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Which Projector Should I Get? (1 Viewer)

NTLKnight

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I’d really appreciate some counsel on projectors. I’m looking to turn the majority of our far living room wall into a projector screen. The more I think about it—and the longer I sit in the space we have to work with—the more it makes sense that the starting point for this project should be to set up as big a screen as possible and then work from there. Here’s a rough design of the space, which for lack of a better term I’ll call our “hybrid home theater/living room”...

2023-03-31_19-50-28.png


I’ll be leaving a 70” TV (soon to be to 86”) on the side wall of the living room for the majority of daytime viewing (connected to its own set of 5.1 speakers running on a separate amp, but sharing the same AVR with the projector for video content).

From my limited understanding of aspect ratios to choose from for a projector screen, I’m leaning towards 2.40:1, as the majority of what we watch at night is movies. I must say, I’m a little baffled by the 2.35:1 vs 2.40:1 choice. I've seen comments from both camps and I'm not sure what to make of it...unless the slight difference would somehow impact the need for a better projector over a less expensive one. I’m also curious if there are any good arguments to consider a 16:9 over a 2.40:1 (or 2.35:1).

I don’t understand enough about the technology (anamorphic, etc) to know if special considerations would need to be taken in order to be able to watch 16:9 or other ARs on a 2.40:1 screen. Though we won’t be watching much "regular TV" on the projector, we probably will from time to time when hosting Oscar’s night, Superbowl night, Champions League night, etc.…when we have a lot of people over. It would be nice to have those viewing parties on the big screen if possible. I realize a 2.40:1 AR may not be ideal for that type of content, but there’s a lot I don’t understand about how higher-end projectors might be able to help with that issue.

I’ll list my main questions in point form so that I don’t go on rambling:
  1. If I want to use somewhere between 130” – 170” of the width of the wall (the wall is 195” in total width) for a projector screen (in 2.40:1 that would be 140.83” diagonally, or 184.17” respectively), is there a projector that could handle that size screen in the 21.1’ of total length of the room? -- (Maybe even a little bit shorter than 21’ based on the next point.)

  2. If it’s terribly wrong to have the L/R front speakers so far apart from each other and so close to the side walls, I could sacrifice some room space by bringing the screen away from the wall by a foot or 2 to place the speakers behind the screen (which would in turn shorten the length of the available space for the projector).

  3. If you would please help list some options (models and numbers) ranging from cheaper to more expensive that could work for this setup, I’d appreciate it!

  4. If there’s an argument to be made for not going with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio (because a different grade projector would be needed at this screen size), please let me know.

  5. This may be a dumb question, but is it ever a good idea to get the projector first, then do some tests by projecting on to the wall and seeing what size works best...before getting (or making) the screen?
OK, I think that should do it for now. Thank you so much for taking your time to read this!

Best Regards,
Nathan
 

DaveF

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What’s your budget?

With a 140” 16:9, assuming zoom-based CIH widescreen, I think you’ll want a bright projector. That can be traded against a positive gain screen (at loss of black floor). If you’re watching both 16:9 and 2.35:1 content you motorized zoom with lens memory.

Epson LS12000, JVC N5, NZ7, or NZ8 are the easy recommendations, budget allowing. Sony 5000ES doesn’t have motorized lens control and definitely wouldn’t recommend the 6000ES when you can get an NZ7 for similar price.

If you’re shopping in the $5000 range, the Epson is the way to go. You can look into taming the Dynamic mode to get as much light out for large screen viewing.
 
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DaveF

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External speakers vs behind-AT-screen speakers is a religious choice ;) Both have ups and downs. If you already have floorstanding speakers and are using an existing finished room, simpler to go with external speakers. An upside is a non-AT screen will be brighter and benefit your 2.35 HDR viewing.
 

DaveF

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It’s definitely worth getting a projector first and trying it out, finding the desired screen size, experimenting with zoom / lens control etc.
 

NTLKnight

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What’s your budget?
I'm not really sure, but for now let's say $3,000'ish MSRP. I'll probably be shopping used/refurbished to try and save a bit.

With a 140” 16:9, assuming zoom-based CIH widescreen, I think you’ll want a bright projector. That can be traded against a positive gain screen (at loss of black floor). If you’re watching both 16:9 and 2.35:1 content you motorized zoom with lens memory.
I think yes, to zoom-based CIH and not an anamorphic option. Bright projector...yes. And I'm perfectly happy going with external speakers (which I haven't bought yet)...if that means a brighter screen...didn't know about non-AT screens being brighter. (Hopefully I can still be able to make my own screen?)

