Best AT screen for my application? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-03-2013, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I think I'm going to get an AT screen. I'd put my Noesis pair and Orbit Shifter behind it, which means I'd want the ability to roll up the screen when it's not being used.

I asked Elite if they can make a custom 150" AT screen that will be able to roll up. They rep said she'd check to see if the Spectrum, VMAX2, or CineTension2 would be doable. I have vaulted ceilings and they said I could hang the screen from chains no problem. Anything else you'd suggest I look at?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-04-2013, 05:53 PM
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I first ordered some samples from Da-Lite and Elite Screens to see whether I prefer perforations or a weave. Have you experienced any of the materials you are considering first-hand?
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post #3 of 27 Old 06-04-2013, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I'm in conversation with a rep at Elite, and I asked her if there's a local place I could demo the screens.

Out of curiosity, which did you prefer? Was the Elite AT material the one that won some award?
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-05-2013, 10:31 PM
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I had my wife hold up the screen samples in front of my current screen. Some interesting first observations, but I need to come up with a better test. I also wanted to wait for my prescription glasses so I can judge quality better. They arrived today, so I should proceed.

From Da-Lite I have on hand in their perforated versions: Audio Vision, High Contrast Audio Vision, High Contrast Cinema and HD Progressive 1.1

Elite Screens only sent me: AcousticPro-4K

All samples are a bit on the small side and I would definitely recommend seeing entire screens in action instead, but it is better than buying completely blind.

Will try to take some pictures and maybe some video under fixed conditions. We'll see how that goes...
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-05-2013, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll be interested in hearing which ones you think are good.

Do you know the pricing of the AcousticPro-4K? The rep just sent me pricing for the A1080P2.

At this point I'm thinking I won't get a custom screen, and will get the largest AT screen (either A4K if the price is right, or A1080P2 if that seems a better value) in the Spectrum or VMAX2 series, if I want Elite. I think the CineTension2 is more than I want to spend. I like the idea of spending a few hundred now for a 1080 screen that may be a little smaller, and a few thousand later for a 4K screen that's bigger when I have a 4K projector. They will likely have better screen technology in a few years too.

In terms of dealing with waves in the screen, do you think it would work if I had cords tied to sandbags putting some tension on the bottom two ends of the screen? The CineTension is just so much more money!

Also, you think Elite and Da Lite are the only 2 brands worth looking at?
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-06-2013, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

I'll be interested in hearing which ones you think are good.

Do you know the pricing of the AcousticPro-4K? The rep just sent me pricing for the A1080P2.

I have a quote for an ezFrame, 16:9, 100" diagonal, AcousticPro-4K at $1045 CAD. Most online sales reps read "AcousticPro" and just throw the 1080P2 or 1080P3 pricing at you, so you have to hunt a while before you can find one that can special order this.

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Originally Posted by David H. View Post

At this point I'm thinking I won't get a custom screen, and will get the largest AT screen (either A4K if the price is right, or A1080P2 if that seems a better value) in the Spectrum or VMAX2 series, if I want Elite. I think the CineTension2 is more than I want to spend. I like the idea of spending a few hundred now for a 1080 screen that may be a little smaller, and a few thousand later for a 4K screen that's bigger when I have a 4K projector. They will likely have better screen technology in a few years too.

You should read the report over in this thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1475996/what-at-screen-9-10-ft-seating-distance
Some of the best AT screens are weaves and some of the worst are also weaves. I think the woven materials developed with 4K in mind are trying to address some of the weaknesses of the old ones.

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Originally Posted by David H. View Post

In terms of dealing with waves in the screen, do you think it would work if I had cords tied to sandbags putting some tension on the bottom two ends of the screen? The CineTension is just so much more money!

I have no clue about tensioning requirements. Have always used tensioned screens in fixed frames.

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Originally Posted by David H. View Post

Also, you think Elite and Da Lite are the only 2 brands worth looking at?

I have owned two Da-Lite screens so far and I have been very pleased with them. I would buy one of their perforated screens, which will run about $1200 USD, if the perforated material were to win out in my testing. Considering the manufacturer's recommended viewing distance of 15' which was pretty much confirmed in the report I mentioned above and my viewing distance due to a small dedicated room (9'-11' depending on row), I am not getting my hopes up.

