Advice Needed - Screen Size

Defiance

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I have a room that is going to be used for a home theater and I am trying to figure out what size and aspect ratio the screen should be.

The projector would likely be an Epson 6050


The wall is 150" wide, and I using a pair of Focal Sopra No2 speakers for the LR and a Sopra Center. I figure that the max width I could have is 100" wide. The ceiling is 8' tall.

Video content will be mixed between movies and TV. The room is 16 ft deep, i figure the couch will be 12-13ft back. That being said, should I do a 2.4 cinemascope screen or a 16:9?
 

GeorgeAB

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Screen size is determined primarily relative to the light ouput of the projector. A larger screen requires more luminance "horsepower" from the projector to reach recommended minimum image brightness. Keep in mind that light output diminishes as the lamp ages, even laser-illuminated phosphor type lamps dim over time. Lamp life ratings are typicallty to the 50% output point.

You can always sit closer to a smaller screen to increase the image size. Once a projector is purchased, you will only get so much light out of it when the lamp is new.

High-gain screens invariably come with certain compromises to image quality. Most notably- hot spotting, color shift, reduced viewing angle, bright area "sparklies," etc. All ambient light rejecting screens use high gain layers. If you value movies over television programs, go with a 'Scope aspect ratio screen. If your projector can provide "constant image height" lens adjustment features, you will be able to increase the width of the image as the director intended. The vast majority of blockbuster motion pictures are a wider aspect ratio than 16x9.

Best regards and beautiful pictures,
G. Alan Brown, President
CinemaQuest, Inc.
SMPTE, Professional Video Alliance, THX, ISF, Lion AV Consultants

"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
 

Sam Posten

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If your projector can provide "constant image height" lens adjustment features, you will be able to increase the width of the image as the director intended. The vast majority of blockbuster motion pictures are a wider aspect ratio than 16x9.
Sorry but this is the worst advice.

100% of TV produced in the last 10 years and for the foreseeable future IS formatted 16x9. 100% of sports. 100 % of video games.

There is a small pocket of content in the form of motion pictures that is formatted ultra wide. If you value that seriously small amount of content more than the above no amount of logic can help you but there are legions of manufacturers (and crackpot enthusiasts) that will help you spend your money trying to make them look good instead of having all that other stuff look perfect, effortlessly.
 

JohnRice

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There is a small pocket of content in the form of motion pictures that is formatted ultra wide. If you value that seriously small amount of content more than the above no amount of logic can help you...
Sam, I've never use a projector, but this caught my attention. Are you saying that movies which are wider than 16x9 are virtually nonexistent? I'm fairly certain that's not true. If I'm confused by your response, I'm willing to bet a lot of others are as well.
 

Sam Posten

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Sam, I've never use a projector, but this caught my attention. Are you saying that movies which are wider than 16x9 are virtually nonexistent? I'm fairly certain that's not true. If I'm confused by your response, I'm willing to bet a lot of others are as well.
No not at all. Of course tons o films are wider than 16x9. But that number is dwarfed by all the stuff that isn't. It must be 10x1 against. And if you are optimizing your projector and screen for that stuff you are compromising significantly the 16x9 experience.
 

Sam Posten

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Let me say this one more time: If you are a scope enthusiast and knowing all the above you choose a scope or CIH screen for your home, good on you, have fun, enjoy it and ignore me.

But once you start evangelizing CIH and scope screens to others and you ignore the reality of just how little content is in that format Imma call that out, every time. You aren't helping these people, you are confusing them and setting them up for failure.
 

John Dirk

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Screen size is determined primarily relative to the light output of the projector. A larger screen requires more luminance "horsepower" from the projector to reach recommended minimum image brightness.
While this is ultimately true I think it's a minor point considering the likely range of screen sizes available to most Home Theater owners and potentially confusing for the OP. My room is basically the same size as his and I already own the Epson 6050 he is likely to buy. My screen [Elite Screens 135 inch - 16x9] looks absolutely amazing from my 12 ft sitting area, pretty much regardless of what I throw at it.

If you value movies over television programs, go with a 'Scope aspect ratio screen. If your projector can provide "constant image height" lens adjustment features, you will be able to increase the width of the image as the director intended. The vast majority of blockbuster motion pictures are a wider aspect ratio than 16x9.
I'm a bit confused by this and I've owned projectors for over 10 years. Why would anyone buy a 2:39 screen for home use when the majority of the content they are likely to view will be presented at 16:9, including most Blu Rays? If you have the budget and are a purist, there are many projector choices [Epson 6050 included] which support an Anamorphic lens kit to provide that aspect ratio when needed without locking you into it.
 

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100% of TV produced in the last 10 years
I'm sorry but this is demonstrably false. Netflix prefers a 2:1 aspect ratio for their original shows. Hulu is producing original content at 2:1. CBS All Access released the first season of their flagship Star Trek show in 2:1, and then the second season in 2.40:1. There are numerous other examples.

Whether or not a constant height setup is worthwhile is a debate I'm not particularly interested in having (everyone likes what they like) but to say that there's no television produced in anything other than 16x9 is incorrect and does a disservice to those researching their options. But it is certainly accurate to say that 16x9 is still the dominant ratio in TV production.

