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Discussion Starter #1
I'm building a small dedicated theater room, only about 15' x 13'. The room is in a basement with no windows, but there is recessed lighting. While finalizing my order, the rep informed me that the screen he selected was the Si Black Diamond 7 Series, .8 gain. After some debate, I finally caved and proceeded with the order, but of course, I'm having a bit of buyers remorse just a few hours later.

I assumed I'd be getting a white screen, not a black one. The theory is, while I say I will always watch with the lights off, the reality is that will not always be the case. There will be some times when I have the rear recessed lights on over the seating area when friends are over for football, UFC ppv's, etc. Because of the room not being 100% dark at all times, he recommended this screen to be the best for both scenarios. I don't mind the cost, but:

- Is this the best recommendation for this arrangement?
- Will I lose PQ when the lights are off vs what a white screen would do for me?
- Will contrast still be crisp, blacks deep and whites bright?

I'll be using the Epson 6030UB projector.

Thanks for the help!
 

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I'm building a small dedicated theater room, only about 15' x 13'. The room is in a basement with no windows, but there is recessed lighting. While finalizing my order, the rep informed me that the screen he selected was the Si Black Diamond 7 Series, .8 gain. After some debate, I finally caved and proceeded with the order, but of course, I'm having a bit of buyers remorse just a few hours later.

I assumed I'd be getting a white screen, not a black one. The theory is, while I say I will always watch with the lights off, the reality is that will not always be the case. There will be some times when I have the rear recessed lights on over the seating area when friends are over for football, UFC ppv's, etc. Because of the room not being 100% dark at all times, he recommended this screen to be the best for both scenarios. I don't mind the cost, but:

- Is this the best recommendation for this arrangement?
- Will I lose PQ when the lights are off vs what a white screen would do for me?
- Will contrast still be crisp, blacks deep and whites bright?

I'll be using the Epson 6030UB projector.

Thanks for the help!
What size screen are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It'll be a 92" screen, projector is 12' away. I'm conflicted over the fact that if only 2 recessed lights are on, over the seating area and next to the projector, that a black screen will even benefit anything and maybe take away from pq when lights are dimmed or off. How could a screen reject ambient light coming from the same area that the projected image is coming from?

In just about every theater pic I see, there is a white screen. I only have recessed lights and zero ambient light from other sources. Is a black screen overkill? Of course I need to finalize this decision asap due to lead times.
 

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It'll be a 92" screen, projector is 12' away. I'm conflicted over the fact that if only 2 recessed lights are on, over the seating area and next to the projector, that a black screen will even benefit anything and maybe take away from pq when lights are dimmed or off. How could a screen reject ambient light coming from the same area that the projected image is coming from?

In just about every theater pic I see, there is a white screen. I only have recessed lights and zero ambient light from other sources. Is a black screen overkill? Of course I need to finalize this decision asap due to lead times.


I sent you a PM last night with some thoughts. How far back is your seating and do you have room for a larger screen? I'm sitting at about 16' back watching a 150" screen and it works great.
 

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It sounds as if the sales person is working on commission and simply recommended a higher cost screen than you actually need. Serious home theater viewing is generally done in the dark and casual home entertainment viewing is generally done with some ambient light. It's generally best to have the screen optimized for serious rather than casual viewing.

Your minimal dimmable can lighting in the viewing area is exactly the optimum recommendation for viewing front projection where some ambient light is required. You would simply run the projector in one of its brighter modes with lights on and in most accurate (and dimmer) mode in the dark. A plain white screen should work quite well in the conditions you describe unless you plan to watch really dark movies with the lights on. Just try to keep the can lights from falling on any light-colored reflective surfaces that would redirect the light toward the screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I sent you a PM last night with some thoughts. How far back is your seating and do you have room for a larger screen? I'm sitting at about 16' back watching a 150" screen and it works great.
Just replied to your PM. I'm only sitting about 12' - 13' away and it's looking like we'll only be able to get away with a 92" screen with my setup which stinks. I'm pushing for at least 100".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It sounds as if the sales person is working on commission and simply recommended a higher cost screen than you actually need. Serious home theater viewing is generally done in the dark and casual home entertainment viewing is generally done with some ambient light. It's generally best to have the screen optimized for serious rather than casual viewing.

Your minimal dimmable can lighting in the viewing area is exactly the optimum recommendation for viewing front projection where some ambient light is required. You would simply run the projector in one of its brighter modes with lights on and in most accurate (and dimmer) mode in the dark. A plain white screen should work quite well in the conditions you describe unless you plan to watch really dark movies with the lights on. Just try to keep the can lights from falling on any light-colored reflective surfaces that would redirect the light toward the screen.
Thanks for the reply! I'm not a huge movie guy, which doesn't score me points with the lady of the house. But I watch sports with friends and at worst case, will only have the 2 rear cans in the back dimmed. Otherwise, I'm going to make it a cave. I thought the BD recommendation was a little overkill and may in fact be a little dull for my liking since it's a .8 gain. I think white is the way to go here according to what I've read on this site. What the heck could I possibly be missing?!?!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the reply! I'm not a huge movie guy, which doesn't score me points with the lady of the house. But I watch sports with friends and at worst case, will only have the 2 rear cans in the back dimmed. Otherwise, I'm going to make it a cave. I thought the BD recommendation was a little overkill and may in fact be a little dull for my liking since it's a .8 gain. I think white is the way to go here according to what I've read on this site. What the heck could I possibly be missing?!?!
On another note, this room was originally being built as my music room. That's really the only reason I'm even putting a few recessed lights in. It's morphed into a theater room now, hence where my confusion lies with screen selection. I'd have to think that the combination of a bright projector, and a quality white screen just can't be wrong. It all sounds like too much thinking over a product built for highly lighted settings.
 

