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How Big is To Big for Entry Level FPs

1405 Views 21 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  JHouse
Hello All,

Two questions. I realize that the quality, brightness, etc. of your FP makes a huge difference, but does anyone have experience with the image quality for a 106' to 119' screen? I'm thinking about the Panny 300 and would like the largest screen possible. Throw distance and seating are not an issue. I just wonder if the image degredation would offset the additional size. The question is not specific to the Panny because I have not purchased a FP just yet. Also, if DVD viewing is the primary use of the FP, is the HDTV format or the 16:9 format more appropriate? Thanks for your time.

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I am a relative newby as well but I finally fell off the fence onto a Panasonic 300. I was knocked out by the picure clarity and quality at 119". The only issue at this size will be the brightness of the picture. If you have absolute light control in this room feel free to go comfortably into 119" and enjoy the ride. Whatever you do, get off the fence, you cannot go wrong.
What is the budget??
Get a high gain screen if you are going that large. I think the Da-Lite Hi-Power is your only choice. And they are quite reasonable. With a relatively low lumen pj, you need all the help you can get from a big screen - that means GAIN.
My Yamaha LPX-500 is beaming onto a 120"-diagonal High Power screen, and it is VERY bright (when watching from within the "viewing cone"). I would not say it is too bright, but one of my daughters feels it is. The image is plenty bright even from outside the viewing cone.

According to published measurements, the Panny L300u is about a half as bright in the eco-mode as the Yamaha. So I would say the High Power fabric and the Panny would make a very nice combination, either at 106" or 119" diagonal. If you have good light control, the image will be plenty bright. If you go with the High Power, try to mount the projector close to the eye height if at all feasible.
If some people's perception is that the high-power is already too bright, wouldn't mounting it close to eye height make it even brighter?

By the way, what is "too bright"? Flourescent? Colors bleed into eachother? Halos?

Sushi, does the dropoff in brightness when you move outside the viewing cone bother you? Is it anywhere near as bad as most RPTVs?

-tony call me "hccv or hi-power?"
Thanks, tbacos, for asking. I wasn't entirely clear.

(1) I do have my LPX-500 table-mounted at just above eye level. So when you sit close to the center of the room, you are definitely inside the "viewing cone" and hence watching at the maximum brightness the High Power screen is capable of.

(2) My wife, two of our kids, and I all like that very bright and vivid image. No bleeds, halos or hotspotting whatsoever. However, my youngest daughter feels that it is just "too bright" in the otherwise dark room, and simply scoot herself over to a "side seat" where she sits outside the viewing cone. She feels more comfortable watching there. It is the same feeling that sometimes an (ill-calibrated) tube TV looks too bright when the room is totally dark -- simply a matter of personal preference, I guess.

(3) The brightness dropoff is nothing like a typical RPTV. It is VERY gradual with respect to your position/location. In our particular configurations, I have to move over at least two seats away to start seeing a noticeable dropoff. It is not at all like moving your head changes the brightness. Basically, as long as you stay in the same place on the sofa, the brightness is constant whether you sit tall, sit back, or lay down on the sofa. Very comfortable!
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Sushi is right on. No artifacts are caused by the screen. It's the cleanest, most uniform and clearest thing you have ever seen.
Thanks guys - I'm sold. Mine will be ordered from AVS tomorrow. My final decision is between the Model C and the "Designer Contour" which is basically a model B with an upgraded wood casing.

From Da-Lite's site: "Stylish curved aluminum extruded case with dimensions of 4-5/8" high and 4-3/32"deep. An optional choice of seven veneer finishes is available for the front cover of the screen case fo a warm and elegant look."

Anyone seen one of these yet? Would I be better off getting the Model C (for durability) and building my own purty wood case cover (for WAF)? Just how classroom-esque does the standard Model C look anyway?
tbacos, in fact, the white Model C case right underneath the white ceiling does not look "clinical" at all to me. But again, my ceiling is 10' high, making it much less obtrusive. You can always ask them to paint the case black, too.

