What makes a screen worth 4 figures? - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Frosteh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 16
I know that lots of R&D goes into developing optically perfect screens, but what justifies a 4 figure price point? Having never seen a pro screen like a Stewart, I cannot comment on their performance. I'm simply wondering if they are worth it.

In my own case, I built my own screen from Komatex expanded PVC. As far as I can tell, the picture is great, though I have nothing to compare it to. If I've never seen a Stewart before, would I even notice or appreciate the difference between the two screens. I don't do 3D, watch on-center 99% of the time, and have a 100% light controlled room which is soon to feature a JVC RS-10.

If the two screens are shown not side by side, how many of you could honestly say you would notice a difference between a pro screen and a cheaper screen of the same properties (i.e., 1.3 gain da-lite vs studiotek 130)? I'm guessing my Komatex isn't that different from the performance of the cheap screens I can buy online, and I'm interested to know if there is really that much of a performance difference.

Frosteh is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 04:35 AM
Newbie
 
Drumstix20's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Clinton CT. and Delray Beach, FL.
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
What a great question! I see you're not getting many replies. I'm waiting as well.
Drumstix20 is offline  
post #3 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 05:08 AM
 
BobL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,797
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 53
There is a difference and it is noticeable. The question comes down to value. In many ways screens are similar to speakers in that they are applications driven, you need to use the right ones for your application to get the best performance. They are also similar to speakers in that once you have a good one it will last a long time before you upgrade, unlike electronics which get changed much more frequently.

Comparisons are tough without seeing them side by side. You can order samples but that rarely gives a good idea. You have to see the whole screen, comparing samples would be like just listening to tweeters. However, if I were comparing them to speakers for value that is where they differ.

For example I don't think anyone would argue that if one spent $1000 on a receiver and $4000 on speakers it would have better performance than a $4000 receiver and $1000 speakers. It is not that the $4000 receiver isn't better it is, but you will get better performance by putting the money in the speakers.

Screens although similar to speakers for application they are more similar to electronics for value. If I were to take that same $5000 budget. I would get much better performance with a $4000 projector and $1000 screen then vice versa.

Now the budget can be scaled either way and this ratio will change depending on budget. With projectors once you start spending more than say $5000 on a projector I would put more money in the screen before I spent more to get to the next level of projector. Also, as projectors improve and get better and less expensive that $5000 figure might be $2500 in a few years.
BobL is offline  
post #4 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 08:41 AM
Senior Member
 
raehza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
This Video may help as to why...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ4Cl...C36BD93DEE883C


In terms of Black Diamond, you can have a Screen that is not only excellent in the dark, but also during the day with ambient light. It's absorbs light and doesn't reflect it as much. Now all these things can be done by the user via masking the room with velvet, or painting the room in dark colors etc. but there is also a convenience factor and aesthetics involved.


Ray

Projector: AE7000
Screen: 5x12 Wilson Art Laminate Designer White
Receiver: Denon 2112Ci
Fronts: DefTech 8020ST
Center: DefTech 8040HD
Side Surround: DefTech SR 8040 BPs
Rear Surround: DefTech PM 1000s
Subwoofers: 2x HSU VTF 15H's
raehza is offline  
post #5 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 08:56 AM
Member
 
Walk_Good's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: South FL
Posts: 152
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by raehza View Post

This Video may help as to why...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ4Cl...C36BD93DEE883C

I only get "The URL contained a malformed video ID" when clicking that link :/
Walk_Good is offline  
post #6 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 09:10 AM
Advanced Member
 
DigsMovies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Arriving Somewhere...
Posts: 620
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
If you want a Stewart with masking, you're looking at 5 "figures" not 4 !!!

Just a matter of pocketbooks and priorities.......
DigsMovies is offline  
post #7 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 09:16 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 2,643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Much depends on how much time and care goes into the manufacturing process. You can get a cheap Chinese import that's made of a basic white vinyl...the same vinyl that goes into making boat cushions...and to the average Joe it may not look that much different from a Stewart or Da-Lit or Vutec screen that costs twice as much. But the performance differences are not as subtle. Smoothness, uniformity, proper gray scale, absence of any color push...these are qualities that are not commonplace on rolls of OEM industrial vinyl. They come at the expense of much R&D, high-tech chemistry to develop optical coatings, special manufacturing processes, and rigorous QC. The very best screens disappear completely revealing only what the projector upstream of it is rendering.
Pete is offline  
post #8 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Frosteh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL View Post

There is a difference and it is noticeable. The question comes down to value. In many ways screens are similar to speakers in that they are applications driven, you need to use the right ones for your application to get the best performance. They are also similar to speakers in that once you have a good one it will last a long time before you upgrade, unlike electronics which get changed much more frequently.

