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Topic: Projector Screen Recommendation for 3-Season Room
Joined: May 14, 2019
Posts: 7
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Hi there,

I'm a newbie to these forums and was looking for some advice on a projector screen that can be placed in an outdoor 3-season room that is in the process of being built. The room will be open on 3 sides (but with mesh screens on these sides to keep out the bugs!) and a wall on one side, which is shared with my house. The room is covered with a roof and gutters, but is still partially exposed to the elements. Wall to a beam below the ceiling is roughly 9-10 ft. I plan on using manual curtains in the room to help control the ambient light.

I'm planning to buy a projector and screen for use in this room. Due to the dimensions of the room and desired placement of furniture, I'm thinking of putting a projector screen on one of the open (but screened in) sides of the room and using a short throw projector (most likely the BenQ TH671ST). The desired size of the screen is 90 to 120" inches (16:9 ratio to match the projector) - e.g. aiming for a 100" image @ 5ft, or thereabouts, projected from the front on a table.

I've read the Projector Screen FAQ on these forums and see that I should not consider an electric or manual projector screen that is not tab-tensioned. That said, and because of the potential placement on an open side, I'm not sure of what kind of screen would work best. Optimally, I'd like to have the ability to take down (or roll-up - argh!) the screen easily (especially in advance of bad weather and seasonally). Also the screen should be somewhat resistant to the elements (although I could forgo this requirement if the screen was easy and quick to put up/take down). Finally, cost is a factor - I don't want to spend more than a couple hundred dollars (if this is even possible). Perhaps I am asking for too much!

In addition to what screen could work in this scenario, I'm a bit at a loss as to how I could mount it for easy put up/take down, so any advice is on this is also most welcome. If it was retractable, I could mount it to the beam beneath the ceiling, but if it is free form, I'm not sure where to attach it, especially at ground level that doesn't permanently damage the deck flooring that will be installed.

Thank you!

P.S. I attach a photo of the side of the room (still being built!) where I would like to put the projector screen, if possible.
[Edited by BigScreenGamer on May 14, 2019 at 2:59 PM]


Side of 3-season room to put screen

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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 12,648
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I think the first question, before you go any further, is to ensure that you understand that this is for after dark use only. Projectors can't compete with daylight. There is a reason your local movie theater doesn't have giant windows in it.

Projectors can not compete with daylight. Even a little bit of daylight will make an image very bad, but in the shade, on a normal sunny day, will make an image pretty much unwatchable.

If your desire is for daytime viewing, you would be much better served with a large flat panel LCD display.

If the goal is after dark viewing, I think I would go for an inexpensive roll up screen, then use a normal throw projector with a lot of placement flexibility and solid brightness and contrast like the Epson 3100. It has a lot of zoom range and can hit 100" diagonal from just under 10' lens to screen. If this fits in your space, maybe towards the back of the space, then it could be placed on a shelf or hung from the ceiling up high and then the extensive lens shift will help allow it to hit the screen properly.

If that's still to close, you could go down to a 92" screen, or try a 'shorter' throw projector like the BenQ HT2050A. This can hit it from 8'4" lens to screen and won't have the same issues that a true short throw projector has with a retractable screen.

Be aware that if you wouldn't leave your laptop sitting on your porch because of heat and humidity, a projector is going to have some similar realities with it. It is a piece of sensitive electronics that is very subject to climate control.

I don't want you to think that people don't do outdoor projection, many people do it regularly and have some simple to complex outdoor setups. But, making it easy to setup is important, and if you went with a model like the HT2050a, I would install a projector mount on the ceiling of VERY high quality, like a Chief RPMAU mount. It holds very firmly in place but has a quick release mechanism. So, you can take the projector down or put it up in under 60 seconds.

Then, with a fairly inexpensive retractable screen, just leave the screen outside, on the wall, and retract it when it is not in use. It will get waves in the material, and likely will need to be replaced in 3-5 years. But, it could last longer depending on the build quality.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Joined: May 14, 2019
Posts: 7
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Thank you very much for your comprehensive reply.

I can understand that daylight is the enemy of projectors (I saw the "like vampires" analogy). While the intended primary use case is in an outdoor screen room, we hope to install some at least partially light blocking curtains in the room that can also be used during daylight hours to further restrict light coming into the room. That said, we understand that some light will still enter and we will have to deal with the effect on the projected image. Of course, the amount of daylight viewing vs. "movie night", evening sports and other darker viewing is still TBD.

I was interested to hear your suggestion to use the Benq HT2050a, as it is "only" rated @ 2200 lumens. I was wondering if a somewhat similar, regular throw projector with a higher lumens rating (i.e. Optoma HD27HDR @ 3400, also reviewed on your site), used in conjunction with a higher gain retractable screen, would be a more suitable option to project a brighter image - albeit with less color fidelity and/or contrast - in higher ambient light, but still be good for nightime viewing? I really like the low latency feature, as I can see some possible gaming use cases for my family.

The use of a normal (vs. shorter) throw projector, especially to overcome screen ripple issues is understood, and could potentially work in our screen room. You say that a lower cost retractable screen could then be used (and replaced after some time, if necessary) - which is ok. Also related to "semi-outdoor", shaded environment, with some ambient light, would the the gain of the screen and some ambient light rejection capability be recommended (or not necessary)? Do you have any specific projector screen recommendations for use in the described scenario (with one of the above mentioned projectors) - 100" to 120"? I saw the Elite Screens Yardmaster Manual series, but even these seem a bit expensive (to me). There are also a lot of very low cost, no-name screens, but it is hard to discern the quality level of these. If a screen was not weather resistant/weatherproof, we were thinking of spraying the casing and/or mounting components with something like Rustoleum (hoping that the screen itself was somewhat mildew resistant). Finally, are these screens heavy enough to not be affected too much by light breezes, or is there any ideas to help stabilize the screen (e.g. use of bungee cords, weights, etc.)?