I am sure other screen manufacturers are worth considering, but I am not sure who else would have a worthwhile contender in the same price range.
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-06-2013, 12:38 PM
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I decided to start with a close-up comparison of the materials themselves. Photographs were taken in a moderately controlled environment.

Lighting
Indirect daylight on overcast day from the left through solid shades. Overhead CFL's @ 6500K from Lowes (this is not a color-accurate light source) up and to the left to avoid casting a shadow.

Gear
Canon EOS Rebel T4i mounted on tripod aimed down. Lens: Canon EF100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM. Focal plane near parallel to the table surface (probably off by 1 or 2 degrees).

Settings
Camera in full manual mode with fixed ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Fixed manual focus throughout series with reference object under center focus point.

Post-processing
RAW files process with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.4 with default settings. Only adjustments are color temperature and tint (goodness my light bulbs suck) on my calibrated screen. Applied identical adjustments to all pictures.

I do a lot of macro photography and it reveals a lot of things most people do not notice with their naked eye. Nobody would ever view a picture on an acoustically transparent screen at that magnification level or distance, but I thought it would be a good way to familiarize myself with and relate to the material. Look elsewhere for blind testing.

The contenders:

Da-Lite Audio Vision
Gain: 1.0
Viewing angle: 60 degrees
Thickness: The thinnest vinyl material in the round-up together with its twin.



Da-Lite HD Progressive 1.1 Perf
Gain: 1.1
Viewing angle: 85 degrees
Thickness: By far the thickest material.
Notes: The perforations looks like they are a different size. Not sure whether this is intentional or just a by-product of the hole-punching process. I am guessing that the same machine is used to make all holes, but due to the thickness of the material the holes' diameter ends up being different. Studying dimples. Does this take anybody else back to a certain election in Florida?



Da-Lite High Contrast Cinema Perf
Gain: 1.1
Viewing angle: 50 degrees
Thickness: In the middle.



Da-Lite High Contrast Audio Vision
Gain: 0.8
Viewing angle: 45 degrees
Thickness: The thinnest vinyl material in the round-up together with its twin.



Elite Screens AcousticPro-4K
Gain: 1.1
Thickness: By far the thinnest material.
Notes: The weave is as fine as I was hoping it would be. Huge difference compared to traditional weaves. Hopefully the texture will just disappear in the picture.

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post #8 of 27 Old 06-07-2013, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the details! I didn't get notified that you replied for some reason. Anyway, it looks like I'm about 11' to 11.5' away from the wall I'm projecting on now. If I buy an AT screen, it will move the screen forward probably about 2 feet, maybe a little more, so I can put the speakers behind the screen. So it sounds like you're saying it wouldn't look good at that distance, right?

If it wouldn't look good, maybe for now I'll just get a non-AT screen, and when I have a bigger place and a 4K projector spend a lot of money on that.
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-07-2013, 09:29 PM
 
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You are correct that Da-lite uses different pert sizes with the HD progressive 1.1 being a smaller pert which works better for closer viewing distances in many HT environments.  The audio vision really is not good for most HT seating distances, the larger perf tends to be noticeable.

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post #10 of 27 Old 06-08-2013, 08:34 AM
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airscapes post a report a couple of days ago that included some interesting observations. At 8 or 9 feet viewing distance a lot of fabrics look objectionable, but there were a few where the texture was only slightly visible. There is hope. Check out the report for yourself. A very interesting read.
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-09-2013, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, yeah, it seems nothing's ideal at a 9 foot distance. I may just skip an AT screen for now.

The GT750 I have has a 16:10 aspect ratio, but do all the good projectors being released now have a 16:9 aspect ratio?

Edit: I missed the Enlightor 4K being good at 9 feet in that article. I'll post that blurb below. It looks like there's some back and forth between reps on that and Elune Vision's screen material here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/648951/elunevision-screens/990#post_22994557 Any thoughts on that?