Comparisons are tough without seeing them side by side. You can order samples but that rarely gives a good idea. You have to see the whole screen, comparing samples would be like just listening to tweeters. However, if I were comparing them to speakers for value that is where they differ.

For example I don't think anyone would argue that if one spent $1000 on a receiver and $4000 on speakers it would have better performance than a $4000 receiver and $1000 speakers. It is not that the $4000 receiver isn't better it is, but you will get better performance by putting the money in the speakers.

Screens although similar to speakers for application they are more similar to electronics for value. If I were to take that same $5000 budget. I would get much better performance with a $4000 projector and $1000 screen then vice versa.

Now the budget can be scaled either way and this ratio will change depending on budget. With projectors once you start spending more than say $5000 on a projector I would put more money in the screen before I spent more to get to the next level of projector. Also, as projectors improve and get better and less expensive that $5000 figure might be $2500 in a few years.

I completely agree with you, but let's assume the source is the same. In my case this is a calibrated JVC RS-10. With speakers, I can easily hear the difference between a FLAC file played on $200 logitech speakers and my DIY speakers which the designer compared them to be nearly identical to a pair of $3000 monitors. However, I'm skeptical to think that a 4 (or 5!) figure Stewart 130 could really noticeably outperform a 1.3 gain white surface when the PJ is calibrated for each surface. While I don't doubt that the Stewart is better, given their optical coatings and whatever else they put onto the screen, I wonder if the difference would actually be noticeable when not done in a side-by-side study. Even in a side-by-side study, I would be curious to see if the stewart is worth a 5 figure increase in price over a simple da-lite or DIY solution. Has anyone actually done a comparison that could comment?

Lot's of times with high end equipment, there is a lot of snake-lil gibberish that makes a product sound outstandingly better than a cheaper solution, but real-world differences are pretty much nonexistent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post

Much depends on how much time and care goes into the manufacturing process. You can get a cheap Chinese import that's made of a basic white vinyl...the same vinyl that goes into making boat cushions...and to the average Joe it may not look that much different from a Stewart or Da-Lit or Vutec screen that costs twice as much. But the performance differences are not as subtle. Smoothness, uniformity, proper gray scale, absence of any color push...these are qualities that are not commonplace on rolls of OEM industrial vinyl. They come at the expense of much R&D, high-tech chemistry to develop optical coatings, special manufacturing processes, and rigorous QC. The very best screens disappear completely revealing only what the projector upstream of it is rendering.

So perhaps it's not so much the engineering of the product as it is the method of production. I imagine (or I at least hope so, for the sake of them justifying the price of their screens) Stewart manufactures small batches and has insane QC inspections and controls to make sure only the best screens are sold. What I hope isn't the case, is that they simply rebrand another vinyl as their own and mark up the price because people will listen to their measurements.

However, given the QC aspect of this discussion, I agree that da-lite probably doesn't have as high a QC as more expensive screens. Let's veer away for a moment from manufactured screens, to DIY screens. An experienced professional painter could likely paint a 99% uniform surface, provided the substrate is perfectly smooth (not hard to find given the options for laminate and other smooth surfaces), with a basic pure white paint. This nullifies the argument for the Stewart's QC.

I know I'm changing the original question a bit, but here's the new one:

Assuming QC and surface structure (smoothness, gain, etc. NOT special optical coatings) are the same, how much of an improvement would a Stewart actually measure? Do their proprietary screen designs and optics actually make for a measureably superior picture? I would love it if someone could test this, as it would shed some light on whether a high end screen is justified.

My hypothesis, based purely on speculation (no science or data to support this!) is that, even in a side-by-side test, one would be very hard-pressed to see a difference between a professionally painted DIY screen and a Stewart.

