FPTV - w/ cable TV and some lights on??

ryan_m

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 22, 2000
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114
I'm moving next month and the new house has a room that would be perfect for a FP set up. This room would not just be used for movies though, this would be our main place to watch tv/movies and play PS2 and generally hang out. I'm curious to hear from people with FP systems whether or not it is practical for it to not be a "dedicated HT". We would be watching a good bit of TV via a Tivo and we wouldn't want to watch in total darkness all the time (enough light to sit on the couch and read). Is this realistic or should I just be looking at getting a RPTV? I REALLY want the picture size of a projector, but maybe I would be better off with RPTV. Any advice would be appriciated.

thanks
Ryan
 

Murray Swanger

Auditioning
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
12
Two thoughts. Went to a HT store in Dallas and when they turned the light up at all, the picture quality dropped big time. The lights however were between the Projector and the screen.

A buddy of mine just installed a PLUS FPTV with DLP in a media room at his home. The screen size is about 100inch. The size of the screen alone gives off plenty of light. He also added standing reading lights on each side of his couch that give enough light to see the remote and possible enough to read.

I have two room. A family room where I have a rear projection TV from Philips. In my media room, I will be installing FPTV. I would not have put FPTV if that was my primary family room.

Go with Rear proj.
 

Eujin

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
549
Get the FP set-up. I'm in the same position myself and have decided that for non-serious viewing, I'll keep an old 27 inch direct-view in the room. For me, rear projection was a compromize, as you still need the room to be fairly light controlled, but you don't get the cinema-like benefits of FP.
 

Gabriel_Lam

Screenwriter
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Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,402
FP is doable, but you have to understand that when ambient lighting goes up, contrast takes a nosedive. You must keep ambient light from directly hitting the screen (use recessed lights or sconces, instead of florescents). A light cannon may be your best bet.
 

Dean McManis

Agent
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Jun 30, 1997
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36
CRT projectors are not great for rooms where the light cannot be controlled, but the DLP, LCD, and D-ILA projectors can easily handle regular room light, as long as it's not direct sunlight, and the room lights don't shine into the screen.

A good solution is having spotlights over the seating area, then you can read, talk, eat, etc, with good lighting, but the spots won't spill much light onto the screen and you still get a decent picture.

The thing to think about is the light level on the screen represents the darkest black possible, which is why direct light will wash out the picture. But the new projectors are plenty bright, so you can enjoy the big picture of a projector and still have the room usable for social occasions like watching football.

The best looking picture will come with all of the lights out though, and I'd suggest that the new HT owners keep their old tube TV for news, cartoons, game shows, sitcoms, soap operas, etc, to save the bulb life for watching movies ad other shows that look better blown up BIG.
 

ryan_m

Stunt Coordinator
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Jun 22, 2000
Messages
114
There are only two small windows so blocking out the sun is not going to be a problem. So having a few well directed lights (maybe a floor lamp that shines down and somewhat away from the screen?) will not be a problem? That is good to hear.

Does anyone have any more input as to how good/bad regular TV is going to look? For most shows I don't care to much about the picture quality, but is it going to be almost unwatchable via a Tivo at medium quality? We do plan on getting a dish so I'd assume that would be a lot better than just plain old cable. From what I've read it appears tweaking the picture via a HTPC is the way to go.

Using my current Sony 32" tv for casual viewing is something I considered. My girlfriend finds it absurb that I'm going to spend $2000+ on a projector but we'd have to watch our old TV part of the time. Luckily the upstairs has been designated "my" room, she just gets to make the decisions on the rest of the house. ha

Thanks for the replies.
 

Mark Larson

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 3, 2002
Messages
537
You're definitely looking at a digital projector for those conditions - get one with a good built-in scaler if you can, then it'll be easier to feed it CATV.
 

Dean McManis

Agent
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Jun 30, 1997
Messages
36
Ryan,
One of the nice things about digital projectors is that you can zoom the image size down on many models.
When I have to watch VHS, or DSS, or other lower resolution video sources I just shrink the size of the picture with the remote and it looks fine about the size of a large RPTV.

As far as the idea of getting a nice FPTV, and spending time watching your tube TV, the big reason is bulb cost.
You don't want to spend $2000 on the projector and another $2000 each year on replacement bulbs.

A 32" TV is just fine for regular TV, and a bigger picture for ordinary TV broadcasting is a waste, or worse.
Believe me, you don't want to be staring at a 5 foot tall Taco Bell Chalupa dog's head.
Unfortunately, TV advertising is made for 20"-27" TVs and when you blow it up to several feet wide it can look outright scary.

-Dean.
 

Gabriel_Lam

Screenwriter
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Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,402
As far as the idea of getting a nice FPTV, and spending time watching your tube TV, the big reason is bulb cost.
You don't want to spend $2000 on the projector and another $2000 each year on replacement bulbs.
Holy smoke! You guys watch a LOT of tv.