Enlightor 4k
-
This material was mostly color neutral. It is the finest weave tested in an acoustically transparent screen.. I
t does have a slight tex-
ture from the weave used to pass the audio through the screen. At 8 feet it was slightly visible. This material would be bes
t f
or 9 foot or greater
viewing distance. At ten feet this material looked very good. The material does add a slight sheen to the image. Treble was
2
.5 db down at 20 kHz
compared to the level at 2 kHz. The black backing added another 1 db loss at 20 kHz. The audio response effect was a relativ
ely
smooth loss from
3kHz to 20kHz. This material is only recommended from 8 to 9 feet because of light loss and color errors.
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-09-2013, 10:34 PM
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A buddy of mine first bought the Elunevision (electric) screen and said it was not very good. Because it had no black backing, light passed through and basically lit up his room, not the screen. The image on screen was washed out and was basically unwatchable. He returned it (after huge difficulties with the guys at Elunevision). I know the Elunevision fixed frame comes with black backing so maybe that will make for a different experience. He then bought the Enlighter 4K from Seymour/screen excellence and said it was WAY better. Just his experience.
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-10-2013, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crabalocker View Post

A buddy of mine first bought the Elunevision (electric) screen and said it was not very good. Because it had no black backing, light passed through and basically lit up his room, not the screen. The image on screen was washed out and was basically unwatchable. He returned it (after huge difficulties with the guys at Elunevision). I know the Elunevision fixed frame comes with black backing so maybe that will make for a different experience. He then bought the Enlighter 4K from Seymour/screen excellence and said it was WAY better. Just his experience.

Crabalocker,

Did he use the Black Backing with the Enlightor 4K? confused.gif
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post #14 of 27 Old 06-10-2013, 03:08 PM
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Setup
I have rigged up a test setup for the screen samples. I leveled and attached a vertical 2x2 to a floor joist about 1' in front of my screen and mounted two horizontal mounting strips. The strips are 3/4" thick and painted with satin white latex trim paint, which turned out to be an interesting reference. The vertical pole which is 3/4" behind the screen surface is sometimes visible. So are the mounting strips and the staples I used to attach the fabrics. All Da-Lite samples have a big sticker (and black backing) on the reverse side making them easy to keep apart, but leading to uneven tension across the sample.

Gear
My Canon EOS Rebel T4i was tripod mounted again but I was using my Canon EF-S17-55mm F2.8 IS USM. This is also a very sharp lens, but due its wide angle nature it has some vignetting towards the edges and some optical distortion. Should not matter for the center of the frame which is where the samples were, but something to keep in mind when looking at the picture as a whole. Focal plane 8.5' from rig, which similar to David's and my seating distance. Camera lens on axis with projector lens horizontally, but located vertically where the viewer's eyes would be. Projector is the Panasonic PT-AE3000 with Blu-ray playback from OPPO BDP-93. Movie is Hot Fuzz with the frame frozen by the projector. Reference screen is a 110" Joe Kane Productions approved Da-Lite HD Progressive 0.9.

Settings
Camera in full manual mode with fixed ISO (400), aperture (F2.8) and shutter speed (1/30 sec.). Manual focus using Live View. Focal lengths in 35mm equivalent were 27mm and 56mm. You can argue about which provides an equivalent Field-of-View (FOV) to human vision which is why I include my personal observations with the pictures.

Post-processing
RAW files process with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.4 with default settings. Only adjustments are color temperature, tint and exposure as judged on my calibrated screen. No lens correction. Applied identical adjustments to all pictures.

Da-Lite Audio Vision
Gain: 1.0


Da-Lite HD Progressive 1.1 Perf
Gain: 1.1


Da-Lite High Contrast Cinema Perf
Gain: 1.1


Da-Lite High Contrast Audio Vision
Gain: 0.8
Notes: Here you can see the strongest example of the sticker on the back of the sample having an effect on the tensioning.


Elite Screens AcousticPro-4K
Gain: 1.1
Notes: This is the most transparent fabric, so keep the limitations for this setup in mind.


Subjective evaluations:

Texture
Perforations had a slightly visible effect on the still picture at 8'. It was very visible at half the distance. The weave had no visible effect at 8'. Slightly visible effect at half-distance. Perf performed better than expected, but so did the weave. Considering how texture is one of my biggest concerns and how I might end up closer to the screen should I opt for multiple rows, the woven fabric wins hands down.

