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I'm planning on buying my first projector for a combined living room/media room. This will not and cannot be a dedicated home theater. I'd love to get recommendations on the best projector under $5,000 for the type of viewing environment I have. Here are more details:

  • No screen yet - thinking 120" ALR - open to suggestions
  • Viewing distance will be 10-15 feet. Most viewing done by me and the wife will be all the way back at 15 feet.
  • Will use for both Movies/Netflix as well as sports on the weekends
  • Ambient light will come from windows on two walls as well as light leaking in from the dining room next door
  • See attached pictures for room layout - the ceiling is a low reflective value gray, which is the darkest I could convince the wife to go.

I know 100% light control is the way to go - and we can get things very dark at night, but during the day while entertaining will be a challenge. With that said, what are the best projectors that will be bright enough to tackle the lighting issues, but will still be very good quality. I'm looking at the Epson 5050UB for $3000. Through a family discount, I can also get the Sony VW295ES for $3000. I know the Sony is true 4K, but it honestly sounds like for my purposes and the lighting of the room, I may be better off with the Epson. Open to other suggestions as well.

Thanks so much for the help!!

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I'm planning on buying my first projector for a combined living room/media room. This will not and cannot be a dedicated home theater. I'd love to get recommendations on the best projector under $5,000 for the type of viewing environment I have. Here are more details:

  • No screen yet - thinking 120" ALR - open to suggestions
  • Viewing distance will be 10-15 feet. Most viewing done by me and the wife will be all the way back at 15 feet.
  • Will use for both Movies/Netflix as well as sports on the weekends
  • Ambient light will come from windows on two walls as well as light leaking in from the dining room next door
  • See attached pictures for room layout - the ceiling is a low reflective value gray, which is the darkest I could convince the wife to go.

I know 100% light control is the way to go - and we can get things very dark at night, but during the day while entertaining will be a challenge. With that said, what are the best projectors that will be bright enough to tackle the lighting issues, but will still be very good quality. I'm looking at the Epson 5050UB for $3000. Through a family discount, I can also get the Sony VW295ES for $3000. I know the Sony is true 4K, but it honestly sounds like for my purposes and the lighting of the room, I may be better off with the Epson. Open to other suggestions as well.

Thanks so much for the help!!

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If you know your room is not going to be a blockout bat cave, I’d suggest you also look at some DLP offerings.
Better motion handling and potentially cheaper. With the choices you mentioned it sounds like you’ll be paying extra for a lower black level that you’ll likely never see the benefit of b/c of the room.

I much prefer the look of DLP.
 

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In my opinion, if you are not allowed to cover the windows, even with retractable blinds, you should stick with a TV for daytime viewing. If you have seen an ALR screen in a similar environment and can live with it, then go for it. You should probably discount HDR entirely, though. Unfortunately, with projection, the environment makes more difference than the equipment. Shadows and bright spots on the screen are hard to see past to enjoy the projected image.

Possibly look at super bright commercial/business/large venue projector if you really want daytime viewing. Otherwise get a projector, like the 5050, that lets you store multiple settings and swap them between compromised daytime viewing and better night-time settings.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In my opinion, if you are not allowed to cover the windows, even with retractable blinds, you should stick with a TV for daytime viewing. If you have seen an ALR screen in a similar environment and can live with it, then go for it. You should probably discount HDR entirely, though. Unfortunately, with projection, the environment makes more difference than the equipment. Shadows and bright spots on the screen are hard to see past to enjoy the projected image.

Possibly look at super bright commercial/business/large venue projector if you really want daytime viewing. Otherwise get a projector, like the 5050, that lets you store multiple settings and swap them between compromised daytime viewing and better night-time settings.
Thanks for the response! I should have mentioned in my post - I will be able to cover the windows. Just moved into the house so I haven't set up the window treatments yet, but we will use blackout roller shades for the windows in this room. And I'm 92% sure that I'll be able to hang a curtain over the opening between the dining room and this room. So we should have a lot better light control at night. So with that in mind, I'd love something with great movie performance at night, but that is bright enough (likely with an ALR screen) to work for sports during the day.
 

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If you know your room is not going to be a blockout bat cave, I’d suggest you also look at some DLP offerings.
Better motion handling and potentially cheaper. With the choices you mentioned it sounds like you’ll be paying extra for a lower black level that you’ll likely never see the benefit of b/c of the room.

I much prefer the look of DLP.
Thanks for the tip! Do you have any recommendations for a good DLP that will have great black levels for movies when I'll have the better light control at night? Appreciate the help!
 

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If you know your room is not going to be a blockout bat cave, I’d suggest you also look at some DLP offerings.
Better motion handling and potentially cheaper. With the choices you mentioned it sounds like you’ll be paying extra for a lower black level that you’ll likely never see the benefit of b/c of the room.

I much prefer the look of DLP.
Also, not to open up pandora's box, but outside of the better motion handling, what is it about the image quality of DLPs that you like more than other offerings?
 

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If you know your room is not going to be a blockout bat cave, I’️d suggest you also look at some DLP offerings.
Better motion handling and potentially cheaper. With the choices you mentioned it sounds like you’️ll be paying extra for a lower black level that you’️ll likely never see the benefit of b/c of the room.

