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Topic: Projector and Placement Decision Questions
PAG
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Joined: Jan 2, 2021
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Hello! I am new to the home theater game, and am making some final decisions on what to purchase and looking for a little advice.

Scenario: Opening up a partially finished basement to create a multi-purpose home theater and family/play room. The kids area will be behind the couch. I will be able to fully control the amount of ambient light in the room.

First, I am currently debating between the Epson HC 3800, 4010, and a refurbished 5040UBe (only 2 years warranty). I understand from reading the reviews at Projector Central that the 4010 and 5040UBe provide better dark room performance, but I will probably be the only one to watch in a dark room. Most of the time, there will be ambient light. I am leaning towards the 3800 because it is newer, supports 4k 60hz HDR, and is brighter. I am not a videophile, so will I really "miss" the performance of the other two? Thoughts? Would a grey or ALR screen help? Suggestions on screen?

Second, my basement has 8ft ceilings and a load bearing I-Beam that runs parallel to the wall the screen will be on. I am planning on a 120" diagonal screen. The I-Beam is not yet framed in, is 150" from the wall (already finished) the screen will go on, 6.5" wide, and comes down 9.25" from the unfinished floor joist. To get 120" screen I am going to have to mount the projector underneath the I-Beam or just behind it. In your experiences, which is better?

Thanks for all of the help!
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I would say your biggest consideration is your room lighting.

Please look at: http://www.avintegrated.com/lighting.html

It helps you understand that you MUST zone your lighting up. Put as much lighting as you want BEHIND the couch, and on a dimmer, then a set of spotlights over the couch, then more lights in front of the couch. Creating 3 zones of lighting, all dimmable, for your theater space will allow you to use the 5040 or the 4010 if you would like and get the most out of the projector.

Do NOT use a ALR screen.

I would not typically recommend a grey screen either unless your walls and ceiling are white or very light.

As for projector placement, I would definitely put it behind the I-beam location.
[Edited by AV_Integrated on Jan 4, 2021 at 12:27 PM]
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
PAG
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Thanks for all of the advice! Those pictures are by far the best explanation of how ambient light in a room impacts the projector and screen.

Just curious, do you not recommend an ALR screen because light can be controlled, or because they are inferior in some way?

Thanks again!
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ALR screens are significantly inferior.

They are a band aid for a bad room, not a magical solution.

That is, to get a lot of contrast and reject light, they significantly impact image quality.

The high gain nature of ALR screens introduces sparkling, hot-spotting, and significant image uniformity problems.

I've yet to see a ALR screen which doesn't have these problems.

ALR advocates choose to ignore these issues. But, once you see sparkling, it doesn't go away. Once you see how bad image uniformity is, it doesn't go away. Once you see the hot-spotting, it doesn't go away.

All of these things go away on a proper white screen that costs $1,500 or more less money!

That's $1,500 you have to pay an electrician to put lights on a new switch at the back of the room (or just get some Smart Lights).

It's $1,500 to buy some paint to darken the room up a bit.

It's $1,500 to get some good curtains/shades for the room.

Have NO DOUBT!!! ALR screens do what they advertise. They maintain a bright, high contrast image, in a room with uncontrollable light. But, they don't talk about the negatives in advertising for darn sure. Those negatives should be avoided if at all possible, which makes a ALR screen meaningless to those in a decent theater. In a boardroom? Put in a ALR screen and be amazed. In a sports bar? Same thing! Draw customers in with a great HD image in a bright bar. How cool? But, in a theater? Absolutely not.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.