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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm ready to jump into the projector realm...but I'm also not in a hurry at all. I'm looking at getting one some time next year.


I've been looking into the Panasonic PT-AE4000U, LG CF181D & Epson 8700UB...but is it worth spending the extra $2k-$3k for something better? I briefly looked into the new JVCs and they look promising, but there isn't much information about them.


My room is a basement , but not a dedicated theater. Walls are gray, and no plan to make them darker.


I'll be looking at a throw distance of around 12', and a viewing distance of about 10'-12', so I'm looking at hopefully about 90".


My understanding is that the closer the projector, the brighter the image? Does the throw distance affect the picture quality as well?


If my best option is to wait 6 months for next year's models, I'm completely fine with that.
 

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I'd say a used JVC DLA-RS40 or 50...there should be a few around by next year.



Seriously, if you're not buying it now, then wait until you are ready as things change pretty quickly in terms of what is a good deal. For example, the AE4000 was the popular choice for those short of the readies to get a JVC, but then JVC relaunched the RS10 (HD350) in the form of the HD250 and changed that area of the market. IMHO the HD250 knocks the AE4000 into a cocked hat for very little extra money. However, by next year there may be other options available which may impact on the current model's prices, not to mention what may be available used (or ex display type deals which would at least come with a warranty).


By all means read up, but keep your money in your pocket for now...no point having a projector gathering dust while you finish the basement. I would suggest though that even if you don't darken the whole room, just put some black material across the ceiling and side walls out for the first few feet will make a huge difference to the picture, whichever projector you end up with.


RE throw distance: Generally shorter throws using more zoom at the projector will give you the brighter image, but at the expense of contrast and possibly sharpness due to the way projector lenses work when zoomed. A longer throw will give you less lumens on screen, but more contrast and maybe sharper. If you have enough brightness and some screen gain to allow for lamp dimming (and a projector that allows you to control the brightness using an iris) then a longer throw can work very well as my own setup does. For a smaller screen such as 90" I don't think you need to worry to much about brightness unless you start looking at 3D projectors perhaps, but even then you'll be better than many at that size.
 

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Also, before you make a decision on PJ placement, decide whether you want a 16:9 (standard HD) or a 2.35:1 (2.4 or 2.37 also work, which are cinemascope aspect ratios) screen. I feel like this is something that a lot of people don't realize they want until after they have purchased all parts and used their theater for a while, then end up wishing they had gone with a 2.35 CIH setup.


-Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice everyone. Just to clarify, the basement is actually finished, and has been for several years. I'm currently running a 64" Pioneer Elite Pro and have always planned on putting a pull down screen in front of it with a projector. I even built the ceiling in such a way that I can put the projector above the drywall in the ceiling. So I'm basically ready...but in no hurry. I have no problem waiting even 6 months.


Regarding 1.85:1 vs 2.35:1...how exactly does that work with a projector? If you watch a 2.35 movie, do you still get the black bars, or does it actually just project the image as is, without bars? And such, if I got a 2.35 screen and watched 1.85 material, would I see the white of the screen on the sides, or black bars?


I would say 75% of the material I would be watching would be 16:9...due mostly to TV shows and football.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoHo /forum/post/19520944


I would say 75% of the material I would be watching would be 16:9...due mostly to TV shows and football.

Then I'd suggest getting a 16:9 screen as you are the complete opposite of me in that I only watch movies and most of the ones I choose seem to be 2.35:1 hence why I choose a 2.35:1 screen.


If you watch a 1.85:1 film on a 2.35:1 screen, you still have black bars, but at the sides. The difference of these black bars is that they aren't 'projected' so tend to be darker than the top and bottom black bars you get on a 16:9 screen with a 2.35:1 movie. It does depend on how much room reflection there is as this will 'light up' the black bars anyway.


If you're ready now, then skip the AE4000 and look at the JVC HD250 and get some room treatments done at least near the screen to make it worth the effort.
 

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I would suggest in the under $5K price range you should really consider the new JVC RS40 (check with AVS Store for a great pre-order price that is well below the $4500 list price and HERE is the forum discussion thread on the new JVC projectors). These new JVCs begin shipping in just a couple of weeks from now and they are 3D ready if that is of any interest to your. The main difference with the next model up in JVCs new projector line up is the RS50 ($8000 list but also available from the AVS Store at a good pre-order price) is that model has a full Color Management System (CMS) to allow for a full professional calibration and has THX certified modes. If you have no interest in 3D then I would still have the RS40 at, or near, the top of the list to consider in this price range, but would also consider the new Epson projectors that use Reflective LCD technology (essentially LCoS technology similar to that used by JVC and Sony). These are scheduled to start shipping within the next month or two and prices of the least expensive model (Home Cinema 21000) is in the $3K price range (again you should check with the AVS Store to see what kind of pricing they have and HERE is the forum discussion thread on these new Epson models). These new Epsons have a much better native contrast ratio than their regular LCD based models and also have other potentially useful features not found on their lower priced regular LCD models. So you can go from the Panasonic and Epson LCD projectors that are in the $2K price range up to a better projector for perhaps only $1K to $1.5K more and you do not need to actually spend $5K for a projector to see a worthwhile improvement.


