So, I got a Sony 55 projector and I'm working through the "which screen should I get" dilemma. Knowing it would take time to get a screen, just to pacify my need to watch the projector and tinker- I ordered some cheap material from Carl's; the "Pro Gray" they sell for $90.00 or whatever. I literally tacked this material to my wall using thumb tacks. No frame, nothing... just to see the picture of the Sony and get a baseline.
My room is a light gray paint, white ceilings and trim- with medium ambient light. There are a total of 4 windows that just have basic window blinds. This is more of a man cave as opposed to a dedicated theater room and I'm not going to bother with any type of light control. My goals are to be able to use this projector as my main display in any room so I was concerned with ambient light and absolutely thought that my only option is black diamond. Well, I got the Carl's material up and when the projector came in I was surprised to find that the light conditions really aren't that bad and even with all the lights on in the room and blinds open I can still watch a movie without having a totally washed out screen.
So, I decided the next step to be order material and figure out what looks best and then order my screen. This is what I have in hand:
Black Diamond 1.4 gain
All 4 samples are taped dead center onto my cheap $90.00 screen material from Carl's. I have viewed this in every possible configuration with variations of ambient light.
Here are my thoughts:
Black Diamond 1.4- Some advantages when all lighting is in "torch mode" and the room is so bright that I'd never watch anything in that much light..... but not $4K worth of advantage.
Slate: You can't even tell its on top of the Carl's screen material. Seriously- if you don't look for the seam you can't even tell its there. Its almost IDENTICAL to the Carl's material.
Neve- Way too white.. makes the picture look dull. Only advantage I see is if you want the whitest of white and don't care for much contrast.
Firehawk G4- Brighter than Slate but only by a margin and its a very small one. Its in between the Neve and Slate if that makes sense.
Now for the part that is driving me absolutely nuts..... IMHO.... out of all the materials... the Carl's Pro Gray actually looks the best- not kidding.
To make sure I'm not insane... I threw up a black blanket (the fuzzy type) over the screen, and taped the same materials to the blanket and then zoomed in the 55 so it didn't throw a picture on the Carl's material. Still- the Slate material looked best to me which ironically is dead nuts on par with the Carl's picture.
This is totally hopeless............. Only sample left is the Stewart Tiburon and I have a feeling its going to fall in between the Firehawk and Slate.