I might as well ask; if I build a 16:9 screen and settle for black bars on top/bottom when watching 2.40:1 content, would the need for a bright projector not be as pressing?

...I've seen a DIY for motorized curtains to close off the sides of the screen when switching from 2.40:1 to 16:9. Is there a reversed version of that where you use curtains that crop off the top/bottom when watching 2.40:1 content on a large 16:9 screen?

It’s definitely worth getting a projector first and trying it out, finding the desired screen size, experimenting with zoom / lens control etc.
That's great to hear, thanks!
 

JohnRice

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I'm not someone to reply about projectors, so I'll leave that to others

I’ll be leaving a 70” TV (soon to be to 86”) on the side wall of the living room for the majority of daytime viewing (connected to its own set of 5.1 speakers running on a separate amp, but sharing the same AVR with the projector for video content).
Maybe you can elaborate on that. I don't know how that is going to work.

If it’s terribly wrong to have the L/R front speakers so far apart from each other and so close to the side walls, I could sacrifice some room space by bringing the screen away from the wall by a foot or 2 to place the speakers behind the screen (which would in turn shorten the length of the available space for the projector).
I definitely recommend exploring that with an AT screen. This is a major mistake some people make. If you want the biggest screen that will fit in the room, it is definitely worth the effort to get the speakers behind the screen and not right against the side walls.
 

DaveF

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You can use a projector calculator to estimate brightness for a given projector setup. You can assume a 0.7 or 0.8 gain for an acoustically transparent screen and 0.9 or 1.0 for a conventional screen. Or a 1.3 for positive gain screen.

I think 100 nits (or more) is a general target for 4K HDR for a projector. (The compromise since projectors can't do 1000+ nit peaks like LCD or OLED.)

 
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NTLKnight

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Maybe you can elaborate on that. I don't know how that is going to work.
Sure, well, during the daytime when our living room is just...a living room, we could leave our existing TV that is already setup (which is how we've watched movies in this space for the last 20 years). Since I recently (prematurely) bought the Klipsch Reference Home Theater Pack, I could dedicate those (tiny speakers) to the TV setup and run those on their own amp. At night time, when it's just me and the wife, or 1 or 2 of the kids joining us, we could leave the furniture as is and watch our nighttime content on the projector screen on the other wall...something like this...
01.png


And then, on bigger movie nights, or when we have guests over, we could (this is a work in progress)...turn the other sofa to face the projector screen, or get some new furniture that works better, and/or even create a "portable riser" that I could bring in and out of the living room for the rear seating. Something like this...
02.png


I host poker nights in this living room every Saturday and we have a lot of guests over, moving the living room around is something that I do quite often already.

As for the AVR, (in my mind) I was hoping the video output would be able to feed both the TV on the side wall and the projector on the far wall. Hope this makes sense...and of course, if it won't work, I'd appreciate hearing!

Thank you,
Nathan
 

JohnRice

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Sure, well, during the daytime when our living room is just...a living room, we could leave our existing TV that is already setup (which is how we've watched movies in this space for the last 20 years). Since I recently (prematurely) bought the Klipsch Reference Home Theater Pack, I could dedicate those (tiny speakers) to the TV setup and run those on their own amp. At night time, when it's just me and the wife, or 1 or 2 of the kids joining us, we could leave the furniture as is and watch our nighttime content on the projector screen on the other wall...something like this...
View attachment 180487

And then, on bigger movie nights, or when we have guests over, we could (this is a work in progress)...turn the other sofa to face the projector screen, or get some new furniture that works better, and/or even create a "portable riser" that I could bring in and out of the living room for the rear seating. Something like this...
View attachment 180488

I host poker nights in this living room every Saturday and we have a lot of guests over, moving the living room around is something that I do quite often already.

As for the AVR, (in my mind) I was hoping the video output would be able to feed both the TV on the side wall and the projector on the far wall. Hope this makes sense...and of course, if it won't work, I'd appreciate hearing!

Thank you,
Nathan
As I highlighted above, it's the idea of having one receiver, but running the 5.1 system "on their own amp" and the projector system directly from the receiver. I'm trying to come up with a way that would work, but I'm not having much luck. It's not as simple as having a single receiver for what is actually two separate systems. They need completely different calibrations for one thing, and equipment simply isn't designed to do that, and I see no way the result wouldn't be awful.

