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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here's my dilemma. I know that a better quality screen will often provide you with a better picture, but I'm not sure if I should spend $900 on a good budget projector (like the BenQ HT1075) with a $1100 screen, or spend $1700 on a better projector (like the Epson 3500 or 3600e) with a $300 screen? Besides general PQ, I want the best possible contrast I can get for $2000. Should the focus be the projector, or the screen?? :confused:
 

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Actually, budget screen, good projector, well light controlled room. A budget projector on a budget screen in a good room will beat a great projector and screen in a poor room IMO.

And in that price range, I'd definitely get the better projector and a basic screen. But once again, the room matters as much or more.
 

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^^^That.

Except the Panasonic ae8000 for around $1600-1700, you won't find a projector offering significantly better contrast than the w1070/w1075 without spending around $2000+ on something like the Sony hw40 or Epson 5030/5025...and even those won't show significant contrast improvements over the w1070/1075 unless you have them in a dark and fairly dark-colored room.

The screen, on the other hand, can be of great quality at almost any price, or even surprisingly poor quality despite a very high price.

There are light-rejecting specialty screens that can help get back some of the contrast that is lost in a lit or light-colored room, but they can never fully match the image quality of a smooth, neutral-colored surface of natural gain (no gloss or reflective additives) used in a light-controlled room.

If your room is poor, a w1075 is a great choice and you might consider an affordable light-rejecting screen to help (if you can find something with a good return policy in case its artifacts bother you).
If your room is well light-controlled, an ae8000, 5030/5025, or hw40 on a good+affordable 1.0-1.3gain white screen would be the best choice. In that regard a $200 silverticket can beat a $1500 SI, SO price isn't a good indication of quality.

If you have a decent amount of freedom for that room, consider dark paint or dark fabric on curtain-rods to darken the walls and ceiling. It'll only cost around 5-10% of your budget while doubling the useable contrast of cheaper projectors OR 5X-ing the useable contrast for the $2000+ models.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
This would be in a basement that could be completely dark as far as outside ambient light is concerned. The walls are a flat medium grey. Only thing is the ceiling is white.
 

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The medium grey walls are good, but the white ceiling is going to kill any chance of great blacks from even the most expensive projector by reflecting light from the screen back onto the screen. Any additional money spent on one of the expensive specialty dark screens to try to save some of the blacks killed by the ceiling light reflection will still not achieve the quality level of a plain white screen in a room with dark walls, ceilings and floor.

Since a plain white screen in an all-dark room is the optimum solution, the best and most economical solution in this situation would likely be darkening the ceiling, at least in the area nearest the screen. With a dark room, one of the better moderately priced white screens would work well. The best, most expensive white screens may provide slightly better overall image quality. But the difference in perceived contrast between moderately priced and expensive white screens might not even be noticeable.
 

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I agree with the other posters in that the most important aspects of a good projection system starts with the room first, projector second, and screen last. There is something to be said for spending more money on a good screen, though.

Even though more money for a screen does not always equate into better performance, there are reasons to consider a more expensive screen. For a fixed frame screen, the biggest reason to spend more money is the quality of the frame and the system for attaching the screen to the frame. A good quality frame will probably last a lifetime while you go through many projectors and a few screens. Good screen material will give you great performance with your present projector and maybe equal or better performance with your next projector, and possibly the projector after that.
A really good quality, expensive screen, should be looked on as a long term investment that will outlive many projectors.
 

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I see front projection and screen as 50/50.

You need a good source (projector) but the screen is what is what your eyes are watching as that displays the light and is very important.

Sometimes I read about people buying good projectors then buying a low priced, low quality screen. I am not saying you have to buy a Stewart (although I did and have been very happy), but buy a good screen based on your viewing environment and preferences.

Controlling light and reflections goes without saying for front projection. It's a prerequisite before even purchasing a projector and screen,.
 

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I know that a better quality screen will often provide you with a better picture, but I'm not sure if I should spend $900 on a good budget projector (like the BenQ HT1075) with a $1100 screen, or spend $1700 on a better projector (like the Epson 3500 or 3600e) with a $300 screen?
I was facing the same question recently. I wanted to buy the Epson 5030UB with a 120" screen for $2350 (1980 + 370). The salesman told me I should instead buy the Epson 3500 with a 115" Reference 4K screen package for $400 more. Both prices are in C$ (~80% of USD) and include 2 pairs of 3D glasses and a spare lamp.

His reason was that with the 5030UB package, "you would be saving a bit of money and losing a huge amount of performance, just like if you buy a high-end receiver and pair it up with some entry-level speakers".

I'm not quite convinced.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I was facing the same question recently. I wanted to buy the Epson 5030UB with a 120" screen for $2350 (1980 + 370). The salesman told me I should instead buy the Epson 3500 with a 115" Reference 4K screen package for $400 more. Both prices are in C$ (~80% of USD) and include 2 pairs of 3D glasses and a spare lamp.

His reason was that with the 5030UB package, "you would be saving a bit of money and losing a huge amount of performance, just like if you buy a high-end receiver and pair it up with some entry-level speakers".

I'm not quite convinced.
I emailed pretty much the same question to the sales department of a popular HT seller in southern Ontario and they said essentially the same thing. While I can understand their response -- at least in terms of getting, in theory at least, the best possible picture for any given projector -- I cannot help but wonder if a less expensive projector with a high end screen is being pushed over a more expensive projector and a budget screen since the profit margin is likely higher for the former. Why spend $1000 or more on a screen when the extra money can be spent on a much better projector with superior features or specs? I'd love to see side-by-side comparisons somewhere of a budget projector and reference screen vs a better projector and a budget screen to gauge the differences for myself. Maybe it is 50/50. Then again, the fact that a Silver Ticket screen at just US$200 is being recommended by The Wirecutter as "the best screen for most people" speaks volumes, imho. But yet again, not all budget screens are created equal ...
 

