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Using a Projector for Your Smart Trainer Display

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Using a Projector for Your Smart Trainer Display

Old 11-25-20, 01:13 PM
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PoorInRichfield
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Question Using a Projector for Your Smart Trainer Display

I wish I had never seen this video...


While I have a decent sized TV that I use for Zwift, my brain really loves the idea of using a project to make the indoor riding experience a bit more realistic. I would think that riding Rouvy while using a projector would be the cat's pajamas.

For those of you that have already made this dream a reality, please share your setup! Pics, specs, which projector you're using, etc.

As I research this topic, I'll update this post as I answer questions I have (which will probably be questions you'll have, too.)

Question: Ideally, I'd like a setup where my bike and trainer is relatively close to the screen w/o seeing my own shadow. I'm assuming that would mean mounting the projector over my head and having to use the projectors "keystone" settings to adjust the screen dimensions(?)
Answer: A "short throw projector" allows for mounting the projector relatively close to the wall it's being projected on.



Question: Do you need a dark room to use a projector? Most projector images look "washed-out" to me.
Answer: Several factors affect the projected image: The lumen output of the project and the screen being two major factors. A higher lumen output project will be able to display a better image in a room that has ambient light, like from a window. An ALR (Ambient Light Rejecting) screen can also help reduce glare from ambient light.

Question: Is a projected screen image big enough to make it worth all the cost? Can't I just use an inexpensive TV?
Answer: A non-"smart TV" can be purchased for a really low price in relatively large sizes, but no where near as large as a projector can project. For example, a 100" diagonal projection size is quite common. Take a tape-measure and see how big 100" is... it's really big!

Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 11-25-20 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 11-25-20, 02:11 PM
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i don't like the look of a projector, at least the ones i have seen. unless in a dark room they never really look good because the image is projected and not back lit.
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Old 11-25-20, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
i don't like the look of a projector, at least the ones i have seen. unless in a dark room they never really look good because the image is projected and not back lit.
Yeah, you're right about that. W/o a proper setup, a projected image doesn't look so hot. However, I don't know of any other way to get a huge display w/o spending a bazillion dollars on a wall-sized LED TV.

In looking at projectors, they're typically listed with their lumen output. I'm assuming that low-end projectors with low lumen output will only look remotely decent in a nearly dark room. In addition, I just learned about "short throw" projectors. The further the projector is from the wall it's projecting on, the more likely ambient light will interfere with the projected image... I would think.

My "pain cave" is in my basement which I typically don't have brightly lit and there aren't any big windows so I think I could make a projector work.
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Old 11-25-20, 04:05 PM
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i ride in teh garage. i bought a 42 or 40-something inch screen and stuck it in a closet. i rode about 6-7 feet away and it was fine. i recently moved things around and now it is about 3-4 feet from my eyes. much better. the screen was about $150.
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Old 11-25-20, 06:08 PM
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It would be best to use a short throw projector.
https://www.vava.com/products/4k-ult...er-projector-1
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Old 11-25-20, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Wiser View Post
It would be best to use a short throw projector.
https://www.vava.com/products/4k-ult...er-projector-1
That would be dreamy to be able to project a 150" image from a projector that is only 7.2" away from the wall!?!?!? That particular project is a tad out of my price range, but that's crazy-cool!
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Old 11-26-20, 09:29 AM
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They are the brightest modes on the market.
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Old 11-26-20, 11:17 AM
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I have NO personal experience with this, but a friend of mine just bought an Oculus 2 and absolutely loves it. She said there's a program for riding a bike through Google Street View (but she isn't a biker--she's been walking with friends all over the world through their neighborhoods). On the down side, she said the resolution isn't great, just adequate. It sounds like an interesting idea, though.
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Old 11-26-20, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
I have NO personal experience with this, but a friend of mine just bought an Oculus 2 and absolutely loves it.
I have definitely thought about this, but wonder if it'd work well with intense exercise... i.e., fogging-up and getting sweaty. I don't have any experience with VR headsets... can one run any app on them?
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Old 11-27-20, 09:12 AM
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Projectors wash out easily especially on pastels or low saturation colors, also, they are extremely sensitive to being in the exact same place so you want them semi-permanently mounted. Why? Every time that projector moves a millimeter, the keystoning and shifts needs done all over again.

For the cost of a projector that does both keystones, lens shift, etc, that is bright enough to not suck; with a short-throw lens barrel....you can just buy a TV. Particularly right now on Black Friday. The TVs these days will invariably be 'smart' so you can wirelessly shoot the Rouvy or Zwift video feed direct to the TV from your phone or laptop etc...as opposed to the projector where you need to mount it to your ceiling, and run power and video to it and ugly up your room doing it...I suppose if you're in an unfinished basement it matters less, ofc.
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Old 11-27-20, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
For the cost of a projector that does both keystones, lens shift, etc, that is bright enough to not suck; with a short-throw lens barrel....you can just buy a TV.
I probably should've prefixed my original post to state that I'm looking for the immersive experience of having a gigantic display. I agree that for most, a simple TV is the best option and is what I'm currently doing.

However, I can't buy a 100 to 150" TV for an immersive experience... or at least not affordably so. I guess my original post is more about "extreme pain caves" vs "practical pain caves"
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Old 11-27-20, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
I probably should've prefixed my original post to state that I'm looking for the immersive experience of having a gigantic display. I agree that for most, a simple TV is the best option and is what I'm currently doing.

However, I can't buy a 100 to 150" TV for an immersive experience... or at least not affordably so. I guess my original post is more about "extreme pain caves" vs "practical pain caves"
What is 'affordable'?

For something that diagonal in short throw, short view distance...anything not 4K+ will look really bad.....and 4K projectors are 4-figures minimum.

You also either need an immaculate and flat wall painted a very even white...or a projector screen.
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