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Epson Home Cinema 710HD - Projector Screen Recommendations

Posted on June 25, 2012 by Art Feierman

This page on Projector Screens for the Epson projector is essentially the same as used in reviews of projectors with similar characteristics.  Only a few paragraphs have been modified to best describe the right screens for the Epson Home Cinema 710 projector.

Epson Home Cinema 710HD Projector Screen Recommendations

Epson Home Cinema 710HD - projector screen - Family room

This Epson Home Cinema 710HD 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 Epson Home Cinema 710HD 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 Epson is far, far brighter than any of the projectors in the images below.  Even the brightest of the three projectors used in the old images below, is only about 2/3 as bright as the 710HD.  The Sony and JVC at brightest, aren't even quite 1/3 as bright.could easily perform as bright or brighter than the projectors in these room shots below.   Of course I've got some decent window coverings in that old family room of mine. 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 Epson Home Cinema 710HD, 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 a bright (and affordable) projector for a less than ideal room.  Rooms with a fair, but not large amount of light should be just fine for almost all HDTV and definitely sports. This image (remember it's a full 128" diagonal 16:9 image - really large), 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 affordable HC gray screens from folks like Elite - HC Gray, Da-Lite -HC-Da-Mat , Draper's equivalent, and other less well known brands.  The screen in the picturs above is a Stewart Firehawk G3, which would be a great choice, except that it is several times the price of the projector.   You don't need one of those for this calibre of projector.  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.)  Another alternative are "high power" screens with gains of 2.0 or higher - over doubling the brightness of the image, but with a narrow area for best viewing.  Those high power screens also deal fairly effectively with side ambient light. 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, something this Epson can really use.  That of course in addition to helping "reject" much of the ambient light that isn't coming from where the projector is (straight back). I personally avoid hi-power screens, but I know some very serious projector owners who swear by them, for the right situation. OK, what about 3D brightness?  Gotcha! Not an issue here, since this projector lacks the ability!

Bottom line

The projector has the brightness, the horsepower.  There really isn't anything designed for home entertainment or home theater that is noticeably brighter..  Just 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 more challenging than any of thecompetition can handle.

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