Also for your room size and projector to screen throw distance I would go with a 16 x 9 screen in the 105" to 110" (diagonal) range if it with physically fit to the space available on that wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Ron!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Jones /forum/post/19522640


Also for your room size and projector to screen throw distance I would go with a 16 x 9 screen in the 105" to 110" (diagonal) range if it with physically fit to the space available on that wall.

I definitely have the wall space for it...but was concerned about the 10'-12' viewing distance if I went that big. And also the amount of zoom I would need from a 12' throw.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoHo /forum/post/19520944


Thanks for the advice everyone. Just to clarify, the basement is actually finished, and has been for several years. I'm currently running a 64" Pioneer Elite Pro and have always planned on putting a pull down screen in front of it with a projector. I even built the ceiling in such a way that I can put the projector above the drywall in the ceiling. So I'm basically ready...but in no hurry. I have no problem waiting even 6 months.

6 months isn't really going to get you anything, this years models (in general) only just came out (some aren't even available yet). About the only thing another 6 months will buy you is some reports on the new models, but those should be out long before that.

Quote:
Regarding 1.85:1 vs 2.35:1...how exactly does that work with a projector? If you watch a 2.35 movie, do you still get the black bars, or does it actually just project the image as is, without bars?

It works just like a TV, the fact that it's projected doesn't change the fact that 2.35:1 does not equal 1.78:1.

Quote:
And such, if I got a 2.35 screen and watched 1.85 material, would I see the white of the screen on the sides, or black bars?

Yes you would, but scope movies would retain their intended greater impact.

Quote:
I would say 75% of the material I would be watching would be 16:9...due mostly to TV shows and football.

The real question IMO isn't "how much" you watch, it's how much you care. Most of us with scope setups, have it because we are dissatisfied with having epic scope movies (Star Wars, The Matrix, LOTR, you name it) smaller than your everyday sitcom. If you agree with this, then you should look into a CIH setup.


With a 75/25 split of 16:9/scope, Zoom method would be a good choice, and wouldn't really cost you anything extra.


My suggestion to you would be try and get a first hand look at some different projectors. DLP, and LCoS (SXRD/DiLA), (I wouldn't bother with LCD with your budget, not with Epson going "LCoS"-ish), they each have a different look, and it seems many tend to fall rather strongly on one side or the other, DLP or LCoS.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoHo
Thanks Ron!



I definitely have the wall space for it...but was concerned about the 10'-12' viewing distance if I went that big. And also the amount of zoom I would need from a 12' throw.
A 12 ft. screen-to-projector throw (i.e., measured to the front of the projector's lens and NOT to the center of the ceiling mount) will in theory let you use up to a 120" diagonal 16 x 9 screen with the JVC projectors and also with the Epson LCD projectors, but I haven't seen the specific numbers published for the new Epson Reflective LCD series (e.g., 21000, 31000, etc.). I'm currently using a 13 ft. throw and a 120" screen with an Epson 6500UB (and its lens zoom range and throws are the same as the current Epson LCD projectors). I will be replacing the Epson with a JVC RS40 within the next few weeks (hopefully) and the minimum allowed throw distance for a given screen size for the new JVCs is very very close to that of the LCD Epsons. Current JVC models as well as the new ones nominally have a minimum throw distance of 1.2 times the diagonal screen size (for a 16 x 9 screen), so for a 120" (i.e, 10 ft.) screen the min. throw is 12 ft. and for a smaller 100" screen the min. throw is 120" or 10 ft. I would not actually mount the projector providing a throw of exactly 12 ft. if I were using a 120" screen since you need to allow for a few percent tolerance to the nominal values and that's why I suggested you use a screen size in the range of 105" to 110" with a 12 ft. throw distance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Jones /forum/post/19523975


Current JVC models as well as the new ones nominally have a minimum throw distance of 1.2 times the diagonal screen size (for a 16 x 9 screen), so for a 120" (i.e, 10 ft.) screen the min. throw is 12 ft. and for a smaller 100" screen the min. throw is 120" or 10 ft. I would not actually mount the projector providing a throw of exactly 12 ft. if I were using a 120" screen since you need to allow for a few percent tolerance to the nominal values and that's why I suggested you use a screen size in the range of 105" to 110" with a 12 ft. throw distance.

Sorry...I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that with a 12' throw with the JVC's I won't be able to go smaller than 120"...or it's just not recommended?


I will say that I plan on getting the projector first and hooking it up before getting the screen.


Is white the way to go these days or is it gray?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoHo /forum/post/19526741


Sorry...I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that with a 12' throw with the JVC's I won't be able to go smaller than 120"...or it's just not recommended?


I will say that I plan on getting the projector first and hooking it up before getting the screen.


