Manual, Electric, & Fixed Screen Comparison for Novices - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-28-2009, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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The following comparison of the major types of commercial front projection screens is intended to help novices decide which type of screen to buy. The ratings are the opinion of the author, based on direct and indirect experience. Of course, not everyone will agree with these ratings. More importantly, the desirable characteristics listed here are all worthy of some thought before making a new screen purchase. I have probably left out something that someone thinks should be added to the list. If so, please let me know so that I can consider adding it.


COMPARISON OF FRONT PROJECTION SCREENS

MPD = Manual Pull Down
NTE = Non-Tensioned Electric
TE = Tensioned Electric
FF = Fixed Frame

Rating from 1 to 10. Worst = 1; Best = 10. Note that, because I am comparing these screen types with one another, there will be at least one rating of 1 and at least one rating of 10 for each characteristic.

DESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS MPD NTE TE FF
Affordability* 10 5 1 4
Ability to disappear when not in use 6 10 10 1
Attractiveness when in use 1 5 6 10
"Coolness" 1 9 10 5
Freedom from waves & wrinkles 1 3 7 10
Immunity to damage from children 5 10 10 1
Access to items behind screen 9 10 10 1
Reliability/longevity 1 4 7 10
Variety of screen material* 1 4 8 10
Availability of movable masking 1 1 5 10
Ease of everyday use 1 6 6 10
Ease of installation 10 4 4 1
Freedom from movement by air currents 1 1 5 10


*These two items are based on published data from Da-Lite Screen Company.
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-28-2009, 06:09 PM
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I haven't had any problems with Da-lite tensioned electric screens in over 10 years of use, so I'd give Da-lite and Stewart at least a 7 or 8 on the Reliability/longevity.

Quote:


Attractiveness when in use

- most people I know think electric screens are cooler looking coming out of the ceiling than a fixed screen would be, so that is a bit subjective.

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post #3 of 8 Old 08-28-2009, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Craig. Thanks for the response. I may tweak some of my ratings based on your and others' suggestions after a few more responses, as I could use some help on electric screens.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-29-2009, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLBoy View Post

Hey Craig. Thanks for the response. I may tweak some of my ratings based on your and others' suggestions after a few more responses, as I could use some help on electric screens.

I found my new tensioned electric to be much more resistant to air flow disturbances than either my prior non-tension electric or my original manual pulldown. If the pulldown is a 1, I'd put the tensioned electric at least a 5. They certainly aren't equal. This may be a result of how much heavier the lower bar is, the added weight of the tensioned material or some combination.

This chart is a great idea.
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-29-2009, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnewmanpac View Post

I found my new tensioned electric to be much more resistant to air flow disturbances than either my prior non-tension electric or my original manual pulldown. If the pulldown is a 1, I'd put the tensioned electric at least a 5. They certainly aren't equal. This may be a result of how much heavier the lower bar is, the added weight of the tensioned material or some combination.

This chart is a great idea.

That's funny that this was mentioned. I have on my to do list to figure out why my screen/projector vibrates when low bass tones hit really hard. At first I thought it might have been the screen or projector vibrating but after more thought my two 12" subs are directly under the screen and one of the 6" ports is firing about 8" away from the wall and I thought the airflow coming out might be doing this. After this post I'm thinking there's a good chance that is what is happening.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-30-2009, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnewmanpac View Post

I found my new tensioned electric to be much more resistant to air flow disturbances than either my prior non-tension electric or my original manual pulldown. If the pulldown is a 1, I'd put the tensioned electric at least a 5. They certainly aren't equal. This may be a result of how much heavier the lower bar is, the added weight of the tensioned material or some combination.

This chart is a great idea.

Thanks for the input, cd. What you say makes sense. Per your suggestion, I've changed the tensioned electric rating to 5 on resistance to air flow.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-14-2010, 12:11 PM
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Any Idea how the Da-Lite HP electric performs Vs a tensioned screen. From what I am reading the HP is so heavy that it does not require tensioning therefor e the screen cost less when compared to a tensioned screen.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-14-2010, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hickory View Post

Any Idea how the Da-Lite HP electric performs Vs a tensioned screen. From what I am reading the HP is so heavy that it does not require tensioning therefor e the screen cost less when compared to a tensioned screen.

The HP works well without tensioning for two reasons. One is its thickness (at least for the old 2.8 material). The other is because a retroreflective screen, such as the HP, always reflects the most light back towards the source. This is true whether or not the screen has waves. Thus the HP, even when wavy, does not show brightness variation across the waves. The opposite is true for angular reflective screens, which do show brightness variation across waves.
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