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Topic: Projector Choice for Sanctuary
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Joined: Feb 2, 2015
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Here is our situation:

Our screen will be about 78 inches wide, and the projector will be about 67 feet from the screen. In order to maximize the area of the screen, I thought a 4:3 aspect ratio would be best. The 78-inch width is fixed, but the height can be changed. I've read that 4:3 is sort of on the way out, but like I said, I think it's important to maximize the display area. I'm planning on displaying 1024 X 768, mostly PowerPoint text, but very occasionally photos or movie clips. Our sanctuary isn't all that bright, but I was still thinking that a minimum 5000 lumen projector would be good.

I'd be interested in opinions on appropriate projectors.

Also, I have a question about native resolution. Is it the case that a projector with a higher native resolution would produce sharper images when displaying 1024 X 768 even if the native resolution isn't 4:3?

Thanks,
Paul
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I would advise against 4:3.

4:3 isn't on the way out - it has been dead for the better part of half a decade. It was on it's way out 10 years ago.

So, I would never recommend that someone buy into obsolescence.

Your biggest issue is the distance you are projecting from.

78" wide from 67'.

That's 6.5' wide from 67' - or over a 10:1 throw ratio.

Which means that the projector manufacturers which support this extremely long throw distance is limited to one:
http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?g=1&hide=0&st=1&mfg=&p=1&p=10000&w=&r=&br=&ll=<g=&t=&db=&dt=&c=&ar=&dvi=&wr=&pjl=&pjw=&pjh=&td=67&i=w&is=78&oop=1&sort=%24&sz=15

Three models. Two XGA models at 5,000 lumens, which hits the numbers and aspect ratio you want. Then one 1280x800 model with 4,000 lumens, which is the one I would use.

All of them will produce the lumen output you need under normal fluorescent level lighting.

Now the biggest issue IMO: This is a very small screen size. If you have people viewing from 50' away, it will not deliver an image large enough for many people to read. 4:3 or 16:9 doesn't matter. Viewing distance for normal text content is either going to be so large that only a few words fit, or so small, that nobody can read it. While the rule hasn't been updated by Infocomm in a long while, it's been stated that the screen height, minimum should be 1/6th the distance to the furthest set of eyes. So, a 50' distance from the screen to the rear most seated position calls for a screen at least 8' tall. Which doesn't fit in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1832000919001?bckey=AQ~~,AAABBhYFABE~,7IhC0foyW9w_SQgYQgVQ3ZBSD0IMFQSD&bctid=1813054520001

Any thoughts to consider a 80"-90" flat panel display? It will be brighter, be more easily viewable, will not have lamps that need to be changed, and may have a lower initial cost. Of note, the Sharp 90" flat panel can be had for about $5,000 online.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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Thank you for your excellent response. Naturally, it brings up more questions.

First, projector questions:

1. To my knowledge, I've never seen an image projected with a long-throw lens. How does the sharpness of the image compare to a more standard configuration? For example, I'm just barely satisfied with the projector in my high school classroom which is a Hitachi CP-X260 located about 6 feet from the whiteboard.

2. Since I can't go any larger than the 78" width, I'm still leaning toward 1024 X 768 to maximize area. Would the image sharpness suffer if I used the WX8240A in 1024 X 768 mode? Is it even able to do that?

3. Am I correct in estimating that the projector + lens appears to be getting into the $7500 range? At that price, I think I would feel comfortable proposing the flat-panel option to my committee.

So now for a flat panel question:

1. If I were to run an HDMI cable, is there some maximum distance before signal degradation?

2. With the increased image quality, by what percent would you estimate that I could decrease character height and still achieve equal readability?

Thanks,
Paul
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A long throw lens or a short throw lens should all look good. The Hitachi you have seen likely has a bad lens on it. Most lenses are very sharp. I would expect, for the level you are looking at, the image would be very sharp.

If you were to go with a 4:3 screen, I would get a 4:3 projector.

On HDMI cables:

You shouldn't expect more than 50' using HDMI. Realistically, you should be using HDBaseT in a commercial setup. It handles HDMI at distances up to 330 feet and you use standard cat-5e cabling which can be terminated to the perfect length.

No matter what you use, font size must be about the same for the rear row to be able to see it. At least a couple inches tall, or higher for back row viewing.

While a 1080p flat panel will be sharper, it's not a function of resolution, but of seating distance.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.