That's not to say it's impossible, just not practical from several different aspects.
 

NTLKnight

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I hear what you're saying...and I'm sure you're right...as far as the end result being less than ideal. However, for the past 20 years, we've had our living room TV(s) in the same spot...and for about 18 years we've been running all the audio from those TVs on a $39 5.1 surround speaker setup I bought at Walmart. A few days ago the Klipsch Reference Home Theater speakers came in the mail and because I haven't yet purchased an AVR, the only way to test them was to use the little Walmart sub-woofer to power them, as that little sub has outputs for 5 surround speakers. They sounded quite a bit better than the $39 Walmart speakers...even without even using the Klipsch sub they came with. (Especially when pulling the sofars about a foot and a half away from the rear wall to place the surrounds properly.) All that to say, you *can* run RCAs out from the TV to a secondary (sub-par) amp/speaker system powering a separate set of speakers to what your "main Atmos setup is" coming from the AVR...and the average peasant probably won't notice much of a difference...especially if (said peasants) are just the kids putting a YouTube video in in the living room over a snack break, heh.

Best Regards,
Nathan
 

JohnRice

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OK, you hadn’t explained what the current audio system is. I doubt it’s actually 5.1, despite what it claims. Now that I know more what it us, yes there is probably a way to do it. Good luck with your project.
 

NTLKnight

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I was recently offered to buy a used Epson 6050UB for $2,500 plus shipping. If anyone has an opinion on this projector, I'd appreciate hearing, thank you!

(I know this is a newbie question, but when the specs (of the 6050UB) say "Projector Resolution: 4K", but also say "Native Resolution: 1920x1080" does that mean it is not a native 4K projector? And should I be looking for a native 4K projector to get a decent 4K image?)

These are the models I've been recommended to consider so far:

Over the $3,000 price point
  • Epson LS12000
  • JVC NX5
  • JVC NZ7
  • JVC NZ8
  • Sony 5000ES

Under the $3,000 price point
  • BenQ X3000i
  • BenQ HT4550i
  • Epson 5000
  • Epson 5040
  • Epson 5050UB
  • Epson 4000
  • Epson 4010
  • Epson 4050UB
  • GL JU810
  • LG JU70LA
 

DaveF

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I was recently offered to buy a used Epson 6050UB for $2,500 plus shipping. If anyone has an opinion on this projector, I'd appreciate hearing, thank you!

(I know this is a newbie question, but when the specs (of the 6050UB) say "Projector Resolution: 4K", but also say "Native Resolution: 1920x1080" does that mean it is not a native 4K projector? And should I be looking for a native 4K projector to get a decent 4K image?)
I haven't surveyed the used market for the 6050. But $2500 + shipping for a used two-axis eShift 4K projector that's three years old seems high to me. You should look at the used market on the HT forums and eBay, comparing age and bulb life, along with what you know about the seller.

If you're buying new and your preferred price range is sub-$5000, look at the Epson LS11000 or LS12000. Or a used 6050 at whatever the used-market price is.
 

John Dirk

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I was recently offered to buy a used Epson 6050UB for $2,500 plus shipping. If anyone has an opinion on this projector, I'd appreciate hearing, thank you!
You weren't "offered to buy" the projector you were simply made aware of it after soliciting suggestions here. I would have given you all of the objective information you needed about the unit but instead you chose this approach. I don't mean to be offensive but we won't be doing business.
I haven't surveyed the used market for the 6050. But $2500 + shipping for a used two-axis eShift 4K projector that's three years old seems high to me.
Respectfully, your statement should probably have ended there. I did survey the market and set the price accordingly. Also, with the latest firmware upgrade, the 6050 shifts in three directions. I'm in no hurry to sell mine. When I do sell, however, it will go to someone who appreciates it and price will be secondary.



Someone I greatly respect on this forum recently said "no good deed goes unpunished." Now I guess I see what he meant.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Given the desire for as big as possible that probably pushes the limits of most PJs for desired light output at least for 4K/HDR viewing, I wouldn't be too quick to buy any particular PJ w/out understanding what may really be needed/desirable for a 2.4:1 CIH setup, if that's really desired. You may for instance find you do wanna consider going for an anamorphic lens setup (to make the most of whichever anamorphic-capable/adaptable PJ's output), and not many in your budget ballpark may allow for that option.

Incidentally, the Epson 6050UB does allow for that option (as does the LS12000).

