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Came to a fork in the road: RPTV Vs. FP

547 Views 17 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Jackman11
I've came to a fork in the road to building my HT. I was originally going with Front projection until I started measurements for my seating arrangement. The room is only 13 ft. long and if I was building this theater for just me being in it, there'd be no problem. As I need a few more seats for guests and family, there is a problem.

Going with front projection I'd need to build 2 rows of seating to get the seating required. The problem is not the last row but the first row. In order to have comfortable room for the last row approx. 5 ft will be lost. So the first row at a minimum will be 8 ft. away from the screen. As I wanted a 92" to 106" screen (somewhere within that range) the first row will be closer then what is recommended.

This got me thinking if FP is really for me, I love the technology and would love to have a FP system but I don't know if it'll really be worthwhile for me or not. This is why I'd consider going RPTV, it'd be smaller a 65" w/s model, but at least I'd be able to rearrange the seating so that everyone could see.

So I guess I'm asking everyone here which path I should take? Should I continue with the FP path as it wont be much of a problem for the first row being only 8 ft away? Or should I go RPTV so that everyone is comfortable and I have no worries?

FYI the projector I'd be going with is the Panasonic PT-L300 (Ae-300)

Thanks for everyone's input
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A RPTV (assuming it is not built into the wall) will take more of your space than a FP setup. This means the seating distance to the front row will be reduced by the depth of the cabinet.

At 8' seating distance, a 64"wide (36" tall) 16:9 screen would match the 1.5x "rule". (~73" diagonal)

At 6' seating distance (assuming 2' RPTV cabinet depth), a 48" wide (27" tall) 16:9 screen would match the 1.5x "rule". (~55" diagonal)

Going with front projection I'd need to build 2 rows of seating to get the seating required.
... but at least I'd be able to rearrange the seating so that everyone could see.
Could you explain why the seating arrangements are different for a RPTV vs a FP? After all, you can choose the light dispersion pattern for a FP setup by choosing the appropriate screen material. With a RPTV, you are stuck with the manufacturer's choice. You can choose to raise or lower a FP screen MUCH easier than raising or lowering a RPTV. I'm not trying to be antagonistic, I'm just confused as to why you treat them so differently.
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I agree with Huck. Also, the reasons you are giving for going to RPTV don't seem too valid. The only ones I feel are:

1) wiring

2) looks (of the equipment) - some people dont want to have a projector hanging from the wall

3) ambient light

With FP you get:

1) bigger screen, or controll of what size screen you want

2) better viewing angles. if you goo too far up, down, right or left the RPTV becomes dimmer
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to me, fp seems FAR more flexible.

you said you wanted a 92"-106" screen with the fp set up, yet you are also considering a 65" rp.

why not just go a little smaller with the fp screen?

say 80- 90" ?

great thing about fp is, if you don't like the size of the image, just adjust or move the pj ( i would in any case though, buy a screen larger than you will need and then mask it off in front in some way - above and below and curtains on the sides).

after having a pj for almost 2 years now, no way i would ever consider a rp again.
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Well maybe a better question to ask is if I went with say a 106" (or 92" as something that'd be low) screen or slightly smaller, how much discomfort if any will there be for the first row people? Like will the projector's effects (screendoor) be very prominent and detract from the movie or game for the first row? Maybe I'm blowing it out of proportions and both rows will be able to watch comfortably with no problems.

I never knew I could get screen sizes smaller so I'll look into that, thanks for the suggestion, I always thought that 92" was the smallest and I dont even remember where I got that idea from

So yea I guess maybe I worded it completly wrong, but can you blame me having 2 train of thoughts colliding on the same track
The smaller the picture, the brighter and sharper it will be, and less screen door for LCD projectors.
i don't know what kind of pjs you are considering, but i own an LT150- a dlp, and the screendoor i was seeing on some material made me rig up a smaller screen area (with masking) for certain movies.

if the pj had a better scaler in it, or i was using a HTPC, or there was some other circumstance, i would love to have kept everything as big as possible- and there is still that possibility in the future, because when i made my screen, i made it much bigger than what i was going to use.

the unused area is maked off on all sides with black velvet.

