My Grandview motorized tab-tensioned experience - AVS Forum
Screens > My Grandview motorized tab-tensioned experience
Nillaz's Avatar Nillaz 01:10 PM 02-26-2008
I don't usually post here at AVS, however I've been a member for some time and visit the forums daily for research info and reviews on products. I've been looking for a new (and relatively inexpensive) screen to replace my Panoview GWII as it has developed severe waves after just a few months of use....go figure.

I decided to go with a Grandview 92" motorized tab tensioned screen. I've looked at Focupix and some of the other manufacturers out there but none of them was exactly what I was looking for. I can't go any larger than 92" due to room restrictions, I wanted a white screen as opposed to high contrast gray, angular reflective since my Optoma HD70 is ceiling mounted, and an IR remote that I could program into my Harmony. Oh, and the drop had to be adjustable since my Optoma has a fixed throw and I hate keystoning. I was hesitant to order the new screen because I knew very little about Grandview and exhaustive research turned up very little info. I thought I'd post my experience here for anyone else looking for a tab tensioned screen.

But first....full disclosure: I work for a Stewart and Vutec dealer and have experience with various screens from both manufacturers....mainly Firehawks and Silverstars. Why didn't I get the Firehawk? Because even on my discount the Grandview was far cheaper so I thought I'd give it a shot!

I called the number on their US website and spoke to Tony. I needed to know if the screen had a standard electrical plug or if it needed to be hardwired. I also wanted to know a little about the remote. He knew the answers to my questions off the top of his head which was fairly encouraging. I hung up with him and ordered the screen through the grandviewscreenusa website. Within an hour I had a shipping confirmation and tracking info from FedEx. It was coming from Michigan to my door in Reading PA in 4 days....not bad considering that they have free shipping!

The screen arrived from FedEx on time. The packaging was decent...not a wooden crate like you would receive from some of the higher-end dealers but still I can't complain.

So now the moment of truth.....I bring it into the basement and rip everything open like a kid on Christmas. Everything was securely packaged in the box with padding. I hung the screen and turned it on.....the screen came down quickly and quietly with no fuss....and every 8 inches or so there is a line going across the screen. All the way across. At first I thought it was some kind of dirt, but turns out it was an imprint of the motorized roller on the vinyl where the screen was resting during shipment due to gravity. I'm sure the cold weather didn't help. With the projector on in a light controlled environment the imprint disappears and the picture looks good.

I inspected the rest of the screen carefully. The black drop at the top had a scratch in the surface from the tension lines....very minor and no big deal and not visible from any reasonable distance. I've seen the same on several Stewart tab tensioned screens in the past. Looking in the bottom left corner was the real issue.

There was a bulge in the surface that was causing a nasty wave on a tab tensioned screen! I bought a tt screen precisely so I wouldn't have these issues! Not good.....

I called Tony back to tell him that this isn't going to work. He apologized profusely, and I forwarded him some pictures to give to the manufacturer to see what they thought. About an hour later I received an email from Tony saying that the imprints running across the screen would go away on their own, and that if I didn't see a significant inprovement in 24 hours to contact him.

There was not much improvement in that timeframe. I sent Tony another email saying as much. He immediately sent out another screen to me. He didn't even demand that I send him the original screen back first...I could be Joe Blow anyone suckering his company for another screen but he took me at my word and bent over backwards to make sure that I was taken care of promptly, politely, and satisfactorily. To me that is some of the best customer service you could possibly ask for!

The new screen arrived an hour ago. It is up and installed. There is no bulge in the bottom corner and it is flat as a piece of glass. The imprint is once again there...but I have to be honest....over the period of a couple days they did start to flatten out on the original screen and I have every confidence that given a little more time they would have gone away completely. Plus, they weren't interfering with the picture quality anyway.

How is the picture quality? Wonderful! No more sparkles, the image is bright and colors pop even with the lamp using eco settings. Blacks are not quite as black as I am used to coming from a gray screen but they are still very good, and the trade off is that I no longer have 'dirty' whites. I am more than satisfied.

