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Buying a fixed screen - where ?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by dfield2000, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. dfield2000

    dfield2000
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    Hi,
    Can anyone let me know where I would be able to buy a fixed screen. My room is 99 inches wide, so I'd be looking for the widest possible screen.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Kramer

    Kramer
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    Moved to screen forum.
     
  3. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    What projector are you using, and how far back will you be sitting from the screen? If it's a digital pj, it may affect how far back you have to sit.

    Are you any good at DIY? If so, you can make a frame to suit and stretch white blackout cloth over it. The only restriction with BO cloth is that it is only 54ins wide, so for a big screen, you'll probably be restricted to an 8ft wide 16:9 model. They cost around £30 to make though. There's some pics on my home page of my DIY screen if you're interested.

    Gary.
     
  4. dfield2000

    dfield2000
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    Hi,
    Depending on how big an annual bonus my employers decide to give me on Friday, I'm considering in order of preference PT-AE300, Sanyo Z1, Hitatchi PJ- X10 or Toshiba TLP- ET1. This is just how I have ranked the performance of the LCD projectors based on reviews and comments from members. If you have any other suggestions please go ahead. I haven't got anything against DLP, but reading the reviews it appears that all models at this price range suffer from major rainbow effect.

    I want to have the widest image possible, so to fill a screen 99 inches wide, according to the calculator in Projector Central a PT-AE300 would have to be 13.8 foot away. Luckily my garage conversion is long enough to accommodate this.

    Your home made screen looks well impressive. I've read the link on the FAQ here and it doesn't look too difficult to build a screen, but I think it mentioned that the cost of the blackout stuff had gone up latetly. I was hoping that if I shopped around I could get a pre-made screen for not much extra cost. I've checked the usual on-line retailers but I can't find any which offer and fixed type. One retailer said they didn't bother stocking them as most of their customers just painted their wall white and projected onto that - although I have trouble believing that.
     
  5. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi,

    Don't rule out DLP just because of the rainbow effect - not many people actualy suffer from it, so do try to demo one if possible. There's the Infocus X1 which you may see rainbows on if susceptible, but it's under £1000. The new Philips Garbo looks like a good machine at around £1500 and is a better spec all round:

    http://www.ivojo.co.uk/philips-bogart-matchline.htm

    But should you decide on LCD, then the most noticeable 'problem' can be screen door (the pixel grid of the LCD structure), so you have to sit around 2 times screen width away so as not to see it. If the resolution is greater than xga, then you can see a little closer. Defocusing the lens slightly often fixes this though, with little effect on the image.

    Blackout cloth is around £5 per linear meter/yard, so shouldn't cost more than £20 at most I would think. I used 18mm x 69mm wood from B&Q (2.7m lengths) wich I cut square, then glued and screwed. I stretched the BO cloth over it, and used it for 2 years or so. Upgrading to a 1.2 gain material for a lower lumen projector cost me £102 for just the material. The main cost of a screen is often the frame, but DRH screens do some good prices I believe, so thay may be worth a look:

    http://www.drhscreens.co.uk/

    If you're unsure about seating distance for the projected image, you could indeed project onto a wall. You'll get a good idea of what size works for you, so you won't buy a screen in error. For LCD or rooms without total light control, some opt to paint the wall/screen a light grey instead of white (Dulux Icestorm 5 or 6 is a favourite here). It helps reduce black level and the effect of ambient light, and can sometimes give the affect of reducing screendoor a little. You'll only notice that after seeing a white screen first though.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  6. dfield2000

    dfield2000
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    Thanks for the advice Gary. I think I'm going to try to make my own screen now instead of buying a fixed one.

    I've read a bit about using blackoutblinds or just painting a board, but I think I'll go for the material that they sell on DRH.

    Could you advise my on which type of material would be best for the PT-AE300 - the matt white, high gain or high power. I was thinking of the high gain, but if the high power gives an even better performance then I'd go for that, but is there a chance that it would be too bright ? Would it give rise to glare or something ? I'd be sitting straight on at the screen so the viewing angle isn't an issue.

    Thanks again,
    Dave.
     
  7. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi Dave,

    You may get hotspotting with higher gains, though some swear by them. I've not seen the higher gain screens, but anything up to 1.3 should be a safe bet. With higher gains, the black level will suffer too.

    There's an equation for working out the amount of light reflected from a screen - the result is given in ft lamberts:

    Lumen output multiplied by screen gain divided by screen area.

    Historicaly the aim is around 16ft lamberts, though it can be between 10 to 30 IIRC. I believe it was to mask the flicker that was given by the flickering gate of the film projector.

    So, for your screen, we work out the surface area (lets say 8ft x 4.5ft) and we get 36sq ft. If you use a unity gain material (BO cloth or similar) you get 800 multiplied by 1, divided by 36 = 22.2ft lamberts.

    On the face of it, it looks like BO cloth or a unity gain screen should be fine. However, the lamps in projectors dim after a while, and calibrating often reduces it further (setting white and black levels alone may do this). If you run the lamp in eco mode, then the lumens reduce further still. If the lumens reduce down to 500, then you'll be looking at about 14ft lamberts with a unity gain screen.

    With a 1.3 gain screen, you'll get around 18ft lamberts with 500 lumens, and 14.4 with 400 lumens. So I think it'd be an idea to find out how accurate the lumen figures are, and how much it runs at in eco mode - most run the lamp that way to make it last longer, and to reduce fan noise. Having an image too bright can show up the imperfections of DVD, so it's not always a good thing.

    On the face of it, it looks like a 1.3 gain may be best for the size you want, but I would still be inclined to see what it looks like on the wall or even a bed sheet just to make sure you're happy with the size and seating postion etc.

    HTH

    Gary.
     

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