Begin debate!

Frosteh is offline  
post #9 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 07:36 PM
Member
 
ParanoidDroid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 100
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
To me, the only screens worth paying 4 figures for are the "exotic" screens (grayhawk, DNP, silverstar, black diamond, etc.).

A plain white/gray screen isnt worth that much money. there is a difference, but not a 1k difference.
ParanoidDroid is offline  
post #10 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 07:51 PM
AVS Special Member
 
airscapes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,643
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
Liked: 113
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...bIQgtw&cad=rja
airscapes is offline  
post #11 of 30 Old 03-03-2012, 11:37 PM
Senior Member
 
raehza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Sorry, fixed the link


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ4Cl...eature=related


Ray

Projector: AE7000
Screen: 5x12 Wilson Art Laminate Designer White
Receiver: Denon 2112Ci
Fronts: DefTech 8020ST
Center: DefTech 8040HD
Side Surround: DefTech SR 8040 BPs
Rear Surround: DefTech PM 1000s
Subwoofers: 2x HSU VTF 15H's
raehza is offline  
post #12 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Frosteh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by raehza View Post

Sorry, fixed the link


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ4Cl...eature=related


Ray

I actually just saw this clip about an hour ago. While interesting, they are comparing their dark black screen to a white screen. I wonder how much difference there would be if the Black Diamond screen was compared to another common, cheap material or paint of the exact same color (not with a special coating or anything).

Frosteh is offline  
post #13 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 05:14 AM
 
BobL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,797
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 53
I'll continue the debate later. I have to run right now, literally. I'm training with a group for Boston marathon so ~17-18 miles today. I have done these comparisons and have real world experience with them. I'll explain later.
BobL is offline  
post #14 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 08:27 AM
Member
 
myHTheaven's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 65
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I am looking for a screen upgrade too to cut the reflective light a bit. I did screen goo - which served me well for introduction.

I would love a black diamond screen - but its about $3300 for the 120" I want. A little too high for me. Now if you really want to dream - check it out with the 4K projector (beyond 1080p) introductory price of $25,000. Amazing. Can't wait for that to be the standard. http://www.screeninnovations.com/
myHTheaven is offline  
post #15 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 09:22 AM
Advanced Member
 
mylan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: just north of Atlanta
Posts: 911
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked: 59
I am beginning to think that some screen companies are adapting a "Monster" mentality concerning pricing. There is no doubt that, say, Screen Innovations Black Diamond is superior screen for its application but come on, 2,700 for a 100" screen? I just saw a video of an SI fixed screen being assembled and its basically four pieces of aluminum framing, some connecting hardware, and the sheet of screen material. Unless that screen material is made of something exotic, there is no reason it should cost more than 1,000.
mylan is offline  
post #16 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 10:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 2,643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

My hypothesis, based purely on speculation (no science or data to support this!) is that, even in a side-by-side test, one would be very hard-pressed to see a difference between a professionally painted DIY screen and a Stewart.

Your hypothesis is wrong. I've seen projected images on painted walls and you can always "see" the wall -- no matter how flat or how carefully it is painted. A good screen surface disappears. But that just covers smoothness and texture. In addition, a painted wall is not going to give a perfect grey scale and is unlikely to deliver unity gain uniformly from edge to edge. I acknowledge that for some a painted wall may be "good enough", but to imagine that it is comparable to a hi-performance screen is delusional. In this instance, the Emperor DOES have clothes...the expensive wine IS better than the cheap wine...the major domestic screen manufactures are NOT bottling tap water and selling it as if it were rarefied.
Pete is offline  
post #17 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Frosteh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL View Post

I'll continue the debate later. I have to run right now, literally. I'm training with a group for Boston marathon so ~17-18 miles today. I have done these comparisons and have real world experience with them. I'll explain later.

Wow! That's quite a big event. Good luck and I look forward to hearing your opinion on these screens when you get back.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post

Your hypothesis is wrong. I've seen projected images on painted walls and you can always "see" the wall -- no matter how flat or how carefully it is painted. A good screen surface disappears. But that just covers smoothness and texture. In addition, a painted wall is not going to give a perfect grey scale and is unlikely to deliver unity gain uniformly from edge to edge. I acknowledge that for some a painted wall may be "good enough", but to imagine that it is comparable to a hi-performance screen is delusional. In this instance, the Emperor DOES have clothes...the expensive wine IS better than the cheap wine...the major domestic screen manufactures are NOT bottling tap water and selling it as if it were rarefied.

