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Advice on choosing a projector for my specific room (1 Viewer)

przglo

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Hi everyone. I'd like to install a projector and a screen in my soon to be renovated living room. The only problem is that with my specific room a standard projector placed in its optimal spot (marked C on the plan) wouldn't look great. It would have to be in the middle of the ceiling and I'd like to avoid that. Any advice on projector types (preferably specific models) that would work in this setting? I would like an HD projector and a screen that's 70-75 inches wide.

I was thinking about some long throw option above the windows on the opposite side of the room (A) but there's only about 4 inches from the ceiling to the top of the windows (the visualizations are not completely accurate). Or maybe a long throw but to the side (B)? These extra long throw options tend to be big and expensive though.

I was also thinking about a ceiling-mounted ultra short throw projector right in front of the ceiling beam (D). The height of the room in the area behind the ceiling beam is just 90 inches but I would still need a projector with high vertical shift so that the image is not very high up (again, in the visualizations it's a little higher than I'd want it). Any recommendations?

And how about rear projection? Is it possible (and affordable) to get a special screen and project onto it from behind (E)?

And what do you think about a standard projector mounted on one of the side walls + keystone correction? Is there a chance that this would work nicely?

Would be great if I didn't have to spend more than $1000 on the projector but I'd also consider more expensive options if they somehow fit nicely in the room. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Josh Steinberg

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This may not be the advice you’re looking for, but with the combination of open space/windows that you have in that room, plus the relatively small screen size you’re considering, if I were in your shoes I would seriously consider getting a 75” flat panel television rather than a projector.

Don’t get me wrong, I love projectors and I have one, but they require compromises when they’re not being installed in dedicated rooms, and have additional costs associated with running them. I think all of that hassle is worth it when you’re getting an image larger than you can get with a TV. But 75” is becoming a very common size for television sets. For what a projector will cost you in hardware, a screen, replacement bulbs, ceiling mounts, etc., you can probably spend the same on a TV, wall mount it, and be done with the whole thing with a lot less hassle. Look at the TCL brand of TV for a good combination of sizes and features at affordable prices. You can get a 75” TCL in their Series 5 line for less than your projector budget, or spend a little more on a Series 6 model. Both should exceed the picture quality of what you’d get in projection at that size screen.

I’m not sure home projection is worth doing for screen sizes under 100”.

That being said, if projection is the route you want to go, nothing wrong with that - take a look at different models from Epson - their units tend to offer the most flexibility in placement compared with other brands. And the website Projector Central has a valuable database of different models and specs, and a calculator that will tell you what the throw distance and size will be for different brands and model numbers.
 

smithbrad

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If I understand the problem, the best area for the screen is in an opening in the room where there is no wall to mount to, but you are hoping to have a screen to pull down when using and push up when not. That is tricky. For that configuration I can't really see many alternatives. The most correct spot for a projector is likely the ceiling behind the sofa, but can understand the lack of appeal to a ceiling mount within the decor.

I think what i would do with the limited budget is look into a short throw projector that you can roll out/bring out when watching, just like the need to pull down the screen. Extra work yes, but it can give you something to play around with until working out a more permanent solution that may require some construction or a larger budget. There may be a short throw that could work from the ceiling right in front of the screen, but it may be out of the budget.

Also, I'm not sure how well you are able to control the light, so you may need a projector with some decent lumens if watching in the day.
 

John Dirk

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Completely echo @Josh Steinberg 's comments. As much as I love my projector, even in my dedicated room, I am forced to accept some compromises due to the size of my front speakers. If I were looking at a screen size under 80 inches I would almost certainly choose a flat panel these days. They're becoming cheap enough to justify replacing every 5 years or so and you can usually keep them in warranty almost that full time.

That said, if you're really set on a projector I would think one of the LG UST options would work for you. They're small enough to just store away when you're not using them.
 

smithbrad

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I'd recommend the flat panel as well, but where do you want them to put it? If I understand correctly, the proposed wall is a window and door, which is why I think the plan was a pull down screen. I guess the other option is to rotate the sofa so you can face the long wall where a flat screen could be mounted. It removes some of the openness to the room though.
 

Mysto

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Ultra Short Throw projectors do not play well with pull down screens. They will show every little ripple because of the extreme projection angle. I love my projector but I too would go with a flat panel in your situation.
 

