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Advice on buying a projector and screen...also questions on the effect of room lighting on projector choice

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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   tx0105



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Posted June 03 2011 - 06:49 PM

Hey everyone, I'm completely new to this whole home theater thing, so please bear with me. My wife and I are building our first home and we are interested in setting up an HD projector + quality screen in an upstairs gameroom (it's the only room upstairs) that is around 22 ft by 22 ft. We sort of shooting in the dark right now and before we iron out everything with the design center in a couple weeks (including getting wiring set up and such) I wanted to be sure we know what our options are. I had a few questions that I was hoping you guys could help me with.

Our plan is to use at least half the gameroom for theater seating plus an HD projector along with a nice sized screen. Like I said, we're shooting in the dark right now, so we were hoping to have a 100+ inch screen, plus an HD projector that can preferably do 1080p (we watch blu-rays). Our budget right now is around $5000 for the screen and projector. That money is only for the equipment, so there's no need to worry about installation costs.

My first question is if $5000 is a realistic budget for what we are looking for. Can you get a high quality HD projector that does 1080p along with a 100+ inch screen? If we can get a good projector and screen for under that price, that would be excellent as that would allow us more money to spend on a receiver and surround sound.

My second question is related to lighting. This isn't a dedicated media room. Like I said, at least half of it will be for theater style seating along with the screen for watching movies, TV and such. We'd also like to put a pool table and card table up there as well. The room comes with canned lighting and while sometimes we can probably just turn off all the lights while watching a movie/TV (there is a window too that we plan on putting shades in to block as much light as we can), we also want to host parties and such to watch games. If we had the lights on so people can play pool and poker while watching a game, can you still get a good quality picture from a projector, or do you need the lights off? Also, do some projectors do better with light vs others, and if so, what's the cost difference?

Third, I was curious how home theater systems with projectors are typically hooked up. We're looking at at least an HD DVR cable/satellite box and a PS3 being hooked up to it at a minimum. In addition, we are also looking at surround sound, and have been eying some of the Bose systems. Can we hook all of that up into one receiver, and if so, what's the cost of that equipment?

Sorry for the long post, but like I said, I'm a complete novice, so I figured I'd check in here. I've heard great things about this forum, so I'm hopeful I can get some advice and recommendations from you guys. Let me know what you think about our plan regarding price, location (if the lighting will work with a projector) and if there is anything else I'm not thinking about.

Thanks so much!!

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted June 03 2011 - 07:07 PM

$5,000 is more than enough for a nice 1080p projector and screen. You need to decide on what technology you want first: DLP, LCD, LCOS? Do you want to ceiling mount projector? What will the throw distance be(lens to screen)? How tall are the ceilings? This will determine if you need a projector with lens shift. Screen size is determined by your seating distance from screen. What will that be? With the can lights, make sure they're not all on one switch, and that they are on dimmers. You can have lights on if needed, BUT the room needs to be "reasonably dark". You do not want any light shining on the screen(lamps, wall lights, etc). PLEASE DO NOT buy a Bose system/speakers. VERY overpriced junk. The best way to hook up your system is to run the PS3 and DVR into the A/V receiver via HDMI cables, then one HDMI cable out to the projector. Make sure the receiver you buy has at least 3-4 HDMI inputs.

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted June 04 2011 - 02:09 AM

$5000 is doable. It will depend on your tastes / desires. If you want a motorized screen or masking you will have to increase your budget. If you want a fixed screen and want to go with Carada vs Dalite vs Stewart, then you will be able to get there at 5K. All fun stuff, enjoy the shopping and demoing!! Gregg

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#4 of 4 OFFLINE   GeorgeAB


    Second Unit

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Posted June 04 2011 - 03:25 AM

Since you have already said you understand that you are a novice, that you are building this home, you are working with a design center, and have already made the mistake of assuming that Bose is worth considering for a large system, do yourself a big favor- consult with a professional.  If available in your area, pay someone for their time to perform a personal consultation with you, your wife, and the blueprints.  Find a formally trained, credentialed, experienced, custom installation professional, with multiple references.  Ask them to help you with the design stage.  Stick close to your budget and just hire them for their time and advice, if you think you want to install stuff yourself.  You don't have to buy any equipment or installation labor from them. There is good info on forums, but no shortage of poor advice as well.  You will save a lot of time and potential mistakes by investing a couple hundred bucks up front on professional guidance from someone who has designed scores to hundreds of systems.  Look for credentials from organizations such as CEDIA, THX, ISF, HAA, SMPTE, AES, etc.  An experienced pro will help you answer important questions you won't even think to ask.  An extended personal interview can replace months of back and forth dialogue on hobbyist forums. Best regards and beautiful pictures, G. Alan Brown, President CinemaQuest, Inc. A Lion AV Consultants Affiliate "Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"

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