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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi AVS forum,

Like many others it seems, I’m taking the first steps to putting together a home theater system. I would appreciate any help towards checking my sums to see if there are any glaring mistakes or incompatibilities, and address any issues that may not have been considered.

A little background, my purpose in putting together a home theater is basically to have weekly ‘date’ nights with my wife as we have a two year old little boy and getting out of the house is a bit challenging at the moment. Daytime viewing will be fairly limited at least for now. Getting as large a screen as possible I think would help giving a sense of being immersed in a movie.

The room is a basement room with two sliding glass doors that is a multiple purpose room. Couches are at the far end and the other end has a basic record player stereo system cabinet. My plan is to get a ~120 inch mechanical screen in front of the stereo system and mount the projector on the ceiling.

I’ve already ordered a Sony VPL-HW45ES from Amazon and looking to get a 120” Elite Starling Tab-Tension 2 series, again from Amazon for roughly ~$1157. An OmniMount Ceiling for Projector PJT40 for ~$112.

Room dimensions:
Width 11’ 2”, Length 23’, and Height 7’ 10”
Sitting on the couch eye level is 33-6” inches depending upon the person. Leaning back and putting your feet up on the coffee table having the center of the screen be at the level would not seem to cause any neck strain.
Approximate distance from the couch to the ceiling joist where the screen would be attached to is 18 ft but could be reduced a few feet by moving the couch forward if necessary.

Sony lists 3 3/4” inch from the middle of the lens to the bottom of the unit.
Omni lists the ceiling to the mount bottom as 7.9” inches.
Elite lists the ceiling to the top of the screen as 6.3” inches with an additional drop from 0 to 14 inches.

Using www.projectorcentral.com,
Throw Distance- 14’ 7”
Zoom- 1.29x
Mount pole- N/A
Lens to center of base- N/A
Bottom of the screen to floor-N/A

Using www.webprojectcalculator.com,
Throw Distance- 15’ 5”
Zoom- 1.30x
Mount pole- 8”
Lens to center of base- 4”
Bottom of the screen to floor-2’ 4”

My first question is would this setup work? Between 14’ 7” and 15’ 5” should be ok to mount the projector. Is a zoom ~1.30x ok? How much of a v-shift is good before you lose picture quality? Its hard to get a sense of those corrections and how they will play out in this room as I have no experience.

Also, I’m open to other screens for a ~120” mechanical screen but to increase the quality seems like it would cost at least $700-800 more.

Thanks for any suggestions or comments! As this is my first go around putting together a HT want to keep it as simple as possible while of course getting as much enjoyment as possible.
 

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Sounds as if you've put a lot of thought into this and have selected a good basic package. I'm sure you'll get lots of fine-tuning suggestions.

A few thoughts that are non-specific to the Sony projector, with which I have no experience: Lens shift does not visibly degrade the image the way digital keystone does, so feel free to use as much lens shift as you want.

Tab-tensioned pull-down screens do prevent the waves that eventually show up on all non-tab-tensioned pull-down screens. However, as you've already discovered they're way more expensive. Some people are much more sensitive to waves than others. Some barely notice waves once a movie is playing and are perfectly content without tab-tensioning in the interests of saving hundreds of dollars. It may be worthwhile considering a
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply, Dave in Green. I’m been lurking on the forum and researching older threads for a few months which has been extremely helpful identifying setups and recommendations on equipment.

I appreciate your explanation on lens shift. From what I’ve read keeping the projector’s bottom perpendicular to the screen and using the lens shift within the unit’s capacity is the way to go.

Would definitely love to use a fixed screen however we don’t have any wall space. Also, the HT is a bit constrained because of the multipurpose room and having a young child. In this first phase, just planning on using Bluetooth speakers out of a Roku 4 or Apple TV for the sound. In a couple of years, will put in a surround sound system.

I don’t know if waves on the screen would distract us from enjoying the movies, but it seems to be a better bet to have some kind of tab tension system in place. Looking at this phase 1 to last for about three years before making changes if possible.

Do you think installing the screen’s mounting bracket on the ceiling or using a small link chain to suspend the screen mounting bracket from the ceiling would make any appreciable difference to terms of waves or angle of the projector hitting the screen?
 

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... I don’t know if waves on the screen would distract us from enjoying the movies, but it seems to be a better bet to have some kind of tab tension system in place. Looking at this phase 1 to last for about three years before making changes if possible.

Do you think installing the screen’s mounting bracket on the ceiling or using a small link chain to suspend the screen mounting bracket from the ceiling would make any appreciable difference to terms of waves or angle of the projector hitting the screen?
Some are on tighter budgets than others and are sensitive to the much higher cost of tab-tensioned screens. But by all means if the added cost is not an economic hardship you should go for it.

Mounting a pull-down screen to the ceiling is certainly a viable option, and it will resist waves as well as a wall-mounted pull-down screen. It's just as easy to control the angle of the projector hitting the screen by varying the mounting height from the ceiling as with the screen height on a wall. For greatest stability to resist any vibration in the house it's best to secure into the ceiling studs when possible rather than using dry wall anchors.

Suspending the screen with chains from the ceiling has been successfully done. Many have used non-projector-specfic generic hardware from Lowes or Home Depot. One thing you need to be careful about if using chains is having the screen near an air vent where the screen might slightly swing back and forth due to air flow in the room. Better than chain would be solid steel rods, which wouldn't have to be very thick for the screen's relatively light load. If you suspend the screen with threaded steels rods, nuts and washers it's really easy to level the screen by simply turning the nuts to adjust height up or down on either or both sides.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
My thought is the jump to a tab tension screen over time, if it ‘cures’ well (get past the initial week or two with no or non irritating minimal waves) in the home environment would be worth the additional cost. However Elite seems to be hit or miss in terms of quality control from reading comments on this forum and other reviews. My guess is transportation of the screen, how it is handled and the installation area environmental factors like humidity play an important factor in waves being created.

The screen seems to be the biggest unknown with setting up a HT. The issues with Sony projectors and their faulty boards hopefully has been fixed with this newest generation.

Thanks for mentioning the level issue on the ceiling studs, using an smart app, the level reads only -1°. However will check with a longer beam level.

Also, thanks for mentioning the air vent issue, that is something to be concerned about as there is one 3 feet away from where the screen would be placed. I’ll try to test out a heavier piece of paper or folder with the vent open and closed to see if there is any movement.

Do you have any thoughts on HDMI cables? For this first phase planning on just covering up the cables with WireMold. When I install a surround sound system will do all the drywall work. So would like to get a higher quality HDMI cable which could used down the line when everything will go in the ceiling and walls. Looking at the Monoprice Cabernet Ultra CL2 Active High Speed HDMI cable.
 

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... Do you have any thoughts on HDMI cables? For this first phase planning on just covering up the cables with WireMold. When I install a surround sound system will do all the drywall work. So would like to get a higher quality HDMI cable which could used down the line when everything will go in the ceiling and walls. Looking at the Monoprice Cabernet Ultra CL2 Active High Speed HDMI cable.
I'm using some older premium Monoprice HDMI cable for my one long run (25') and older standard Monoprice HDMI cable for my short connections. Never had a problem with any Monoprice cable. If I upgrade down the road to 4k I'd look at upgrading to Monoprice active HDMI cables.
 
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