I respect your opinion, however I don't believe a painted wall is a fair comparison. There are many other commonly available materials that are much smoother to start with, that would make a better substrate. Even a smooth countertop laminate is probably better. Heck, some people even use a sheet of glass as a substrate.

With the gain issue, I'm on the fence. Being a stubborn DIYer, I would doubt that a professionally painted screen would be any less uniform, but I don't know. As such, I just emailed Stewart and asked for some actual data that supports their claim that their screen delivers better uniformity than other screens without their special coating. I'm very interested to see what their response is, as well as what the data shows.

Also, Pete, when you say the Stewart or any other professional screen is worth that much money, what screen do you have (or have seen) and what are you comparing it to that you've also seen?

Frosteh is offline  
post #18 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 01:58 PM
 
BobL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,797
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 53
OK screens and differences. First the differences you notice between a more high end screen and a good middle of the road screen is not what you think. You can take any similar screens (say a 1.3 gain white screen) and calibrate the color difference and brightness differences between them. But one will still look better than the other. Why?

It comes down to screen uniformity and texture of the screen/coating. Most vinyl screens the vinyl is produced by squeezing the vinyl material between rollers. This method will cause some variation in the thickness of the screen. This is one area where screen uniformity will differ. Since vinyl screens are translucent it will reflect different amount of light back to the display area. Some light is lost through the screen. Some manufacturers put a black backing on their screens but that doesn't mean there still isn't a difference in the vinyl itself.

If there is a coating on the screen most companies apply the coating with a squeegee after the rollers. Again, because the coating is not always even there is less screen uniformity. A note about coatings, ANY coating that is going to affect gain is going to cause distortion. You are going to be bending light so there is no changing physics.

Even amongst the manufacturers that use these techniques there is differences in quality and QC.

A note about gain. A single gain number does not tell the whole story. You can have a gray and a white screen with both having a 1.2 gain. However the gray screen because of its color might be a .8 gain as a base material but have a 1.5 gain coating. So the gray screen will have more distortion and a lesser viewing angle.

The better manufacturers use a different technique for vinyl where it is sprayed and not squeezed through rollers. Often the coating is part of the vinyl mixture that is sprayed. So it isn't like the coating is added after. The better companies also have better QC. They 'cure' their vinyl for up to a couple weeks to take any stretch out of it. Plus they use high intensity lamps from both sides of the screen to find any imperfections. The lower yielding materials cost more.

So what do we see for differences. Most people would describe the better screen as being more 'crisp' or 'detailed'. It is easily noticeable you don't have to be a videophile to notice. If you walk up to the screen you will see that the pixels have better definition and when you stand back the whole picture just looks more crisp.

OK now to painted screens. I have only seen one enthusiasts screen that is painted that I thought was better than a cheap vinyl screen but definitely not better than a higher end screen. That one painted screen was done by a very meticulous professional painter over 3 days using multiple 1000W lamps to test screen uniformity from every conceivable angle. The paint that he used is Sherwin Williams primer. Every paint he tried had too much texture.

All other painted screens I have seen have not been close to a screen. Since I'll probably take some flaming on this one let me discuss perception. People are drawn to light like mosquitos to a bug zapper. 9 out of 10 people would probably pick the brighter screen even if the less bright screen was superior in all other aspects. They would also pick a screen that fits their application. Nobody would pick a basic white screen over a gray screen with gain for ambient light situations. That is just an apples to oranges comparison.

I have seen countertop laminates used and these can work well in the right situation, especially if it involves kids or areas where the screen could get dirty. Do they beat a higher end screen? No. Most painted screens? Yes. It is a good DIY solution for many if you get the right material. Many laminates have a sheen to them so choose wisely. The other factors with laminates is size, many you can't very wide. So larger screen sizes might not be possible.

