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About To Buy Projector & Retractable Screen


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I am about to take the plunge on a projector & retractable screen & am seeking advice from current PJ owners who have a setup similar to what I am considering.

Will be based in a multi-function loungeroom so no dedicated bat cave I am afraid. Screen will need to be retractable to come down in front of current TV (screen size 90-100"). PJ will be ceiling mounted ~ 3.5-3.7m throw. Seating distance 3.5-4.0m

Will be used for predominately Bluray movie playback at night but would imagine will also used for occasional HD TV and games (PS3 and Xbox 360).

Budget I am looking at is as follows; (AUS warrantly & support is important so not interested in importing)

1080p Projector: ~$3,000

Screen (92 - 100"): $300 - $1000

10m HDMI: ~$100

Projector mount: ~$150

Have narrowed the projector choice down to 3 models;

Benq W6000: Great Brightness, only 1.5 zoom, lens shift limited, RBE effect for some viewers ?

Panasonic AE4000: Good contrast + Black levels, low brightness in best mode, limited warranty + lamp life

Epson TW3500: Solid performer on a budget, Good warranty and lamp life

For those that have a similar setup in a multifunction room;

Screen

Did you get a manual or powered screen ? Pull down or chain drive ?

Good + Bad - do you wish you had gone for the other type of screen ?

Have you had issues with ripples on the screen ?

Do you have a brand you strongly recommend or would avoid ?

I am probably leaning towards just a manual pull down screen as they are cheap & I could install it myself instead of requiring an electrician but interested to hear peoples experiences.

Projector

Do you use your projector much in daylight if you don't have complete control over ambient light ?

Do you wish you had gone for a brighter projector for non-evening viewing ?

Any other suggestions or feedback would be most appreciated. :D

Thanks,

youngstar

Edited by youngstar
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I originally only had an electric 100" 16:9 screen technics screen - worked very well and quietly, with minimal ripple (is electricinema model but with only wall switch to control up/down). Is located in multi-purpose room - and (now) comes down in front of plasma TV - the previous 4:3 bulky CRT screen used to sit off to one side.

Screen Technics is Australian made - but you also pay for it and I doubt you'd get something similar for under $1000 - more like around $2150 (visionone.com.au) with RRP being $2560 (projectorsonline.com.au)

These are without side tensioning as the RRP for that is $4880 - way overpriced.

If you go to http://www.justprojectors.com.au you'll see the pricing for manual side-wind models is fairly close to your target price. The pull-downs are a lot cheaper but I'd prefer side-wind as they would be less prone to abuse. The mainstream electrics are around $2.2K+ depending on what features you are after. You could probably haggle 20% discount from projector/screen retailer (like BigPicture people) if you bought a package deal.

On ebay there are some horribly cheap electric screens for around $200- - whose reliability is questionable so I'd steer well clear of these.

There is also the Elegance range of 16:9 and 2.35:1 motorised screens with side tensioning that some people on here have said good things about. The equivalent Elegance 16:9 100" screen is $1588 - seller projectorpoint on ebay

I have since upgraded to a 2.37:1 majestic evo3d 130" fixed screen (www.ozts.com.au) and have, with much angst, made it rotate to the ceiling around the supports of the existing 16:9 motorised screen (to which I have added an RF Somfy control set) so I can use either depending on the target media. I went for the fixed screen because I wanted a better quality screen material - as most standard motorised screens only have unity gain whereas the evo3d is 1.26. I may eventually upgrade to a 130" 2.37:1 motorised screen as that is far less intrusive to the lounge environment - but the one I want which is dual format 16:9/2.37:1 Stewart Filmscreen is likely to be $10K+ so not a priority. I've also gone for Cinemascope format which needs zooming or an anamorphic lens for the bigger/wider Cinema style picture so that is something to consider for later too if you get interested in that aspect.

