Front projection or not?

Based on "recommended" screen to distance calculation of 2x, sitting 120 inches (10 feet..) from the screen gives me a max screen size of 60 inches.
I was toying with the idea of a front projector, but what would be the advantage of that over a plasma, LCD or rear projection (newer tech) tv?
Budget around 3k.
Hi Homer;I believe toooo big is just right.---In your case I'd say screen size around the 80's.First of all, most all projectors aren't for daytime viewing. Any light washes out the pic. to some degree.I actually have a great projector Sim2--300xtra--96'screen, and a great stand-alone hdtv JVC hdila.61 The jvc can be watched with little effect from light. (I sit 11.6 away.) With the screen cost factored in there are some decent projectors that will come to just about the cost of the JVC. The jvc is just more versatile. While 61 is pretty large the 96 movie screen makes the 61 look small,after a movie or 2.
I don't think you can get a front projector, 60" plasma or LCD flat planel TV for $3K. So the only choice will be a RPTV.
1. Your recomended seating distance is based on width, not diagonal. 60" wide is 69" diagonal.

2. It's also very conservative and not even close enough to visually resolve 1080 line HD. In the absence of projection artifacts, once they adjust to a theatrical scale most people find the best trade off between immersion and noticing DVD flaws is about 1.5 widths on a 16:9 screen. This matches the subtended field of vision you get in the farthest seat from the screen in a good THX certified commercial theater. That's 80" wide or 92" diagonal. They don't sell one piece consumer televisions that big.

If you want to sit farther from the screen than you do in a small living room you need two-piece projection. If you want that to work with ambient light you need a matching rear projection screen, mirrors, space to put those in, etc.

I sit 11' from an 87x49 (100" diagonal) screen. It's a bit small for good scope transfers where 9' is a better seating distance and about right for everything else.
Drew, George,

I understand that you're saying that I can go 80" (92" diag) or more without watching a movie like a tennis game?
You would be suprised at what you can get for $3000.00
Check out Videogon. You can get a great front projector for less than $3000.00
My Sony VPL VW10HT will throw a 100 diagonal image at 10 feet 4 inches. I hung a new Stewart Screen today and had to look up the throw distance chart in the sony manual.

100 Diag is a huge diff over 60...

I've had this projector for 3-4 years. It's well below 3k used now. Killer HDTV and DVD picture.
Front projection (even with moderate amounts or less) is FAR superiour format and VERY reasonable, my old projector was a very basic Toshiba MT7U and had a fantastic picture.
I now use a lower light output CRT but i have a dark room for it, you can still see it very well with the lights on.

Most people complain about "washed out" colors in moderate light, but,, think about this,, how many times have you seen televisions with HUGE reflections on them from a window or other light source? you get none of this with a projector.
Worst case is you try it and dont like it, if you buy wisely you can just resell it.
Hope this helps.
I will never buy a Typical television. RPTV or anything that is self contained. I will always stick with a projector. First off, it uses no real estate in your room. Nothing worse than walking into someones house and having this huge box taking up all of this floor space.
I personaly won't even have a TV in my living room. I don't think that it is the place for a TV. That is why I built a dedicated Theater room. I can control the lighting at any time of the day.
For $3000.00 you could buy one hell of a used front projector and a screen ( minimum of 96" ). Even have enough left over for a dish.
Most people just don't get it though. They don't understand how easy this is to put it all together and make it work.
They end up going to Best Buy or something like that and usually don't get what they paid for. And to make matters wors. Most people don't even know what a good picture really looks like. I can't tell you how many homes I have walked into, and the first thing I want to do is grab the remote and start calibrating their TV for them. And then they try to show off the free DVD player they got when the bought this piece of junk.
I would go for a minimum of a 96" screen. You don't have to use the whole screen if it is too much for you. As your eyes adjust to this new size, you could gradually increase you picture size.
Just some thoughts.
Depends if you use it everyday or for special events. Infocus X1 DLP projector, Da Lite 100" diagonal tripod, excellent picture. $1,500 total new. I have the projector 14' away, however. Great for sports and movies. It has max 800x600 resolution, however, so you may want to go up the food chain for true HDTV. Having said that, for everyday watching, I would either go for DLP or LCD RPTV within your budget. I have a friend with the 50" Panasonic LCD RPTV and it is spectacular with HDTV programming. Good luck and enjoy.
Just because you *can* control the light, doesn't mean you will always *want* to. My wife would never consign herself to always watching casual TV in a darkened room, and I wouldn't either. Yes, with the brighter digital projectors, you can have a fair amount of ambient light in the room, but you give up a lot of contrast - I cannot really enjoy it. YMMV

For reference as to where I'm coming from, I have a really good FP CRT, budget FP DLP, and older RP(CRT)TV. The first is head-and-shoulders better in a dark room, the latter in a bright room, and the DLP a compromise.

Again ... my $.02, YMMV
I've been mulling over the same question, and come to the conclusion that an ideal solution is certainly not in the $3K range: A flat panel display for regular TV viewing with a screen that can be lowed in front of that display for front projection of HDTV and DVD movie viewing.

I've also been concerned about achieving good depth imaging for stereo music. A large image lets you sit far enough from speakers located several feet in front of a wall uncluttered by TV or equipment cabinets.

Well Doc, you are right. That is what I did. I built a dedicated room with my old trusty Sony 46" built into the front wall. Then I pull down the screen for DVD's
If you watch lots of TV, get a plasma

If you watch lots of movies, get a projector
You could sit 10' from an 8' wide screen without having to turn your head.

Most scope transfers are new movies or restored epics and would look great at that width.