I much prefer the look of DLP.
Also, not to open up pandora's box, but outside of the better motion handling, what is it about the image quality of DLPs that you like more than other offerings?
Motion’s a big one as is clarity.
You just always get a sharper image from a single DLP chip then you do from converged panels. If you’re a sharpness nut, DLP would be worth a look.
I’m running a BenQ 9060, here’s a look at how it shakes out: https://youtu.be/2iYbVMeeKdU
I’ve had LCOS projectors & even old tube ones. Something about DLP I much prefer in stability, clarity and brightness.
It’s really a personal preference.
When I go to the theatre and they’re running a Sony LCOS, I can always tell.
DLP just seems cleaner and more film like to me. BenQ has a new model you might want to check out: https://youtu.be/nrqIHsd0s9c
Good luck!
 

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Not sure if you've considered a UST projector with an ALR screen. Ambient light is a problem here too. I bought an Optoma CinemaX P1. It's like having a huge flat panel TV, ambient light or not.
 

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Not sure if you've considered a UST projector with an ALR screen. Ambient light is a problem here too. I bought an Optoma CinemaX P1. It's like having a huge flat panel TV, ambient light or not.
Thank you! I have looked into the Optoma Cinemax P1, but haven't seen as many reviews since it just came out. Glad to know you're enjoying yours. How do you think it compares to some of the non-UST projectors mentioned in the thread in terms of image quality?
 

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Thank you! I have looked into the Optoma Cinemax P1, but haven't seen as many reviews since it just came out. Glad to know you're enjoying yours. How do you think it compares to some of the non-UST projectors mentioned in the thread in terms of image quality?
Hard to say how it might compare with the other projectors having not seen them. UHD HDR content on the P1 really blows me away though. We love it.
 

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@Brandon Lopez, some questions:
Are the speakers going to stay there? Because if they are the screen would need to be Acoustic Transparent.
Can the ceiling hold a weight of 26lbs or more? Some of the projectors are heavy.
What kind of screen diagonal did you have in mind. Usually it's recommended that the image is projected on a wall for a few days/weeks to get an idea of what different sizes look like.
Will there be any instances with lights on viewing? If yes what percentage of total viewing time?

ALR screens can have visual artifacts such as hotspots and sparkle.
A better material, a longer throw range, a dimmer projector, and a dimmer projected picture can help mitigate or even eliminate the hotspot/sparkle.
Some ALR screens have a lower viewing cone. For the Cinegrey 3D it's 90 degress (45left, 45 right).

UST ALR screen will not have hotspot/sparkle (unless Fresnel type of fabric).
UST ALR's will do best in rejecting light coming from above.

The quality of an ALR screen versus a non ALR screen will depend on the quality of the material.

One option in this setup is a negative gain screen. With lights on, they will be less effective since the fabric absorbs light and spreads the result uniformly, it does not redirect it like an ALR would. The results are closer to neutral white screen/1.0 gain than an ALR screen.
A matte grey screen. Click the post to see the screenshots.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-s...reens-how-get-white-correct.html#post58626698

It's not worth getting a projector capable of deep blacks. Even the Epson 5050UB would probably be overkill from the black level standpoint.

UST projectors are ok picture quality wise.
A popular example of UST PJ and floor UST ALR screen. Ceiling drop down UST ALR screen also exist:

 

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I have had a few projector set ups in brighter rooms. Its difficult to get the right balance. There are so many trade offs. A grey screen or ALR screen is great in the day time but the picture can have an impact with his material. A high gain screen is an option but they are not the best in the daytime. They can be good when light is not directly on the screen but will need a projector that can get bright and dim. Bright during the day to combat the light and dim at night so its not too bright. Helps with 3D abd HDR as well.

Then, the projector. Since you want good blacks, a ALR screen probably is not the best with a high contrast projector but work best with a DLP. However, there black levels are not the greatest. As stated, you need a longer throw for most ALR screen unless it's a UST ALR, which can be pricey. A good combination with a DLP will be an ALR screen and a Benq HT3550. Should be under $3k for both. A UST projector and UST screen may come in over $4K but those UST 4k DLPs are laser projectors. A high gain screen with a RS1000/NX5 is the best 4K choice if sunlight is not directly on the screen. I use a similar approach in my living room and I watch sports and TV all the time there. That will push the budget to about $5K.
 

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Not sure if you've considered a UST projector with an ALR screen. Ambient light is a problem here too. I bought an Optoma CinemaX P1. It's like having a huge flat panel TV, ambient light or not.
What screen are you using?
 

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Without a doubt you’ll need to get an ALR screen and I will recommend spending a bit extra and make sure it’s a good one. I do get the idea of a DLP projector because your not going to get the best blacks but at night you will be able to watch movies/TV with an ALR screen and get really decent blacks.

So what’s your options other than DLP? My opinion is pick something on the middle ground that offers decent blacks for watching stuff at night with lights off yet has plenty of lumens to deliver a good bright image during the day, the Epson 5050 is the projector which would give you both. Of course you could spend more if you like and get a JVC NX5 which will give a better picture again than the Epson but realistically for 60% of the price of the JVC you are easily getting 85% plus the performance or even more because your room won’t be the perfect room where the JVC excels.
 
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