In your shoes I'd go for a 100" screen if you can comfortably fit it in the room - you'll have difficulty selling 92" screens as most people are after the larger sizes and if forced to stay within budget go for a LP Morgan side-wind 100" 16:9 their price is $1219- (www.justprojectors.com.au) and if going motorised strongly consider getting the Elegance 100" 16:9 motorised (ebay - projectorpoint). In your depth room you should have little difficulty filling the 100" screen.

If you can install the manual screen then all the Elegance needs extra is a single power point and the rest is remote controlled.

Happy hunting - and let us know how you go please.

Edit: Corrected majestic fixed screen type & supplier. Added Daylight viewing/projector comments.

ADDED BIT

I forgot to mention daylight viewing - it was never a big priority, but you'll pretty much find you'll need blackout curtains/pelmets on all windows - and with daylight savings the number of windows/doors you'll need to have masked will be surprising - the glass panels either side of my entranceway radiated streaks of yellow light onto the screen around sunset - so more curtains to get.

The priority for me initially was 1080i support (the Sony VPLVW10HT was first projector) to see HDTV in 1366x768 ...I used to tune out the fan noise but that was biggest disappointment.

With the upgrade last year to 1080p for Bluray I had difficulty getting my preferred projector Sony VW80 and ended up with a JVC HD750 through the Group Buy before also getting the VW80 directly from Sony retail. Of the two the JVC is probably the brightest - but then I've not been able to watch much due to the major room rearrangements I made (& then unmade) before finalising the screen location and room layout. However, all is now falling into place nicely and I expect to have everything operational again within the next few weeks.

Edited by weff
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Thanks weff - sounds like you have some nice equipment there! Fixed screen rotating to the ceiling is certainly an interesting concept - best of both worlds although I don't think I will get WAF in my case !

Yes probably leaning to a manual pulldown screen at this stage although I don't understand while side chain screens are $1200+ while other pulldowns start from $200 :rolleyes: Can't cost that much more to make !

Would be good to get some feedback from owners of manual pulldown screens on what has worked well (or not so well) and if they had their time again would they do anything different ?

Cheers Yorac. The W6000 gets great reviews & has a great spec list. It is very attractive to have the option of additional brightness should I need it for daytime viewing. I have yet to see the W6000 in action & am having trouble locating retailers in Sydney - their website does not even list retailers. Guess I will have to give BenQ a call & see if I have any luck.

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Guest EZYHD

I've had 4 PJ's (in various homes) and 3 of them being Epson's, last one the TW3000 model, also had 3 motorised screens on a brackets I had that allowed the screen to come down in front of wall mounted TV. Had ripple problems with cheap pull downs but the last one I had a Herma Grandview 92" was a ripper, no ripples, smooth operation and worked very well. Since sold the lot and installed a 65" V10 Panny TV.

PS, Still have the 2 screen wall brackets..

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hey mate ive got a reasonably budget PJ setup in my room and it turned out better than i hoped..

The screen is a motorised 100" 16:9 cheapo off ebay, ended up costing under $100 inc postage brand new.... sure the die hards would pick it to pieces but for what i need its perfect.. rippling is almost non existant apart from one tiny sectino that occasionally makes a tiny bump.. apart from that its fine and i couldnt justify spending 20 times as much as i doubt i would see 20 fold or even 10 fold improvement. The remote is RF and it works flawlessly.. surprisingly given the cost !!

That being said i would probably spend $500 to upgrade to a better screen with less texture as its occasionally visible on extra white bright scenes.

I would defo be looking at an Epson for my next PJ - ALL the ones i have ever viewed have impressed me. Im sure BenQ is the same but ive never viewed any and im just put off Panasonic by all the issues the AE700-ax200 models seem to have had in the past.

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Guest EZYHD
Thanks Foxtail & Nang - great feedback. :)

Foxtail - was your Herma manual/side pulldown or motorised ?

Cheers,

youngstar

Motorised, as smooth as silk.

And purchased via Good Guys think it was about $775 from memory.