Most PJ bulbs last 1500-2000 hours, with a few now running in the 4000-6000 hour category, and a low of 1000 hours in business and home theater projectors (yes, some movie theater type 3-chip DLP's have 500 hour bulbs, but no one buys those for home). Bulbs cost about $300-400, with the most expensive 500 watt xenon ones running $500.
Let's say you take an average 2000 hour bulb that costs $300. That's a 15 cents/hour bulb cost. If you spend $2000 per year on bulbs, that's 13,333 hours of TV watching in that 1 year. That means you're watching 36.5 hours of TV per day. I know that's more than I can handle.
On the extreme $$$$ end, let's take the most expensive 500 watt xenon bulb (for the JVC DLA projectors) which cost $500 and only last 1000 hours. Yep, 50 cents/hour. Ouch! That's 4000 hours of watching for your $2000 per year. That comes out to almost 11 hours of TV watching a day.
On the low end, a $400 bulb for a SIM2 projector will last 6000 hours. That's 6.7 cents/hour. $2000 per year will buy you close to 30,000 hours of viewing that year... a total of over 82 hours of tv watching every 24 hours.
 

Dean McManis

Agent
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
36
Thanks for the math Gabriel.

Actually the D-ILA G15 (Which I own) factory bulb cost is $800, and the G20 is $1400. At $1400, the 1000hr bulb life works out to $1.40 per hour, so $2000 would require less than 4 hours a day watching TV (every day) for a year.
But my comment was mostly there just to make a point.
If you have expensive bulbs with a relatively short lifespan, and watch TV a lot, and play games, surf the internet, etc, you might be surprised that the bulb costs add up, and it becomes an operational cost consideration.
But your point is good that many newer projectors do have extended bulb life, and lower cost bulbs to be able to consider them for casual TV watching.
But for me it's not worth it for regular TV and internet use which is best being done on other displays, especially because most people already have their old TVs lying around already which do a fine enough job for news, sitcoms, and commercials.
I do still use my projector for occasional internet surfing, playing video games with friends, and the occasional non-HD TV show. Just not every day.
 

Gabriel_Lam

Screenwriter
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Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,402
Dean:

Have you considered the 500 watt cermax bulb? It's $550. Works in the G1000, G10, G11, G15, and G20 as well.
 

Dean McManis

Agent
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Jun 30, 1997
Messages
36
Yeah thanks Gabriel, after 1300+ hours on my last bulb I replaced my bulb with the Cermax 500W bulb, for about that price.
But it's not a simple proposition, and there are no guarantees that it will work right, and it's questionable if it voids the projector warranty buying a non-factory bulb assembly if it implodes. So I usually try to talk factory stock prices/products when comparing online.
There are even prospects of upcoming replacement "bulbs" that will have even more pure light, be brighter, have 25K hours lifetimes, and produce no heat!
I can't wait.

-Dean.
 

Blake Hoffmann

Auditioning
Joined
May 30, 2002
Messages
8
Another recomendation for ambient rooms if you have a high lumen projector: a gray screen. Will lower your black levels considerably, so not sure if there is a loss of shadow detail or not. Stewart Grayhacks seem to be the most popular, though I hear a decent sized one can be up to a grand, may be wrong
 

Dean McManis

Agent
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
36
I have the Grayhawk screen as well and it is great, but not cheap. It helps with black level, shadow detail and contrast. It isn't a huge transformation, but provides a subtle, visible improvement.

-Dean.
 

Gabriel_Lam

Screenwriter
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Mar 7, 2002
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1,402
I have a grayhawk as well. Very nice screen. If you need the extra gain (1.35 vs .95) for a lower powered projector and don't need quite the wide viewing angle of the grayhawk, there's always the Firehawk.
 

ryan_m

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 22, 2000
Messages
114
I'm thinking I'm not quite ready to put down $1000+ for a screen just yet. How much does the Firehawk run? I'm going to have the room for a screen that's 92" wide. I'm assuming there are other gray screens that aren't as pricey as Stewart? I'm going to need some money to buy other HT stuff, like a SVS (no more neighbors below/next to me, can't wait!)

thanks
Ryan
 

Gabriel_Lam

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,402
Have you considered something like a Parkland Plastic wall ($40-50) and some digital projector screengoo ($100)?
 

ryan_m

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 22, 2000
Messages
114
Screengoo?

I am most likely going to want a screen that can roll up out of the way.
 

Dean McManis

Agent
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
36
Ryan,

You might just want to paint the wall(s) white or light gray.

The picture is surprisingly good looking, the cost is minimal, and it just looks like a blank wall when not in use. and the paint cost is so low that you can experiment with lower gain materials (better blacks), and high gain materials (brighter).

Of course it depends on the setup of your room layout and seating if it will work.

The downsides of roll-up screens are that electric ones cost $$$, and all roll-up screens have a tendency to get slight horizontal creases and the occasional bug squashed during roll-up, which can look worse than a dead pixel.

These aren't deal-breaker issues, just considerations.

-Dean.
 

ryan_m

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 22, 2000
Messages
114
The room is the top floor of a cape cod so there's no wall to really use. Here's a pic I took when I first did a walk through of the house: the room
I'm thinking of getting some heavy duty window shades/treatments for the window and have the screen just pull down in front of the window. Of course this is all just thoughts, I'll have to access the room when I'm moved in. The gf is trying to convince me to just get a RPTV, so ya never know.
 

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