Blackhawk rear projection screen questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-03-2002, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Is the Blackhawk rear projection screen available yet? According to a post by Don Stewart, the Blackhawk was supposed to be available in Spring 2001. I've done some searching on the web and on these forums. Some posts on this forum seem to indicate that the Blackhawk is out now, but I wasn't sure. I have a link (http://www.stewartfilm.com/engineeri...blackHawk.html) on the Stewart site that says that the Blackhawk is "coming soon".

How much does the Blackhawk cost? I know that it's expensive. I have never seen anyone mention the price though. Lots of times, new stuff will drop significantly in price as time goes by. Is the Blackhawk the same in this regard? Can we expect significant price drops if we wait awhile? Or is the inherent cost in producing Blackhawk so much that we shouldn't expect much lower prices in the future?

Does anyone know where I could see pictures of Blackhawk? I would really like to see what it looks like. Should the Blackhawk have problems with digital projection. Some people caution against using digital projection with fresnel screens due to the possibility of artifacts. Would the Blackhawk have problems with digital projection, or are the light pipes small enough that the Blackhawk is essentially like a pure diffusion screen?
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-03-2002, 07:14 PM
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wr202,

I don't know about availability on the Blackhawk (not too many people here have a rear-projection setup), but you can usually see them at various shows. I saw one at Infocomm and Cedia, I imagine they will also have one at CES.

Cost-wise, you would have to call Stewart, but the price of a Microwave screen of the same size would get you into the right neighbourhood. (i.e. pretty expensive)

When I saw it, it looked pretty damn good, very dark under show lights and I believe that it has excellent light efficiency. I've never seen it with a CRT, only with digital projectors, I didn't notice any artifacts stemming from interactions between the screen and the screen door. The Infocomm screen did have some problems with the fresnel which was more visible in the centre than it should have been and the Cedia screen did not have a fresnel, I assume that they have worked out these issues. The light pipes are small enough that you can't see them with the naked eye unless you have your face pressed up against the screen.

You might have problems with fresnels and digital projectors if you have a very coarse fresnel pitch on a smaller screen, however the Stewart fresnels can get very fine and this should not be a problem (at least not one that I noticed). However, with a fresnel/lenticular screen you will almost always get some moire along the horizontal axis as the two interact.

Regards,

Kam Fung
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-04-2002, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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KFung,

I'm very happy to hear from someone who's seen the Blackhawk, especially since you've seen it twice! Thank you!

In my original post, I was confusing lenticular with fresnel. I read one article in which they referred to both layers as lenticular layers. I read another article at the Da-Lite site that was talking about artifacts caused by the lenticular layer, but when I read it before I was thinking they were talking about the fresnel layer. So I guess the fresnel layer is not generally going to cause artifact problems.

That's good news that the Blackhawk looked good with a digital projector! I was hoping to find someone who had seen it with a digital projector because I would think if there were problems with artifacts, they would come out when using digital projection.

I know that the motivation for Blackhawk was professional use in high ambient light, which makes me wonder if it could really be expected to give great picture quality for a home theater setup. The half gain viewing angle is only 50 degrees, and while that's a good viewing angle for a rear screen, especially considering the high gain, those specifications don't really compete with front projection screens. Actually, I guess I don't really understand viewing angle specifications, because the viewing angle of the Blackhawk is listed as 180 degrees. It seems like most of the Stewart screens, both front and rear projection, have viewing angles 160 degrees or higher, even though sometimes the half gain is mentioned in the specifications, and it's usually a lot lower.

Da-Lite seems to really like rear projection. Their argument is that, even if the lights are out in a room with dark surfaces, front projection is going to look a little washed out from light reflecting directly from one part of the screen to another, and from the light reflecting from the screen to the viewers and back to the screen again.

So how do you think the Blackhawk compares to a good front projection setup? Assuming optimal lighting conditions, would you say that the Blackhawk had better or worse picture quality than front projection? Assuming screen cost and space for rear projection without mirrors was not a problem, but you were watching everything in a completely dark room anyway, would you want the Blackhawk? If I determined that even rear projection with something as expensive as the Blackhawk didn't beat front projection, that would pretty much kill my interest in rear projection, and I would just commit to doing front projection.
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