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Thanks Foxy. ;)

For guys with manual pulldown screens how do you ensure you get the screen down to the same position everytime ? I know with electric screens you can set the drop-down position but is there a similar adjustment with manual screens ? I am assuming once I have set the zoom on the projector I won't wan't to be messing with it, but if there is no drop down adjustment on a manual pull-down screen how do you ensure it is in the right position & always centred top to bottom ? (or do you just play the movie and then adjust the pull-down so the image looks centred ?)

Cheers,

youngstar

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hey mate ive got a reasonably budget PJ setup in my room and it turned out better than i hoped..

The screen is a motorised 100" 16:9 cheapo off ebay, ended up costing under $100 inc postage brand new.... sure the die hards would pick it to pieces but for what i need its perfect.. rippling is almost non existant apart from one tiny sectino that occasionally makes a tiny bump.. apart from that its fine and i couldnt justify spending 20 times as much as i doubt i would see 20 fold or even 10 fold improvement. The remote is RF and it works flawlessly.. surprisingly given the cost !!

That being said i would probably spend $500 to upgrade to a better screen with less texture as its occasionally visible on extra white bright scenes.

I would defo be looking at an Epson for my next PJ - ALL the ones i have ever viewed have impressed me. Im sure BenQ is the same but ive never viewed any and im just put off Panasonic by all the issues the AE700-ax200 models seem to have had in the past.

Hi, just thinking about getting a 120" motorised screen with remote from a seller on Ebay called "favouritetoysand things", pretty highly rated, in the Sydney area with postage to Melbourne about $30.

Present screen is an old Hanimex Cine screen "quick fix" on a tripod stand to view my new LED projector on.

Beats shining it on the lounge wall if you ignore all the stains and wrinckles from years of abuse and storage.

It's amazing how you come to not notice the screen once you get watching your favourite movie in a large size.

Like the man says, the others may be ten times the price, but I don't expect they'll be ten times better, so if'n it improves my present situation I'll be over the moon.

Ian.

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Hi, just thinking about getting a 120" motorised screen with remote from a seller on Ebay called "favouritetoysand things", pretty highly rated, in the Sydney area with postage to Melbourne about $30.

Present screen is an old Hanimex Cine screen "quick fix" on a tripod stand to view my new LED projector on.

Beats shining it on the lounge wall if you ignore all the stains and wrinckles from years of abuse and storage.

It's amazing how you come to not notice the screen once you get watching your favourite movie in a large size.

Like the man says, the others may be ten times the price, but I don't expect they'll be ten times better, so if'n it improves my present situation I'll be over the moon.

Ian.

Off course being the DIY'er, you could always paint white a 2400 x 1200 mm sheet of MDF for a screen plus a supporting frame for less than a $100 from Bunnings.

I've used a 6mm one for years, with a 40mm curve in it to improve its gain above the typical 0.8 for such screens and with no visible image distortion, it provides a viable alternate to fixed commercial screens costing 5 to 10 times the outlay. Worth a try.

Flat white Laminex would be a better surface to project onto as well as being much more durable with youngsters, but a bit more expensive per sheet.

C.M

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  • 2 weeks later...
Off course being the DIY'er, you could always paint white a 2400 x 1200 mm sheet of MDF for a screen plus a supporting frame for less than a $100 from Bunnings.

I've used a 6mm one for years, with a 40mm curve in it to improve its gain above the typical 0.8 for such screens and with no visible image distortion, it provides a viable alternate to fixed commercial screens costing 5 to 10 times the outlay. Worth a try.

Flat white Laminex would be a better surface to project onto as well as being much more durable with youngsters, but a bit more expensive per sheet.

C.M

Hi CM, a fixed screen is out for me as I've got the standard suburban home with a brick feature wall one end, 5 metre distance, so the motorised screen is very high on the agenda.

My next step will be to wire up the sound system as I've had it sitting in the box for 2 years, and now that the projector is here I can't wait to get it together, just gotta cut a few holes in the ceiling.

I have in mind an idea for ceiling mounting the PJ, which entails making, as in designing from scratch and building from whatever, a pull down trap door so that the PJ when the trap to which it will be attached, is pulled down the trap then becomes the vertical support with an L shaped bracket to take the PJ...... does that make sense!!!!!

