Grey vs. White: Best projection screen for Optoma HD33/Benq W1100? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 2 Old 09-28-2011, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings good folk of AVSForum! Long time reader, first time poster here .

I'm sure you've had this question asked a thousand times over, but such is the way of things in a world where expert knowledge is required to make a sound decision (pardon the pun). Here goes:

I'm in the process of upgrading from my 46" Samsung A866 to a projector-based solution. The thing is, I don't know wether to buy a grey or a white projection screen. I'm aware that the primary property of a grey screen is increased black levels at the cost of whites, and vice versa for a white screen. As I understand it, one also has to take into consideration ambient lighting, the color of the walls as well as a myriad of other very confusing factors. This is as far as my A/V knowledge will get me.

Which will give me the best overall picture, grey or white screen?

Basic information
Primary use: HD video and HD gaming, about 80/20 %
Projector(s): Optoma HD33 or Benq W1100Screen(s): Grandview Cyber 92" Grey (Gain: 0.8) or Grandview Cyber 92" White (Gain: 1.0)
Viewing angle: Narrow (or up to 30 degrees when the room is crowded on occasion)
Viewing distance: 3 meters

The Room (3,6 x 4,2 meters = 15 m2)
Lighting: There are two medium-sized windows on the wall perpendicular to the projection screen, but these have blinds which block out roughly 80 % of the sunlight. Also I live in Norway, so most of the year is pretty dark anyway. The lighting can be dimmed with high precision. Overall, I expect there to be some ambient light during the summer, and none during winter.

Paint: EVERYTHING is bloody white, and the subwoofers (2x Dali Ikon MK2) are high gloss white. It's a rented apartment, so painting anything black is not an option . Even the window sills are white. Floor is birch though.

Closing comments
The Benq is fairly high brightness, and the Optoma isn't too shabby either in this department. The 3D will reduce the light reaching the eyes though, not sure if this is a problem or not. So, what say you AVS-ites, grey or white?
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post #2 of 2 Old 09-28-2011, 12:18 PM
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Gray is the short answer or more European grey. Welcome to posting on the forum!

Your assumption that gray will improve blacks at the cost of white is not exactly correct. What you are looking for is preserving contrast with all the white surfaces in the room and outside light coming in. What you need to go along with a gray screen assuming the gray is designed to attenuate some of the projector light along with the ambient light is ample lumens. You also need a screen that along with being gray also has a high component of angular gain. The gain helps in two ways first being it sends more of the projected light back to the viewer and less to the walls and ceiling to be redirected back to the screen. Secondly that type of gain will take light coming from the side and skip it off the screen and into the wall across from the windows.

There has been much written on here about how our eyes perceive contrast and that perception is where we form in the brain what is white or black. More onscreen light, a image that contains dark and bright areas and a bright projector will cause your eyes iris to close and the perception of black will be greater. You should consider what type of material you will be viewing and at what outside ambient light levels. Sports may look very good in your room and a night dark movie image will be awful.

Without at least some photos of your room to go by its very hard to recommend if a FP setup will be right, or maybe only right at night or maybe additional window treatments. Gray with gain with a bright enough projector will be better than white dispersive screen though.

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