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Cinema/Games room advice please

c-ahopkins

Standard Member
Hi all,

Hope you had a good Xmas and a prosperous new year


I am after some advice, I am having my garage converted to a cinema/gaming room and am debating what to do regarding tv/projector. I have a 50" LG plasma sitting waiting to be put in but i always wanted a projector to maximise the cinema/gaming experience. The debate is i want to be able to use the option chosen for not only gaming/cinema but also for general tv watching etc but am concerned that if i have a projector it is only good when in the dark and the picture isnt brilliant if i dont close the curtains. Was considering having just the 50" plasma and not bothering with the projector or is it worth installing the cabling and mount for a projector and saving up for a better quality one as my budget wont stretch for more than about £500 for the projector.

Also i tend to watch xvid's how would these look on a projector screen compared to a plasma.

What would the gaming images look like in daylight on the projector as well ?

Another issue is sound i have an old ish surround system with floor standers etc how do the wireless speakers stack up ?

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

True Romance

Distinguished Member
Pj do tend to work best in a dark room so you would probably need some kind of light control. If as you say you would be using the tv\pj for everyday use then imho a pj is not recomended. Maybe run a hdmi lead and power point into the ceiling just incase you upgrade later on or have both. A tv for gaming and normal tv and a pj for films big screen events?
 

AdeJ

Novice Member
To tackle your audio question first:

You're in the great position of creating a cinema on what is, effectively, a blank canvas. Will you be dry-lining the garage walls with plasterboard for example? If so, you will be able to run cabling to all required parts of your garage, so a wireless speaker system won't be required. It would also be a good idea to run cabling for 7.1, even if you are just going to be installing a 5.1 system at the moment.

You're much better off spending your speaker money on getting decent drivers/cabinets, rather than getting wireless connectivity. If your floorstanders are of decent quality, then age doesn't really come into it - and I would suggest you try and stick with them - augmenting the system with a decent centre speaker and rear surrounds.

For the system control, I would recommend you find a second-hand AV receiver with twin HDMI outputs. This would then allow you to use your LG Plasma for daylight viewing as well as TV, whilst keeping the beamer for movies and special events. This will also allow you to reduce the lamp usage on your projector. Again, if you're dry-lining the walls, you can install the TV so it sits flush with the end wall.

You can then install a motorised screen (think CAREFULLY about the size) and this can be connected to the projector's 12v trigger.

Now, as you know, projectors are fussy with ambient light conditions. Firstly, you would be well advised to paint your cinema walls as dark as possible. Many people don't like pure black, so opt for a dark grey/graphite colour. Remember you can lift the ambience before a movie by using coloured spot lighting or LED strips. Think carefully about distance to screen (not just for the throw ratio of the projector, but for getting the most light onto your screen.

IMO it's better to use a grey screen (0.8 light gain) to maximise contrast, and mount the projector closer than necessary. I'm assuming it's a single garage?

As for DivX movies, it depends on the resolution of them. Before I installed my projector I was using standard DVD Rips and the quality was fine, but they weren't adequate to use on the projector. It was bearable but not something you'd want guests to watch. However there are 720p/1080p encodes out there, usually as .MKV files.

Regarding source, IMO you'd be best off going for an HTPC. I use a panasonic PT-AE500E projector (1280x720 native) running as a second display, with VLC media player (for DivX etc) and PowerDVD for blu-ray discs. The "scaler" used by the Operating System is better than that in the projector (so I have my primary display as a 22" monitor for system control, and secondary display set as 1280x720 running into the projector.

Well that's my two'penneth's worth for now. Home Cinema is a very subjective thing, however, and I'm sure many others will also offer their advice. Ultimately, it's what looks and sounds good to you...but I hope my advice has helped :)
 

c-ahopkins

Standard Member
Thanks for you advise/opinion. When you say think carefully about size what do you mean as i have no real knowledge on projectors and will just go from advise of others. It is a single garage and the walls will be sound proofed as well as plasterboarded and skimmed so hopefully i will mount the plasma flush with room behind to hide all the cabling. I was looking at getting the yamaha RX-V671 for the av receiver (and just splitting the output between the 2 sources) as i will have at least 5 hdmi inputs these seems like a good amp for the money. ? Not thought about HTPC has a reasonable PC at the moment would i need to start from scratch to do that ?

