the eave of my garage ... but I was wondering if a larger foldable or roll option would be practical tensioned with bungee cords attached to garage eave and ground anchors.

I keeping it under the eave will protect the screen from some streetlight scatter and the spurious summer showers mentioned above.
I'm not a big fan of pull down screens, too many problems with them.

VisualApex portable screens are reasonably priced, very good quality, and easy to put up/take down/store away. Less than 10 minuets to set up.

They are sold out at the moment but I expect he will have stock in soon. Excellent customer service too.

https://visualapexscreens.com/collec...jector-screens


The other place that I would recommend is Carl's Place. Carl's makes an excellent product but it's a little more work to setup and take down. The Flexiwhite material is what you want.

They sell kits as well as just screen material.

If you want to install something under an eave, I would suggest getting a Flexiwhite finished edge unit. Install hooks under the eave and use bungee's with tent stakes for the bottom edge. Easy up easy down.


https://www.carlofet.com/shop/standi...n-screen-kits?


https://www.carlofet.com/shop/projec...olded+in+a+Box
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