MDI Strong StereoView 3D Screen Review
Here is my review of MDI Strong’s StereoView 3D screen.
I have been wanting to try a high power screen and experiment with passive 3D for sometime now. With various internet searches and forum reviews I came across a few highly reputable companies and asked for a sample if their “silver” or passive 3D screen. Most companies were accommodating and supplied a sample. The sample that came from MDI Strong was exceptional as I did a few small experiments and seemed to have a high extinction ratio (signal to noise ration). I don’t want to comment on the other screen materials from other manufactures as they were just samples, and to be honest it is difficult to see extinction ratio with the smaller samples, but some materials that were said to be passive 3D compatible clearly were not. I understand that some screens are better for linear 3D and others circular 3D but I am interested in circular 3D or a screen that can do both and when I requested the samples, I was told from each company that the screens could do both.
Next, I decided to order a screen from MDI Strong. The people from MDI were extremely knowledge, able and helpful when I was ordering. I communicated via telephone but mostly e-mail without any problems. I ordered a 16X9 106 inch 2.2 gain StereoView screen to fit my space and masking. Without going too much into pricing, I will say that the cost was less than $500 which for any halfway decent screen let alone a high gain silver screen is a great deal.
To keep additional cost down I made a frame from 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch lumber from Home Depot and zip ties. I simply mounted the screen in the wooded frame with the zip ties through the eyelets that were about every 9 inches on the screens edge and zipped them tight and evenly for the right amount of tension. Prior to the build I was concerned this might be easier said than done, but it was really easy. I have a masking system so I just had to hang the screen mounted on the frame behind the masking system and I was done and ready to project my image.
I first turned my Benq W7000+ on and it was bright on that 2.2 gain screen. I did some further calibration and dialed it in just right, but still bright. I don’t have all the fancy calibration equipment or meters but I do have my Disney WOW blu-ray that can get the picture where I want it. I am also not big on numbers and rely more on what I see, as it seems that screen gain, contrast ratio, lumens and so on are manipulated by manufactures and cannot be relied on for a great picture. So, how is the screen and is it worth it?... Like every screen, there are pros and cons.
The pros are simple: brightness especially for 3D, extinction ratio and cost. The brightness was unreal before my calibration. Even after my calibration the screen was bright lights on and all. During active and passive 3D viewing, the brightness was great. For passive 3D I used the Volfoni Smartcrytal Pro modulator and noticed it was the best in home passive 3D experience to date that I have experienced especially for circular 3D. The only other better passive 3D experience for me was seeing the Hobbit in HFR 3D with no ghosting at all at the local Cinemark XD theater. On the MDI screen ghosting is only slightly visible and only on certain scenes. I know there is a lot that goes into passive 3D such as the screen, projector, video material and in my case the Volfoni modulator, but I believe your picture can only be as good as your weakest link. Poor screen equals a poor picture (even more so for passive 3D); poor projector equal a poor picture and I think you get the idea. MDI lists the extinction ratio of the screen as “Signal to Noise Ratio” and states its screens exceed 180. Again, I don’t get into the numbers but I can say that the ratio must be high as there is minimal to no ghosting in 3D. I am really impressed by this. To top it off the screen was affordable and within my budget. I have been quoted a lot more on other silver screens and I just don’t know how much better they could be. So that brings up the weakness of the screen.
The cons list is short: Hot spotting and screen texture. The screen does have hot spotting but it’s minimal. My projector is mounted even with the top of the screen and centered. During movie or sports playback hot spotting is really difficult to detect and you have to be looking for it. It becomes more obvious during commercials (I watch live sports so yeah there are commercials) with black backgrounds with white text. The other con is a bigger issue to me. The screen does have a texture. You can feel the texture and you can see it. My eyes are about 10 feet from the actual screen and I can see the texture. It’s difficult to explain how the texture is visualized but it’s comparable to “silk screen effect”, and it more predominant on brighter scenes. If I drop back to about 15 feet it becomes far more difficult to visualize. When watching 3D the texture is not visually apparent.
Overall the MDI Strong StereoView 3D screen is by far one of the best passive 3D screens out there and the most affordable. If you are in need of a “Sliver” or passive 3D screen do yourself a favor and look no further, this is your screen. If you want both 2D and 3D it will work great for the 3D but depending on your viewing distance when watching in 2D you might see the screen texture which may bother some viewers. I have read that MDI Strong has a new screen called High White that eliminates both the screen texture and hot spotting. According to the MDI Strong website the High White Screen: “With a stereo contrast ratio greater than 100:1, the HighWhite screen renders a bright, uniform picture with deep, sharp 3D images guaranteed to impress. The screen also offers impeccable performance in 2D.” If this is the case then it seems to eliminate all the cons. I would love to review the High White screen but for now I am satisfied with my StereoView screen.
I do NOT work for MDI Strong or any home theater type company nor was I compensated in any way. Just my opinions and thoughts for you all.
Here are a few pictures to show the screen in action taken with my iPhone 4. It is impossible to photograph the screen texture and the hotspotting in not nearly as predominate as in these photos.