Is the thing a Stewart? Nope. But it is still a very nice motorized tab tensioned screen, especially for the money. The motor is very fast and fairly quiet. It has an insane amount of drop and is extremely easy to adjust. It doesn't need to be hardwired for power but you have to do a little bit of work to hook up the remote control...nothing crazy but it's not plug and play. Plus, the level of customer service and the speed at which they took care of me was absolutely outstanding. I would not hesitate to buy another screen from them, and as a matter of fact when I move into a new house later this year I will probably be calling Tony to order myself another one for a second room.

I do read through the forums daily, so if anyone has any questions feel free to post here or send me a PM. I'll try to answer as best as I can. In the meantime, good luck to everyone currently searching for a new screen!

~Nillaz

Algologist's Avatar Algologist 07:26 PM 02-27-2008
Nillaz, thanks for your observations. I am struggling with the screen issue as a newbie to HT. I have a HT room that is not light controlled and I would prefer to be able to sit at the bar or play pool in one half if possible. The Silver Star you mentioned seems to be the brightest gain screen I have found. What about kids? How fragile is a fixed Silver Star vs a roll up ?

What are your thoughts about a fixed Silver Star vs electric vs anything else?My current picture on the wall is good, better than my 1993 TV.

Panny 2000, econ mode, 15 feet
Desire a 120" horizontal screen, 16:9
18' x 30' mixed use Gameroom, could be light controlled but what about sports? No direct light on the screen possible.

First row seats at 14 feet.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Algologist
Nillaz's Avatar Nillaz 09:11 AM 02-28-2008
Personally I love the SilverStar, but most of the time I hesitate to recommend it for home theatre. That's not to say it won't/can't work, but there are some obstacles that make it less than ideal in some cases.

Yes, the SS is crazy bright and appears even more so if you're doing a direct A/B comp with just about any other screen I've encountered. There's a penalty you pay for that brightness though since nothing is ever free, and you'll notice it the first time you're shooting pool and moving around the table. The SS has a narrow viewing area and you'll notice as you move around the room that the picture does not remain uniformly bright. I haven't measured it, but I would venture to say you have leeway of way less than 30 degrees off center axis viewing before it becomes noticeable.

Also the SS isn't ridiculously fragile, but I would be wary of having a stray billiard ball jump the table and hitting the surface. I've never seen anything like that happen (yet), but I can't imagine the results of such an impact would be good. Same thing with it getting accidentally poked with a cue. Best case scenario your beautiful screen is going to have a chalk smear, worst case you'll indent the screen or god forbid put a hole in it. Sounds crazy but I've seen chalk marks in too many weird places in billiard halls over the years! You mentioned kids so I'm sure you know that what can happen probably will, and at the worst possible moment to boot

Considering these things I'd probably go with a roll up. Motorized or not is a matter of personal choice. I'm lazy and a gadget geek so I would get motorized but you'll pay a premium for it. I'd also probably look for a screen with a gain of around 1.5 - 2....a lower gain would be tough to work with at 120" with your projector without boosting the light output, and personally I'd go with a high contrast gray since your room isn't light controlled. However that last is highly debatable because your Panny is know for having good contrast and black levels to begin with and you say it already looks pretty good on just a white wall.

These are just off the cuff considerations without me doing any serious research so don't take this as gospel. Have you considered doing a DIY on your wall? It's a cheap way to get a great image, so if it gets damaged you can just repair and repaint, no muss and relatively little fuss. Also, since you're new to HT you may not know that most reputable screen dealers are more than happy to send you some fabric samples for comparison purposes. In your shoes I certainly wouldn't pull the trigger on any screen without getting at least a few samples so you can make your own comparisons.

Hope this helps, or at least gives you some direction for your search. So far it sounds like you have a pretty good thing going on in your gameroom!
beveridge-2sw's Avatar beveridge-2sw 05:17 PM 03-02-2008
Nillaz, do they have bigger screens then 120 i am looking for 133 or even 154" etc..


thank you for the review..