Robert_Zohn

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I also agree that a 75"-77" TV is best for your application and I'll post my favorite two TVs next Sunday evening, May 9th.
 

sfyalek

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Hi everyone. I'd like to install a projector and a screen in my soon to be renovated living room. The only problem is that with my specific room a standard projector placed in its optimal spot (marked C on the plan) wouldn't look great. It would have to be in the middle of the ceiling and I'd like to avoid that. Any advice on projector types (preferably specific models) that would work in this setting? I would like an HD projector and a screen that's 70-75 inches wide.

I was thinking about some long throw option above the windows on the opposite side of the room (A) but there's only about 4 inches from the ceiling to the top of the windows (the visualizations are not completely accurate). Or maybe a long throw but to the side (B)? These extra long throw options tend to be big and expensive though.

I was also thinking about a ceiling-mounted ultra short throw projector right in front of the ceiling beam (D). The height of the room in the area behind the ceiling beam is just 90 inches but I would still need a projector with high vertical shift so that the image is not very high up (again, in the visualizations it's a little higher than I'd want it). Any recommendations?

And how about rear projection? Is it possible (and affordable) to get a special screen and project onto it from behind (E)?

And what do you think about a standard projector mounted on one of the side walls + keystone correction? Is there a chance that this would work nicely?

Would be great if I didn't have to spend more than $1000 on the projector but I'd also consider more expensive options if they somehow fit nicely in the room. Any advice would be much appreciated. View attachment 96292
View attachment 96293 View attachment 96294 View attachment 96295
I echo with Jose's response. Your major problem is the light issue since you have windows on both ends. You need a high lumen projector, such as Benq or Epson with the high gain screen. Besides, your screen looks very light weight and far from the wall, the screen will swing by any air movement. I'd recommend you to buy a flat screen TV.
 

przglo

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Thanks for all the hints. I think a TV would be best in terms of picture quality in that room but I don't want to rearrange the room and I don't want a huge TV in front of the windows. For that reason I'd like to try and find a projector solution.

I've just stumbled upon the Epson 5030UB. They can be found used for around $1300 where I live. I could mount it on the opposite side of the room just above the windows and its maximum throw ratio of 2.87 and vertical lens shift of 96.30% should allow me to achieve the image size and placement that I want. (It wouldn't fit completely above the window so it would prevent this one window from opening normally but the room has nothing but windows so that should be fine.)

Do you see any serious drawbacks of such a setup? I understand it's not ideal but I would mostly use it in the evening and I could use the blinds so I just want to know if this would be at least OK.

I also have one question inspired by sfyalek's remark about the screen swinging by any air movement. I was actually wondering about that. Would a tensioned screen be any better in that regard? Or just some screen with a super heavy bottom bar?

And if I wanted to use a UST would a tensioned pull down screen be OK or would I still see some ripples?
 

xx Brian xx

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While I agree with the others that a TV is the best option for this room, if you really want a projector I would make sure you have a plan for running an HDMI cable from the source components to the projector and how you are going to play the audio in the room.
 

Josh Steinberg

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The Epson 5030 is a phenomenal machine - it’s the one I have, and part of the reason I chose it was because I’m a home renter, not an owner, and I didn’t want to get it for one space and then discover that it wouldn’t work in a different space when I inevitably moved. I think in terms of image quality you’ll be very happy.

Pull down screens are tricky (I’ve used one) and I don’t have a great answer for you there. You might have some trial and error on your hands there, unfortunately. Anything that disturbs the stillness of the screen, whether it’s wind or just from people walking behind it while you’re watching something can be detrimental to the experience but I don’t have the experience to say if tensioned will work better or worse than one just weighted. Hopefully you can find a seller with a reasonable return policy so if the first thing you try doesn’t work, you’re not on the hook for it.

If you don’t already own a screen, I would recommend considering a size larger than 75”, if you can fit it. The best thing about home projection is the size factor and if you can go bigger you’ll probably enjoy it more. My usual suggestion is for people to buy the PJ first and then throw an image onto their wall and adjust the size of it until it feels comfortable from your viewing position, and then measure what that size is and buy the screen that comes closest to it. Since you’re not hanging it on an actual wall, as an alternative I’d say go and get the largest white bedsheet you can find, hang it quickly with some thumbtacks and turn on the PJ and play around with different sizes until you’re at what feels best to you. The image quality on a sheet vs a screen will be not very impressive so don’t be scared when it looks crappy but it should help give a better idea of what 75” or any other size is actually like in your space.

And I wholeheartedly endorse Brian’s suggestion to plan out your audio setup and HDMI runs before you get started with buying anything.
 

przglo

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I was wondering if maybe the world would move on to fully wireless options in the nearest future. Maybe HDMI cables are going to be obsolete quite soon? Or do you think cables are here to stay and I should definitely have a cable both for video and for audio?
 

