Trying to choose a projector and home theater setup~Any suggestions please?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Tim1967, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Tim1967

    Tim1967 Auditioning

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    Hi~this is my first time on the forum and I am a novice in this.

    I just had my basement finished and I will have a 14 x 15 room for my movie room. I plan on using the 15 foot wall for the screen and having a couch on the opposite wall underneath where a projector can be mounted to the ceiling. I plan on hooking up my PS3 and using this mostly for watching Blu-Ray movies and playing the occasional game. I am looking for suggestions for a projector for under $2000. I've seen that the Optoma HD20 has received some positive reviews and is around $1000. While I would be very happy to save the money, I'm wondering if spending more would get me a much better quality projector.

    Another question related to this~how do I determine how big of screen to get? The bigger the better as far as I'm concerned would be nice. I'm hoping to get at least 110" although I don't know if this is feasible with a smaller room. I've seen that there are Da-Lite screens available custom cut for a few hundred dollars. I've also seen screens for much higher prices. Would I be happy with a Da-Lite or is there a big difference with a different type of screen?

    I'm also wondering with this size of room can I fully utilize a 7.1 system or should I stick with a 5.1 system? I suppose I could move out the couch a foot from the wall if that would be helpful. For the receiver and speakers~my research so far has led me to the Onkyo HT-S5200, S6200, or S7200, which range in price from around $400-$800. From my understanding, if I get a 7.1 system, I should get a system that is fully HDMI compatible versus the HDMI pass through? Is this right?

    Thank you~I would greatly appreciate any advice or thoughts on any of these questions.
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    The screen size is determined by your seating distance from screen. The rule of thumb is 1.5X screen width = seating distance. Your room is too small for a 7.1 system. Do you plan to ceiling mount your projector, or put it on a shelf? This will determine if you need a LCD or DLP projector. Are you looking for a pulldown screen or a fixed screen? Pulldowns screens will develop wrinkles. You can make/paint your own screen and save a lot of money. Whether you buy a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver, you want a receiver that has HDMI 1.3 repeaters.
     
  3. Tim1967

    Tim1967 Auditioning

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    Thank you Jim for your input, it definitely is helpful. I guess I was planning on mounting the projector on the ceiling unless there was some advantage to having it on a shelf instead. What is the difference between the LCD/DLP projectors? I think a fixed screen would be what I'm leaning towards. Thanks again!
     
  4. decolvin

    decolvin Auditioning

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    Jim is certainly right about the sound system, the room is too small to effectively use a 7.1 system. So stick with your 5.1 & put the savings toward a higher end projector. I am very curious, however, why mounting on a shelf or from the ceiling can determine whether you need an LCD or a DLP.
     
  5. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Tim,

    What's your ceiling height?

    The ceiling height puts restrictions on the type of projector you can get, in that some cost-effective projectors have a fixed offset lens. They have to be mounted so that their lens is well above the top of the screen. More expensive projectors have lenses which have a variable offset, allowing the projector to be used in a room with a low ceiling, since they can be mounted at or below the top of the screen.

    An example of a cost-effective (less than $1500) DLP projector with a fixed offset is the Mitsubishi HC3800. It has an extremely sharp and bright image, but can't be used in a room with a low ceiling.
     
  6. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    How tall is your ceiling? I own and HIGHLY recommend the new Mits. HC3800(It's a 1080p DLP projector). It throws a beautiful, sharp, high contrast image, and has excellent reviews. There's also a free bulb rebate until the end of March(unless they extended it). My ceiling is only 6' 8" tall. All I did was angle projector up slightly to raise image, and use 3 clicks of keystone. The video purists will tell you keystone degrades image quality, but I disagree. This is my 3rd DLP projector, I've used keystone with all of them, and I've never seen any image degredation. If your ceiling is at least 7.5' tall, you won't even need to use keystone. The reason people use shelf mounts is it's easier to mount, easier to run cables. But to mount on a shelf, you need the lens shift feature of LCD's. Definitely check out the DIY Screen section at Avsforum.com. You can make or paint a screen for as little as $40.
     

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