Lawrence
Nillaz's Avatar Nillaz 06:33 AM 03-03-2008
Sorry Lawrence I have no idea. If I had to take a guess I would have said that they don't do custom sizes and they don't have sizes that large or larger available on the website. However, I just looked on the website and it does say custom sizes are available but you have to call for pricing. I couldn't even begin to tell you what that all entails or how much it costs. Some vendors do custom sizes and just charge you for the next largest 'standard' screen size.
beveridge-2sw's Avatar beveridge-2sw 02:45 PM 03-03-2008
Hello again i looked at there non us site and it says that they have 150" 16:9 that is the size that will fit correctly anyways could you please be so kind and give me his website and or phone number that you bought your screen from..



thanks


Lawrence
Nillaz's Avatar Nillaz 08:35 AM 03-04-2008
I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post contact info on here so you have a PM

Update to my original post: Last night when I got home from work I inspected my screen before I started playing some video games and sure enough the lines on the screen are almost nonexistent at this point. Life is good.....
docprego's Avatar docprego 07:28 AM 03-05-2008
Hi,

Thanks for your excellent review and documenting your experience. To me the service you received is a very important part of the overall screen selection process.

I am in the market for a new screen and contemplating electric so that I can use it with my PJ that has power vertical lens shift to mask different aspect ratios. Considering your experience I would like to know your opinion on this idea?

Also what is the purpose of a tab tensioned screen? If I had to guess I would say it is to avoid any waves in the screen, essentially to keep it flat. If I am correct, is this screen succesful at this? My greatest fear with ordering one of the less expensive electrics like a Focupix is waviness or bowing.

Thanks for your insight.
Nillaz's Avatar Nillaz 10:03 AM 03-05-2008
Hey Doc,

If I understand correctly you want to raise the screen a bit when watching say 2.35 or 2.4:1 and basically use the casing of the screen as your top mask? I guess you could do this but to me it seems like an awful lot of messing around every time you want to change aspect ratios. Considering the effort you would go through for this I don't know if the Grandview tt screen is for you. In my mind as I envision this it just doesn't seem optimal.

What I would do in your shoes is a 2.35:1 screen and use side masking for 16:9. Much simpler to implement, however it will incur some additional cost. How much additional cost depends on your level of ingenuity should you DIY it. If you can do a fixed frame maybe you should look at one of the Focupix 2.35:1 screens? They cost a third of the Grandview tt screen, and you could use the rest of the $$$ to invest in a masking system that's easy to work with and you'll be satisfied with.

And yes you're absolutely right about tab tensioning for waves. Most if not all drop down screens without tensioners will develop waves/curl at the edges of the screen. It's simply a matter of time and/or level of severity. My previous screen developed waves and slight edge curl in a matter of a couple months. Tensioners on the sides keep the screen nice and flat. People have come up with all kinds of novel ways to try to get around this but I have yet to see one that truly works, or at least truly works well.

- Nillaz
docprego's Avatar docprego 06:13 PM 03-05-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nillaz View Post

Hey Doc,

If I understand correctly you want to raise the screen a bit when watching say 2.35 or 2.4:1 and basically use the casing of the screen as your top mask? I guess you could do this but to me it seems like an awful lot of messing around every time you want to change aspect ratios. Considering the effort you would go through for this I don't know if the Grandview tt screen is for you. In my mind as I envision this it just doesn't seem optimal.

What I would do in your shoes is a 2.35:1 screen and use side masking for 16:9. Much simpler to implement, however it will incur some additional cost. How much additional cost depends on your level of ingenuity should you DIY it. If you can do a fixed frame maybe you should look at one of the Focupix 2.35:1 screens? They cost a third of the Grandview tt screen, and you could use the rest of the $$$ to invest in a masking system that's easy to work with and you'll be satisfied with.

And yes you're absolutely right about tab tensioning for waves. Most if not all drop down screens without tensioners will develop waves/curl at the edges of the screen. It's simply a matter of time and/or level of severity. My previous screen developed waves and slight edge curl in a matter of a couple months. Tensioners on the sides keep the screen nice and flat. People have come up with all kinds of novel ways to try to get around this but I have yet to see one that truly works, or at least truly works well.