Sorry for the long posts/detail! Thank you very much again for your advice/insight and I hope that this discussion benefits other users that are exploring similar use cases. I'm not a videophile, just trying to be an informed consumer looking for "reasonable" quality without breaking the bank!
Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 12,648
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Any projector that is DLP and claiming 'high brightness' rarely delivers on that claim. This, unfortunately, deals with the need of a color wheel and how it impacts brightness.

That said, the Optoma is a solid projector, but doesn't really reach what is claimed, and the review had the absolute brightest output at 2,800 lumens.

With optomized lumens falling under 1,200 pretty much across the board.

The BenQ on the other hand...

May peak at 1,800 lumens, but it maintains calibrated brightness when optimized for best quality.

This means, you can get a bit more brightness from the HD27HDR, but you will lose color. And that can mean a LOT of color. Greens and blues often look very 'black' with DLP projectors that are overdriving their color light output capability.

The BEST recommendation remains using a LCD projector. This is because LCD uses 3 chips and has full color saturation and brightness regardless of modes. So, they are bright and have vivid colors.

The Epson 3100 has 2,800 to 2,000 lumens - much better than either the Optoma or the BenQ...

The Epson 3700 is 3,400 to 2,400...

So, these numbers are far better with the Epson models.
On a budget, the Epson 1060 can give you 3,300 lumens if needed...

The 1060 may be a good option as you can get a 100" diagonal from the shorter throw distance of 7'5" to 8'11" lens to screen. It fits your space.

SCREENS: You aren't going to get there from here.

A cheap ambient light rejecting (ALR) manual screen may be $1,000 or more (pretty easily). Yes, that's 'cheap'. They don't make much in the way of true ALR roll up screens. In fact, I think I've ONLY seen electric ALR screens, and they've been several thousand dollars.

Claims for ALR are coming from almost everyone, and it's BS.

Another issue, is that ALR screens are designed to deal with room lighting. Lighting from 'above', maybe somewhat from the sides, but your projector mounting location puts a lot of light directly behind the projector. So, it won't be very effective.

I haven't setup a projector outdoors, in a similar use situation, so I'm not 100% sure how it will react, but I'm concerned. I don't think you are going to find any manual screens with high gain. At least, none that I'm aware of. Specialty materials tend to go hand-in-hand with higher price tags, which almost always means adding a motor, or putting a fixed frame around it.

So, while this may be a durable solution that lasts several years...

(about $300)

You may be just as happy with getting a cheap 16:9 100" screen off of Amazon, and swapping it out once every few years.

(under $80)

There are even some motorized options there for under $150.

But, adding tab-tensioned raises the price tag by a LOT, and having it outdoors will always contribute to long term wear and tear.

It is worth adding that I'm not entirely sure what your budget is, but I will emphasize that spending more money on a good mount will make your world MUCH better. Check eBay for the Chief RPMAU or similar models and pick one up if you see it for around $100.

Also, check the Epson refurb website...

Models like the Epson 1440 can give you 4,000+ lumens, with acceptable color, and is about $1,000 with a 2-year warranty.

You will need 9'9" lens to screen for that model to fit your space.
[Edited by AV_Integrated on May 17, 2019 at 8:53 AM]
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 12,648
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$100 - it is likely silver, despite claiming it is black.

$115 shipped - This is not a phenomenal price, but it is a very good price for a Elite series mount with a universal bracket, in black, new in the box.

$110 shipped - Same as above, but in white!

Buy it separately - mount then universal bracket $45 for the mount, $50 for the bracket...

This is an older style mount, so not as easy and friendly as their RPM series, but still a VERY good deal:

$58 - great deal. If you are handy, you could modify the 'custom' plate with some pieces of metal and some screens from the local hardware store. Maybe $10 in additional parts, and some time/effort to make it fit any projector you purchase, but JUST as good.

RPA - Their old series mounts, non-micro adjustable, but used for years with quality.

RPM: Elite series mounts. Micro-adjustable. Awesome!

RPMA/RPMB/RPMC: Elite series mount with a A/B/C type lock on it.

RPM000: RPM mount without any projector plate.

RPMXXX (XXX is a number, like RPM285), Elite series projector mount with a 'custom' plate that is designed to fit a specific projector. These plates are just stamped metal with some holes in them.

RPMU, RPMAU, RPAU: The key letter here is the 'U', which means that it includes a universal adapter plate for a projector. You MUST have both a projector mount (RPM) plus a adapter plate. The 'U' is very important and photos should show that the adapter plate is included.

SLMU: The Elite series universal projector interface mount. This is just a universal interface bracket for the projector, and does not include a RPM series mount. It is often the 'U' included in a RPMAU mount.

RPMAUW/RPMAUS - That last letter indicates color. No letter at the end means the mount is black. W means white. S means silver.

Chief mounts come as two pieces. The mount, which allows for tilt, roll, and pan motion. The projector plate, which comes as either a stamped piece of custom metal, or a universal interface. The universal interface is the better option if possible.

You may bolt the mount directly to the ceiling, or from a beam hanging at the proper height, or you may use a flange (1.5") from Home Depot's plumbing section, and a 1.5" piece of black pipe of any length you want (also from Home Depot) and use that with the mount. The Chief mounts have screw holes in the top of them as well as a large 1.5" hole with threads so it can have a pipe attached to it.

Ask if you have more projector mount questions.
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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