i would suggest you go ahead and get the screen at 92 or 106", but devise a masking set-up that will accomodate you final size. that way in the future, if your room or equipment changes, you'll be ready and won't have to invest in another screen (assuming its still the right gain)

mine was all DIY so i don't really worry about this too much.

and even at the smaller size- its still a much more substantial picture than a 65" widescreen set.
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I'm in the same boat more or less. Am deciding between the Panasonic front projector that you are looking at and one of the Samsung DLP rear projectors that are coming out, either a 46"

or the next size up. I am actually going to drag my wife out this afternoon to check out front projection vs on of the current Samsung 50" models. If I went with the rear projector I would build it into the long wall and watch from about 8', the front projector screen would be at the end of the room with a 10-12 foot viewing distance. I was thinking about a 72" diagonal screen.

One thing that has proved helpful to me was cutting a piece of cardboard out the size of the rear projector and tacking it on the short wall. Next is hanging a sheet with your screen size roughly drawn on with a felt pen. I have moved the furniture, checked out viewing angles, heights and so on. (My wife has been out of town) I can't recommend this reality check strongly enough. Hanging up a sheet and just looking at it from the different viewing distances is worth a thousand words on the forum. One of my main issues is where are the speakers going in the two set ups. I have more choices with the front projector if I keep the screen size down (my preference anyway).

OK, so this was random rambling getting ready for my presentation to my wife today, hopefully there was something you could use.
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I didn't even think of masking the screen, which is a good idea. That way when it's just enough people to fill the back row (3 people) I can use the full screen and when there's more people just mask it.

No wonder I like these forums so much, they give great ideas :)
BTW, don't put too much into the 1.5x rule, the majority of people in this forum in practice have their first row of seating at 1.2-1.3x the screen width.
I had the same dilemma. If you go RPTV then you are building a room around a piece of equipment that will be obsolete the day you put it in (maybe not that quick like a computer). FP allows you an upgrade path as technology and your wallet change.

My room is 17 feet long and I have a 110 inch 16:9 screen. The seating position is about 15 feet. Do to WAF we went with a couch that goes wall to wall (14 feet) and then has two extended areas on the ends, like a square "c". We can get 8-10 people in the room comfortably on the couch. Kids can always sit on the floor :) Glad I went the couch route and not the rows as the room looks like a living room with the screen up.
Originally posted by Jonmx
BTW, don't put too much into the 1.5x rule, the majority of people in this forum in practice have their first row of seating at 1.2-1.3x the screen width.
I'm not sure what you're basing this statement on, but a poll conducted sometime last year put the average around 1.6x. Several used 1.2-1.3x and a few used 2x, but definitely not the majority.
What kind of room are we talking about? I notice you say building but I'm not sure what you're building. Is it a living room to be used for FP? Do you have good light control for the room? By the way, projector central calculator shows that you can get a 40" diagonal when the PJ is mounted 4' away.
The room has already been built as the house is about 30 years old. I think a better word is renovating.

It is going to be a dedicated room for dvds, games, and get togethers. Mainly games and DVDs and out of those 2 probably more games but perhaps when its done I'll be watching more movies as the setup I have now is not that great for movies.

To answer your question about light control I seem to have a problem in that respect as the room has a window and an arced doorway. The window can easily be covered, the door way though is slightly going to be difficult and that is where a lot of the natural light will be coming from as it connects to 2 other rooms. So light control may be more of a problem then what I thought.

What I may do is I may take the family to the HT store and call it a family outing and see what they think of RPTV or FP
I imagine you could still make a FP work in this room. Depending on the doorway width, I could picture some curtains even covering it. If you're planning 2 rows of seating with the 2nd on a raised platform, I'd worry about viewing limits on a RPTV.

I can't imagine your family not preferring the FP. The store setup will have a huge screen. :)
I own both a RPTV and a FPTV and all my movie watchin' will be on the FP fer sure! They don't compare in terms of size or even picture quality. If I had to give one up the RPTV would be the one to go!
If distance is your concern, fp is the way to go because you will view 3' further back.
If its a dedicated viewing room, FP is it. If it was a living room setting, I'd say RP has its advantages (practical stuff).

And if people are to sit at 8 feet from a 92inch screen, then get the highest resolution finacially feesable. I think the projector you're looking at has technology that hides the screendoor so that might work good. Or some of the new DLPs look amazing but unsure how expensive they are now.
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