David Weicker

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I have a question for those who have projectors.

do you use them for everything, or just films?

i watch a lot of TV (shows and sports). Would almost constant use be an issue
 

Martino

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"Would almost constant use be an issue"

This depends on what projector you get. There is usually a time limit on the bulbs (they only last for XX hours before needing to be replaced). For an occasional movie/sports game - this usually isn't too much of an issue (last bulb I replaced in my "cheap" theater cost me $300.00) - if you are using this as your daily monitor, you will be replacing the bulbs more often, and the price will start to add up...

For an example - looked up the specs on the projector noted above: epson 5030

It has a lamp life listed as: 4,000 hours, or 5,000 on Eco mode

5 hours watching per day = 800 Days between replacements - replace bulb every 2 years. Bulb price = $162

It all depends on how much you plan on running it....every 4,000 hours will cost you another $162...
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I have a question for those who have projectors.

do you use them for everything, or just films?

i watch a lot of TV (shows and sports). Would almost constant use be an issue

You’ll use up the lamp faster and need to replace it sooner, but there’s nothing wrong with doing that. For what it’s worth, although lamps for different projectors are rated to last different numbers of hours, they start to grow dim before they actually die. For instance, I have the Epson 5030 and it says the lamp lasts 5000 hours. But in practice, I’ve found that it starts looking a bit dull when it gets to about half that.

Prices on lamps vary wildly depending on which projector you get. The advice is always to use the official replacement lamp from the manufacturer and not a knock off, and I think that’s worth following - a knockoff bulb may never look right to begin with and could also do damage to the whole unit. For my Epson, it’s $300 for a new bulb.

With all of that out of the way, what I’ve read and been told time and again is that when it comes to both projector and lamp longevity, running the unit for long periods is fine. What is generally not great for the unit is turning it on and off a lot without it having an appropriate amount of time to cool down. So in theory, you’re actually treating the projector better by leaving it on for four hours than you would be turning it on for an hour, then off, then back on twenty minutes later, then off again an hour later, etc.

I tend to use my projector for movies, concert discs and TV shows with great production values (so yes to Star Trek, no to sitcoms). I use my TV set for more casual viewing like news and sitcoms and instructional videos.

It’s really a very cool addition to your home theater setup. I don’t see any issue with the kind of usage you’re talking about. :)
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I was wondering if maybe the world would move on to fully wireless options in the nearest future. Maybe HDMI cables are going to be obsolete quite soon? Or do you think cables are here to stay and I should definitely have a cable both for video and for audio?

There are wireless alternatives to HDMI, but depending on your exact setup (eg. line-of-sight and distance between relevant components), it may or may not be reliable enough. Also, AFAIK, currently available wireless HDMI solutions aren't capable of 4K/HDR at 60Hz yet, but if you're just doing 1080p, should be fine.

Some of Epson's PJs actually offer such wireless HDMI options for extra cost (probably $200-300 extra)... or you can go w/ 3rd party solutions.

Note though that even if you go wireless for HDMI, you'll still need to run wiring for power to the PJ. Same for stuff like wireless speakers, if you actually want to try those...

_Man_
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I also have one question inspired by sfyalek's remark about the screen swinging by any air movement. I was actually wondering about that. Would a tensioned screen be any better in that regard? Or just some screen with a super heavy bottom bar?

And if I wanted to use a UST would a tensioned pull down screen be OK or would I still see some ripples?

IF you're willing to pay whatever the cost, I imagine you can get satisfying (enough) results that also suit your decor (enough)... but there are no guarantees "enough" will stay enough on top of the costs (and probably effort)... and therein lie the rub of course...

As others have pointed out, it probably makes much more sense to simply go w/ a good flat panel display for your situation, especially since you can easily get substantially better results (for that size display). It's not like going w/ FP will fit a lot better w/ your decor while still yielding good, effortless results afterall. You're basically trying to fit an awkwardly oversized square peg into a small, otherwise elegant, round hole.

_Man_
 

DaveF

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I have a question for those who have projectors.

do you use them for everything, or just films?

i watch a lot of TV (shows and sports). Would almost constant use be an issue
Everything: TV, Movies, videogames. On average, about 2 hrs a day with the projector watching TV.
Use low lamp for most viewing to preserve life, and bright lamp for stuff I care most about.
 

DaveF

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I would like an HD projector and a screen that's 70-75 inches wide.
That is the worst of all worlds: TV size with Projector quality, cost, complexity.

Buy a 4K OLED 75" direct view for the same cost of a projector and screen and have much, much better quality viewing.
 

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