Need projector screen advice

Discussion in 'Displays' started by James T Morton, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    Hi,

    This is my first post in the forum, and I'm pretty much a newbie in the home theater world, so bear with me if I ask stupid questions! [​IMG]

    Anyway...we have a large family room with a fairly small TV, and after straining to read the subtitles on a recent re-viewing of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I finally decided that it's time to upgrade. Was looking at rear-projection TVs for a while, but I've always wanted to try front projection. After reading the thread on the InFocus X1, which seems a really great projector for the price, I've decided to go ahead and order one.

    What I need now is advice about a screen to project onto. Both the projector and the screen need to be portable (can't talk the wife into a permanent setup!), and I've been looking at the screens at http://focusedtechnology.com.

    Can anyone suggest a good choice from this site (or elsewhere), either tri-pod or lift up? I'm a bit lost in all the different fabric types and so on. I do know I will be looking for a large (80-100" diagonal) 16:9 screen. I'm thinking the 52 by 92 Da-Lite Picture King tripod might be a good option...no idea about which fabric to pick.

    Great board, by the way...I've really enjoyed reading it.

    Thanks,
    James
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Are all of the fabrics they have, white? A gray screen would help to minimize any rainbow artifacts as a result of the slower wheel speed on the X1. Take a read through thie following thread on the Infocus X1... http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...infocus+screen
     
  3. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    I would start off by making your own. It's quick, easy and cheap, and you will be shocked by how good of a screen you can make. Plus you can try different sizes and colors to determine what works best for you. Then, if you really want to, you can look into one them there "store bought" screens. At least then you have some experience as to what works, and what doesn't.

    I have a removable screen which works well. I made out of 1/8 inch thick wallboard painted a grey silver mixture. It hangs by chains from the wall, and is moved to the laundry room when not in use.

    Remember, with the X1 and a 16/9 screen, you will have light spill above and below the screen (the X1 is 4/3). This might or might not be annoying. A 16/9 lcd projector, like the Z1 would prevent that, and it not that much more expensive. Just a thought (and yes I have a Z1, so I may be biased).

    There is a screen area at the avsforum web site which has more info then you would ever want about building a screen.
     
  4. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    Yes, I was wondering about the light spill. Would it be better to buy a 4:3 ratio screen and black mask the top and bottom than to go for a 16:9 screen, do you think? I'm pretty much set on the X1 (it also just about caps my budget!), but I will take a look at the Z1 as well. Thanks for the advice, guys!
     
  5. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    Oh, and I was thinking about making my own, but it needs to be easily collapsable rather than ridgid (wife's orders - has to disappear when not in use!), which is why I was looking at the ones at focused technology...looks like it would be easy to bundle the screen up in a case and take down to the basement.
     
  6. Rick Guynn

    Rick Guynn Second Unit

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    You might also want to look at the Panny 200. Just go read through RonP's thread on his experience with the X1 and susequent switch to the Panasonic PJ. It's very close in price as well (it might even be the same price at this point).

    As to the screen... with any of those, you are bound to run into problems with waves. See if your wife will let you get a pulldown such as the Dalite HiPower.

    RG
     
  7. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    James,

    you buy one of those screens and an X1 and you have already spent more than you would for a Z1.

    I would seriously give some thought to a DIY screen. Mine hangs on the wall in the laundry room when not in use, and is totally out of the way. Any way you could carry it down to the basement and hang it on a wall when you are not using it?

    If you have light walls, the spillover from a 4/3 projector would probably be a problem. I would either go with a 4/3 screen or a 16/9 projector

    If you are curious, you can see a picture of my screen
    here
     
  8. Derek*k

    Derek*k Auditioning

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    Is that the Sanyo PLV-Z1 you speak of? MSRP is about $2500. Oooch. That's a bit more than the X1...

    ...wait wait wait.

    [​IMG]

    $1300? My wife will be pleased with that.
     
  9. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    Mark,

    Nice screen! I will definately look into the DIY idea. I'll show my wife your pic when I get home and see what she thinks!

    Cheers,
    James
     
  10. JayH

    JayH Auditioning

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    "Is that the Sanyo PLV-Z1 you speak of? MSRP is about $2500. Oooch. That's a bit more than the X1... "

    You can find the Z1 for around $1200. Go to projectorcentral. They have reviews of many projects and there is a link where you can get a list of prices from dealers. Some have free shipping.
     
  11. Derek*k

    Derek*k Auditioning

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    I just got there. Almost pee'd myself at the price. A DIY screen, and I've got a 105" screen that I can watch movies *and* game on. Gotta love that. [​IMG]
     
  12. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    What puts me off the Z1 is that it's only 700 lumens, compared to 1100 for the X1. My setup is going to be in the family room where light isn't easily controllable, so I need to get something as bright as possible...
     