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Here's my dilemma. I know that a better quality screen will often provide you with a better picture, but I'm not sure if I should spend $900 on a good budget projector (like the BenQ HT1075) with a $1100 screen, or spend $1700 on a better projector (like the Epson 3500 or 3600e) with a $300 screen? Besides general PQ, I want the best possible contrast I can get for $2000. Should the focus be the projector, or the screen?? :confused:
For 200 bux you can paint your screen on and build a frame for it. Cheapest way to go to get the projector that you want. Dont understand why more people dont go with this diy route. Screens are over priced and over rated easily.:)
 

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Well, here is my experience. Budget projector and budget screen.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have purchased a more expensive, tab tensioned screen. If it's a "fixed screen" - - it's easier to replace. Mine is a motorized mount that was a little more complicated to install.

Once you go "big screen projector," you don't go back. You might have a dual setup like I have but being thoroughly immersed in a movie with that "theater like" experience makes movies a real treat. I had my bro's over for the NCAA Men's Final Basketball game and we watched it on my100" screen. You could see the entire half court easily on the big screen and all the action without having it squeezed on a teeny 65" LCD/LED. :>)

If I would have known in advance that my inexpensive BenQ W1080ST (same as W1070 but short throw) provided such a great picture, I wouldn't have hesitated to buy a better screen. You might swap out projectors in the future but if you invest in a quality 4K screen now (Elunevision - for one) - - that should last you multiple projectors down the road.

I don't see a 100" OLED in my future unless I win the Lotto.

Best - Rico.
 
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The Room is by far the most important for picture quality, projector next and the screen is last. Can you imagine the poor contrast they get in this very expensive looking room? A decent low end projector in a good room projected on a flat smooth white painted wall will look better then a $10,000 projector on a $5000 screen in this room.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If I had to do it all over again, I would have purchased a more expensive, tab tensioned screen.
To reduce waves/wrinkling, or because the colors and overall PQ would have been better? The least expensive tab tensioned screen I could find in Canada was the Elite Screen ELECTRIC100HT. It's MaxWhite with 1.1 gain, but was hoping for a grey to maximize contrast.
 

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If you are doing an acoustically transparent screen, then priorities might be reversed somewhat, especially if it is a retractable screen.

The moire on my Elite '1080p' budget screen really messes up the picture of my HT1075 big time and the waves create annoyingly nonuniform patterns in the moire too. I am looking into DIY solution now because all the tensioned retractable AT screens I have come across are very expensive.

So far, the best solution I have come up with is to take apart the Elite and put in a better material with a makeshift DIY tensioning system. The next best solution is to build a manually operated screen out of hardware store parts and AT fabric.

Otherwise, I agree with your (current) poll result that the projector is the thing to prioritize over the screen, and as in audio, the room is also a huge factor.
 

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Good screens do make a difference and a good screen will last through many projectors. However, when you factor price vs. performance the answer would vary depending on your price range. In your price range spending more on the projector will be a bigger jump in performance than spending more on a better screen. Now if you were spending more than $5000 on a projector, I'd rather spend $2000 on a good screen than spend $2000 to get the next best projector. Get the better projector.
 

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To reduce waves/wrinkling, or because the colors and overall PQ would have been better? The least expensive tab tensioned screen I could find in Canada was the Elite Screen ELECTRIC100HT. It's MaxWhite with 1.1 gain, but was hoping for a grey to maximize contrast.
Primarily for screen uniformity and tightness of weave. My main point is that your first projector isn't usually the best projector you end up with your HT setup. Especially with 4K coming in a couple of years.

I priced an Elunevision 4k screen (100" - 16 x 9) for around $1100. Depending on your budget, you can invest in a higher quality screen and not have to replace it for many years to come.

If it is a motorized, retractable screen - - all the more reason to do it right the first time. Combined, I think you can find a very nice setup for around a grand for the projector and a grand for a screen.

I believe you have to jump up to $3K or $4K to find an appreciable difference in projector PQ. When you start talking contrast and black levels, that to me means a higher cost projector in the $3K or $4K range -IMHO.

Whatever you do -- if you can get your projector first and project the picture on the wall you will be using, you'll get a better idea on placement. I do not have any experience with a grey screen as I prefer a white screen for the brightest output.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
After much deliberation, I knew that if I purchased a budget screen with a great projector I'd still be wanting that great screen. And if I purchased a budget projector with a great screen I'd still be wanting that great projecter. I had initially decided to get a great projector with a budget screen, but after some back and forth and an offer I coudn't refuse from Eastporters, I've finally decided to bite the bullet and get a great projector with a great screen -- Epson 5030ub (Epson will mail a free lamp for purchases made between 4/1/2015 and 6/30/2015) and a fixed 100" EluneVision Reference Studio 4K screen. I think I made a good decision. We'll see ...
 

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If you have good control over your lighting and you have decent control over your projector placement (and dont require lense shift) a lower end Epson would do you nicely, benq's are decent but they still rainbow, and if your pickey its annoying to the point of throwing it. (getting something like an Epson 2030 if you want to be budget tight, just remember no fancy features like lenses shift so placement is your trade off)

As far as a budget screen, you can get quite awesome results literally out of using some wood and blackout blind material. you can make a 120" screen for about 60$ or less and that gives a really nice picture in the dark. all you need is a handsaw, a stapler (heavy duty one not a paper stapler) and material from a fabric shop. Ive made a number of these and you can make them nice and border less looking by wrapping material behind the frame and stapling as you pull/tighten as you go for a perfect finish. (dont use 1x1 finger jointed wood though it will bow/warp)

All the above mentioned can be put together for less than 1k.

Hope that helps.
 
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