The Art of Home Theater Projectors

December Projectors Update – and Projector Reviews new Home

Greetings all,

OK, I haven’t been writing much.  Today is the 27th day Projector Reviews Inc., myself, Lori, etc. are now living in our new home.

That also means it’s 28 days since we moved out of the last house, with all my gear packed up, and my two viewing rooms there, abandoned.

I’m back in business!  Soon to be better than ever!  Here’s the scoop on the two new rooms:

Gone is the 128″ Stewart Firehawk G3.  You won’t be hearing, in new reviews, how well projectors did on that particular screen.

New is the new house – better set up for reviewing.  It’s not finished yet, but for the last 10 days it has been functional, and improving daily, in capabilities.

First though the latest going on, in terms of reviews.

The LG CF3D projector review has just been published.  I still have to do the screens page, and calibration.   There won’t be a competitors page, because this is the only 3D projector reviewed anywhere near the price.  I’ll try to have the other two pages up, in the next 48.

I’m waiting for more home theater projectors.  Mike’s Samsung – LED light source business projector just posted.  And Tony’s posting a review of the interactive InFocus IN3916, but those probably aren’t of much interest to most of you.   But I’m sitting here, ready to start a home theater review and have nothing new in house.  That’s absolutely mazing for this time of year. Waiting patiently for the 4 new JVCs, the two new Sonys, the Epson R series, and so on.

To keep busy, I’m working on all those new category pages on the site, like 3D projectors, lcd projectors, digital projectors, pico projectors…  One of the web guys wrote most of the content on those pages, and I’m finding many things I think need changing (and correcting) or expanding upon.

If any of you should notice some “frontier gibberish” on those category pages, feel free to comment back to this particular blog.  I hope to have all of them re-written by early next week, but we shall see.   I’ve got a one day conference in LA on TV “3.0″, and a Christie demo of projectors in concert, staging type environments. Then off to Las Vegas, for some work and play – I likely try to hook up with Evan, over at PC (he lives in Vegas) for lunch, and to catch up, and bitch about the industry.

I’m also still plugging away at the pretty much now infamous and still missing 3D report.  I’ve published the LG CF3D review, and am working on writing up the Lightspeed 3D system, and several related pages about 3D.   I have to also write up the 3D sections for 3 other single chip 3D ready DLP projectors that Mike reviewed just covering them as standard 2D projectors.

In other words, plenty to do here, but I really want to play with some all new home theater projectors, which hasn’t happened yet this fall.  Most of those just mentioned – are sporting new “engines.”

I will of course, report as soon as I know that an interesting projector is inbound.  I hope one will surface in the next few days, so I can start on it next week.

I’ll take some photos of the rooms in a few days when they are clean enough (boxes everywhere), but downstairs I’ve got a testing room:

It’s about 16×11 (was a nice sized bedroom) with a side room off of it. The side room is a work area – all cheap shelving (but should be great for my junk).  It is about 4.5×8 feet.   The testing room has dark carpet (blue with some color, but dark – by any measure).

The ceiling is black.

Two opposite walls are medium blue-gray.  One wall is very dark blue, and one is a medium dark, redish brown.   On that brown wall, I can place two 3 foot wide white, or black panels.  If you are wondering why, I’m going to try to emulate different “family room” environments with different lighting.  By having different wall colors I’ll be able to quickly discern some of the light rejection abilities of screens… I’m still sorting it out, but I figure it will be useful.  There are four recessed lights – all on the same circuit.  They will be divided into four circuits each dimmable.

On the dark blue wall (between the medium blue gray walls), will go two screen setups.  The primary will again, be a Carada Brilliant White, but this time, a 2.35:1 inside their Masquerade CIH masking system.  That Carada is a 110″ diagonal, 2.35:1, 1.4 gain, white surfaced projector screen.

The room as shown in this link, is sporting my old Carada Brilliant White 106″ that was in my previous testing room.  Basically I’m simply going to a 2.35:1, using the same Brilliant White surface, with a masking system.

The other two screens will most likely be a Screen Innovations Black Diamond .8 gain screen, and probably a Firehawk G3 (or SST).  The Black Diamond would do double duty as a 3D screen, and as a sample “dark” gray screen. I haven’t actually ordered either but should have things in the works soon.

One of these two screens (both will be motorized) will be in front (above) the Carada, and the other on the blue-gray wall, that has a large window (with big wooden shutters).

With three active screens, and several other fixed wall screens stacked up, I’ll be able to try a lot of things.

I’ve got to get some real work done soon, so let me skip to the theater room, upstairs.

This is easy it is basically a room added over the two car garage!  8 foot ceilings, and about 20×23 feet (once we removed the closet).  Nice sized.  So far, just a  fixed 100″ Elite HC gray screen, balanced on a box, and a smaller 82″ Da-Lite 3D screen is leaning against a wall near by, if needed.  Looks like this so far!    Here’s standing up by the right speaker with the photo showing the back of the theater

I’m just finalizing the screen for this room.  It’s a 130″ diagonal, 2.40:1 screen.  It’s going to give me a slightly larger image for movie viewing (about 7″ more width than my old Firehawk, but a smaller image by about 14″ less vertically, when viewing 16:9.  (Dropping to a 100″ diagonal 16:9.)  For me, that’s almost tiny.

But, what type of screen – get on with it, you say!  OK.

It’s two screens.  Stewart recently announced their Daily Dual (yep, that is the name of it).  And it’s perfect for my needs.  It consists of a fixed wall screen (which will be their 3D surface), and a frame housing a motorized Studiotek 130, will be right there.  Hit the button, and the Studiotek 130 lowers, and snuggles up close to the 3D screen.