What I don't want to see is a PJ permanently sticking down from the ceiling.

The other method is a set of slide rails that pull straight down and have the PJ attached to the back of the ceiling trap, so keeping the PJ in the normal horizontal position as opposed to vertical mounting on a swing down mount as in the previous method.

Either way it's going to be a construction intensive set-up.

I've got about 1-1/2 metres of head space above the ceiling, so going up won't be a problem, just got to get the attachment right.

The PJ would idealy want to come down below the ceiling height about 1/2 metre, and this would reduce the keystone effect a bit.

The trap can be secured during non useage time by a simple catch, in the swing down method, or something more difficult in the pull straight down method, and I favour the swing down type as most practical to make and secure.

The swing down type would be a trap door about 1/2 metre long by about 400 MM wide with an L shaped shelf to take the PJ, and a couple of side struts to prevent movement in use, and I could probably disguise the trap to look like a ceiling vent on my cooling system.

Either way I want to see a flat ceiling when not in use.

I'm fortunate in that the rafters in the ceiling run towards the screen so I've got plenty of space to make the trap long enough.

I'll also have to box in the cavity to keep the dust out as it gets quite dusty in the ceiling space. 3mm MDF board, painted, will do nicely here.

Pity Bunnings didn't do a pull down trap kit just for this purpose, for a 100 bucks I'd buy one, LOL.

Ian.

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Hi CM, a fixed screen is out for me as I've got the standard suburban home with a brick feature wall one end, 5 metre distance, so the motorised screen is very high on the agenda.

My next step will be to wire up the sound system as I've had it sitting in the box for 2 years, and now that the projector is here I can't wait to get it together, just gotta cut a few holes in the ceiling.

I have in mind an idea for ceiling mounting the PJ, which entails making, as in designing from scratch and building from whatever, a pull down trap door so that the PJ when the trap to which it will be attached, is pulled down the trap then becomes the vertical support with an L shaped bracket to take the PJ...... does that make sense!!!!!

What I don't want to see is a PJ permanently sticking down from the ceiling.

The other method is a set of slide rails that pull straight down and have the PJ attached to the back of the ceiling trap, so keeping the PJ in the normal horizontal position as opposed to vertical mounting on a swing down mount as in the previous method.

Either way it's going to be a construction intensive set-up.

I've got about 1-1/2 metres of head space above the ceiling, so going up won't be a problem, just got to get the attachment right.

The PJ would idealy want to come down below the ceiling height about 1/2 metre, and this would reduce the keystone effect a bit.

The trap can be secured during non useage time by a simple catch, in the swing down method, or something more difficult in the pull straight down method, and I favour the swing down type as most practical to make and secure.

The swing down type would be a trap door about 1/2 metre long by about 400 MM wide with an L shaped shelf to take the PJ, and a couple of side struts to prevent movement in use, and I could probably disguise the trap to look like a ceiling vent on my cooling system.

Either way I want to see a flat ceiling when not in use.

I'm fortunate in that the rafters in the ceiling run towards the screen so I've got plenty of space to make the trap long enough.

I'll also have to box in the cavity to keep the dust out as it gets quite dusty in the ceiling space. 3mm MDF board, painted, will do nicely here.

Pity Bunnings didn't do a pull down trap kit just for this purpose, for a 100 bucks I'd buy one, LOL.

Ian.

Sorry Ian, I haven't been keeping up with your endeavours of late ...... distractions else where I'm afraid.

Just one point in regards to your ceiling mount .....is that often projectors have a maximum tilt angle for their safe operation. Restriction of internal air flow due the angle of projector's mounting may cause overheating of internal components even though the projector uses an exhaust fan. Check the user manual for mounting and cooling requirements.

Unless your ceiling mount is absolutely perfect in its operation the projector's optical alignment with the screen will shift over time, optics as you know is very exacting for optimum performance so unless you are a master craftsman with woodwork and mechanisms you might find you'll have unnecessary holes in the ceiling. Best of luck.

