Screen size versus minimum viewing distance?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by cunning viewer, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. cunning viewer

    cunning viewer
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    There seems to be some variety of opinion regarding the tradeoff between screen size and viewing distance, and I'd be interested in your opinions.

    I'm planning a setup where the time I will be most interested in picture quality will be when watching widescreen DVDs, hence I plan a 16:9 screen format and an XGA projector.

    A single bank of seats, around 10 foot from the screen.

    TheFinalClick suggests that I should have my row of seats approximately two screen heights away from the screen:

    http://www.thefinalclick.com/shop/customer/pages.php?pageid=10

    This suggests a maximum screen height of about 5ft, which implies a 119 inch (302cm) diagonal screen on 16:9, with a screen 58in high by 104 in wide (147 by 264 cm).

    So far so good.

    Optoma suggest a minumum viewing distance of 1.5 times screen WIDTH, so you do not spot the "screen door" effect:

    http://www.optomahometheater.com/howto/guide.htm

    Under this guideline, my 119" 16:9 ratio screen is too large, but assuming that Optoma were thinking about a 4:3 aspect ratio when they set their guideline, I should be ok (in 4:3 aspect, 1.5 times width = twice height)

    So as long as I use a native 16:9 projector I don't have to worry.

    First Question: Or do I?

    But there's more...

    Projection Screens suggest a minimum viewing distance of TWICE the width, being the limit at which the human eye can take in the whole image.

    http://www.projectionscreens.com.au/size.htm

    So they imply a 60 inch width, which in 16:9 is only a 69 inch diagonal, almost a quarter of the screen size I had in mind.

    This would also imply an image about four times as bright as the larger diagonal screen, which might be somewhat over the top.

    Question: Am I kidding myself with my plans for a 119" diagonal screen, and should I scale back to something smaller? And why? If so, how much smaller?

    If your answer depends on the projector I am using, I am planning an Optoma H56A
     
  2. stuthemong

    stuthemong
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    TBH it is all to do with personal preference.

    A lot of people will disagree with me (bring it on), but i really think that the current trend for recommending small screens is the proliferation of DLP, a technology that suffers as the screen gets bigger, as rainbowing becomes far more pronounced.

    Personally i like to sit 1x screen width so i get a massive field of view of image. OK its probably not best for critical viewing, as you can see pixel makeup, but TBH, I find it far more involving like this, and cant understand why anyone would pay a few £K to get a projecotr, project a 60" image, and then sit so far away, you're just as well off with a 32" TV from a couple of metres :)

    If you sit 1.5x screen width / 2x screen height, i am sure you will be fine - though before spending £££ on a screen, id get your projector and test different sizes. this is theonly way you will know for sure.

    Stu
     
  3. fortean

    fortean
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    I agree with stuthemong. It's your home cinema, have it whatever size you want. You could try projecting on to a white sheet just to get an impression of how it feels. I sit about 11 and half feet from my 8 foot screen (6 foot verticle in 4:3 mode), so that's about 1.5 times width and 2 x height. It's a new screen and has replaced a 7 foot screen that was mounted about 12 inches further away. I definately prefer the larger image. My projector is a CRT so I've no experience on pixelation at this size, just horizontal lines on 4:3 NTSC.
     

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