You'd want to run a 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen (IOW, 96 x 41") to keep DBS satellite a watchable size and for 1.85:1 movies to be a reasonable size (76 x 41").

The constant height setup would be easy to mask with curtains.

Ideally you'd use a 9" CRT projector or 16x9 digital with an anamorphic lens to get there (the later may have visible projection artifacts that push you back farther).
As far as stereo imaging, getting box out from between my speakers (4' from the front wall, 7' between a line drawn through the tweeters and the listener) did wonders for it.

The sound stage on movie tracks also comes close to matching the screen (87" wide screen, 96" between tweeters).
I was leaning more towards a 4:3 native aspect ratio, I notice now that there are some projectors out on the market with dual nativity.
There are a couple of problems with 4:3 screens.

1. Source quality

Most 4:3 sources (DBS satellite, bad cable, VHS tapes) are extremely low quality. Most widescreen sources (DVD, HD) are high quality.

If you use a 4:3 screen small enough to keep the bad 4:3 sources watchable the good wide screen sources are too small. If you select the screen for the better wide screen sources the soft picture and compression artifacts from bad 4:3 sources become objectionable.

A wider screen is smaller for your bad 4:3 sources, and bigger for high quality wide screen - the best of both worlds. And the 4:3 image is still a lot bigger than an RPTV on "modest" front projection setups (81" diagonal on an 87x49" 100" diagonal 16:9 screen).

2. Space limits from the room and speaker placement

Disregarding the above if you wanted an 8' wide screen for good scope movie performance a 4:3 screen would be 6' high versus 40" for a 2.35:1 screen. You'd have a hard time getting a good center channel placement on the 4:3 screen without going to a perforated setup.
Wouldn't the projected 2.35:1, 1.78:1 etc image occupy the same amount of space whether it's on a 16:9 or 4:3 screen? However, a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen occupies only the middle.

The only use for this projector setup is to watch movies; DVD mainly but also the occasional VHS (older stuff). Very very rarely cable (I have no satellite), that's done on the living room tv set.
Wider movies (mostly 2.35 and 1.85) use the same ammount of space on lower apsect screens (16:9 or 4:3) the same width as a wider screen. Narrower ones only occupt the middle. This is a feature.

You don't want to watch 4:3 VHS tapes and wide screen DVDs at the same width.
front projection all the way. once you have it you won't let it go. next time you're looking at tv's ask them why they never show hockey on their display models.
My old and trusty Sanyo LCD projector finaly died. I went over to VideoGon and picked up a Vidikron Crystal 1 LCD for $499.
It has Component , S-video and Composit.
This thing has a great picture for $499
I use it for normal TV viewing so I don't have to fire up the Theater system just to watch TV.
When I started doing this a couple of years ago, I knocked about $150 a month off of my electric bill.
I use 3 seperate stereo amps for my HT. You start adding everything up and between the electric bill and heating the basement. It seemd a little much.
(apologize if this is repetitive; I didn't take time to read all the responses. I'm hoping my thoughts are original to the discussion)

I have a phenomenal screen in my HT called the DIY 100. That's the horribly clever name I gave to my self-made 100" screen. Took the directions off the internet. Cost was right at $100 and NO ONE who's visited has the slightest clue it's homemade. In fact, one friend of mine paid good bucks for a prefab Stewart screen and the screen isn't perfectly tensioned. Doing it yourself, you can make sure it's right.

60" seems to be about the breaking point for tv vs. projection in terms of size. If finances are a critical issue, you can get more bang for your buck in projection by making your own screen.

I did the 100" setup along with a Panasonic PT-L300U (watch out, I found out too late it's not compatible with DVI encryption) for $1300. So, with projector, mount, cables, and screen, cost was at $2,000. Super economical.

If one of your highest prioreties is low cost, this is a great way to go.
Just curious, where on the net did you get the info to build your screen?
hey. i'm about to purchase a stewart 82" and would like trying to build myself one. where did you get the info?
Fellas....Douglas_schroeder above.. sent me his instuctions for his DIY screen, scroll down a couple of lines....and there it is. Thank you Doug.

You can find instructions on Home theater websites, such as Home Theater
Forum. I would definitely not utilize a plastic material as they show on
that website.

What I did:

Cut STRAIGHT lumber (1x3" or 1x4") with mitered cut. like making a big
picture frame.
Spray paint wood flat black, and cover with flexible fuzzy black cloth.
Adhere cloth to wood using double sided carpet tape. You'll have to work
hard to get it stretched tight and without puckering.
Lay another layer of carpet tape ontop of the seams.
Screw together the four pieces of frame using flat right angle brackets.

For the screen, use 54" wide "blackout material" (used in drapes to prohibit
light penetrating through fabric). It has a smooth side; use that smooth
side for screen.

Use "rail and spline", the same as for making screen windows in doors, as
your system of attatching the screen.
Get the plastic "rail" and cut to length. Affix them to back of screen frame
using screws. Lay out the screen fabric (being careful to have smooth side
toward viewing side) and use the "spline" (looks like flexible miniature
plastic piping) to lock in the fabric into the rail. (go to Home Depot for
rail/spline; they'll know exactly what you mean in the millwork department.
Make sure the rail is set back enough from the inner edge of frame, so that
when attatched, the screen fabric is about 1/2" past inner edge! Makes it
easier to hide uneven stretching at corners.

When it's stretched properly, the screen turns out flawless, without a
wrinkle! Mine was so tight, that the wood frame started to twist! So, when I
hung it, I drove two drywall screws into the bottom of the frame to keep it
straight/flush with the wall.

It's really not hard to to. It took me two nights, working fairly slowly at

Have a blessed Thanksgiving,