The question is more, what's your goal in your setup? In a traditional theatrical environment, 2.40:1 is meant to be wider than 1.85:1, 1.78:1 and 1.33:1. The intentions of the filmmakers (with the exception of specialty formats like IMAX) is always for 2.40:1 to occupy more screen real estate than 1.85:1. So, the way we view films on disc, where a 1.85:1 film is larger than a 2.40:1 film, is technically incorrect. If someone chooses to build a common height setup in their home to preserve the correct relationship of sizes between content, I can understand and appreciate that endeavor. For some people, it's not about having the biggest image possible at all time, but rather, to have the different formats view-able in proper proportion to each other. If the goal is having presentations that match a theatrical environment and theatrical specs as close as possible, that's constant height. If the goal is to have a good all-purpose system that's easy to set-up and use and doesn't require any kind of screen or projector adjustments after setting up, and you don't care that 1.85:1 isn't meant to be larger than 2.40:1, then 16x9 is a good choice.
 

JohnRice

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Are you referring to "pan & scan" or am I missing something?
I think he means that how most of us watch movie, a 1.85 movie is taller than a 2.35 movie, and has a larger overall image. In a theater, the image gets wider or narrower, but the height is constant.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think he means that how most of us watch movie, a 1.85 movie is taller than a 2.35 movie, and has a larger overall image. In a theater, the image gets wider or narrower, but the height is constant.
Exactly.

This is tremendously oversimplified but is good for the broad strokes: When these aspect ratios were designed and put into use, 1.33/1.37 was the starting point. When widescreen formats were invented, 1.85 was wider than 1.33. 2.40 is wider than 1.85.

In a proper theatrical setting, the theater’s screen should be constant height so that all formats are shown at the same height. Done this way, 2.40:1 is the largest screen size.

But at home, your TV is 16x9, which translates to 1.78:1. In order to fit a 2.40 movie onto that screen, black bars are used on the top and bottom of the frame to preserve that proportion. You don’t lose any picture, but the practical impact is that you’re viewing an image that’s meant to be larger on a smaller space. And when you watch a 1.85:1 film on that same screen, it fits your TV’s shape better and fills more of the screen, and therefore appears bigger. You get the reverse relationship between the two aspect ratios than what they have in theaters.
 

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[snipped] ...You get the reverse relationship between the two aspect ratios than what they have in theaters.
Now I'm afraid you're the one saying something that's demonstrably false, Josh. Ever since the digital projection switchover of the mid-2000s onwards, whether you like it or not, the Constant Image Height battle has been lost. Constant Image Width projection rules both the arthouses and multiplexes now, and even moveable masking is becoming much less common.

A simple, real-world answer to the OP: I've been exactly where you are and strongly advise you to ignore all the gobbledygook. Buy your PJ first, mount it on the ceiling or, preferably, a shelf and fire it up on the opposite wall. Open the lens aperture up fully, mark the corners of the resulting 16:9 aspect ratio rectangle and measure the diagonal. That's roughly the size of screen you need. Ensure it's big enough to fit all the rectangle on it and you're good to go.

Happy viewing!
 
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JohnRice

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To be honest, if I had just ventured to HTF looking for advice, and this exchange was what I got, I’d probably leave and never come back.

I guess I’ll do that with this thread.
 

John Dirk

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To be honest, if I had just ventured to HTF looking for advice, and this exchange was what I got, I’d probably leave and never come back.

I guess I’ll do that with this thread.
nevermind, I'm done here too.
To both of you I would ask, "why?" We've had some healthy debate [that may sooner or later actually benefit the OP] but no one person is the absolute authority in most cases so there's no harm in someone respectfully espousing a perspective they believe to be true, even if it ultimately isn't. I've quietly learned a few things from this thread, even though I thought I knew a lot beforehand.
 
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I'm certainly no expert on these matters so take it as a enthusiast's comments based on what I perceive as "best bang for the buck"

To me it seems prudent to purchase the largest 16:9 screen your projector will properly display on your wall as the majority of content seems to be produced for that ratio. That'll give you a very good sized 4:3 image (for old movies/TV shows), the largest 2.40:1 image possible, as well as everything in between. If you limit the height of the screen to that of a 2.40:1 image you're just limiting the max size available for product that's not as wide.

Ultimately it comes down to what *you* watch the most. If that's 2.40:1 content then you should get the largest screen for that ratio and just size everything else to fit the screen. Anything but 2.40:1 will be pillarboxed, and smaller on the screen than if you selected a 16:9 screen size, but that's the compromise you'd have to make with that choice.

So... I see the bus coming... throw me under... ;)
 
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JohnRice

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there's no harm in someone respectfully espousing a perspective they believe to be true
We obviously have a different concept of "respectfully espousing". Anyway, I'm not going to argue this on top of the rest of it.
 

Sam Posten

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OK, who peed in Sam's cheerios?
The 'enthusiasts' who come out every time a total projector noobie asks about getting started. There is ZERO reason to recommend anything but a 16x9 screen to anyone who isn't fully aware of all the intricacies that going outside that involves.
 

Sam Posten

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I'm sorry but this is demonstrably false. Netflix prefers a 2:1 aspect ratio for their original shows. Hulu is producing original content at 2:1. CBS All Access released the first season of their flagship Star Trek show in 2:1, and then the second season in 2.40:1. There are numerous other examples.
Those aren't broadcast TV. =)
 

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