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Hello everyone,
Finally after many years of pushing this back I decided to go for the Projector purchase. After reading a couple of websites and recommendations I narrowed my selection to the following:
BenQ HT1075 projector which seems to be a safe choice under $1000.
Elite Screens 120 Inch 16:9 Manual Pro Slow Retract Projector Screen (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003RA1H8O)

I do have couple of questions and I hope someone will be able to help me out.

1. I never used a projector before - I mean aside from stuff at work/school I never used one for watching movies. This is the main reason for this purchase, I would like to be able to watch movies (mainly blu-ray content). Currently I have 2 year old 55" samsung 6900 series TV and I love it, but I would like to have an option to watch content on a bigger screen (120"). Is the quality drop going to be significant? Is the above HT1075 a good choice or I should aim for something more expensive? My budget is $1000 but if there is a huge increase in quality I could push it to $1500 (but would rather not).

2. Projector will be placed 12' away from the screen. Seating will be at 11' away from the screen. I tried to use the following throw distance calculator (http://www.projectorcentral.com/BenQ-HT1075-projection-calculator-pro.htm) and if I understood correctly, this projector will output image size 110" at that distance with zoom set to 1.0. Is zoom really bad for image quality?.. Should I choose a different projector for my room?...

3. I am planning to run only HDMI cable (and power) to this projector.

4. Is the sound going to be an issue if the projector will be right above my head when watching a movie?..

5. Is the pull-down screen a good choice?.. Targetting 120" screen.

6. I attached a picture from the throw distance calculator. Why that line has red sections? Does it mean this projector is a bad choice for my room?...

7. Finally - any tips for a person who never used a projector before? Is there anything else that should know about? Should the projector be calibrated?.....

Thank you for your help!!! :)
 

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1. I never used a projector before - I mean aside from stuff at work/school I never used one for watching movies. This is the main reason for this purchase, I would like to be able to watch movies (mainly blu-ray content). Currently I have 2 year old 55" samsung 6900 series TV and I love it, but I would like to have an option to watch content on a bigger screen (120"). Is the quality drop going to be significant? Is the above HT1075 a good choice or I should aim for something more expensive? My budget is $1000 but if there is a huge increase in quality I could push it to $1500 (but would rather not).
If you have a excellent room, with dark walls, dark ceilings, and dark floors with zero ambient light, then front projection can look as good or better than most other display technologies. You should expect movie theater (or better) results with decent light control. Since you didn't describe your room, I can't tell what type of results you really should expect.

There is also no reason to spend more on the W1075 over the W1070 unless you need MHL. The general recommendation is to get the W1070.

2. Projector will be placed 12' away from the screen. Seating will be at 11' away from the screen. I tried to use the following throw distance calculator (http://www.projectorcentral.com/BenQ-HT1075-projection-calculator-pro.htm) and if I understood correctly, this projector will output image size 110" at that distance with zoom set to 1.0. Is zoom really bad for image quality?.. Should I choose a different projector for my room?...
Almost all projectors have zoom lenses. You zoom in, you zoom out, you zoom in the middle. Zoom is fine, and standard, much as it is on any decent camera.

Learn to use that calculator properly that you were looking at and ask questions if you have any.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/BenQ-HT1075-projection-calculator-pro.htm?td_=12&id_=120&l_=0

With the W1075 you can get a 120" diagonal with the lens between 10' and 13'1" from the screen.
3. I am planning to run only HDMI cable (and power) to this projector.
If you are running wiring behind drywall, and it's a tough run, then you should run 1.25" flexible conduit from Carlon. If it's easy to swap out your HDMI cable, then just run it and run a new cable later if necessary.

4. Is the sound going to be an issue if the projector will be right above my head when watching a movie?..
No.

You will hear it from time to time, but it's not obnoxious and you want it right above your head vs. in front of you or behind you as sound comes from the front, back, and sides of the projector so sound is louder when you aren't directly below it. Still, not obnoxious or nobody would have ever bought it.

5. Is the pull-down screen a good choice?.. Targetting 120" screen.
No, it's a bad choice really. If you can use a fixed frame screen like an Elite SableFrame screen then you should do that. But, if you must have a retractable screen and you can't get a tab-tensioned electric screen, then getting a cheap manual screen is a perfectly fine way to handle things.

6. I attached a picture from the throw distance calculator. Why that line has red sections? Does it mean this projector is a bad choice for my room?...
It means that the projector is bright enough to handle a bit of ambient light in the room and still look good. That's why it says that right in the calculator. Ignore it. It's fine.

7. Finally - any tips for a person who never used a projector before? Is there anything else that should know about? Should the projector be calibrated?.....
Make sure you understand projector placement before you buy.

Not only MUST the W1070 be placed between 10' and 13'1" lens to screen, but if you intend to have the projector up high, then the projector must be upside down and must be between about 2" and 5" above the top edge of the screen image. All measurements are from the front center of the lens itself.

Yes, you should calibrate, but the W1070 looks very good out of the box.

You should get a good ceiling mount. I recommend the Chief RPMAU which is pricey, but excellent, and lasts forever.