We have had screens mounted on stands so we can move them easily and also show the differences side by side being calibrated. You really can't get a good idea with samples in my opinion. IMHO, it is not that higher end screen isn't better but is it worth the extra money is the question. That is for each to decide.

I mentioned previously if you are in the lower budget range you'll get better bang for the buck by getting a better projector instead of spending thousands on a screen. Some might prefer the better screen knowing they will update the projector in the future.

Hope this helps.
BobL is offline  
post #19 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 01:59 PM
 
BobL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,797
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 53
BTW, Stewart and Da-lite make their own vinyl. Don't know about all the other manufacturers.
BobL is offline  
post #20 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Frosteh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL View Post

OK screens and differences. First the differences you notice between a more high end screen and a good middle of the road screen is not what you think. You can take any similar screens (say a 1.3 gain white screen) and calibrate the color difference and brightness differences between them. But one will still look better than the other. Why?

It comes down to screen uniformity and texture of the screen/coating. Most vinyl screens the vinyl is produced by squeezing the vinyl material between rollers. This method will cause some variation in the thickness of the screen. This is one area where screen uniformity will differ. Since vinyl screens are translucent it will reflect different amount of light back to the display area. Some light is lost through the screen. Some manufacturers put a black backing on their screens but that doesn't mean there still isn't a difference in the vinyl itself.

If there is a coating on the screen most companies apply the coating with a squeegee after the rollers. Again, because the coating is not always even there is less screen uniformity. A note about coatings, ANY coating that is going to affect gain is going to cause distortion. You are going to be bending light so there is no changing physics.

Even amongst the manufacturers that use these techniques there is differences in quality and QC.

A note about gain. A single gain number does not tell the whole story. You can have a gray and a white screen with both having a 1.2 gain. However the gray screen because of its color might be a .8 gain as a base material but have a 1.5 gain coating. So the gray screen will have more distortion and a lesser viewing angle.

The better manufacturers use a different technique for vinyl where it is sprayed and not squeezed through rollers. Often the coating is part of the vinyl mixture that is sprayed. So it isn't like the coating is added after. The better companies also have better QC. They 'cure' their vinyl for up to a couple weeks to take any stretch out of it. Plus they use high intensity lamps from both sides of the screen to find any imperfections. The lower yielding materials cost more.

So what do we see for differences. Most people would describe the better screen as being more 'crisp' or 'detailed'. It is easily noticeable you don't have to be a videophile to notice. If you walk up to the screen you will see that the pixels have better definition and when you stand back the whole picture just looks more crisp.

OK now to painted screens. I have only seen one enthusiasts screen that is painted that I thought was better than a cheap vinyl screen but definitely not better than a higher end screen. That one painted screen was done by a very meticulous professional painter over 3 days using multiple 1000W lamps to test screen uniformity from every conceivable angle. The paint that he used is Sherwin Williams primer. Every paint he tried had too much texture.

All other painted screens I have seen have not been close to a screen. Since I'll probably take some flaming on this one let me discuss perception. People are drawn to light like mosquitos to a bug zapper. 9 out of 10 people would probably pick the brighter screen even if the less bright screen was superior in all other aspects. They would also pick a screen that fits their application. Nobody would pick a basic white screen over a gray screen with gain for ambient light situations. That is just an apples to oranges comparison.

I have seen countertop laminates used and these can work well in the right situation, especially if it involves kids or areas where the screen could get dirty. Do they beat a higher end screen? No. Most painted screens? Yes. It is a good DIY solution for many if you get the right material. Many laminates have a sheen to them so choose wisely. The other factors with laminates is size, many you can't very wide. So larger screen sizes might not be possible.

We have had screens mounted on stands so we can move them easily and also show the differences side by side being calibrated. You really can't get a good idea with samples in my opinion. IMHO, it is not that higher end screen isn't better but is it worth the extra money is the question. That is for each to decide.

I mentioned previously if you are in the lower budget range you'll get better bang for the buck by getting a better projector instead of spending thousands on a screen. Some might prefer the better screen knowing they will update the projector in the future.

Hope this helps.

BTW, Stewart and Da-lite make their own vinyl. Don't know about all the other manufacturers.

Awesome write up, thank you!

It's clear to me now that the high end screens are definitely better. Whether they're worth 4 or 5 figures is up to each of us.

