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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm thinking about getting my first front projector. My room is 17 x 21 x 8 feet. Because of the low ceiling of 8 feet and the desire to keep the bottom of the screen at 3 feet, I'm guessing my max screen size would be 110" or so. My ideal location to place the projector is along the back wall. I'd mount the screen to the ceiling about three feet from the front of the room, leaving a throw distance of 17 feet. Is there a high-quality projector that would be capable of performing in that arrangement?

Also, my walls are a neutral color but the ceiling is white. The light control is very good in this room at night. I'm hoping I will find a front projector satisfying. I have a plasma in another room for day-time TV viewing.

Thanks for your help!

Greg
 

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The Sony 40es will just make it and the epson 5030 will have no problem. 3 ft off the floor is too high for comfortable viewing and should be avoided if at all possible. Light colored surfaces is another issue with higher contrast projectors, but its your choice for picture quality vs a less expensive projector without the greater placement flexibility like a BenQ 1070
 

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I have 8' ceilings as well... I'm using a 161" diagonal screen. So, your choice for a 110" screen is not really something that makes that much sense unless you have two rows of seating and are trying to preserve optimal viewing for the second row. I wouldn't do this, but would stagger seating, and/or raise the second row to allow for a larger screen size.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have 8' ceilings as well... I'm using a 161" diagonal screen. So, your choice for a 110" screen is not really something that makes that much sense unless you have two rows of seating and are trying to preserve optimal viewing for the second row. I wouldn't do this, but would stagger seating, and/or raise the second row to allow for a larger screen size.

OK, this is good info. I'm brand new to the FP world and had read that you want the bottom of the screen about three feet of the ground, which I assumed meant the vertical screen would be no more than 5', which translates to a diagonal of 117". It sounds like you have your screen down to a foot off the ground and that works ok? My plan is to only put a couch in front for viewing, so no tiered seating is needed.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have 8' ceilings as well... I'm using a 161" diagonal screen. So, your choice for a 110" screen is not really something that makes that much sense .
BTW, does this imply you are using an AT screen with your center channel behind the screen?

Thanks

Greg
 

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OK, this is good info. I'm brand new to the FP world and had read that you want the bottom of the screen about three feet of the ground, which I assumed meant the vertical screen would be no more than 5', which translates to a diagonal of 117". It sounds like you have your screen down to a foot off the ground and that works ok? My plan is to only put a couch in front for viewing, so no tiered seating is needed.

Greg
3 feet off the ground is not the standard at all. The standard is for your eyes to be 1/3rd up from the bottom of the image when seated and reclined. This means that if your eye level is 36" off the ground and your screen image area is 6' tall, then the bottom of the image should be 1 foot off the ground.

You pick a screen size based on how far your seating is away. If seated eyes were at 12', a 6' tall screen would be about right. That would be a 150" diagonal measure screen with the image beginning 1 foot off the floor and going up to 1 foot below the ceiling. The W1070 would need to be 16' or closer lens-to-screen. The HC1200 would be even better as it would work from the full 17'.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
3 feet off the ground is not the standard at all. The standard is for your eyes to be 1/3rd up from the bottom of the image when seated and reclined. This means that if your eye level is 36" off the ground and your screen image area is 6' tall, then the bottom of the image should be 1 foot off the ground.

You pick a screen size based on how far your seating is away. If seated eyes were at 12', a 6' tall screen would be about right. That would be a 150" diagonal measure screen with the image beginning 1 foot off the floor and going up to 1 foot below the ceiling. The W1070 would need to be 16' or closer lens-to-screen. The HC1200 would be even better as it would work from the full 17'.
Thank you; this is very helpful!
 

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You're getting good help from the members that have stopped by. Remember one thing though, the "rules" on size and height being discussed all come back to personal preference. For example, when you go out to the movies, some folks like to sit as close to the front as they can. Others prefer the middle or back of the theater. Nothing wrong with any of that, just remember that everybody has personal viewing preferences, and yours should shape how your room is designed.

A friend of mine that works in the industry has an incredibly expensive FP theater room, and uses an 80" screen with near field sound. That's his preference. My preference is decidedly bigger, but not huge. There are so many considerations that go into what's right in any given set-up, for any particular person. Fine detail in the image is important to me. I don't want a huge screen for a number of reasons, but that's one of them.

Some of the other variables that may come into the equation is your size (and that of your better half), your acuity of vision, the geometry of your furniture, whether you will recline, what kind and size of speakers you'll use, whether you want to leave room for curtains or treatments or other decorations, and on from there.

Right now go splurge on a roll of 2" Blue Painter's Tape. Bring that and a pencil and a tape measure into the room. Sit in about the space, and at about the height, and at about the viewing angle that you anticipate using, and then look towards where the screen will hang. Determine what seems to be the center-point of a comfortable viewing angle for you. Then play around with screen size. Start with the 110" screen you first mentioned. Live with that size taped on the wall for a day or two. Then go up or down in size as you like. Adjust the "screen" up or down in height so you can see the alternatives in space. Check out what it looks like to have the image really close to the floor if you're considering that.