- Nillaz

Thanks for the response. So your suggestion is to buy a 2.35:1 screen and then mask the image when displaying 16:9 on the left and right. Couple of questions about this:

1-How would I go about calculating the size of the 2.35:1 screen to purchase, all of the projection calculators give diagonal dimensions for a 16:9 screen.

2-I am quite frankly a bit confused on how this would work. Could you try to make it a bit more understandable?

Thanks very much,
Mike
Nillaz's Avatar Nillaz 09:12 PM 03-05-2008
Ok for the first part if you want to pm me your email address I have a nifty excel program that will give you exact dimensions for all kinds of aspect ratios, plus a whole lot more info based on throw distances, lumen outputs, etc. You probably won't use most of the fields in the chart, but you never know when something like that could come in handy.

As for the second part....let me see if I can explain this without resorting to really bad photochop diagrams Let's say for example that you have a movie formatted in 2.35:1 and a 2.35:1 screen. By using the zoom feature on your projector you can have this image fill the screen perfectly (caveat: there is a 'better' way to do this using an anamorphic lense but it's a little more complicated and beyond the scope of this post). Now let's imagine that you took that movie out and put in a film formatted in 16:9, also known as 1.78:1. Once again this can fit the top and bottom of your screen exactly, except now you have pillar bars on the sides of the image since it is not as wide of an image format. In this case what a masking system does is essentially drop 2 pieces of black cloth, 1 on either side of the screen to cover over these pillar bars and make the image fit the screen exactly. Alternatively 2 pieces of cloth that come in from the sides will achieve the same thing (with more flexibility for varying aspect ratios). This is known as a constant height setup and is exactly the way a commercial movie theater deals with varying aspect ratios. You can purchase these masking systems or you can build one yourself. I'm sure if you do a search here on the forums tons of people have done it themselves, some more elaborate than others.

Now just for grins lets say that you do indeed go with a 16:9 screen. 16:9 images obviously fit the screen exactly. 2:35:1 images now fit the width of the screen and you have letterboxing on the top and bottom. The masking system in this situation is the exact opposite of the above. Instead of masking the sides you now have black cloth that comes down from the top and up from the bottom to cover the blank areas. This is definitely doable and I have seen it done with great results but my opinion is that this is exponentially more complicated.

Well that was certainly more than I intended to write up about this but hopefully you can now envision it a little better!
avtechdude's Avatar avtechdude 04:21 PM 04-11-2011
I was in the market to buy a tab tension screen but didn't really want to fork over all that money for one. I went to eBay to search for some tab tension screens and ran across some Grandview Tab Tension Screen at a bargain basement price. There were a few tab tension screens there, but these stood out. Did my research on Google as usual and came across this site. Base on what I read here about this model of tab tension from Grandview, I quickly bought the 120" Tab Tension from eBay at a ridiculous price!

I just got it and man does it look well made. This thing is a beauty and I can't be happier. Thanks for sharing guys. I just wanted to let you know that your post made a difference even after 3 years later!
Nillaz's Avatar Nillaz 06:55 AM 04-13-2011
Wow I'm glad after all this time my review was still able to help someone out.

In the 3 year since I originally wrote this every single item in my home theater has been changed/upgraded....except for my screen. It still works as well as the day I received it and has produced a good image paired with my Optoma, a Sanyo, and currently an Epson. There have been many things I have regretted purchasing over the years, but my Grandview is certainly not one of them.
sveltosss's Avatar sveltosss 02:44 AM 04-17-2011
Hi.

I know this is a rather old post, but I recently got a grandview tab tensioned screen (106') and I would like to ask you guys if you can view the screen's texture at light color movie scenes (like a sky or a white background). It is like there are light vertical stripes on the screen. The screen looks absolutely ok from a close distance (and so does the movie) but when you sit at viewing distance you can notice thoses vertical textures at some scenes. I don't know how else I can describe it. It is not easy for me as English is not my first Language and I cannot take a picture either as it dissapears when you take a picture!

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
dryasanne's Avatar dryasanne 04:00 AM 12-27-2013
Just want to say hello -- do you still own this Grandview and if so --- still that satisfied, how does it look today after "all these years"?
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