Yes, it does, thanks again Gary. As you'll see in the edit above I think I'll move the futon and use that space - it's 55" high so using a 16:9 ratio I should be able to get a 97" (8ft) width. I'd be sitting about 12Ft away from the screen then aswell.
You'd be in the perfect position to answer my first edited post then Gary - are you happy with 4:3 /16:9 compatible? Would it be best getting one for ~£500 or would it be a better option to go for a true 16:9, like the PTAE100 for a couple of hundred quid more (hopefully, when the PTAE200/300 drops the price)?
And what should I look for? I've figured the important things are max resolution (?), Brightness and contrast ratio (and absense of dead pixels on LCD) - anything else?
2 - for the 7ft width I could only fit a 16:9 screen! 4:3 would have had to be less wide for the necessary height.
My pj is only 800 x 600, but is fine for DVD playback. A higher res would show less screen door if you were sitting closer, but they can cost more. I use a htpc for best picture quality and the flexibility it gives me. Definately the way to go if you don't mind the inconvenience. Cost start at about £250. Your curent player will do as a start though, unless you could use the computer you're using now for dvd playback.
I run 16:9 dvds at 800 x 450, but can make it 856 x 480 and lose a 28 pixels off each side if I was that way inclined.
If you can get an AE100 then go for it - excellent value for money, but should another pj come up for a good price try to find its' home cinema suitability from here and www.avsforum.com.
If you have total light control in your room, you don't really need any more than 800 lumens from your pj. High contrast is something to look for too.
If you are going to use a fixed screen, you can make one like mine for around £28. Let me know if you want more info.
Thanks Gary - really appreciate all the info (and I really liked your car too btw ).
One thing that confuses me tho - PJ central show that your PJ is native 4:3, shown here.
There's a lot of PJ's I've seen for ~£500 that I have checked out on this site as also shown 4:3 so are any of these equally suitable? (eg. something like this only with better brightness). And what's the difference between SVGA and SXGA?
I have a PC to the left of my sofa - XP1800, GF4 Ti4200, 512MB DDR but as it's an XP the HSF is loud as hell! Plus, I don't want my 44 going to waste as I only got it 6 months ago!
That's right - my pj is 800 x 600 pixels which is 4:3.
Using your dvd player with a 4:3 pj will mean that either the pj or the player will have to convert the image to letterbox format, or perform some form of anamorphic sqeeze just like a 4:3 tv would do. So imagine that projectors may be widescreen or 4:3 just like tvs are, and you'll get the idea.
In my case I use the computer to use the maximum amount of pixels to form a widescreen image, so I use the full width of 800 pixels but only 450 (of 600) high to keep the aspect ratio correct.
NTSC is a lower resolution than PAL, so only needs 480 pixels high, but 856 wide to stretch an anamorphic image to the correct ratio. The computer scales this to fit, just the same as when viewing PAL. If I increase the width and lose some of the image outside the projectors max width of 800, I gain a little more detail in the height.
If you're going for a projector like the one you showed me, I'd reccommend you get a demo of it using a dvd player so you can see exactly what type of image you'll get. You'll also seen if it has any dead pixels or green haze which some LCDs occasionaly suffer from.
Your PC looks pretty capable of producing a good picture for your projector, which is how most people using data grade projectors feed them. They're generaly cheaper because they aren't optimise for home cinema, just board room presentations, so they are often bright with imperfect colour balance and noisy fans.
A noisy pc will probably not be much noisier than the pj! Of course that can be cancelled out by turning up the surround sound a bit.
If you can try using your pc on the pj, and you find it gives a better picture, then just replace the cpu fan with a quiet one.
Not all pjs work well with pcs though, some suffer from tearing such as the Davis 650, which looks like a better pj than the DLS8, but doesn't seem to have the triple buffering (IIRC) that prevents the tearing effect.
SVGA is 800 x 600 pixels, and SXGA is 1024 x 768 and offers a better resolution and reduced screen door.
If you see something suitable, ask here and over at avs for more inf - there's a wealth of info available and can save you a lot of hassle.
Ahh, get you now - the PC gives you the control to modify/expand/crop a 4:3 image for a 16:9 screen.
I suppose I could mod my PC to make it quiter - have a switch that'll turn off the extra case fans. Have seen a few of the PJ's are ~45Db which I suppose is loud anyway (when you know what it's like watching in silence).
So basically it's a choice of using my player and getting something like a PTAE100 or using my PC and getting something a bit older, 4:3.
Financially, the HTPC seems the best option - I could get a 4:3 PJ for under £500 and sell my Pioneer444 for at least £130, balancing at about £350 (give or take). On the other hand the player is far more convinient, uses a lot less power (don't know if that's really a factor) but the PJ will cost £800 and the fact that I'd be reluctant to part with a perfectly good player!
Right after I finished the loft, I decided to do a test of sorts by putting my gf in the back garden, and talk to her on my mobile while she was on the cordless.
Initialy I just had a stereo amp until the 3802 came out, and I normaly ran that at around 2.5 which was loud enough.
With the gf in the garden, I played Hell Unleashed from Gladiator, and ran it at 2.5. My gf couldn't hear anything. I kept increasing the volume, but by the time I got to 6 I felt I was going to go deaf, and I couldn't hear her on the phone any more anyway. She couldn't hear anything out the front either. That was through 2" of insulation and one layer of plasterboard.
I recently asked my neighbours if they've ever heard anything, and they told me no, and I normaly run the 3802 at -20db volume, using full 6.1. Speakers have been calibrated with an spl meter, and the rears are set slightly above reference.
Building a false wall an inch in front of your party walls (usualy made from 4x2), fitted with 4" of insulation and two layers of plasterboard will make quite a bit of difference, although you lose 6" of room space by doing that.
Where the chimney is, I fitted some wooden battons to make a frame and filled the 12" gap with insulation before fitting 2 layers of plasterboard. You can just see that in my pics.
For the rear wall I just used 2x1 for ease of fixing (4x2 would have been difficult) and used Wickes 30mm high density slabs and two layers of plasterboard. I sealed all gaps with silicon rubber to prevent sound leakage.
If I was going to build a false wall for soundproofing, I'd probably do what someone else on here did - I'd use the 30mm high density slabs, and the Wickes 65mm slabs to make the 4" of insulation needed.
Mass helps prevent the deep bass sounds from traveling (plasterboard is good at this) and IIRC, the insulation helps with the higher frequencies. The thicker the better apparently. It's very difficult to stop bass vibrations from travelling, as they tend to move whatever thay touch, but isolation with rubber can help. Sometimes placing heavy slabs down can do this too according to those that have tried it - I think it damps the vibrations because the mass absorbs it.