Contrast
The perforated screens have very little light loss and contrast is great compared to my reference screen. The woven screen bleeds a lot of light (compare the part of the material that has wood behind it to the part that does not). Contrast suffers significantly in direct comparison to the other samples and my reference screen. I will have to seek input from Elite Screen to find out whether their fixed screens use a second fabric behind the projection surface to counter this.

I have also taken video footage of the movie in motion. I might have to look at that further.

Let me know whether you have any questions or suggestions. I will leave the test setup in place for a couple of hours so I could get some more pictures/videos.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-10-2013, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baumann View Post

Crabalocker,

Did he use the Black Backing with the Enlightor 4K? confused.gif

Yep, all electrics from screen excellence (Enlighter 4K) come with the black backing.

The Elunevision DOES NOT and you CANNOT get black backing with the Elunevision electric.
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post #16 of 27 Old 06-10-2013, 08:02 PM
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I left the sample of Da-Lite HD Progressive 1.1 Perf up after testing as it had the smallest perforations and decided to watch a whole movie with it in place. Viewing distance was about 8' with some 720p movie material. Following are my impressions.

Static scenes
I noticed the screen door effect when luminance exceeded a certain threshold, usually on whites, light greys or yellows. The relative brightness was not far above my reference screen, so that is worrying. This becomes most bothersome on skin tones and clothing.

Moderately animated scenes
A moderate of camera or subject movement actually conceals the screen door effect entirely.

Very animated scenes
During faster action or panning it is painfully obvious that there is fixed pattern of black dots that remains static while everything else moves. For me personally this is unacceptable.

I guess now I know what does NOT work for me. Will try the woven fabric tomorrow under similar conditions. Shooting off an email to Elite Screens to find out about black backing.

I recommend that others who are considering acoustically transparent screens try out samples at home before dropping a large sum of money on something they might be unhappy with. Personal perceptions, viewing conditions and preferences will vary. Hopefully my pictures in their original size will give you an idea of what people are discussing on this forum and what to look out for.
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post #17 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 04:06 AM
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I have an AcousticPro 4k on an EzFrame. Granted I only had time to use it a couple of hours before packing it up again to get ready for the move....

The AcousticPro 4k comes with a black backing material to reduce the light spill. It does work quite well, but as with all AT screens, keeping everything a non-reflective texture/color behind the screen does help a lot.

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post #18 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiojan View Post

I have an AcousticPro 4k on an EzFrame. Granted I only had time to use it a couple of hours before packing it up again to get ready for the move....

The AcousticPro 4k comes with a black backing material to reduce the light spill. It does work quite well, but as with all AT screens, keeping everything a non-reflective texture/color behind the screen does help a lot.

Thanks for jumping in here and confirming the product details. That is the exact combo that is my current frontrunner. Did you have a chance to form an opinion on the picture quality in those few hours?
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post #19 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm wondering how the Elune Vision screen would look if I put black blackout curtains behind it on the wall. The JTR speakers that I have are black, so I'm hoping they wouldn't reflect light. Any thoughts on that?

Would the woven screen contrast issue still happen if I had a setup like this?


By the way, if I remember correctly, I think Elite's fixed frame screens have the black backing, but the roll up ones don't.
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post #20 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

I'm wondering how the Elune Vision screen would look if I put black blackout curtains behind it on the wall. The JTR speakers that I have are black, so I'm hoping they wouldn't reflect light. Any thoughts on that?

Would the woven screen contrast issue still happen if I had a setup like this?


By the way, if I remember correctly, I think Elite's fixed frame screens have the black backing, but the roll up ones don't.

I believe as long as the screen is covering an enclosed space you're good. That's what I have with my Seymour XD material and have no issues. If I open the side door area and allow the 3' x 14' area to be contaminated with room light, I can see that on my screen. so if your area is not sealed off, make sure you have black backing on your electric screen or you'll probably run into issues....even if it's only side light contaminated.

I know the Enlighter 4k electric has the black backing and Elunevision electric does not. As for the other brands A/T electrics????

