Epson Home Cinema 6500UB - Projector Screens
12/7/2008 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB Projector Screen Recommendations
Size matters. The brightness of the Epson in best mode, is the limiting factor in terms of screen size. Based on extensive viewing, on my Firehawk G3, Carada Brilliant White, and Elite HC Gray, I have to put the maximum size of a screen for the Epson - assuming a slightly beyond mid-point zoom setting at about 110 inch diagonal. Due to the physics of lenses, if you mount the projector closer, you get a real increase in lumens. That would allow you to go a size or two larger, if you ceiling mount fairly close to the screen. Keep in mind, my Firehawk is in a room with off white walls. It is my recommendation that you can increase the screen size five to 10 percent if your walls are very dark.
I will report back on that, as my large room finally gets its paint job in two weeks, with the walls going to a very dark rust color. I personally am very curious to see, if, with the dark walls, the Epson looks good filling the full 128" diagonal of my Firehawk G3. In terms of ft-lamberts, the 128" Firehawk would still be too big for TheaterBlack 1 mode.
You could push screen size little more if judging with a brand new lamp, but remember, these projector lamps all dim over time, and you would likely feel a little starved for lumens near the end of the lamp's life (4000 hours in this case). My recommendations provide a little buffer, but not enough to assure full satisfaction at the end of lamp life. Remember, it's subjective to a point!
The Epson has a ton (over 2.5 times the lumens) of extra brightness available in the three bright modes that do not use their "theater" filter: Natural, LivingRoom, and Dynamic, so bright modes with ambient light are not going to be your limiting factor.
I tend to favor HC gray surfaces unless you have a nice, perfect room (dark walls, floor, ceiling). If you have the ideal room, however, definitely consider the slight gain white surfaces, such as the industry standard Stewart Studiotek 130, the Carada Brilliant White surface, etc.
The HC gray surface will keep the blacks "blacker", but then, the Epson is already excellent at this. The bigger benefit of the HC gray surfaces, is rejecting unwanted ambient light, especially from the sides - covered windows and doors, sconces, etc.
For Sports viewing, I was able to even have one of my french door windows partially open when viewing in Dynamic mode, and a open a little, even in LivingRoom mode. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to get away with as much ambient light if my screen was a Studiotek 130 or equivalent, which would have washed out more.
A killer long term solution is a 100 or 106 inch screen with an HC gray surface, 110", though, is definitely doable, even with light walls. With darker walls/ceiling/floor (not necessarily black - say medium brown, you can definitely go up one screen size, say 115 - 118".
If you do want a screen the size of mine (128" diagonal) or larger, you will need to go with a true high-gain screen 1.8 gain or upward, or give up on the "best" modes and use LivingRoom, etc.
So, size aside for the moment; light walls - I favor the HC Gray. If you have dark walls with full lighting control, you can definitely go white surface (1.0 - 1.4 gain).