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Thread: Home Theater

  1. #1
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Home Theater

    I'm considering, at some point, replacing my giant 200-pound HD CRT with a projector. Should save a lot of space in the living room, especially if I go with a retractable screen. I just don't use the TV enough to justify its hallowed square footage.

    I'm checking this site for info on the "best" sub-$1000 projector. Currently they say it's this BenQ HT2050, which goes for $770.

    Then, just looking around Amazon, I'm currently eyeing this retractable screen for $160. I know any retractable screen is going to be less stable and more prone to curling/warping than a dedicated screen, but I don't have a dedicated theater room. I'm not even going to spring for an electric motor, because again, this stuff is likely to be used infrequently.

    According to this calculator, a 2200-lumen projector with a 104x58-inch screen that has 1.1 "gain" (I don't know what gain is yet) puts me at ~56 "foot lamberts" (I don't know what foot lamberts are yet) which is sufficient for a room that has moderate ambient brightness.

    Still need to think about speakers. I have some, but they're big and bulky and suited to a more permanent setup. With the projector and screen, I'm under $1000... if I keep my current speakers, at least for now, then I can feel okay about the amount I'm spending.

    Anybody have experience with projectors and stuff? Are they usable for video games? During the day?

    As a side note... my giant CRT is apparently (through luck of the draw) among the best monitors ever for retro gaming. So I won't be throwing it out, I'll be moving it to another room.

  2. #2
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Okay, after measuring the space and extending my tape to 104 inches, I have come to the conclusion that a 104-inch-wide screen is absolutely ludicrous for the area I'm working with. Probably want to limit myself to ~70 inches wide or so. At a 6-8 foot viewing distance, 70 inches is perfectly sufficient for 4K HD. Which... maybe we'll have at some point, but that BenQ only does 1080p. Hmm. Oh well, might see a couple pixels.

    Here's a smaller screen!

    Here's an even smaller one!
    Last edited by Macheath; 03-09-2017 at 10:59 AM.

  3. #3
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Now this is just a set of notes and a link dump for my own reference, I'm starting to feel self conscious. Fuck you guys for not having opinions!

    This page suggests 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal screen size for optimal (HDTV) viewing distance, and the "viewing distance calculator" here suggests that ~6.5 to 8 feet is the right distance for a 64-inch (diagonal) screen, which jives with the 1.5x calculation.

    Now, a 64-inch (diagonal) screen is only 56 inches wide, which feels kind of small to me. But the couch goes where the couch is probably gonna go, so anything significantly larger would probably end up wasted.

    Here's a list of screens in that size range, and at the moment I'm partial to this 64-inch, 1.0 gain screen but who the fuck knows, I'm changing my mind eight times per hour.

    And then there's these nerds. I must see what they think as well. EDIT: Seems they like anything from Elite, Draper, or Da-Lite. So I'm on the right track.

  4. #4
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    My opinions on home theaters are pretty limited. I think my brother spends way too much money to have the top of the line projecter, and the chances my wife would let me spend even a fraction of that money on a home theater are slim at best. I got a Vizio sound bar with rear speakers for my tv, but I had to take it down because the kids kept unplugging the rear speakers and throwing them on the floor.

  5. #5
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Holy crap. Maybe that's a learning opportunity. Let's play the "should I unplug this and throw it on the floor" game. The answer is generally no, unless it's something that has caught fire when it shouldn't.

  6. #6
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    Have you considered spending less than $1,000 on a 65-70 inch LED TV?

    Just curious, because I used to think I wanted a projector. I even built out our basement to accommodate said future projector, but now I think I just want a bigger TV. Currently have a 42", but the 65-70 range should fit for me.

  7. #7
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Yes, I considered a new flat panel. But given how infrequently the living room is used in a theater capacity (maybe once or twice a week, if that) it would be nice to have a screen that can be rolled up and hidden away. It also opens up the floor plan a bit, given that the DVD player and other components don't have to be anywhere near the screen; they can be clustered around the (highly compact) projector, on a shelf behind the couch, sharing real estate with movies and books.

  8. #8
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    It's also an extremely awkward room, in terms of layout. I've had the TV (and all components) sort of hovering in the middle of the room for as long as I've lived here, with a couch backed up against the window and a matching chair opposite the (never ever used) fireplace:

    old.png

    I can't think of a different way to do that. None of the corners are suitable, and putting the TV against the only open wall would (by default) back the couch up against the fireplace, which is weird even though I never use it. At least with this layout, I can easily get to the back of the TV area and access all its many cables.

    Now that there's a wife in the picture, she's not as big a fan of the "cables everywhere" look. So we're thinking about this instead:

    new.png

    Put a pulldown screen in front of the fireplace, and the components (including projector) on a shelf along the only open wall. Lots more room for other shelves, chair can go on either side.

    Only negative is that the couch now has its back to the room's main entrance (from the kitchen). Will have to see what the room looks like this way to really have an opinion on that. If it sucks, might just leave the couch where it is and try that. (Although then, nobody would be able to sit directly in front of the screen.) I guess my addiction to right angles is a hindrance here. Maybe could put the couch at an angle somewhere. Okay, couch placement is an open issue.
    Last edited by Macheath; 03-09-2017 at 02:10 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macheath View Post
    ...blah blah blah...

    Now that there's a wife in the picture,

    blah blah blah...
    Holy spit, you're married!!! I nearly forgot that part. Yeah, couches and whatnot... YOU ARE MARRIED!!!

  10. #10
    Tiny Dancer Drewbie's Avatar
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    I've had a projector for nearly a decade now. I have a pulldown screen as well since I figured I didn't want to have it down all the time dominating the room. I've put it up twice. We used it daily until we got a new TV in our living room and now we rarely turn on the projector.

    I have an Optoma projector. It's my second one. I blew up a bulb in my first, so I had to upgrade. The original was only 720p, but this one went up to 1080p. It's 1700 Lumens I believe, but I also bought black-out curtains and a grey screen to increase my ability to watch during the day or with lights on. If I was starting over right now, I'd just buy a huge LCD screen instead, but I don't regret going with the projector now that all the work of cabling it and hanging it is done. When this one goes out, I'll have to weigh the cost of a new projector against a new LCD and decide, but it's still been nice.

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