The question I do have, however, is which would you pick? I'm not a wealthy man, but could afford a Stewart if I saved for a number of years or took out a loan. I could also just purchase a low end screen. Or I could have someone professionally paint a screen with one of the mixes in the DIY section. Since you've seen all three, which would you recommend? Was the difference night and day between these three, or do you believe that a cheaper option could be built or modified to perform very close to a high end screen, but on a smaller budget?

I suppose this brings up another question. Since you mentioned the screen also looked sharper, were you using a DLP for your comparisons? If not, I wonder if the difference is as great with LCD's or the very popular, but average sharpness, LCOS JVC projectors. These 3 chip models often have some very small convergence issues (very small, but still there). Do you think the difference is as noticeable between a high end screen or a lower end/DIY screen when used with less sharp projectors? (NOTE: Please don't assume I'm saying low end projectors when I say less sharp. Even a $10k JVC is still less sharp than a $1500 BenQ with a single chip DLP). If a less sharp PJ is used, will one notice as much of a difference in clarity between the two screens?

Thanks again for such a detailed write up!

Frosteh is offline  
post #21 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 04:08 PM
Advanced Member
 
ADDUpstate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Perinton NY
Posts: 649
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post


but could afford a Stewart if I saved for a number of years or took out a loan.


A new, high-end screen is NOT a necessity for ANYONE.

I wouldn't take out a loan for anything in the home theater HOBBY.

Get a decent screen within YOUR budget, or if you are inclined to DIY, go for it and enjoy whatever you get. At that point, if you want to start saving for a better screen, do it.
ADDUpstate is offline  
post #22 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Frosteh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADDUpstate View Post

A new, high-end screen is NOT a necessity for ANYONE.

I wouldn't take out a loan for anything in the home theater HOBBY.

Get a decent screen within YOUR budget, or if you are inclined to DIY, go for it and enjoy whatever you get. At that point, if you want to start saving for a better screen, do it.

I apologize. I should have clarified: I will likely never buy a Stewart since I'd probably never own a projector that would take advantage of such a screen. I also enjoy DIY too much and enjoy building my own screens for around $100. My comment was more to illustrate the point that the screens are so expensive that some people's only option would be to take out a loan to afford it. I'm not saying it's a good idea; it's not!

Frosteh is offline  
post #23 of 30 Old 03-04-2012, 05:35 PM
 
BobL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,797
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 53
We have done the comparisons with Epson 9700, Sony VW-90, Runco DLP D73-D and Runco Q-750. You'll notice the difference no matter which projector you use. You'll notice convergence errors easier too:-)

As far as recommendations for DIY. I would buy material from Da-lite that they use in their pull downs and build a frame with black velvet around it. Makes sure you mount the screen so it is taunt. It actually costs a little more to buy the material than a cheap their cheap pull down with the same material but it's worth it. You can get a 2" black border around it which I'd recommend. That way you know you the screen is correct size and you are not trying to make masking to the exact dimensions. You'll know where you need to make the border or build a frame around the screen and keep their black border. You can cut the screen out of the pulldown but for a few extra bucks it is not worth it.

Pick the material that best suits your room. A basic Matte white for watching without lights and have very dark walls and ceiling. The high contrast matte white for possibly a little ambient light and don't plan on having dark walls and ceiling. The high powers (regular or high contrast) if you need the brightness especially for larger screens as long as you can place the seating and projector where needed to best utilize these materials.

The material will cost between $150-$400 MSRP depending on type of material and size. AVS probably will discount it as well. So you can have a very nice screen for not much money.

