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Contemplating Motorized Screen in front of Mantle - Where/How Center Channel?

My new place has a really cozy living room which is long and narrow. There is an obvious spot for a TV above the fireplace between the two windows, however I would like the technology in the room to be a little more invisible, favoring a drop down screen and a projector at the rear of the room.

Before I commit, I am trying to figure out all the logistics. I can sneak R and L into/onto the walls, or put in a narrow enough screen that I could hide them on the mantle or in with the books. The center placement eludes me as I really don't want to mount it above in front of the drop down screen. It can't go below as there is a fireplace. I did some research on acoustically transparent screens and that is a thing, but it sounds like you give up quite a bit and quite a bit of money.

Any suggestions? Is a virtual center viable?

I am not looking for audiophile quality. Maybe atmos in the future, but not required.

Sorry for the mess, in the middle of unpacking all the tech gear and organizing it.

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I'm not sure how consumer screens work, but generally the ideal location for the centre speaker is behind the screen.  Below is a compromise for when you have a TV.

 

Omitting one entirely does work fine as I did it for years, but you will get much clearer speech if you have one.  I eventually relented when I upgraded to better speakers and it made a huge difference.

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1 minute ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

I'm not sure how consumer screens work, but generally the ideal location for the centre speaker is behind the screen.  Below is a compromise for when you have a TV.

From what I have been reading, you need to get a woven or perforated screen to get decent audio through it. You still lose some, plus due to the texture, you can pick up a moire effect. Screens start going from hundreds to low to mid thousands of USD making me wonder. Am I just doing this wrong?

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if you want center behind the screen. it needs to be acoustically transparent. eg has holes all over the screen like in a cinema.

the only other location is underneath the screen on a stand or table etc.

 

is there any other wall or room in the entire house you can place the screen and speakers?

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2.1  will work if you can live without a center entirely.  Narrow screen doesn't make a whole lot of sense, as the value in an <80" screen vs. a conventional flat-panel TV just is not there.  And that barely looks like room for a 55" between the windows--but even a 75" up there would probably be better than a projector.

 

Acoustically transparent screens do work, but they are pricey.  Worse, motorized screens tend to be sup-optimal for viewing, as they are usually not tensioned well enough to avoid rippling or blowing in ambient wind (eg. ceiling fan on).

 

I'm not trying to dissuade you from the idea.  Just some things to be mindful of as you proceed.  That room clearly wasn't designed/remodeled with large-format displays in mind. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

How hot does the brick above the fireplace get? I'd even consider coring out some of the brick and recessing the Centre-channel speaker in there.

 

I agree with others saying that a projector screen would not be much worth it in such a small space, and you'd likely get a lot more visual quality out of a 55+ 4K HDR TV (OLED if you want the best quality, but MicroLED + Quantum Dot is a damn good alternative).

 

Frankly I'd just bite the bullet, put a nice TV above the fireplace, and mount the centre-channel speaker above or below the TV. Just get a nice looking speaker with an aesthetically pleasing grill on it.

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