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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Panasonic AE-900U and a small living room with Windows and no screen. And questions.


- How much should I pay for help setting this up? From installation to configuration to tuning, I know nothing and am not hands on.


- Is there a budget screen that is 'good enough'? I see screens for $100 and screens for $2500 and prefer the former.


- I need to address the issue of light. Usually the room has a lot of ambient light. I could get something to change that. Should I just get a gray screen and that's ok with ambient light, or is it worth it to get a white screen and something for the windows, and what should I get that's easy and cheap? Can I just go to a blinds store and say "give me something to darken windows"?


- On the screen, I'm leaning towards a ceiling manual pulldown. It'll be at a location I expect to share (i.e. block) a big-screen tv, so it has to be closable. I don't want a big screen I have to move around, so that means it rolls up I guess. The motor seems less desirable because of the time and extra cost. This seems to leave a ceiling pulldown.


- I could try to get dimensions to post, but it's what you'd expect for a small living room in a 951 sq. foot house. I sort of err on the side of a bigger picture, as that's the point - and probably want to hook up a PC for gaming too.


- On the one hand, my seating has me sitting off to the side of the screen, but on the other with a projector I'd guess a straight on view is best so I'm leaning towards a ceiling mount for the projector, or I might block the light?


Thanks for any hand holding! I've had the projector two years and never hooked it up yet, if that gives an idea on my reaction to the setup
 

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Craig- Wow! That's about like saying that you have an average size garage and then asking what kind of automobile you should buy. There are plenty of people here that will be more than willing to help you, but we will need a bit more specific information. Let me start by asking you some questions.


1. Approximately what size screen do you think you would like? (Most screens are specified by diagonal dimension of the viewing area, but you can just give me a width if you prefer. Please specify which, though.)


2. What will be the distance from the surface of the screen to the rear wall behind your proposed straight-on viewing position? (This will limit your maximum "throw," which is the distance from the front of the projector's lens to the screen surface.)


3. Would it be possible to put a bookcase against the rear wall and set the projector (PJ) on it such that it would shoot over your viewing position? (This would make the installation and wiring much easier than a ceiling mount.)


4. What will be your viewing distance? (Screen surface to viewer's eyes.)


I can answer one of your questions. The ambient light has to go, unless you plan to use your PJ only at night. What you need is light-blocking draperies or shades installed on each of your windows that are contributing the ambient light. Ambient light is the bane of front projection.


After you answer my four questions, I (and others) will be able to make some additional recommendations/observations.


One other thing- Don't look at this project as something to dread. With all the help available here, it should be a piece of cake!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLBoy /forum/post/14280153


Craig- Wow! That's about like saying that you have an average size garage and then asking what kind of automobile you should buy. There are plenty of people here that will be more than willing to help you, but we will need a bit more specific information. Let me start by asking you some questions.


1. Approximately what size screen do you think you would like? (Most screens are specified by diagonal dimension of the viewing area, but you can just give me a width if you prefer. Please specify which, though.)


2. What will be the distance from the surface of the screen to the rear wall behind your proposed straight-on viewing position? (This will limit your maximum "throw," which is the distance from the front of the projector's lens to the screen surface.)


3. Would it be possible to put a bookcase against the rear wall and set the projector (PJ) on it such that it would shoot over your viewing position? (This would make the installation and wiring much easier than a ceiling mount.)


4. What will be your viewing distance? (Screen surface to viewer's eyes.)


I can answer one of your questions. The ambient light has to go, unless you plan to use your PJ only at night. What you need is light-blocking draperies or shades installed on each of your windows that are contributing the ambient light. Ambient light is the bane of front projection.


After you answer my four questions, I (and others) will be able to make some additional recommendations/observations.


One other thing- Don't look at this project as something to dread. With all the help available here, it should be a piece of cake!

Thanks for the friendly response!


Where's a good place to get the shades?


I'll try to make it a project today to get some measurements and edit this post with them. But there are a number of feet behind the straight-on viewing position and the wall, because there's a sort of alcove back there about four feet deep. In fact, it's so far back that I wonder if it isn't too far for the 'bookshelf' idea. Here's a rough sketch of the layout:


OOOO|------------|

OOOO|------------|

|---P--X----------|

|------------------|

|------------------|


(O's are outdoor porch)


The screen will be vertically placed on the far right of the room. The seating would be around the "X", the projector around the "P".


(For now, there's a couch on the bottom wall, and I guess one alternative might be to place the screen in the upper right corner facing the couch).


Since this is not the projector forum, I didn't even get into the confusion about hooking up the projector across the room from the connections



For example, if I were to set up a HTPC, hooking it up to the big screen tv on the right of the room versus to the projector on the left side of the room.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLBoy /forum/post/14280153


I can answer one of your questions. The ambient light has to go, unless you plan to use your PJ only at night. What you need is light-blocking draperies or shades installed on each of your windows that are contributing the ambient light. Ambient light is the bane of front projection.

+1


Front projection is only as good as the room you view it in is dark. If the screen surface is lit up before the PJ lights it up the image will be dull.

There are Plasma and LCD flat screen TVs that are very good now (And large: 65+ inches). I prefer LCD (lighter weight). Another option in a room that can't be darkened is an RPTV. (LCD or DLP)


Most rooms can be darkened and I wouldn't let the ambient light situation be a deterrent. I didn't put our PJ in our living room because a large part of the walls are a prow of windows. I didn't want a room full of draperies. (But I could have done so if there weren't other optional rooms.
)


Good luck - It's all easier than it seems when one starts on this project. And it is VERY worth it!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig234 /forum/post/14280352


Where's a good place to get the shades?

That depends on what you want. If you want pure function at lowest cost and are not much concerned about looks, you can use simple roll down shades. You can buy those cut to custom width at places like Home Depot and Lowes. They are easy to install if you have a drill and a screwdriver.


If decor is important, you can use a custom cellular shade, such as made by Levolor and others. In any case, just make sure the material is light-blocking, AKA blockout or blackout. Custom cellular shades are expensive, but if you order them over the Internet, you can save a lot. You then will have to install them yourself.


You can also go to a retail window treatment store to buy your shades and have an associate come to your home and measure and then come back and install them. Just be sure you are sitting down when they present their price quote.
 

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You can also get creative with your light control and seating. My front room is not a dedicated theater, it's part time. Therefore I have a pulldown manual screen (inexpensive DaLite Model B w/CSR) that pulls down in front of a doublewide window, simultaneously providing a display surface and light control for the windows. My seating is mounted on castors, the conversation grouping around the fireplace quickly can be rearranged for video.


When not using the screen, it is retracted above the window. The only change this required was specifying 5" drapery brackets versus 3", to provide space for the 2.75" screen case.


Don't think of your existing room arrangement as fixed is my suggestion. When you consider the amount of time dedicated to projector usage, the theater might turn out to be the main room usage. The most convenient arrangement is typically the screen pulls down just in front of the HDTV. Among the advantages is the fact that surround sound speakers could be used with both displays - HDTV broadcasts of movies frequently include Dolby surround soundtracks today.


In case you typically don't think about decor or furniture arrangements, involve your spouse in planning such changes.


When it comes to mounting the DaLite Model B I mentioned, it comes with a couple of "D" rings on top. If you can get two screw hooks into your ceiling that will support 25lbs, you can suspend the screen from them at any height using lengths of light chain.
 
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