C.M

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  • 2 weeks later...
Sorry Ian, I haven't been keeping up with your endeavours of late ...... distractions else where I'm afraid.

Just one point in regards to your ceiling mount .....is that often projectors have a maximum tilt angle for their safe operation. Restriction of internal air flow due the angle of projector's mounting may cause overheating of internal components even though the projector uses an exhaust fan. Check the user manual for mounting and cooling requirements.

Unless your ceiling mount is absolutely perfect in its operation the projector's optical alignment with the screen will shift over time, optics as you know is very exacting for optimum performance so unless you are a master craftsman with woodwork and mechanisms you might find you'll have unnecessary holes in the ceiling. Best of luck.

Hi CM, can't see the "tilt" angle being a problem, the keystone correction allows for a certain amount of tilt angle.

Being an LED model, the only cooling is through what looks like a radiator thingy with a fan out the back, having two U shaped copper pipes through it, I think they call them heat pipes, to draw the heat out from the centre of the LED source.

What I had in mind, and it's only a thought at the moment, was to have the PJ level with the screen centre via a pivoted down trap, so that when "put to bed", the PJ would be up in the ceiling pointing vertical, and when pulled down it would be about at shoulder height but level, no Keystone needed.... big flap, maybe a combination of pull down and swing up to reduce flap length, but it's just a thought at present, at least it would be out of the way during the off periods.

I would probably make the frame out of 30X30 3mm alluminium angle, design not firm yet, and as I'm not a great fan of wood framework, being an engineer by trade, it's metal or nothing.

The PJ weighs about 1-1/2 KG so there's no deadweight swinging like a pendulum to worry about.

The beauty is you can switch off and the fan stops without any need for extended cool down, so putting the show away is a five minute job.

I would like to have fitted it into the wall cavity but the space is too shallow, so the roof space is being explored.

Just as a matter of interest, the design of the PJ is very neat and compact, but like all things there's always a fly in the jam.

I went from AV signal input cables, (red/white audio, and yellow for video) to red green and blue for the video input and seperate red and white to a seperate amp for audio, but when I bought the 15M red/green/blue cable from Ugly Cables in Hallam Vic, (good mob), I noticed that the RCA end plugs had the outer metal tip enclosed inside the plastic plug ends, very neat and compact, but bigger in diameter, but the PJ had the RCA socket tips enclosed in the casing.

This is OK if you have the conventional RCA plugs as they fit into the casing holes and the metal outer cap goes over the socket tip etc etc.......whew.

Short of taking the beautiful but now used cable back I'm going to have to do a bit of surgery to the PJ casing......horrors....to enlarge the holes by some surreptitious filing to allow about 2mm around each plug.

I got over the problem temporary by using a short red/white/yellow AV cable plugged into an adaptor and into the PJ, but I don't want it for a permanent set-up, as it's likely to be up in the loft, and the less connections the better, at least I'm getting there.

The difference the component video cables made to the PQ made it all worth while, ($47 for 15M)even better I think than the S-Video cable.

Ian.

C.M

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  • 2 months later...

On ebay there's a seller of an electric motorised projector vertical drop mounting system that uses a screw jack and cross linked levers to allow direct vertical movement into a roof cavity. Don't know how well their made but the idea is sound enough and one could copy the system if your a DIY bloke. Don't know if anyone here has brought/ tested one?

Good luck

Edited by Agelessgoodguy
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I bought a Dinon Pro motorised screen from graysonline, ive sen the same model on ebay for $500+shipping, i got mine form grays for $170 all up. 108" and comes down in front of the tv, its good because they have a fair bit of black at the top of the screen allowing for it to be ceiling mounted so you can drop it to proper viewing height. I know its a cheapy but makes a world of difference complared to the wall, especially with the black border, didnt realise how important this is to just frame off the picture. The only problem i can see is that the vertical edges curl in a bit but it only effects the black border not the white part of the screen, but other than that is it flat as!

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