RE: the light loss for using AT screen, well, if you're gonna move the screen a couple feet closer to the audience for such a setup (to have speakers behind it), you'll (re)gain at least some of that light loss from the reduced throw and viewing distance... plus you can go w/ a smaller screen for same FOV (or get bigger FOV, which will also offset the perceived light loss). Of course, the shorter throw distance will likely reduce possible screen size as well... as the LS12000, for instance, can only throw a max image ~150" wide w/ 17ft throw distance, which would be roughly your max (after subtracting ~2ft for speaker space behind AT screen and ~2ft for the PJ itself), but remember, whatever image size will look a good deal bigger 2ft closer to the audience.

FYI, that throw/size estimate I just quoted for LS12000 just comes from the PJ calculator Dave linked earlier.

Also, you may wanna consider if 3D and/or the small number of IMAX AR-formatted (or similar) movies matter to you. IF yes, then you might wanna go w/ a 16x9 screen that you usually mask off to 2.4:1, except for those small number of cases -- perhaps to keep it simpler, maybe you can just mask off the top, not both, especially if doing AT setup, and just have the PJ adjust (w/ its lens memory) accordingly. And note that the LS12000 (and many/most newer 4K PJs like it) doesn't support 3D... whereas the older (bulb-based) 6050UB does...

There will be other issues to consider if choosing between say the 6050UB and LS12000 of course (mainly revolving around bulb vs laser tech... as well as the cost diff).

_Man_
 
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smithbrad

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You weren't "offered to buy" the projector you were simply made aware of it after soliciting suggestions here. I would have given you all of the objective information you needed about the unit but instead you chose this approach. I don't mean to be offensive but we won't be doing business.

Respectfully, your statement should probably have ended there. I did survey the market and set the price accordingly. Also, with the latest firmware upgrade, the 6050 shifts in three directions. I'm in no hurry to sell mine. When I do sell, however, it will go to someone who appreciates it and price will be secondary.

Someone I greatly respect on this forum recently said "no good deed goes unpunished." Now I guess I see what he meant.
Seem like you took a great deal of offense.

While I don't doubt you would be objective in your discourse about the projector capabilities, we are dealing with a new member to the forum and for them to seek advice from someone beyond the seller seems just common sense. Especially, given the expense and lack of knowledge they have regarding projectors, and given that your projector is still listed after six weeks in the classified section, which may have given them cause to wonder.

It all seems innocent enough to me, and not deserving of the attack, but feel free to blast away at me if so inclined if you ultimately disagree.
 

John Dirk

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Seem like you took a great deal of offense.

While I don't doubt you would be objective in your discourse about the projector capabilities, we are dealing with a new member to the forum and for them to seek advice from someone beyond the seller seems just common sense. Especially, given the expense and lack of knowledge they have regarding projectors, and given that your projector is still listed after six weeks in the classified section, which may have given them cause to wonder.

It all seems innocent enough to me, and not deserving of the attack, but feel free to blast away at me if so inclined if you ultimately disagree.
I felt the comment represented a misrepresentation of my intent, so yes, I did take some offense. My response was meant to relay as much. Either way, I believe it should remain between the involved parties. That was all I was saying in the first place and all I'll say now.

EDIT: Actually, I'll say a bit more. Seeking external advice is fine and prudent. I have no problem whatsoever with that.
@NTLKnight - Please accept my apologies as I probably did over react here. Your initial comment came across to me as if I were trying to pressure you into buying my projector, something I would never do.

I LOVE Home Theater and want others to enjoy it as well. When I can help in making that happen I am always happy to do so. Price is not a huge deal to me when selling used gear but I always set the original price based on what I see in the current market.
 
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smithbrad

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I felt the comment represented a misrepresentation of my intent, so yes, I did take some offense. My response was meant to relay as much. Either way, I believe it should remain between the involved parties. That was all I was saying in the first place and all I'll say now.
Well, we will just "have to agree to disagree", because the only thing I found offensive in the above exchanges were your comments to both parties. In all honesty, you came off as a disgruntled seller who felt he just lost a potential sale. You could have used the private messaging but chose not to, so once you responded in the public forum it is open for comment.
 

John Dirk

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Well, we will just "have to agree to disagree", because the only thing I found offensive in the above exchanges were your comments to both parties. In all honesty, you came off as a disgruntled seller who felt he just lost a potential sale. You could have used the private messaging but chose not to, so once you responded in the public forum it is open for comment.
Fair enough. There's no harm in disagreeing as long as it's done respectfully. I never felt "disgruntled," only misrepresented.
 

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