  13. Rick Guynn

    Rick Guynn Second Unit

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    James, you need to keep in mind that the 1100 lumens the X1 is claiming is in presentation mode and before any calibration. You're not going to want to watch most things in presentation mode. Putting it in theater mode drops it to about 700 or lower (again, before calibration). The same with the contrast ratio rating.

    This effect is true of almost all of the projectors out there that have a 'presentation' mode. I think Steve Smallcombe measured the Z1 at lumens of around 500 and CR of around 700:1 after he calibrated one for a review.

    RG
     
  14. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    As a note of caution James, front projection is not a good choice for rooms with a lot of ambient light.

    In fact this is the main reason that I don’t have a front projector myself—our family room has two walls of windows and that was just too much to overcome.
     
  15. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    Thanks for the heads up, Lew...I have been worried about that. The projector is likely only going to be pulled out for special movie viewings, probably in the evenings (after dark), so I'm hoping ambient light won't be a problem. What I'm REALLY hoping is that my wife will so impressed with the first movie we watch on a 100" diag screen (which I'll make sure is one of her favourite movies, natch) that she'll drop all objections to me setting up a permanant theatre in our nice dark basement... ;-)
     
  16. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    she will be impressed, trust me.

    I definitely think you want to set up a permanent installation in the basement. It would get to be a real pain to set up the system every time, run the wiring to the hook it up, etc. Plus, it won't look good, with wiring all over the floor.

    A projector is definitely worth it, but its not quite like pulling a tv out of the box and plugging it in. Even so, you would have to pry mine out of my cold dead hands to make me give it up.
     
  17. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    I have quite a bit of ambient light (two full walls of windows, shut of course) and I have no trouble watching tv during the day on my X1. Is it reference colors? No, but its not like ambient lighting helps regular tv either. In a way, I prefer it because I have no glare now, which was more distracting then subdued colors. Also, notice where I live, it is never cloudy or overcast; we always have sun shining in my house. At night, the only time I drop the lights is when I am watching a dvd. Besides that I usually have my room lights on when I watch tv. That said, if you really want the X1 to shine, dim the lights and watch those colors pop off the screen.

    As far as screens go, I was sent a sample of Da lite High Power and High Contrast to compare along with some white blackout cloth and a sheet of parkland plastics. I at first thought I would use the parkland or BO cloth until I decided to get one of the "real" screens. Well, after all was said and done, I guess this would be my feelings in this order:
    1. Parkland Plastics -
    Pros: Really sharpens up the image and brings no color alterations at all. Flat white.
    Cons: Limited in size you can buy locally.
    2. Da Lite High Power -
    Pros: Killer picture if you are centered to the screen. Colors are more vibrant, whites are very white and its almost like watching 3-D.
    Cons: If you move out of the center, and I mean a foot out of the center the brightness drops dramatically. By the time I was at the side couch in my room it was the darkest picture out of all 4 of my tests. If you are going to be sitting only in center and have rows then it is a solid choice, but if you have a normal type room I would put it last on my list.
    3. BO Cloth -
    Pros: A lot like Parkland with good honest colors and can be made to any size you like.
    Cons: Wasn't as sharp as the Parkland.
    4. Da Lite High Contrast
    Pros: Blacks are blacker.
    Cons: I did not prefer the overall darkness this screen gave my image. In my opinion it made it unwatchable except in total darkness. Besides if you want a cheap alternative to that just get BO cloth or Parkland and buy an ND filter for your X1 and it produces almost identical results.

    Email Da lite, they were very prompt with sending out samples and I almost feel guilty not buying one of their screens since they were so easy and pleasant to deal with. I just really like the picture that Parkland Plastic gives me and now I use the BO cloth outside for pool party viewing. [​IMG]
     
  18. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    Another idea, and this is what I went with after finding my $$$$ da-lite wasn't going to work well with an X1.

    I had the same restrictions of the screen not hanging out in my new house as well. I tried the parkland and the blackout but the picture wasn't as good as I wanted and I had to take the thing down all the time. I found a paint system made specifically for digital projectors. www.goosystem.com

    I sanded down the wall and painted it. Rainbows went away and the picture improved dramatically over the other options I had tried. I bordered the screen with black in a pattern like a mountain. I don't have a digital cam yet but I got the idea from the goo system site. They have a very nice setup painted this way. I highly recommend these guys and after spending a considerable amount on screens and DIY projecting onto the wall gave me my best picture.
     

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