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Which projector screen?
#277639 11/04/09 08:45 PM
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I'm just starting to convert a bedroom to a small home theater and have just made the decision to switch from a plasma tv to a projector. The projector I'm thinking about is the Panasonic PT-AE4000U that gets talked a lot about here. My room size is 13' wide by 14' deep by 8' high. For an approx 11' from seat to screen, a 92 inch screens seems to be optimal. This projector will display 4:3, 16:9 and 2.35:1 up to 120 inch diag. I plan on doing some soundproofing and blocking out the windows when watching a movie.

What screen should I be looking at for this? There are a lot of options to choose from, and looking at them all is confusing. I've read about them, but now I'm looking for someone else's experience or opinion. I'm sure there are a lot of other people out there with the same question. Pricewise, hopefully not over $1500. The cheaper the better, without losing quality.

Re: Which projector screen?
CatBrat #277642 11/04/09 08:50 PM
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You can use paint, or buy fabric like I did off of ebay and stretch around a frame, much cheaper. Make sure in that smaller room you can achieve the size screen your wanting from the throw distance you plan to put the projector. You don't want the screen to be to big if your real close.

projector central has a calculator that will tell you what size can be achieved from any given throw distance.


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Re: Which projector screen?
SirQuack #277646 11/04/09 08:57 PM
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Primarily my question is what kind of fabric would be best for this projector? Something that would look as good as an LCD TV that is not too bright and not too dim. Also, is there a screen that can adjust between the different aspect ratios, without going overboard on price.

Last edited by CatBrat; 11/04/09 08:58 PM.
Re: Which projector screen?
CatBrat #277658 11/04/09 09:22 PM
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Definately consider Carada, they are probably the most popular fixed screens on the market. I just assembled my own last week (Criterion series 110"), the build quality went far beyond my expectations, and I am a stickler for quality and detail.

There are really not any options for a masking system that I know of that is not very expensive. There are kind of two ways to do it, you can keep constant image width (CIW) which is the way 16:9 TV's work. You use a 1.78 screen, and when you watch a 2.35 movie, you have the black bars top and bottom. Some hardcore theatre guys or people with wide rooms prefer to run constant image height (CIH) which is a 2.35 screen, and then when you are watching 1.78 content like HDTV, you have the bars on the sides. Generally doing CIH you will not have as large a 1.78 image as if you do CIW, so you have to decide. Is sounds as if in your room you would be best off with a CIW setup.

Screen material depends on how much light is in the room, how far back the projector is from the screen, and whether you prefer brightness, or black levels. I would use the projector central calculator to determine what is best for you, or you can ask the guys at Carada to help if you decide to go that way (they are EXTREMELY helpful). I am using their standard white screen, but the high gain one is generally more popular for anyone with ambient light.

Re: Which projector screen?
CatBrat #277659 11/04/09 09:25 PM
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Well, I'm using a screen material from Dazian (they also have an ebay store) that has a gain of 1, my old Sanyo Z2 does not have as good as contrast and brightness of the newer projectors. If you get something with to much gain, you will get hotspotting and it will looked washed out.

You can also get 4 x 8 x 5/16 sheets from Parkland Plastics from places like menards, works great for a screen. Carada makes nice screens as well, but they cost a lot more. Back in the day I used various paint mixtures, one was called Mississippi Mud.

I think Carada offers a self adjusting screen, but you would not need that with the Panny, you just have a 2.35 screen, and the Panny adjusts automatically to the AR.


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Re: Which projector screen?
SirQuack #277672 11/04/09 10:09 PM
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Using the Carada calculator, with a throw distance of 12 ft. using the PT-AE4000U proj., the maximum screen size I can have is 88 inch diag. Carada has this in the exact screen size of 2.35:1. I think I would rather have the wider screen, even though narrower aspect ratios would be a smaller picture. Here's another option, get both size screens, a 2.35:1 and a 1.78:1 and swap between them. (Just a thought).

They have 3 different brightnesses with a gain of 1.4, 1.0 or 0.8. I'm leaning toward the 0.8 for extra contrast, perhaps. The 1600 lumen should compensate for a darker screen.

Last edited by CatBrat; 11/04/09 10:15 PM.
Re: Which projector screen?
CatBrat #277687 11/04/09 10:55 PM
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 Originally Posted By: CatBrat
Using the Carada calculator, with a throw distance of 12 ft. using the PT-AE4000U proj., the maximum screen size I can have is 88 inch diag. Carada has this in the exact screen size of 2.35:1. I think I would rather have the wider screen, even though narrower aspect ratios would be a smaller picture. Here's another option, get both size screens, a 2.35:1 and a 1.78:1 and swap between them. (Just a thought).

They have 3 different brightnesses with a gain of 1.4, 1.0 or 0.8. I'm leaning toward the 0.8 for extra contrast, perhaps. The 1600 lumen should compensate for a darker screen.


The projector central calculator says the AE4000 will be able to handle a 115" diagonal 2.35:1 screen at 12' throw. Now, you don't really want to max out the zoom, so call it 110" max.

This is 101" x 43", which would equal a 88" screen in 1.78 like you say. If you can fit the 101" wide (about 108 - 110" with frame) that would be a viable option for you. If you go into something like a 100" 2.35:1, that would equal a 80" 1.78, which is really getting kind of small.

Some people do get a 2.05 screen to split the difference, but then you will always have bars except on a few movies.

Re: Which projector screen?
Potatohead #277689 11/04/09 11:05 PM
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Hmmm. Using this same calculater, with Panasonic Home, PT-AE4000U, English units, Throw range at 12 ft., Aspect at 2.35, I get 81 x 35, 88 diag.

Re: Which projector screen?
CatBrat #277691 11/04/09 11:09 PM
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 Originally Posted By: CatBrat
Hmmm. Using this same calculater, with Panasonic Home, PT-AE4000U, English units, Throw range at 12 ft., Aspect at 2.35, I get 81 x 35, 88 diag.


Everyone does this when they first start using it, I did it as well.

Don't use the + and - to the right of the slider bars to change the screen size or throw. Use the box in the top left and click on "diagonal range" or "throw range" then you can change them independently.


12' throw, 110" 2.35 and .08 gain is basically bang on perfect. Just make sure the room can go DARK with that gain, otherwise use the 1.0 gain. You want the fl to be in the 13 - 16 range ideally, too high is fine you can just turn the projector down.




Last edited by Potatohead; 11/04/09 11:26 PM.
Re: Which projector screen?
Potatohead #277694 11/04/09 11:39 PM
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I see now. Thanks. I can get a bigger screen. Gloat, gloat.

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