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Projector or FlatPanel? ~$5k budget (1 Viewer)

Psychopasta

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Hello peeps,

I have just bought a house that has a dedicated home theater room. It measures 18' by 13.5, has a ceiling mount for a projector, and a Stewart Screen Firehawk grey screen measuring 90"x52.

I am thinking of something like the Epson LS12000 4k laser projector as the source, but at this price point large flatpanels like LG's 83" C2 model are also possibilities. The main use will be movie watching and XBox games.

My inclination is that another projector for the room is a no-brainer, but I'd like the opinions of those who know more about it than me about how a large flatpanel compares to a ceiling-mounted projector in a dark room. Please challenge my assumptions! Any opinions?

- Mark
 

ManW_TheUncool

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IF possible and you're serious about going w/ projection, I'd probably suggest going to a significantly larger screen instead. That existing screen is only roughly 100" diagonal (or maybe a few inches more I suppose, if your measurement is for the viewing area, not including any matte black borders). Maybe go for 120" (or bigger) if possible... or you might consider going wider w/ 2.4:1 CIH -- that would certainly be very different (and much, much larger for 2.2:1 AR or wider movies) than your other option of going w/ an 83" OLED.

IF you're not going bigger and only staying w/ that existing ~100" 16x9 screen, then you might not feel the bigger size is enough to overcome the other benefits/advantages of OLED (primarily in greater dynamic range... which impacts HDR, black level, peak brightness and such... not to mention better color fidelity/gamut)...

_Man_
 

Josh Steinberg

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At a certain point, it’s a matter of preference - viewing a large flat panel is a different experience than viewing front projection. There isn’t really a right or wrong choice but simply which image characteristics are more pleasing to you.

I personally prefer projection. There is, for me, an intangible quality to the look of light being projected on a screen that I find aesthetically pleasing. You lose a little bit on black levels, brightness, and sharpness, but that’s not really a concern of mine - the majority of my viewing is films that originally played in theaters that way, and watching them projected at home replicates that experience for me. Traditional projectors have some extra associated usage costs, like replacing the lamp (bulb) every so often, but the new laser projectors don’t require that - the laser projectors do have a finite life but it should be comparable to the life of a TV. Depending on your skill set, you may need to hire someone to install the projector and calibrate it to get best results.

Other people prefer the look of new 4K sets with HDR, which can have stunning blacks, incredible sharpness and a wider color gamut. This doesn’t always represent how films originally looked in theaters, but that’s not necessarily the goal for many home viewers. You won’t have any added costs in terms of replacing bulbs, and installation and calibration is generally simpler.

You can have a really great experience either way, it’s just a question of which is more appealing to you.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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What Josh just said as well... although not every FP user feels quite that way of course -- the size thing is usually the (by far) #1 reason for going w/ projection.

Ideally, you'd probably want to have both and use each based on the particular (kind of) content (and intent), but that's usually not possible... at least in the same HT space.

You might wanna go for projection (w/ the largest screen you can fit) for this dedicated HT room and then still go w/ a good size OLED in the livingroom (or den or whatever other suitable space) w/ that in mind...

_Man_
 

Psychopasta

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So what I'm getting from these responses is that projectors give you bigness and flatpanels give you slightly better ultimate image quality in a smaller size.

I think I'll go for bigness, as that is what the 'theater' experience is about, and I take Josh's point about the aesthetics of projection versus glowing. It's a really wonderful first-world problem to have.

Thanks for the replies gentlemen,

- Mark
 

Josh Steinberg

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I don’t know that I’d call a flat panel “better,” just “different” - though obviously that’s a subjective opinion and someone else may feel that it’s indeed better.

But I’m perhaps coming at this from a different approach than other people. I’m more interested in seeing films the way they were originally seen in theaters, and that’s not on a flat panel or with HDR in the vast majority of cases. Most of the films I watch are older films made before the advent of digital photography and HDR. I’m not really interested in maxing out on specs with the hardware; I’m much more interested in using the hardware to display the films however they’re meant to look.

It’s sort of the way some people buy stereos to listen to their music, while other people buy music to listen to their stereos - a subtle distinction. Or people who use their cars to get from point A to point B, vs people who love the act of driving as it’s own end.

The one thing I can say with a reasonable amount of confidence is that you’re looking at good projectors and good TVs so whichever way you go, you’re going to have a wonderful experience in your new setup. And home projection certainly offers a “wow” factor that’s unlike a TV. When you see that light hitting the screen, from the comfort of your own home, there’s really nothing like it.
 

Todd Erwin

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Throwing my two cents in here... flatpanels, especially OLEDs, are much better at handling HDR and many even support Dolby Vision. However, most higher-end front projectors do a much better job with how they handle film grain than flatpanels. On a flatpanel, film grain can look more like noise than natural grain when projected.
 

Psychopasta

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Hi Todd, do movies still have grain, or are you referring to older movies that were shot on film?
 

Todd Erwin

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To add to my prior post, a flatpanel will likely be a smaller screen size within your $5k budget.

LG C1 (2021) 83" - $3999.99
LG C2 (2022) 83" - $5299.99
Sony A90J 83" - $5499.99
LG G2 (2022) 83" - $6499.99

Anything larger (closer to 100") will likely be a QLED or mini-LED and start at $8500.
 

Todd Erwin

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Hi Todd, do movies still have grain, or are you referring to older movies that were shot on film?
Recent films will have film grain if shot on film, since directors such as Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, and JJ Abrams (among others) still insist on shooting on 35mm film stock, and even films shot digitally can have simulated film grain to give it more of a film-like appearance.
 

Psychopasta

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'simulated film grain'...{sigh}...it's like modern music where they add in wow and flutter to make it sound more 'analogue'...
 

ManW_TheUncool

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And then, you have Paramount doing whatever it is they're doing (re: film grain) w/ their catalog titles originally shot on film, LOL...

_Man_
 

DaveF

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Hello peeps,

I have just bought a house that has a dedicated home theater room. It measures 18' by 13.5, has a ceiling mount for a projector, and a Stewart Screen Firehawk grey screen measuring 90"x52.

I am thinking of something like the Epson LS12000 4k laser projector as the source, but at this price point large flatpanels like LG's 83" C2 model are also possibilities. The main use will be movie watching and XBox games.

My inclination is that another projector for the room is a no-brainer, but I'd like the opinions of those who know more about it than me about how a large flatpanel compares to a ceiling-mounted projector in a dark room. Please challenge my assumptions! Any opinions?

- Mark
Fundamentally, you have to decide how important 103" vs 83" display is for your viewing enjoyment. (Assuming your screen is 16:9.)

If you're happy with 83", get the direct view. Everything is easier. Contrast and black floor will be much better than the Epson 12000. HDR will probably be better. No mechanical projector drift and screen misalignment and focus error of color convergence to chase.

But if you need 103", then stop thinking about it and get the projector because there's nothing like the "big screen" experience. And then go buy an even bigger screen because that room size seems like you can easily do 120"+.
 

John Dirk

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For my money a dedicated room screams "projector." I have other areas in my home where flat panels exist when I want that experience.
 

Keith Cobby

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I agree that if you have a dedicated room and you show films to friends and family then a projector is a much more cinematic experience. I have a projector (Optoma 1080p) which I use for 'film nights' but when watching on my own, I use my 65" OLED panel.
 

Edwin-S

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It.depends on what you want. If a person wants a large screen to get the cinema effect then projection is the way to go.

If a person wants the best picture with the best color and contrast and no hassling with set up, alignment or light control measures then a TV is the best choice.
 

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