Projector advice and possibilities


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Jan 28, 2004
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Hi chaps

First post so be gentle :eek:

I'm going to be moving in to a new house pretty soon and it has a cellar that I intend to convert into another room for the express purpose of home cinema and PC/gadget "stuff"

the room is 10ft by 10ft which is a good size but the ceiling is only about 6ft 4in high

Will this affect me in getting a projector as opposed to an LCD?

If a sofa is placed in the middle of the room I presume that the projection will be blocked, this would limit me to having the sofa against the backwall and have lots of open room (I suppose I can move the sofa about!)

If the room is 6ft high will the image be distorted and is this an ok height?

I've been looking at all the beginners guides etc but wouldn't mind some real world advice ;)

If anyone else has converted a cellar would be great to hear advice from them too (cost / problems / results)

I intend to get to a place that can demo projectors to pick one out once the room is done but if I can't acheive what I really want then I'll go the LCD route

Another thing is that I would like the DVD player etc not at the rear of the room, I presume cable length would be an issue

So many questions! sorry :p

Thanks in advance

Hi Matt,

A few observations:

Different projectors require different positioning with respect to the screen. All can be ceiling mounted so that needn't mean you couldn't have the sofa in the middle of the room. Screen size is a major decision, normal viewing distance is at least 1.5 times screen width away, projectors have different 'throw distances' meaning the distance they need to be from the screen to project an image of a given size.

Some projectors include 'lens shift' which means you can offset the projector somewhat, either horizontally or vertically or both, depending on projector. This means that something like the Sanyo Z2 for instance, the pj I have, the projector can sit to one side of the room (within reason, the shift distance can be limited, on the Z2 it's about 1/2 screen width comfortably) ... note that 'keystone adjustment' attempts to do electronically what 'lens shift' does optically, avoid keystone adjustment if at all possible, it usually seriously degrades picture quality and brightness.

So, the 6' ceiling may allow you to flush-mount a projector with the screen low-ish on the wall, or you could try table-standing and offset to one side.

Another measurement involved in siting a projector is called 'offset', that is the distance between the plane of the lens and the bottom of the image .. ie, the bottom of the image on the screen is often a number of inches higher than the level of the projector .. again this will have an impact with your low ceiling.

Having said all that, with a small-ish screen, probably 69" I would say, you should be able to get a very satisfying home cinema in that room. :)

There's lot more I could ramble on with, but I'll leave it there for others to add what I've missed.

so the projectors lens shift can be used to have the projector off centre at the rear of the room and having a sofa in the centre/rear of the room wouldn't impeed the projection (if I've read that right :) )

if I go for a 69" screen then I presume I need to work out the distance the projector needs to be away from the wall to acheive that screen area.

Or would it be best for me just to get a decent projector, get it into the room then experiment and get the largest screen / quality combination I can or do I need to consider this beforehand?

Thanks alot for the help, appreciated :)

You are correct about lens shift .. my Z2 is about 2' off-centre of a 7' wide screen .. the only issue is which side (or front/back) the projector exhausts hot air, which can be a significant determinant in where you place it if it's in-line with the viewers.

Remember, 'Keystone Adjustment' is NOT the same and shouldn't be used except in extreme need and it will never allow adjustments beyond a few degrees

As for how to decide on the equipment, while getting the projector first may inded be a reasonable idea, many people have started off projecting on to a light-coloured wall or black-out blind, you need to always bear in mind your room's size. Many on-line retailers' web pages show throw distances, for just one example Ivojo's Z2 page has a chart showing minimum and maximum distances for given screen sizes.

By a small amount of hunting you can also find on-line manuals to download, always a good way to research new equipment, and there are on-line distance calculators .. sadly I don't have any bookmarks to hand.

Assuming you go for a 16:9 widescreen screen, 'standard' sizes start at 69" diagonal, and with only a 6' ceiling you're not really going to be able to squeeze in anything much bigger I'd have though, unless you want the bottom of the screen on the floor.

Typical diagonal sizes:

69” - 34”h x 60”w
83” - 40”h x 72”w
92” - 45”h x 80”w

So a 69" screen is 3' high.
Hi Kragorn, thanks for the advice so far

I've read around the forums and most people seem to be going for the PT-AE300 for the price / quality

This fits my budget perfectly, question is, will it be ok to celiing mount it at the rear of the room in the centre and project onto the far wall (all the walls in the cellar are already painted white thankfully but I think I'm getting them plasterboarded ;) )

Do I need a screen? Good projector choice?

This may sound like a stupid question but is the size of the "projected" projector screen size (pun intended) for my size room going to give me an advantange (other than price) over say a 32" LCD?

What would other people do?

thanks again!
I suppose I should add that I'd want to be using the PJ for Xbox, PS2, GameCube, PC (via DVI or VGA) as well as Sky and DVD

Just about everything I suppose!!!

All ok with that?
Oh hell yeah, i think you'll get much more enjoyment out of a pj rather than a 32" screen. just take your time, read all the threads on the forum and you'll be fine and hopefully get it right the 1st time.... most dont!!

Originally posted by [Slip]
I've read around the forums and most people seem to be going for the PT-AE300 for the price / quality


Do I need a screen? Good projector choice?
Good choice for a first projector .. one I made too :) One tip, if possible try to buy from somewhere who will do a 'dead pixel check' for you. This isn't vital as pixels can 'die' after many hours use, but it means you start off with a 100% projector.

The AE300 will indeed ceiling mount, I can't recall right now precisely where the top of the projected image will be in relation to the lens .. the 'offset' I waffled about above .. but IIRC the 300 has a negative offset, ie. when ceiling mounted the top of the screen will be above the line of the lens. If you ask in a separate thread about this someone with a 300 will be able to answer you, it's in the manual .. you could try looking for a downloadable PDF version of the manual which will be very uesful to you planning the installation.