You'll learn a ton about your project, your room, and what you personally want. It gets way easier to envision viewing angles, and the real space available for curtains, speakers, whatever else once you add a representation of the screen. Obviously you plan to hang your screen 3 feet off the wall, but you can make allowances for that when you install for "actual" screen position.

Take your time and have a blast. The success of your project turns on you doing all your homework now.
 
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OK, this is good info. I'm brand new to the FP world and had read that you want the bottom of the screen about three feet of the ground, which I assumed meant the vertical screen would be no more than 5', which translates to a diagonal of 117". It sounds like you have your screen down to a foot off the ground and that works ok? My plan is to only put a couch in front for viewing, so no tiered seating is needed.
The older, traditional cinemas tend to have "flat" seating where all seats are near the same elevation and viewers look up at the screen. The modern approach, visible in most new cinema houses, is "stadium seating" where the seating rows rise significantly in elevation going away from the screen, with the viewer looking closer to level (or even down, in some cases) at the middle of the screen. It provides better sightlines, and is easier on the neck.

With this in mind, at home you will find that the lower you can get the bottom of the screen, the more comfortable your viewing will be. If you only have a couch for seating, this shouldn't be an issue. With an 8-foot ceiling, you are (fortunately) forced to place the larger images closer to the floor. Even so, a five-foot-high image can still be closer to the ceiling than the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to both of you for your posts.

Another issue for me to consider is image brightness (in fL), which seems to be a function of projector brightness (in Lumens), throw distance, screen gain and screen size. I've seen the Projector Central calculator, which is helpful. I'm mystified by its zoom ratio, however. It lists one value for a projector, but seems to use another in its calculations. For example, when I look at the Sony 40ES, it says the zoom ratio is 1.6, but uses zoom ratio of 1.29 for its calculations.... so now my questions. :)

1. Do projector lens have variable zooms, like some camera lens?
2. Why does Projector Central use a different zoom value than the projector claims (1.29 versus 1.6 for the Sony, for example)?
3. What value of image brightness is considered good? How about great? Are values of 12-13 fL typical?
 

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The Sony has a lens that zooms from magnification 1 to magnification 1.60.

For your setup -- 17 feet, 140" diagonal screen -- the Sony gets zoomed to magnification 1.29, right around the middle of its zoom range. The calculated brightness for this is 12 fL.

Reference brightness is 16 fL. Which is really a minimum goal -- more is better.

If you switch to 3D, the 12 fL brightness will then be half that due to the filtering done by the 3D sunglasses you need to see 3D. Quite dim for that -- a smaller screen might be more appropriate here.

In contrast, the calculator gives 39 fL for the BenQ HC1200 for the same distance and size screen. That 39 number might be a bit optimistic, though.

If you don't need/want 3D, the Sony might be okay. If you do, the BenQ would be a better choice. Another BenQ model, the MH740, is the same as the HC1200 except tuned for a higher brightness level (50 fL in your case). You would lose some color range, however.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The Sony has a lens that zooms from magnification 1 to magnification 1.60.

For your setup -- 17 feet, 140" diagonal screen -- the Sony gets zoomed to magnification 1.29, right around the middle of its zoom range. The calculated brightness for this is 12 fL.

Reference brightness is 16 fL. Which is really a minimum goal -- more is better.

If you switch to 3D, the 12 fL brightness will then be half that due to the filtering done by the 3D sunglasses you need to see 3D. Quite dim for that -- a smaller screen might be more appropriate here.

In contrast, the calculator gives 39 fL for the BenQ HC1200 for the same distance and size screen. That 39 number might be a bit optimistic, though.

If you don't need/want 3D, the Sony might be okay. If you do, the BenQ would be a better choice. Another BenQ model, the MH740, is the same as the HC1200 except tuned for a higher brightness level (50 fL in your case). You would lose some color range, however.
My concern with the BenQ product line is back when DLP rear projection sets were popular, I would experience Rainbow effect with them. Are there equally bright SXRD/LCOS projectors?
 

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First off, I misread the Projector Calculator's results. The number for the BenQ HC1200 (for video) is 19 fL, not 38. I suspect that the usable level is around 15 fL.

The Epson 5030UB calculates to 15 fL Not a big jump from the Sony's 12 fL.

Although these levels are not high, they are acceptable if the room is darkened like a commercial cinema. I myself would probably prefer a brighter image, which is doable by selecting a screen with some gain.
 

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My concern with the BenQ product line is back when DLP rear projection sets were popular, I would experience Rainbow effect with them. Are there equally bright SXRD/LCOS projectors?
There are no sxrd/lcos projectors that are as bright as the dlp and lcd projectors. If you know you are susceptible to rainbow effect, then you should focus on lcd.
 

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Greg,

As you already know, the projector and screen decisions should go together. Here's the latest Projection Screen Material Test Report from Jeff Meier. Hope you find it an interesting and helpful read.
 

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Thanks, and yes, it seems that adding a front projector is really a "systems engineering" problem as everything has to fit together just so.
But it's worth the effort. Especially once you're done! 😎

BtW Jeff covers the FL issue you mentioned too.
 
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