Acer H6500 - Projector Screen Recommendations
6-28-12 - Art Feierman
Acer H6500 Projector Screen Recommendations
Acer H6500 - projector screen - Family room
This Acer H6500 projector will work well in a room with walls that aren't "cave-like" - typically off white or lighter colors - or sometimes neutral brightness, like beige, or medium gray. Ceilings and floors also brighter than in a theater. Even for movie viewing, the reflected light of your image off the screen will bounce around and eventually, a noticeable amount will reflect back onto the screen. Contrast will diminish. And while a projector with better blacks will still have better blacks in this environment, most of that advantage goes away. Thus, a low cost projector like this Acer H6500 can look a lot closer to a projector with excellent blacks in a family room, than it would in a dedicated home theater room.
Depending on how large a screen, and where your ambient light issues are coming from: Back of the room, windows on the side, perhaps an entry into a different room, that will determine the best surface to use. From my experience though, where ambient light is at least a little present, High Contrast gray screens (which reject side ambient to varying degrees) often makes the most sense.
This Acer could easily perform as bright or brighter than the projectors in these room shots below.
Let's take a break and consider the affects of room surfaces, and how that affects your decisions.
First Image below taken using 128" screen, an old (2007) Sony VW60. A projector that we measured at a max of under 700 lumens. This room at that time, was "watch football during the day, everything else, at night only." (My other theater room in that house was far darker.)
The second image - same setup, the old Epson 1080UB - several generation forerunner to the Epson 5010, and twice as bright as the Sony. The 5010 is slightly brighter than the Acer H6500, andis roughly 3 times as bright in Dynamic mode, as the Sony. The sceen used in this room is a Stewart Firehawk G3 screen. The picture from both projectors looked even better straight back, with most of that light leaking in from the doors having less effect.
My presumption is, you care about good movie performance, and having good blacks, since you are considering, or own this projector. Rooms with a fair amount of light are often just fine for almost all HDTV and definitely sports. They won't be significantly impacted by reflected light from the original image.
This image shows the difference after darkening ceiling several shades below the original off-white, and taking the walls to a dark rust color: Even with the door shades partially open, the JVC used in this picture had almost identical brightness as the Sony in the first image. The moral to the story - darker walls can easily offset having fewer lumens.
That's pretty impressive, is it not? with the Medium rust walls, a bit darker ceiling (everyone still thought it was white - as it was the lightest surface in the room), the shades opened a bit, yet thanks to the darker surfaces, the image is far better looking than the first image above.
I loved having that Stewart Firehawk G3 (in the images above) in my last home for handling a light surfaced room. It was 128" diagonal in a room with a cathedral celing. When I started out there, all the walls were off white, as was ceiling, and carpet was gold. Lots of windows, which I covered with pleated shades - but with no channels. The Firehawk allowed me to have a good picture even with a moderate amount of light (can reada newspaper bright)
That HC gray screen rejects most of the side lighting. This allowed me to even have my slide window shades open a few inches on sunny days, and still have a large, great football image. If your ambient is coming from straight back near the projector, like rear windows, the HC gray won't help you.
Ultimately, though, an HC gray is going to be the best choice for most folks with lighter rooms, and especially if the lights are on the sides. Consider the especially the Firehawk G3, and the various Screen Innovations Black Diamond screens (different gains, etc.) which are especially good, but also relatively pricey. Also: Elite's HC Gray, Da-lite's HC-Da-Mat, and so on. Typically we're talking screens with gains of 0.8 to 1.1 gain. The Epson's inherently pretty bright on all but the largest screens, so trading a little brightness for some ambient light rejection is a plus. (Note HC screens are a touch darker in the corners/sides.)
Don't get me wrong, you can go with a standard white surface, but in a light surfaced room, you'll also appreciate the gray surface's ability to lower the overall black levels, in addition to helping "reject" much of the ambient light that isn't coming from where the projector is (straight back).
One alternative to the HC gray, might be a "high power" screen, one with lots of gain - such as 2.0 or higher. Like the HC gray screen there are tradeoffs. I find the roll off from the very high gain screens to be much worse than the less than perfect edge to edge brightness of an HC gray screen. I avoid hi-power screens, but I know some very serious projector owners who swear by them, for the right situation
OK, what about 3D? Not an issue here, since this projector lacks the ability!
Bottom line: The projector has the brightness. Now find the right surface screen to deal with the room. All that brightness gives you a good deal of leeway, or to tackle a room a bit worse than the competition can.
NEXT: Acer H6500 warranty