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Just replied to your PM. I'm only sitting about 12' - 13' away and it's looking like we'll only be able to get away with a 92" screen with my setup which stinks. I'm pushing for at least 100".

What's your biggest obstacle with going bigger on the screen? Seating distance is fine for a much larger screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What's your biggest obstacle with going bigger on the screen? Seating distance is fine for a much larger screen.
He was concerned about the throw distance I think? The projector is being mounted at about the 12' mark as well. We have to leave some space for my center channel on a stand below the screen, and the ceiling is only 7'5" as it is. He mentioned something about the slight possibility of there being a vertical issue, maybe not covering the full screen?
 

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He was concerned about the throw distance I think? The projector is being mounted at about the 12' mark as well. We have to leave some space for my center channel on a stand below the screen, and the ceiling is only 7'5" as it is. He mentioned something about the slight possibility of there being a vertical issue, maybe not covering the full screen?
I'm getting less and less impressed with your salesman. Throw distance is measured from the front of the projector lens to the screen surface. If the projector mounting point is 12' from the screen then the lens would probably be at about 11.5'. But this is a number you should pin down exactly as it will define how large an image the projector will throw. If the room is 15' wall to wall, you should mount the projector as far from the screen as possible for maximum screen size options.

Assuming the throw distance is a true 12' lens to screen, the 6030UB will throw an image range on a 16:9 screen of 58" to 123" diagonal depending on lens zoom setting. So you could easily upsize to a 120" screen as long as the projector mounting point is closer to 13' than 12' from the screen.

A typical 120" 16:9 fixed screen is ~ 64" high and your ceiling is 89" high, so that would leave 25" to divide between the floor and bottom of screen and the top of screen and ceiling. It's doable if you wanted to go that big. You could go with the screen 19" off the floor and 6" from the ceiling. The center speaker could be accommodated by having it near the floor angling up at viewers' ears. It's not the optimum center speaker setup, but that's the setup I use and it's perfectly satisfactory for me.

I would urge you not to compromise a large screen for the sake of accommodating a center channel speaker as that defeats the main advantage of front projection over TV -- size. Even if you only upsized from 92" to 110" or 100" you would definitely appreciate the increased immersion factor.

But it's also true that different people have different personal preferences for screen sizes, and you might find that 120" is too big for you in that room. The best way to ensure you pick the right screen size is to experiment on a blank wall. Watch movies, sports and other content at different size images and see which one gives you the best experience. Go as big as you can without producing eyestrain from having to move your eyes around too much. When you find the optimum size, measure the diagonal and then order a screen closest in size to that measurement.

Go ahead and keep the order in for the projector but cancel the screen and find out what size image you prefer rather than relying on a salesman's advice.
 

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Or go with a 6040 and white screen and your price will be the same as what you had with the black diamond. The difference being you're going to get a brighter superior projector and not spend any more money than you were before.


I strongly agree with increasing up to 120". I sit 15 feet from a 150" and it's never been "too big." There's really no sense in taking the trade offs of projection technology if you don't get the sense of immersion. It may seem huge now but trust me you will adjust and love it. According to projector central you can throw a 120" image from 11'10". As mentioned before, get the projector first and throw the image on the wall to make sure it works and then slap the screen up immediately following.


http://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-Pro_Cinema_6040UB-projection-calculator-pro.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all of the replies! I got the projector and was able to throw some images up onto the wall. There are 2 challenges I have to deal with because of the small room: First, I needed to ensure my B&W tower speakers weren't jammed up against the wall in a corner. With them being 18" or so off the wall, it only leaves a certain amount of space for a screen. At absolute max, I would be able to fit a 110" screen. Second, the projector lens will only be 11' at best from the screen. I was able to get the projector and hold it up to where it will be mounted. In order for it to fit the 110" screen, the adjustment for zoom out would have to be absolutely maxed. I don't think that's an ideal solution in case there needs to be picture adjustments once fully setup and that aspect is maxed. So I made a safer decision to go with the 106" which fits perfectly between my speakers while allowing them some distance between the walls, and went with a zero edge pure white so I didn't have the 3" bezel on each side to deal with. With it taped out on my wall, it looks really good, but of course I'd rather have the 110". I can't believe how crazy I allow myself to get over 4". (Yeah. that's what she said...)
 

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In practical use you will not notice a difference between 106" and 110". If you think of it in terms of computer monitors it's the difference between a 26" and 27" monitor screen, which is basically unnoticeable.

Congratulations on taking your time and doing it the right way. It's always tempting to be impatient and order the projector and screen together only to find out the screen size was wrong for your application and preferences. The old blank wall image size experimentation trick gets it right almost every time. :)
 
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