Many it seems start off without a screen, and if you look round here you'll find other alternative like home-made screens using blackout curtains from IKEA and elsewhere, which can certainly do a job in the short-term at least.

Here's a post to make you feel good!

I've just almost completed my first home cinema. 11' x 10' basement room that's 6' high. Sound familiar?

I've just bought a Panny AE300. Sound familiar?

I've ceiling mounted it using Gary Lightfoot's DIY mount v1, leaving 18" behind it for cooling. Throw distance is 8.5' from lens to a 2m wide IKEA Tuplar blackout blind. Viewing distance is about 1.5x screen width (armchairs at back of room). Result?

:D :D :D :D :D

Oh. On cabling, at the moment, all source equipment is at the back of the room and I'm connecting with poor quality cables. Plan is to move all kit to the front of the room beneath the screen and run 5m component (DVD) and scart (Freeview) cables behind the screen and along the ceiling to the PJ.

Originally posted by KraGorn
I can't recall right now precisely where the top of the projected image will be in relation to the lens
For a 6' wide screen, the top(ceiling mount)/bottom(desktop mount) of the projected image is about 6cm above(ceiling)/below(desktop) the center of the lens. If you are mounting on the ceiling, this corresponds almost exactly with the bottom edge of the PJ, as the lens is offset 6.5 cm from that...
Originally posted by VirusKiller
to a 2m wide IKEA Tuplar blackout blind.
They're the ones. :D I got one to act as a blackout blind .. how novel :laugh: .. and for the hell of it pointed my AE300 at it and was very impressed with the results compared to my 'real' screen, not perfect but considering the price difference (had I not got a 'free' screen with the Panny from DiscountElectrical) the blind would have done very nicely.
Yeah, the Tuplar is superb for £20. The only (minor) problem is that the material bends a bit at the edges. I'm planning to DIY a fixed frame and staple the Tuplar material on to it. I don't even need to buy the timber - it was in the house when I moved in. :smashin:
Viruskiller : cheers!

Sounds almost identical ;)

Do you have any pictures of the install and screen size etc? would be really interested. I intend to have a PC desk in the room as well so may just choose a desk that could potentially house the amp / dvd / consoles etc

I have DVI and VGA output on my gfx card but the DVI is used by my monitor I'm guessing I can't double it up.

Hopefully (eventually) I'll just fix a screen/blind/frame on the projected wall. Really tempted now by a PJ , was gonna fork out 3k on a LCD or Plasma! Looks lie I can get a PJ with equipment I need and still save some cash! or am I naive? :)
Originally posted by [Slip]
I have DVI and VGA output on my gfx card but the DVI is used by my monitor I'm guessing I can't double it up.
Correct, but most LCD PC monitors IMX handle VGA pretty well.

As for your expenditure, you'll have a lot left from 3K if you go the projector route. :)

Of course, a plasma works well with normal lighting whereas all front projectors suffer to some extent with ambient lighting washing out the colours and destroying blacks. I personally only use the pj for watching films, either on TV or DVD, and watch the little normal TV I do watch on a 17" LCD ... some pj owners watch all their TV on it but that quickly eats up lamp time and IMHO at least lessens the impact of watching a favourite film on the 'large screen' if you're used to watch Eastenders on it. :D
upstairs we have a 28" Panny Tau so that will be the normal TV screen and I have a beautiful Samsung 19" TFT for the PC so PJ will be for films and games mainly

Now just gotta lay my hands on a Panny AE300 and a ceiling mount and I'm away!

Thanks alot guys, appreciated.
Originally posted by [Slip]
Viruskiller : cheers!
You're welcome...

Do you have any pictures of the install and screen size etc?
Just took the following two. Room is essentially square, seating against one wall, screen on opposite wall. The 16:9 screen is 2m wide which corresponds to 1.125m high. This leaves room for a low rack of kit (amp, DVD and speaker on the top). It's possible that the desk you mentioned will be too high.

Nice bright yellow walls eh? :D


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what ever you dont buy a LCD tv. youll live to regret that.
LCD is majour rubish and very inferior to plasma even in its best incarnation(not talkin lcd PJs here)
games on lcd screens are pathetic. u need a screen with a response time of 10ms, and gess what....they dont make them yet.

virus nise job, except the room is to bright. to get a better pic dim it down a bit. white is too reflective.
(if wife will let you that is)
Originally posted by gandley
virus nise job

except the room is to bright
Yep. Well aware of that. Room colour is "open to negotiation" :D , but for the moment, I'm concentrating on getting everything in the right place (cabling etc.). I must admit that even though the room colour is not ideal, for my first PJ setup, the PQ is more than satisfactory. It's a nice thought, though, that things can be improved incrementally if required...
Spose I best look into the colours for the room!

What's the best colours to go for, the cellar is basically just bare brick work so will probably be plasterboarded then painted, it has no carpet etc

As it's a cellar there really won't be an issue with light as it'll be pitch dark which should be good ;)
Black? :D

Seriously, matt black would be the ideal as far as I can see.
ouch hehe

How did I know that was gonna happen :)

Don't think even I could put up with black all the time as the room will be used as an office as well, and gaming room

I'm guessing that the darker the better tho
Um .. if you're gaming what does it matter the colour of the walls? :D

I saw pictures of someone's HC room where he had used black on the wall with the screen and dark red/maroon on the other walls, with a similar carpet, it looked pretty good and would have been very effective at reducing light reflection.

I would certainly suggest black for the screen wall as that will prevent throw-back of light-spill around the image, a black ceiling is also something I would do even for a ceiling-mount installation ... I wish I had your room, I'm not allowed to paint my living room black. :laugh:

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