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projector: Epson 8350, use in eco mode
throw: 15 feet
desired diagonal image size: 80-84 inches, 16:9

Living room with white walls and ceiling, no light control. We watch mostly at night, but like to have some low ambient room lighting. We watch DVDs and Netflix streaming. Some sports. With an ambient house, living room, kids (we're tired), etc. we are are pretty forgiving on a less than 100% optimized image, but would like to improve on our previous setup.

In our previous setup (same projector, same viewing styles but with 11ft throw, 76" diag), I built and painted a fixed (on hardboard) gray screen as was recommended to me because of ambient light setup, short throw, and brightness of 8350. While it was usually fine for our needs, I found that the blacks were almost too black -- lost contrast and detail. I played with the projector settings but was never able to get well balanced blacks and whites. As we watch at night in eco mode and with the longer throw distance (15 ft vs 11 ft) I'm not sure if gray is still the way to go.

This time around we need to ceiling mount a manual pulldown screen, and as such need a drop of 12-14" from screen casing to top of projected image. I'm not clear if this added drop distance is a screen feature that only certain manual screens offer, or if it is a custom option that we can specify with most screens.

Screen needs to have a white casing/housing.

Budget is around $500.

Thanks in advance for any guidance on specific screens.
 
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