If it were me and I was getting an electric A/T screen, I'd make sure it had the black backing.
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post #21 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crabalocker View Post

I believe as long as the screen is covering an enclosed space you're good. That's what I have with my Seymour XD material and have no issues. If I open the side door area and allow the 3' x 14' area to be contaminated with room light, I can see that on my screen. so if your area is not sealed off, make sure you have black backing on your electric screen or you'll probably run into issues....even if it's only side light contaminated.

I know the Enlighter 4k electric has the black backing and Elunevision electric does not (nor does the Seymour xd electric). As for the other brands A/T electrics????

If it were me and I was getting an electric A/T screen, I'd make sure it had the black backing.

Thanks for the tip. I'm planning to get blackout curtains to block all light from outside the room when I use my projector, so I think I'd be ok based on what you're saying, right? The projector should be the only light source in the room.

Even so, would it be better to have an AT screen with the black backing, even if I have blackout curtains on the wall behind the screen, in addition to no light from outside? My understanding is the black backing is better for dealing with light, but increases the blocking of sound since the waves have a harder time getting through the screen.
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post #22 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 09:54 PM
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If your screen is not going to be sealed into an enclosed area, I would make sure my screen would have the black backing. My buddy had issues with the secondary image that was projected behind the screen which in turn added light to the room which caused the image to be washed out.....I'm not sure if the material behind would capture all the light?? You still might run into issues....I wouldn't chance it if it were me. It's ultimately your call though.

I think if you ran Audessey (screen down), or a similar EQ'ing program, that should take care of what issues the screen will cause. I could be wrong on that though. The added price of the black backing solving any visual issues, well worth it for me.
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post #23 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crabalocker View Post

I believe as long as the screen is covering an enclosed space you're good. That's what I have with my Seymour XD material and have no issues. If I open the side door area and allow the 3' x 14' area to be contaminated with room light, I can see that on my screen. so if your area is not sealed off, make sure you have black backing on your electric screen or you'll probably run into issues....even if it's only side light contaminated.

I know the Enlighter 4k electric has the black backing and Elunevision electric does not (nor does the Seymour xd electric). As for the other brands A/T electrics????

If it were me and I was getting an electric A/T screen, I'd make sure it had the black backing.

Not true. The Seymour Center Stage XD electrics do in fact have the black backing.
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post #24 of 27 Old 06-11-2013, 11:21 PM
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Not true. The Seymour Center Stage XD electrics do in fact have the black backing.

You know what, I was wrong, you are correct. I mixed up the thought.....on the XD electrics they don't tilt the material. Sorry. I will fix the above post. I am 100% correct on the Elunevision screen though (as of 2 weeks ago.....unless their screen design changed).
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post #25 of 27 Old 06-12-2013, 04:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeGhostbear View Post

Thanks for jumping in here and confirming the product details. That is the exact combo that is my current frontrunner. Did you have a chance to form an opinion on the picture quality in those few hours?

No, it was really not enough time and since I had to pack it up again, I really didn't spend any time setting up properly. Coming from a Black Diamond, this is a very different screen. The increased brightness is a major plus with my Pioneer PRO-FPJ1 and I'm looking forward to properly setting everything up (including my Thiels behind the screen!). Initial impression is very positive though.

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post #26 of 27 Old 06-24-2013, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BobL View Post

You are correct that Da-lite uses different pert sizes with the HD progressive 1.1 being a smaller pert which works better for closer viewing distances in many HT environments.  The audio vision really is not good for most HT seating distances, the larger perf tends to be noticeable.

Do you have a favorite AT screen ?

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post #27 of 27 Old 06-24-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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It depends on the application.  Weaves and perforated each have their pros and cons.

 

  For AT woven screens I like the Screen Excellence Enlightor 4K.  Probably the best of the weave screens.  I like it better than Screen research which is also very good for a weave.  Seymour Center stage XD is good for a value screen.

 

  For AT perforated screens I like Stewart.  They have a variety of materials depending on your application.   The Da-lite HD Progressive is OK.  The material is fine but the holes are more noticeable than Stewart.  I don't like any of the other perforated screens for home use. 

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