Thanks
 

AdeJ

Novice Member
Heya mate, good to see ya back!

When I say "think carefully about size" I'm referring to several different factors. Firstly, do you opt for a DLP or an LCD projector. Some people are susceptible to the "rainbow effect" - caused by the colour wheel used by DLP systems. LCD projectors have their disadvantages too, such as a lower contrast ratio and the infamous "screendoor" effect.

IMHO there will be many people here who have transformed their garages into theatres. They will know the acoustics and visual characteristics offered by this space. All i can do is give advice mate...above all, audition projectors and the tech available. DLP vs LCD? Do you want 1080p or will 720p suffice?

Food for thought....
 

c-ahopkins

Standard Member
Guessing i am after the best quality i can get without breaking the bank, 1080p would be nice but not the end of the world. I currently have acquired a second hand Epson EMP-X3 projector and am looking as how far to position this away from the rear wall but also thinking about when i replace it and worried that i will have to move the projector mount which i dont wanna do, any suggestions on the best way to position the mount thanks
 

AdeJ

Novice Member
The distance from the projector to the screen is determined by what's called the "throw ratio". Follow the link below for a calculator for the EMP-X3.

Epson Europe EMP-X3 Projection Calculator - Throw Distance and Screen Size

With this tool, you can specify either the distance available (to calculate screen sizes), or your screen size (to work out the distance required). Most projectors offer some form of zoom, which will give you a little bit of leeway.

When you come to purchase a different projector in the future, you'll need to make sure that it's throw ratio is in the same range of the Epson's. This will negate the need for you to move the mount. According to the spec sheet you have a contrast ratio of 400:1, which isn't the greatest, but it's a start. Be aware that at 30db it's quite a noisy unit too. But the 2000 rated lumens isn't too bad at all (this obviously depends on the lamp life remaining, as brightness will diminish as the bulb ages). Make sure you give the filter a good clean too, as you won't know when this was last done.

Look at setting up the Epson as a good practice run for when you upgrade. Learn as much as you can. I'd hoped that by now someone who has converted their garage would have chipped into this thread..come on guys, where are you?!
 

winzentween

Novice Member
I hAVE A 200X OPTOMA IN MY ROOM CEILING MOUNTED with a nice big screen above my bed which actually becomes a black out blind blocking the light source.
Its not good in daylight though it is playable but neither is my hd tv due to glare, reflection etc. so either way the room needs to be darkened slightly and black out blinds solve that issue.
Also the bonus of a pj is that as a game and film aholic i dont get the same level of strain you get from a monitor or tv which as you get older makes a huge different!
games look awesome full stop, no dispute, pc on dvi looks good (if you have hdmi pc card then u r real luckly!) and I only watch media player movies but i download 720 / 1080 and they look better than my dvd though nothing beats bluray!
the most important thing would be that you should use it sparingly...not just due to lamp life but it makes it special. this might sound lame but once a day in the evening i press my button and the screen comes down and me and some peeps will spend 2 hrs on a film and then 2hrs on some games and it ROCKS!!! But if i use it in the day willy nilly it kinda loses the magic so i use my hdtv then instead....:?
GOOD LUCK!!! (iron brigade and rayman origins r amazing on the big screen!)
 

Tight Git

Distinguished Member
the most important thing would be that you should use it sparingly...not just due to lamp life but it makes it special. this might sound lame but once a day in the evening i press my button and the screen comes down and me and some peeps will spend 2 hrs on a film and then 2hrs on some games and it ROCKS!!!
Good point, although I don't think most would regard over 100 hrs per month as using it sparingly! :D
 

HeavenlyWarrior

Well-known Member
If you're watching Divx, as I do, a 720p projector will do more than adaquate for that and blu ray too when those are on. All depends on the quality of the compression. I have something like 600 Divx movies on a hard drive I play through my ps3 and maybe 50 blu-ray) for those movies I've just got to have in high definition on the big screen, ie special effects movies, family movies etc. Don't really need to watch The Hours in HD, but Lord of the Rings, man it makes all the difference on blu-ray. I figured, when my HD viewing of movies is at least equal to my SD viewing, then I'll go 1080p. By which point I've have probably found out if 3D is mainstream too so I can straight upgrade to a 1080p 3D projector. Until then, most games and sports are 720p anyway, blu-ray looks incredible, and Divx looks great because there isn't as much scaling as there would be had I watched it on a 1080p projector :D
 
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AdeJ

Novice Member
Agree with you there HeavenlyWarrior... If I'm just checking a movie out then I'll get a DivX DVD rip..quality is definately passable. For movies that I really love, such as Bladerunner, Gladiator, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind etc etc, I'll either get them as a 720p rip, or buy them on Blu-Ray.