Is white the way to go these days or is it gray?

No - I'm saying with a 12 ft. throw you could in theory go as large as a 120" (16 x 9) screen, but I would suggest keeping the size to 110" or smaller. As for screen type go with white. Gray screens are only applicable if you were using a projector with poor contrast ratio and/or in a room with poor light control (and even then there may be better solutions). As for the type of pull-down screen (or electric drop down?), if the projector is mounted near the ceiling perhaps you should start your search by looking at white matte screens with a gain of approx. 1.3 (since this type will not typically have any hot spotting issues and will accommodate a wide viewing area -- you didn't describe what your seating arrangement will be).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Jones /forum/post/19527471


No - I'm saying with a 12 ft. throw you could in theory go as large as a 120" (16 x 9) screen, but I would suggest keeping the size to 110" or smaller. As for screen type go with white. Gray screens are only applicable if you were using a projector with poor contrast ratio and/or in a room with poor light control (and even then there may be better solutions). As for the type of pull-down screen (or electric drop down?), if the projector is mounted near the ceiling perhaps you should start your search by looking at white matte screens with a gain of approx. 1.3 (since this type will not typically have any hot spotting issues and will accommodate a wide viewing area -- you didn't describe what your seating arrangement will be).

The seating is an L-shaped couch, but I'm not concerned too much with the side seating as that will rarely happen. The room is 12' wide, and 95% of the viewing will be just my family of 3.


I actually went and demo'd some stuff today. Unfortunately the place I went to only had 2 in this price range that were up and running. One was a Sim2 D60, which I thought was very impressive. The other was an Epson 8700UB, and while I thought it was decent, when he put in 'The Dark Knight' I wasn't impressed with the blacks. Based on that alone, I think I'm leaning more toward DLP or LCoS.


I will say that based on the demo, I think I'm okay going to 100". They had a 100" screen set up there with about 10' viewing distance and it didn't seem too big.


One thing the sales person mentioned about my wanting to put the projector above the ceiling is to make sure I have it ventilated well. What are my options with that? The projector would be above a drop ceiling in a basement, with about 8"-10" to the floor joists above, and some insulation between the floor joists. It is also where the duct work through the house runs, so perhaps that itself gives enough ventilation?


Also, one more (probably stupid) question...I understand what lens shift is, but what I was wondering is does it allow shifting of the top of the image to actually be below the line of the projector lens? And without tilting the projector?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoHo /forum/post/19531292


Also, one more (probably stupid) question...I understand what lens shift is, but what I was wondering is does it allow shifting of the top of the image to actually be below the line of the projector lens? And without tilting the projector?

It depends on the projector, some do, some don't.
 

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You can generally get more lens shift range with LCD and LCoS projectors than with DLP. In any case the projector is mounted level then you use lens shift to center the projected image on the screen. You will have to have line of sight from the lens to all of the screen and will need several inches of clearance on the sides/front/rear of the projectors that have the ventalation holes, grills, vents, etc. I would suggest you mount the projector just below the ceiling instead of recessed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Jones
I would suggest you mount the projector just below the ceiling instead of recessed.
Do you say that only due to the ventilation issue? If that is what I need to do, then that is what I will do...but I would really like to avoid having to do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Hutnicki
the standard projector has the middle of the screen as being Zero degree. The shifting goes up or down from that point
Right, but then the question is how far above/below can you go from the level plane of the lens? It seems to be difficult to acquire this information for specific projectors.


Below is the layout. Originally I had hoped to be able to just cut a circle in the drywall for the lens, but now I'm thinking due to the ventilation issue, I could cut a rectangle and expose the entire front of the projector. Is that still not enough ventilation? That drop ceiling behind it is about 10" height of empty space, with some duct work in there as well. The screen would be a drop down in front of that in-wall RPTV that's there now.



 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoHo /forum/post/19537754


Right, but then the question is how far above/below can you go from the level plane of the lens? It seems to be difficult to acquire this information for specific projectors.

It depends on the projector. Some have fixed offsets, some have lens shift bounded by the edge of the screen some can go a rather long ways outside. You have to look at the lens shift and/or offset specs for the machines you're looking at.


For example IIRC my old BenQ W5000 had a +120/-80% lens shift, so you could move the lens up to 20% of screen height outside (above/below depending on mounting) the screen.


I think my Planar is similar but I don't remember it's specs.
 

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Quote:
Right, but then the question is how far above/below can you go from the level plane of the lens? It seems to be difficult to acquire this information for specific projectors.
Not sure if i understand you question, but lets take my RS20. I think it has a 90% vertical shift. You take the size of your screen height and lets say its 40 inches high. You multiply the .90 x 40 which gives you 36 inches. Now you take the middle point of the screen which would be 20 (40/2) You take the 36 inches and subtract 20 from it which gives you 16 inches. That means that the projector can be 16 inches above the screen or 16 inches below the screen. All you need is the percentage of offset to figure this out
 
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