The Schworak Site | Log In | Up One Level

Home Theater System

108" screen, ceiling mount projector, 5.1 sound... IT IS AWESOME!

For well over a year I had a really nice 65" rear projection TV. When we moved into our new home, the TV just stuck out into the room too much and it was the focus of attention.

I really loved the big picture, but I didn't like how it seemed to consume the room and visitors always focused their attention on it rather than the rest of the house, the fire place or just the conversation. So I decided to sell the TV to my son at a very cut rate price. To replace it I bought a 28" wide screen and a lovely cabinet to put it in.

I didn't take a picture of me next to the old TV, but so you could get an idea of scale, I took a picture in the store next to a 52" TV. I am sure you can get a good idea of the size difference in the two TVs.


As you can imagine, going from the big TV down to the small TV was hard to deal with. But after a couple weeks we got use to watching TV on it. But for movies, there was just something missing...

This is a 106" ceiling mount projection screen. It has a nice projector to go with it. Movies were never this nice even on the 64" screen! The image quality is great. You can see from this next image that even during the day (with the drapes closed) the picture is bright and clear. It gets even better in the evening when the sun starts to go down.

The cost of the screen and projector was just a little higher than the 64" rear projection TV I had before. What would have killed me was the cost of labor if I had to have someone do the install. I have enough skill to safely wire the electrical components into the ceiling properly. An electrition would have charged a bundle to do this same work and could have easily taken a full 8 hours to do the work. It took me almost 16 hours because I don't do this alot so I took my time and was extra careful. The end result was a very clean looking install. Here are some pictures.

It is really what you don't see that makes the install so tough. I had to run over 80' of electrical wire, 50' of video signal wire and about 20' of low voltage trigger wire. The trigger wire connects from the projector to the screen to cause the screen to come down when the projector is turned on. There are also two switches, one is a manual over ride so the screen can be brought down even when the projector is off. The other is to turn the projector completely off. The remote only puts projectors to sleep but there is still power to them. The wall switch turns the projector completely off. It wakes up when power is turned on.

The wiring for this configuration wasn't something that was provided by the manufacturer. They gave instructions for wiring either the wall switch or the trigger to the screen. I had to figure out how to get both to work together. It really wasn't very hard, but it required a little thought to make sure it was done properly. Below you will find various links relating to the equipment that I purchased.

Diagrams Suppliers
  • MWave - Where I get my replacement VLT-HC900LPlamps
  • Bottom Line Telecommunications- I purchased the HD4000U projector and PROJ-UCM ceiling mount from this web site. I was treated very well. I will buy from them again!
  • Kelly's Home Center- I puchased the Draper Targa screen and VIC12 trigger controller here. The price was only a little higher than getting it online and they are local to my area. This makes any return and warantee issues easier to deal with if they come up.
  • PC Cables- The video cable came from This is the only place that I will ever buy audio, video or computer related cables. The service is awesome and the prices are unbeatable! Ever see the price on a 6' monster video cable? I got 50' of commercial quality component video cable for under $50.00!!!
  • The Home Depot - These guys had all of the electrical wire, cover plated, junction boxes and other electrical parts that I needed. They also had the hardware (screws and such) that I needed to safely and secuely mount the projector and screen to the ceiling. Just my luck, nothing hit a stud so I had to build supports between the rafters.

We love having movie nights at our house now! It is a really great experience. The big screen has that true movie theatre feel. Combined with the suround sound system I already had installed, it is a complete package. And the really nice thing is pausing the movie to get snacks or run to the restroom. They just don't do that at the theatre for some reason.

Selecting A Projector

I had planned on writing a long blerb on why I chose the equipment. But it got rather dry and it really comes down to this... Determine your needs, then find the equipment that works best for you.

Here are just a couple comments on the subject of selecting a projector. I would say that if you can fully control the light in your room (if you can get it night time dark) then get something with 1000 luma to 1500 luma. It will save you money and work grat. If you live in the real world and light is a problem, go with something at least 2000 luma but no higher than 3000 luma. Any brighter and the image washes out. Make sure the contrast is at least as high as your brightness. ie: 2000 luma should have 1:2000 contrast. LCD is great for presentations but you need DLP if you want to watch movies and get a good picture. The rest is really up to you. If you can get the chance to actually SEE the projector in action, turn the lights up and find the failure point. They all work great in the dark and sales people only want you to see them in the dark.

About the HD4000U projector

I spent a great deal of time looking over the specifications of many projectors before deciding on the Mitsubishi HD4000U.

For the price, it is by far the best true wide screen projector for home theatres.

I have seen many projectors in action up close. This unit competes with projectors costing almost twice the price. The fact that it is a true wide screen is a real plus because everything we watch is in wide screen 16:9 or cinima scope 2.55:1 size. All projectors that I know of will handle wide screen images but they do it using a standard 4:3 chip and the black bands you see on a standard TV are still there or the image is digitally resized. A true widescreen projector makes better use of the display chip.

Key Features For Me
  • WXGA wide screen display (native)
  • Bright image so we can watch during the day
  • Great contrast control
  • Screen trigger output (controls the screen)
  • Ceiling mountable (most are, but a few are not)
  • Price to Quality ratio
  • Computer controllable (serial port input)

This all adds up to one very nice unit. I am even happier now after using the projector for a while than I was the first few days of having it. There aren't many purchases that I say that about.

About the Draper Targa screen

Screens were a little harder to figure out because there really are no good specifications. I went with the Draper Targa.

Key Features For Me
  • Power! The screen goes up/down by itself. I don't have to pull it down manually.
  • Size 106" diagnally, the largest I could get to fit in my room.
  • Wide screen format to fit the wide screen projector
  • High contrast finish. You can get the Targa with various finishes and I chose the high contrast. After talking to people including a tech at Mitsubishi, this was recommended as the most important screen feature for getting a quality image.

The clincher for me was being able to actually see the screen in action with a couple different projectors. It would be nice if I could have done that in one place, but I had to drive all over the place and the Targa kept coming up as one of the available options. It always seemed to look better than the others no matter what projector was being used.


Add A Comment
August 2018 and everything is working great. Same receiver and projector. Gone through a couple bulbs but it all works wonderfully.
Here it is, April 2013 and the system is still in use. Well, the projector died last year and I have an Epson 8350 now. Huge but works great. And just today the receiver went out so I am searching for a good 5.1 receiver. The screen is in mint condition still. Hey, stuff wares out when you actually use it.
<< Goldwing on the drag strip    |    Tumble Lake Oregon >>
All content on this site is copyright ©2004-2024 and is not to be reproduced without prior permission.