There is nothing wrong with using a less expensive screen you will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I'd like a Ferrari Spyder or California but won't be able to afford it, maybe a Porsche Boxter if if I didn't have to pay kids tuition, I'll probably have to settle for a Miata or I'll wait another 10 years. But, when the time comes I'll have fun no matter what I get.
BobL is offline  
post #24 of 30 Old 03-05-2012, 12:27 AM
AVS Special Member
 
blee0120's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Merillville, IN 46410
Posts: 3,708
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Liked: 74
I have a 100in SI Gamma 4K screen and a 72in Carada CW screen. A 100in SI screen has a MSRP of $2K, I don't see a difference if any with my JVC RS55. Both are color neutral and a 100in Carada is $600. I had a Vapex screen and I compared a sample of the Carada before I got the screen and it was no difference to me. It's hard to judge with a sample. So, between 100in screens, $2K SI, $600 Carada, and $340 Vapex, it will be extremely hard to see any difference. The only difference I see is how the frame looks. The SI frame is beautiful. I haven't had a chance to see a JKP screen or Stewart 100, which are the best neutral screens, I find it hard to believe its that big of a difference. Most people need that peace of mind, which is one of my problems, to know that they are getting the best. Or dealers telling you to get their screen because of that great projector you just bought from them. But this is just for neutral screens. Speciality screens should cost more than neutral screens
blee0120 is online now  
post #25 of 30 Old 03-05-2012, 01:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
cavu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: CANADA
Posts: 6,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 13
I knew I would own many different projectors over time, starting with the InFocus SP4805 several years ago, and I was right.

But as I would likely have it for the long haul, I determined that I should buy the best screen I could.

After much research I bought Stewart Filmscreen Grayhawk material and had a local art shop build a 92" diag stretcher frame and mount the Grayhawk material on it. I paid something over $2,000 overall.

I am now on my fifth projector but am still thrilled with the performance of the Stewart product and heartily recommend it!

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance  it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel Boorstin
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
" - MLK

cavu is offline  
post #26 of 30 Old 03-05-2012, 11:57 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 2,643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by blee0120 View Post

Speciality screens should cost more than neutral screens

A neutral screen like a JKP or Studiotek 100 isa specialty screen. They don't start out neutral and then have special sauce added for positive or negative gain. The formulations are carefully designed and mixed and then turned into screen material. The JKP is rolled out. The Stewart is built up via spray gunning the chemicals onto a ceiling mold, then pealing it off when it has set up.
Pete is offline  
post #27 of 30 Old 03-06-2012, 02:26 AM
AVS Special Member
 
blee0120's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Merillville, IN 46410
Posts: 3,708
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Liked: 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post


A neutral screen like a JKP or Studiotek 100 isa specialty screen. They don't start out neutral and then have special sauce added for positive or negative gain. The formulations are carefully designed and mixed and then turned into screen material. The JKP is rolled out. The Stewart is built up via spray gunning the chemicals onto a ceiling mold, then pealing it off when it has set up.

Are you saying neutral screens are speciality screens or just those two?
blee0120 is online now  
post #28 of 30 Old 03-06-2012, 02:44 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 2,643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by blee0120 View Post

Are you saying neutral screens are speciality screens or just those two?

"Neutral" to me means nothing adds to or subtracts from the image being projected. The point I'm trying to make is that a truly neutral imaging surface has to be painstakingly engineered. It does not exist as some sort of unadulterated starting point. The two examples I listed are noteworthy but there may well be others. And it should be noted that a good unity gain screen is seldom the ideal solution. It does best in near bat-cave conditions and is appreciated most with a hi-performance (plenty of resolution, brightness AND contrast) well-calibrated projector.
Pete is offline  
post #29 of 30 Old 03-06-2012, 06:19 PM
AVS Special Member
 
blee0120's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Merillville, IN 46410
Posts: 3,708
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Liked: 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post


"Neutral" to me means nothing adds to or subtracts from the image being projected. The point I'm trying to make is that a truly neutral imaging surface has to be painstakingly engineered. It does not exist as some sort of unadulterated starting point. The two examples I listed are noteworthy but there may well be others. And it should be noted that a good unity gain screen is seldom the ideal solution. It does best in near bat-cave conditions and is appreciated most with a hi-performance (plenty of resolution, brightness AND contrast) well-calibrated projector.

Ok, I was just curious
blee0120 is online now  
post #30 of 30 Old 03-07-2012, 05:36 AM
Senior Member
 
TedO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 307
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked: 13
It sounds like the best solution for you is to find someone to sell you a high quality screen material and you can do the frame yourself. It seems much cheaper this way and you get the best of both worlds, a quality screen at a DIY price. The only screen manufacturer that I know of the still sells material to the DIY crowd is Seymoure AV.
TedO is online now  
Reply Screens

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off