I strongly recommend the CSR whichever model you opt for. It makes retracting the screen real easy and fool-proof, and also presumably protect the fabric from physical stresses, preventing waves.
Just when I thought I was sold, I ran it by my wife for final agreement before placing the order. The viewing-cone thing killed the deal for Hi-Power, even if it's acceptable outside of the viewing cone she hates the fact that the brightness will change when moving seats or sitting vs. standing.

Since according to what I read Hi-Power is the only wrinkle-free manual pull-down, I'm now back to a fixed screen. Leaning towards the HCCV Cinema Contour, which I can move to an adjacent wall when not in use so the window it covers when in use will be uncovered...

Picking the PJ, though it was difficult, is starting to feel easy by comparison with making a screen choice...
She probably never would have noticed. No one here ever has. It is very gradual and forgiving.
tbacos, I do not think moving the fixed screen when not in use is a very good idea. A framed screen is big, heavy, delicate and cumbersome. After several moves in and out, you will be tired of doing so, and it will end up either (1) the window always being covered, or (2) the projector being enjoyed less and less frequently just because of the inconvenience. Plus, I do not think the very presence of the big screen on "another" wall when not in use will get a high WAF, either.

If you plan on a fixed screen, you should definitely install it permanently. Those screens are not designed to be repeatedly moved.

With regard to the viewing cone, JHouse is right. In fact, my wife did not notice a thing, until I explained to her what it is. It is nothing like a typical RPTV. Also, many people here use the High Power with the projector ceiling-mounted. In that case, you are basically always outside the viewing cone, unless you stand up. The image is more like that of the Cinema Vision, with a better ambient light resistance due to the retro-reflectivity.
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Sounds like the high power is better if it is not ceiling mounted.
Very good points Sushi. As much as I hate to admit it (cause my little solution sounded good in my mind), I know you're right about the nuisance of moving a screen back and forth. My PJ is going to be ceiling mounted, although with our low 7' ceiling I'm not sure if our seating position would be in the high-power's cone or not...

This whole process is making me feel like an utterly indecisive sap. At this point if I had enough room on my wall I would spend the big bucks for the Contour Electrol with HCCV, just so I could have a drop down screen with a material that looks the same from (almost) all angles and isn't going to develop waves or ripples over time. Unfortunately, the extra width of the electrol screen case wouldn't fit on the wall I need to put my screen on.

Sushi, any chance you plan on posting some pics of your high-power in action, possibly even from a couple of different angles to demonstrate the effect of brightness changes? Beside checking out the material, I'm anxious to see that 10' screen of yours masked down...

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Sushi, any chance you plan on posting some pics of your high-power in action, possibly even from a couple of different angles to demonstrate the effect of brightness changes?
Yeah yeah, that is what I've meant to do for a long time! But my digicam is still with my friend. Perhaps I should borrow a digicam from another friend and take a couple of quick shot. Thanks for your patience...
If you ceiling mount your pj in a 7' tall room, it's going bo be about 6' off the floor. If you sit in a normal sofa, your eyes will be 3' off the floor. Believe me, that's in "the cone". You will get a ton of gain. I sit 1' farther below the pj than this and I get essentially all the usable gain. If I stand up extremely quickly (and you have to do it over and over and really be watching for it) you MIGHT be able to see the slightest amount of extra gain, but probably not. I don't care what the specs say, the cone is plenty big and you won't notice anything if you are sitting within the screen width with your eyes 3 or 4 feet below the pj. Quit worrying.

JHouse, you've officially shamed me into ordering the High-Power.


Originally posted by sushi
Yeah yeah, that is what I've meant to do for a long time! But my digicam is still with my friend. Perhaps I should borrow a digicam from another friend and take a couple of quick shot. Thanks for your patience...
That is funny! It would be even funnier if you went through with it and told the friend that still has your camera about it... Something along the lines of: Yea no problem, hold on to it as long as you want, I can just borrow one from my neighbor when I need to take pictures...
Tony, You're welcome. And you will be happy. We generally need all the gain we can get in real life. In the old days high gain meant a lot of compromises like hotspotting, sparklies and dramatic fall-off, but no more.

Those microspopic spheres that make up the Hi-Power screen are a no-kidding breakthrough. Your are going to love it.
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