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What Motorized Screen Should I buy? (2 Viewers)

Tyler Staebell

Jun 16, 2016
Overland Park, KS
Real Name
Tyler Staebell
I bought my new house a year ago and one of the deciding factors to purchase this particular house was the large basement to allow me to build a home theater. The basement was previously finished, but done very poorly and cheaply. I have been remodeling the basement myself since January. My remodel is almost complete and I am ready to move on to the Home Theater specific work now, but I need some advice picking out a screen for the room. I'm very new to this so please bare with me I could really use some advice especially regarding selecting a motorized home theater screen.

First the space:

The larger area in the room I put down vinyl tile floor. I intend this area to be use as a rec room. I also completely remodeled the bathroom down here.
Basement 1.jpg
Basement 2.jpg

Here is the area I intend to use for the home theater. It has darker walls than the rest of the room and will have grey-ish dark carpet. The carpet I chose for the space is very thick and I ordered the thickest pad they offer. Carpet get's installed next week.

Basement 5.jpg

My plan is to get a motorized screen that comes down in front of the fireplace. This decision is based upon the setup of the room. This is the biggest open area that does't have a door, window, or support pole somewhere in the way of either the screen or the seating.

Basement 3.jpg
Basement 4.jpg

Here are some crude sketches from me showing the layout of the entire open area in the basement, with some dimensions. The opening area between the walls surrounding the fire place is about 154 inches. There is a small soffit that runs along the top of this space that comes down about 7 inches that is barely visible in the photos above. The height of the floor to the soffit is 83 inches, and almost 7 more to the ceiling.


This picture adds in my ideas for seating. For now I'll be using my old couch and love seat from our living room and get new furniture for that room. Eventually I may get new furniture for this room, but after spending money remodeling the room, and the money for the HT equipment it isn't in the budget right now. I'm thinking of putting a bar height table behind the couch with bar stools up to it. This will add more seating higher than the base seating, plus give a nice space to eat at.


My use for the home theater area will be a mix of TV, movies, and video games. If I had to weight them at this time I would say probably 40% TV, 50% movies, and 10% video games. I've been heavily favoring purchasing the Epson 5030UB based on all the reviews I have read, but that decision is not 100% set. The area is part of my walkout basement, it has just a few windows and a sliding glass door. I'll have no problems controlling the light in this room so that is one thing I don't have to concern myself with. Though when looking at screens it would be a plus if I could have some lighting on in the room and not wash it out. This would be great for having friends over for a sporting event, which is better to have some lights on.

For aspect ratio I'm leaning toward a 16x9 screen. I have read the pros and cons, and the limiting factor to me seems to be the that the 5030 is native to 16x9 and does not have lens memory. I admit that some of the aspect ratio stuff confuses me some. I know I won't be spending the money on an anamorphic lens, so my options are lens zoom to get 2.35 (right?). If that's the case I understand I'm losing some pixels, so obviously I wouldn't want to leave it this format when watching 16x9. Can anyone relate to me how difficult it is to switch back and forth manually on the 5030.

I'm also leaning 16x9 somewhat due to price, and if I have to stay in one format I'm already used to the black bars on top and bottom and I think that would be less weird than on the side. Though there is still part of me that likes the idea of an immersive movie watching experience in 2.35. I am a cienphile at heart.

As for screens. As I said I need to get a motorized screen for the space. Because the floor joists run the other way it will have to hang down from the ceiling. When I first started this process I was thinking I would be spending around $1000 on a screen. I looked at Elite screens for a long time, but I really have some concerns regarding getting waves in the screen. I know that if the screen has a wave in it that it will attract my attention and really piss me off. So this is where I really need help. What screen do I purchase? I don't want to completely break the bank. I realize that my $1000 goal is not going to work, but how much do I need to spend to get a screen I'll be happy with in the long run? I've already increased my budget up to $2000. I could go a little higher without fretting, but $4k would be a hard pill to swallow. All that said, I would rather spend more now that be disappointed later.

Also what screen material and gain does everyone recommend? The Epson has high lumens, and I'm in a light controlled room so my thoughts are for a lower gain, perhaps around 1. I was thinking a white screen would be fine, but just this week I went to a Magnolia Design Center and saw their grey slate screen by screen innovations with the ambient light rejection and that was pretty cool. That would be nice for sporting events with the lights on.

I also need help on sizing. My original thoughts were a 120 inch 16x9 screen. Is my space big enough for that? If 120 inch gave me a viewing height of 59", that would only leave 24" between the sopphit and the floor, but I would want the image to be lower than the sopphit by a few inches (plus how much space do i need to hang the screen, more than 7 inches?, so that would leave me less than 20 inches from the screen to the floor. Is that too low? I don't know anyone with a screen and there really isn't anywhere around me to go look at them. Some people suggest hanging a sheet to test, but without projecting an image will I really get a good feel for it?

Additionally on screens, I don't think I need AT. I think I could just mount the center channel on the ceiling right in front of the screen since it will have to hang down some anyway. My front speakers can go the sides of the screen.

In case anyone is wondering for sound plan to piece together a 7.1 system utilizing some components I already have. My receiver is a Pioneer SC-1323 7.2. I have a few different sets of speakers I can use that I think will be fine for me in the short run, but I may upgrade in pieces later.

So there you have it. I really need some help and any advice will be appreciated. Thank you all so much in advance.
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