I think TBF it's like the audiophiles. Yes I can hear the difference between an AVR with my Wharfedales, compared to a Linn/Cyrus setup. But the question is, can you quantify the difference enough to justify the pricetag?

IMHO I really don't think 3D will take off much more than it has done. Sure the benefits of HD over SD speak for themelves. But to be honest, it hasn't truly blown me away. The whole point of the cinema is immersion, and that doesn't call for 3D.

Until it becomes subtle (think about how many movies now just incluide scenes to show off 3D) and until we can genuinely watch it without glasses (i.e. lenticular projetion - if that's possible?)... I don't think it will beome as mainstream as people think.

Thoughts people?
 

AdeJ

Novice Member
Good point, although I don't think most would regard over 100 hrs per month as using it sparingly! :D
Have to agree... I sometimes almost kick myself when I watch a movie over two hours long!!!

"I don't care if the credits are funny, I'm switching it off!" :laugh:
 

winzentween

Novice Member
Have to agree... I sometimes almost kick myself when I watch a movie over two hours long!!!

"I don't care if the credits are funny, I'm switching it off!" :laugh:
well obviously you are all TIGHTGITS lol sorry no but 2hrs a day is nothing as i completely expect to replace my lamp every few years as the machine was only 600 and it friken rocks! so a 100 usage fee is acceptable...i remember the days when lamps were £250+..now that make me think!
 

phil5366

Banned
Guessing i am after the best quality i can get without breaking the bank, 1080p would be nice but not the end of the world. I currently have acquired a second hand Epson EMP-X3 projector and am looking as how far to position this away from the rear wall but also thinking about when i replace it and worried that i will have to move the projector mount which i dont wanna do, any suggestions on the best way to position the mount thanks
Have a read through my thread, click on the link below in the sig, it may help you with what you want with regards to your proposed setup.
If after reading through the thread, if you want any help or advice feel free to leave a message on the thread.

Phil.
 

Mottok

Novice Member
Hi - I am doing the same thing (but using a bedroom) and have been struggling as I have the same budget more or less. I got a DLP projector but it was unusable due to the rainbow effect so I highly recommend viewing DLP if you can and are considering that technology.

I am there for now restricted to LCD and for that money have been recommended (by this forum) the Epson TW-480. Can't find many reviews on it unfortunately as it only came out in Dec 11(I think) so not sure about screen door effect (although not read anything about it on this projector).

If we had the budget I would say to the both of us to shell out a few hundered extra notes and go for a TW-3200 which you can currently get for £764 here.
 

c-ahopkins

Standard Member
Just having the first fix electrics put in today any suggestions on how to set up the sockets etc behind the tv as going to have a motorised screen at at later date :)
 

c-ahopkins

Standard Member
Anybody know what the remote start projector lead is called and where i can get one from so when you power on projector the screen comes down ?
 

AdeJ

Novice Member
Anybody know what the remote start projector lead is called and where i can get one from so when you power on projector the screen comes down ?
It's standard two-core cable, terminated in a 3.5mm jack. The current available is usually pretty low, so you'll need to use a relay board and a separate 12v power supply.

The screen will usually have four core cable going into it from the supplied control box. (earth, neutral, and two lives - black and brown). The two lives are for screen up/screen down.

Take a look at the link below, very useful diagram made by another forum member which should help you out:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/projector-screens/217749-automated-screen-12v-trigger.html
 

c-ahopkins

Standard Member
any suggestions for a projector screen dont wanna spend a fortune yet as only have an old epson x3 so was looking to spend as little sas possible until i upgrage my pj for a decent one my friend bought a screen on ebay for £50 motorised as well he seems pretty pleased looking at no more than £100 really
 

SteveCritten

Distinguished Member
I would construct a fixed screen and paint it with 'Black Widow' paint. It will do the job very well and for about £30-£35. Or even just paint the black widow straight onto the wall and frame with black velcro as I did for my first screen which was in the garage. This would then cost about £20.
 

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