I’ll probably end up all stressed out at having a 130″ 3D screen, or, rather, trying to fill it with bright enough 3D content.

Ahh, the ceiling is the same black as downstairs, and the walls are very, very dark blue.  This room has the same carpet as the testing room.   From my back row, it’s just over 22 feet to the screen.

The sound will be great too.  More on that, later.  - adios! for now-art

News And Comments

  • Billy

    Art,

    Have you tried getting some of the updated entry level $1k 1080p projectors like the BenQ W1000+ or the Vivitek 1081? Though there doesn’t seem to be much info on the Vivitek, it’s likely very similar to the new BenQ just like last year’s models were very similar. Both are supposedly out, however, nobody has yet to say they’ve seen the Vivitek. There’s also some other new Vivitek’s, InFocus’ and ViewSonic’s out too.

    Billy

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      It should be coming this week (BenQ W1000+)
      I hope, I’ll post when they confirm shipment. -art

  • PatB

    Congratulations on your new home. I’m very happy to hear that you are prospering.

    Now a suggestion.

    You became famous by publishing screen shots but you have always had to include caveats about the limits of photography. Also you would over expose some images to make them appear on the web more like what you see in the room. That was always a problem because your readers never knew much of what they saw was adjustment and how much was the projector itself.

    I think its time to invest in the best camera equipment available. You now have the means to establish truly reference level screen shots with a good camera mounted permanently in your test room. If you can actually show, brightness, black level, and sharpness differences no one will ever buy another projector without reading your site reviews. People trust your words but they trust their eyes more.

    My guess is that all of the big manufacturers already have such a set up. I’m reasonably certain that the Director of Engineering at Mitsubishi can order up a set of comparative screen shots for any of his models versus shots from comparable Panasonic or Epson models.

    Pat

  • peter c

    Hi,Art

    That’s going to be one serious HT set up!!!
    Going by the JVC website ,best performance for 3D is 90″ (16:9)THX pass.So the Sterwart 3d should be great with the high gain.cheers

  • Julian Scott

    I’m liking the colours in your room Art. Mine room is painted almost exactly the same but with the wall on which the screen is placed being in black. I suspect that the other walls are are slightly darker shade but still with that blue tint. Isn’t that white seating going to kill your ANSI contrast though? LOL!

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hi Julian,

      The off white couch is an old one, I’m going to try to talk some home theater seating companies out of free seating for the room, in exchange for me mentioning them, etc.. We shall see. More to do, be patient. Must fix the lighting, and also the four windows with shutters, will have the shuttters painted a dark silver gray. If I replace the couch, then just about everything will be dark. I may have to rent a new family though, my wife, in particular is fair skinned – which will make her the brightest object in the room for killing contrast… -art

  • http://None David Messinger

    Congradulations! I’m a nobody from Cheyenne WY, but have been reading your reviews for a long time. I have had my theater set up for about 3 years now, with a Mitsubishi 720P and did the Goo System Digital Grey 106″ Screen. My family has really enjoyed it. I wish that I could upgrade to a 1080p, but will have to keep waiting with four girls. But any who, keep up the good reviews and I thought I would just let you know that I’m happy for you and your job that you have. Enjoy the new place and keep up the good work. Thanks, Dave

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Dave, thanks back at ya. Much appreciated. Cheyenne, hey! A friend of mine just moved back from central Wyoming. Said he just couldn’t handle the 9 month winters, 4 week spring and fall, and 4 week summers…

      Actually back in the “youth” I spent a fair amount of time in your fine state. I did a lot of camping, particularly in the Tetons, and also in Shoshani, and some in eastern Wyoming (Tensleep? – I think that’s in Wyoming, and not western S. Dakota?) Once upon a time, I saw the most amazing meteor shower in Tensleep – about 10,000 feet above sea level if I remember, not a 60 watt light bulb within 30 miles, and one of the best August meteor showers in the 2nd half of the 20th cen. (BTW, that was August, and at 4am, I do seem to recall the temp was something like 18 degrees (ok it was 10,000 feet up). -art

      Nice place, but you guys should heat it! -art

  • digitalboy

    Nice rooms you’ve’got there,
    Why don’t you buy the black diamond 2 1.4
    instead of the older 0.8 gain diamond art?

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Thought about it, but, I suspect the .8 may be better at passive 3D.

      That said, not everyone needs a bright projector – so I need a nice serious “gray” in my “library”.

      The other reason, perhaps makes more sense. I’ve been using a Firehawk G3 (and Firehawk before that), for so long that most commentary written to date, in terms of home projectors, refers to the Firehawks. Since the theater will get a studiotek 130 and a 3D screen, I will likely ask Stewart for another Firehawk G3, or perhaps a Firehawk SST, for the testing room as well (in addition to the carada, and the Screen Innovations.

      But, I just learned I have to wait for the SI. apparently it’s going to be next quarter for the motorized version, and that’s what I need, since it will come down in front of the Carada fixed… -art

  • Darryl Lowe

    Hey Art

    Any word from Panasonic on a new projector to replace the 4000, or at least when they might make an announcement? If there is something in the works, could it be a 3D capable projector maybe?

    rgds
    Darryl

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Darryl,

      I spoke with Panasonic a few weeks ago. I thought I had covered in a blog, but the short version is this:

      1. Panasonic has at least one new home theater projector in the works
      2. I could not get them to confirm whether it will be ready in time to show at CES (we can only hope).
      3. I haven’t a clue, what’s inside the box… But do remember, they use Epson panels. Who knows, there could be more than one, there might even be an “R” series type projector, but I’m 100% speculating at this time.

      That’s the best I can tell ya, right now! -art