Not logged in
 
Author
Topic: Dipping my toes in, choosing this or that and on a budget
member
Joined: Apr 19, 2023
Posts: 2
Reply to PostAlert Moderator
So I bought a BenQ MX511 for $125 CAD. I saw 16:9 and thought "yup!". It's a native 4:3. I'm returning it, I think. I jumped the gun because it's 16:9 "capable". It would allow for a 90" screen but I don't want the image cut off so...

I didn't find any 1080p native projectors on eBay in Canada within budget. 720 will have to do. My budget is $300 for a projector and $100 for a screen. Likewise I could also spend $100 on a projector and $350 on a silver ticket screen.

I'm now looking at a BenQ MW571 for $290 and a Panasonic PT-FW430U for $90. Both are 16:10. The major difference being the Panasonic has a contrast ratio of 600:1, is $200 cheaper, and allows a 100" image. The BenQ has a contrast ratio of 13000:1 and allows for a 120" image at a few inches less throw. Both are listed as on/off contrast ratings. I don't know how to interpret these. I think the Panasonic is more for commercial use, though, for lit rooms. I want a budget home theatre.

My room is 15 feet x 9.5 feet. The screen would be on a stand infront of a wall radiator. The rooms window is blacked out and although it's an all white room (that I can't paint) I'm putting up curtains on the walls, maybe soundproof foam on the roof and a carpet on the floor. As black as possible on a budget, no lighting.

I bought two pairs of hi-resolution headphones and a splitter for this because it's an apartment, for me and my girlfriend.

The source will be from PC and PS4, 720 from netflix and 1080 from prime.

I'm not sure which to get considering budget and contrast ratio and seating distance and screen choice. The best screen I could find was a $350 silver ticket which is $50 out of my budget (that's okay). The rest on Amazon look so bad with wrinkles but they're only $25-$100, most don't say the screen gain and most don't have a black backing and the ones that do have a gain of 1.5. The screen cannot be wall mounted, there's a wall radiator.

I did find a 0.9 gain with a black backing and a stand for $90. Most cheapo screens are 1-1.1 gain.

Is 120" too big? It's nearly the entire wall. Viewing distance is 115". Throw distance is at most 162". At around 145" the projector on the ceiling would be right behind the couch.

I don't know what mount I'd buy (because I don't know the projector I'm buying).

I also don't know if you need to mount these center-on screen or if you can angle the projector downwards from the ceiling which I do see that is standard in HT. I ask because I see people using these mounted right behind the top of their couches.

A 100" screen on a stand would leave barely enough for two speaker towers should I get them later. A 120" would not. I'd be fine with just using headphones, they're really good.

I'm going to add another couch and the viewing distance would be two seats closer to the screen if someone sits there, putting viewing distance around 5-6 feet away.

I'm trying to avoid hot spots and bad blacks. How would a 1.0 gain look in a dark room with these projectors?

Is 600:1 and 13000:1 what I want to be looking at most? Inputs?

Thank you.
moderator
Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 13,305
Reply to PostAlert Moderator
You have a lot you're covering. I think you asked this on Reddit (?) as well, which I responded to and suggested the FW430U as a better option than the garbage Amazon models. But, the reality is that there is a TON out there. You can search Amazon for 1080p projector and you will get a very long list of results.

This was the first hit I got on a search for 1080p projector...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/155514300822
It's one of those things that I would call a VERY seriously consider option. Old, but if it is working well, then it's a top tier model from the era. Kind of like an Epson 8350 would also be an excellent option if it is in good shape and within budget. You can narrow your search by adding brand names - Epson, Panasonic, Sony, BenQ, Optoma, etc. There will be quite a few brand name 1080p models available, but you likely can get a proper home theater model, vs. a business class model and still be under $300.
Searching Epson 1080p projector, and sorting by price, this was one of the first hits...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/204310298011
For under $100 (right now), that's a solid 1080p performer with a ton of lens shift and a solid image. It is a home theater designed 1080p projector with solid contrast that will blow away the FW430U I had suggested. It should rival the BenQ as well, but has a ton more placement flexibility.

Be aware that MOST projectors have offset. Learn that term! On the Projector Central calculator, most projectors have the offset listed. When ceiling mounted (that's a check box on the calculator), the calculator will show how far above the top of the screen the center of the lens is supposed to be.

For example, using the MW571, you will see that with a 100" diagonal, the top of the screen is 5" lower than the center of the lens with a 100" diagonal image...
https://www.projectorcentral.com/BenQ-MW571-projection-calculator-pro.htm

Projectors with lens shift MAY have some available range shown, or it may not. Looking at a model like the (expensive) Epson 5050UB, you can see that the lens shift offers a LOT of range...
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-Home_Cinema_5050UB-projection-calculator-pro.htm#calc

For a screen, I would recommend that you try things out. Even if there is some junk in the way, try out a 100" diagonal, then a 120" diagonal, and see what you prefer. There is no hard and fast law on screen size, but generally, 10" of diagonal for each foot of viewing distance is the preferred size. So, if you're sitting 10 feet eyes to screen, then a 100" diagonal would be 'typical'. But, some people like it larger, and some like it smaller. Most are very happy with 100" from 10' viewing. If you sit at 12', then a 120" diagonal would be common. I can't really offer up any specifics beyond what you've been looking at for screens. Elite has some cheaper stuff that works well as does the Silver Ticket stuff you've already looked at.

You have to consider audio in a theater as well, so speaker placement will come up if you're trying to do this properly.

For a ceiling mount, most are universal, but they generally suck for the cheap Amazon universal ones. Kind of like there are a bunch of crap screens on Amazon, the same is true with projector mounts. I prefer the Cheif RPMAU ($$$). But, I pick them up used on eBay for about $100, which is way less than used, and I'm comfortably parting together multiple mounts to make a complete unit. The Chief RPAU is a good option, as would be a Peerless PRG-UNV mount. Both should be available for under $100 via eBay.

Please keep doing research online, but be aware that cheap Chinese models often have no offset at all and are designed to be placed exactly in the 'center' of the screen both left to right and top/bottom. So, directly over your head in the middle of the screen... lame. Proper projectors are ceiling mounted, or table mounted above/below the screen respectively. Watch some videos that compare or review quality projectors. It will help you see how they are placed.

This channel has some long videos that discuss rather high end projectors, but similar to what even some cheaper models work...
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj6kQau-3c2omdEfOtVfxZg/videos?app=desktop

I also have this video up about table top placement of a projector...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOGpyUsbx2Q

Ask questions if you have them.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
member
Joined: Apr 19, 2023
Posts: 2
Reply to PostAlert Moderator
Yes, that was me on Reddit. I'm trying to buy the 8350 but it's a bidding war at the moment. Projector Central says screen gain with this in a low light room needs to be about 0.4 gain, is this correct? Does that mean I'd want a gray screen? The 8350 looks perfect for what I want. Thank you for all of your help!
moderator
Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 13,305
Reply to PostAlert Moderator
If your room is white/light colored with a white ceiling, then a grey screen would be okay, but it really isn't required to go beyond a standard grey screen. As well, you may prefer the added punch/bright whites that a white screen delivers. This is why you should try it on a wall for a week or so prior to deciding upon a screen size.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.