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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: W Simsbury, CT, USA
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I couldn't find any hits on a search on this subject, so I figured I'd create a new thread. I'm definitely leaning heavily towards going with a 2.35:1 screen (probably 120-130"). I'll probably be pairing this with an Epson 8350 (I just got one that I'm testing out, but have also considered a Panasonic AR100U for some added brightness). In looking into 2.35:1 fixed frame screens I see that they're quite expensive. Over the last 10 years, I've been happily using my Panasonic PT-AE700U (720p) projector paired with a Da-Lite Model B 92" 16:9 screen w/High Power material.
I emailed Jamestown about their screens to see if they could do a 2.35:1 (they can), and that would probably set me back about $400, including shipping for 120-130". But I also chatted online with Da-Lite and confirmed that you can special order a Model C with a 2.35:1 (or any format you desire) screen. Basically, the cheapest way to do it is to start with a stock 16:9 screen size width and then have them cut the height to get you to the screen ratio you want. As I understand it, they charge you for that stock 16:9 screen, and you get the customization "for free."
2.35:1 pull-down screens seem impossible to find online, and I wonder if there may be folks here who would be interested in this option but just assumed it wasn't available. FWIW, the High Power material is heavier than most, and I believe I read in the past that it was less prone to wrinkling. I can tell you that my 92" 16:9 High Power is pretty flat and wrinkle free (there's a very slight wrinkle/curl in one bottom corner, but it's pretty minimal and not noticeable at all when watching a movie.
At one point I was considering going with a gray screen, especially if I ended up sticking with the Epson 3010 I was trying out, or if I decided to go with the Panasonic AR100U, but right now I'm strongly considering sticking with the Epson 8350 and I've found that with my 92" High Power, it doesn't seem too bright at night (in Cinema Eco mode), so I'm even contemplating sticking with the High Power material since I'd be moving up significantly in screen size (80" width now to over 110" width with the new screen). Their High Contrast Matte White material intrigues me, too.
On that note, I think that one of the appealing things about going with this Da-Lite pull-down approach, is that it allows you to pick from a variety of screen fabrics, and while Jamestown seems to offer a great product for the money (from what I've read), I do worry if the screen material they (and Monoprice and other low-cost options) are using rates up there with what Da-Lite offers. Da-Lite's been doing this for a while and it seems like they have more of an in-house R&D operation going designing new types of screen materials with various pros/cons, depending on your needs.
'Tis a shame, though, that I can get my pick of several screen materials from Da-Lite, pair it with a Model C pull-down, and keep it affordable, while their cheapest fixed-frame options are considerably more expensive. Doesn't make sense to me, other than that they (and everyone else) realize that the people who want to buy fixed frame screens have traditionally been people looking to use them in dedicated home theaters, and so they probably reason that those people have a lot more disposable income. That may have been true several years ago, but I suspect that there are a lot more people nowadays who are buying these ever-increasingly more affordable projectors and would like a dedicated large screen, but the screen producers aren't keeping pace with how these projectors have decreased significantly in price, so we're stuck with fixed frame screens still typically costing over $1000. Crazy.
I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.