Maybe attach some photos of your room and do a bit more reading and research before your purchase, but things sound good to me.
 

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My biggest concern would be getting a non tensioned drop down screen. They are prone to ripples/waves. Elite has a tension 125 inch for $407 http://www.amazon.com/Elite-Screens...=1426015254&sr=1-1&keywords=elite+tension+125

That paired with the W1070, instead of the HT1075, would come to about the same amount and give you a better overall experience in my opinion. The W1070 is only $655 on amazon right now.

Both projectors will work for the size and throw distance you have in mind. Zoom shouldn't hurt the image. I have heard of the w1070 and w1080st's from benq have focus uniformity issues but only when zoomed all the way in, which you wouldn't have to do.

That projector is not super quiet but if you have it on eco or smart eco for the lamp mode, the sound shouldn't be too bad unless you are really sensitive to sound in your room. If your room isn't incredible quiet to begin with, you wont even notice it.
 

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Maybe attach some photos of your room and do a bit more reading and research before your purchase, but things sound good to me.
Thank you for your response! Unfortunately the room is far from ideal... I wish I could have a dedicated room just for movies, but unfortunately have to work with what I have.
Anyway, the screen would cover the window area (sigh). I am planning to watch movies only after 9-10pm when it is dark outside. The walls are rather medium/dark...

The ceiling is not flat... so the projector would have to be installed on the wall.
You mentioned that the projector will have to be upside down. Will that still apply in my situation? Can I just put it on a small shelve on a wall, or that is not the optimal operation position?

My biggest concern would be getting a non tensioned drop down screen. They are prone to ripples/waves. Elite has a tension 125 inch for $407
Is the tension screen that much better? The price is twice as much... I am not planning to stay in this house for more than another ~5 years so if the only concern is life span I am willing to replace it with a fixed wall in the future.

Thank you all for your help!! Great community :)
 

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Is the tension screen that much better? The price is twice as much... I am not planning to stay in this house for more than another ~5 years so if the only concern is life span I am willing to replace it with a fixed wall in the future.
Tab-tensioned motorized screens are by far the best way to go. That price is extremely inexpensive overall. My screen (motorized tab-tensioned 161") is over $4,000 online. So, getting a 125" diagonal for about 400 bucks is well worth it and makes a ton of sense IMO.

Read the reviews of the screen you are looking at. Especially some of the negatives, and you will find that one of the top complaints is 'waves' in the material. In what I've seen over the years, absolutely none of the non-tensioned screens are free from waves. They all have, or will end up with, waves in the material.

Tensioning of the material should help keep this from happening and will give you the full five years of usage that you are hoping for with good quality. I think that's a very smart choice.
 

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Is the tension screen that much better? The price is twice as much... I am not planning to stay in this house for more than another ~5 years so if the only concern is life span I am willing to replace it with a fixed wall in the future.

Thank you all for your help!! Great community :)
In terms of if the tensioned screen is worth it, only you can decide that. The amount of waves that the screen will have will vary from screen to screen, and the amount that it will bother a person will vary from person to person. So only you can decide. But like AV_Integrated said, they all will have them or develop them.

It would drive me crazy.
 

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I am convinced. Will invest in the tensioned drop screen.

What about the projector itself? Can I put it flat on a shelf like this one?
http://www.amazon.com/OmniMount-ECSB-Component-Shelf-Accessories/dp/B000EGI7V4/

Or mount the projector upside-down on something like this?
http://www.amazon.com/Mount--Universal-Projector-Mount-Extendable/dp/B003AFONFU

Or it really doesn't matter?... Upside down would most likely allow me to control it easier since the buttons are on the "top" of the projector.
 

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I am convinced. Will invest in the tensioned drop screen.

What about the projector itself? Can I put it flat on a shelf like this one?
http://www.amazon.com/OmniMount-ECSB-Component-Shelf-Accessories/dp/B000EGI7V4/

Or mount the projector upside-down on something like this?
http://www.amazon.com/Mount--Universal-Projector-Mount-Extendable/dp/B003AFONFU

Or it really doesn't matter?... Upside down would most likely allow me to control it easier since the buttons are on the "top" of the projector.
It MUST be upside down in your situation. The light from the projector all shines upward if sitting upright on a shelf and all downward if upside down from a mount. Ceiling or wall mount as you show in your second link is fine, but just a shelf like the first link will not work.
 

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do you already have a receiver and speakers for sound?
Yes. Unfortunately nothing special. Very basic SONY 5.1 system I got a few years ago (~$250).

Would be nice to get some better but that would have to get through the WAF (Wife Approval Factor) and it is already difficult with the ongoing purchase of the projector :rolleyes:
 

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In terms of if the tensioned screen is worth it, only you can decide that. The amount of waves that the screen will have will vary from screen to screen, and the amount that it will bother a person will vary from person to person. So only you can decide. But like AV_Integrated said, they all will have them or develop them.

It would drive me crazy.
You may want to look into a Dalite High Power screen. Mine is non tensioned and does an incredible job of hiding waves in the screen. Plus an added bonus of being able to use the projector with a decent amount of ambient light in the room.
 
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