I'm looking for a manual, low-gain screen that is washable, has no wrinkles and preferrably has a smooth surface.
Da-Lite's website says the Da-Mat is smooth, but does not say the same thing about the Matte White. If that implies that the Matte White surface has texture, is it noticeable/objectionable? How durable are these screens?
Any recommendations on other manufacturer's low-gain screens (1.3 or less)?
Any help would be appreciated.
Let me help answer some of you questions regarding Da-Lite's fabrics. I have worked with them for many years now and have a fairly good knowledge of what Da-Lite has to offer in screen fabrics and a little bit about the screen industry.
As for your question about the Matte White fabric having texture, the only texture is from the fiber-glass base that is used to make the material. Let me explain this a little further. When choosing screen materials from a manufacturer there are two basic (physical) categories of screen fabrics to choose. One is a fiber-glass supported type of fabric and the other is a non-supported vinyl fabric. Matte White falls into the category of fiber-glass supported fabrics. It is made from a woven fiber-glass base material and then various materials are applied to make up the black backing and the white front surface. Therefore, the only texture you would see from this type of material is the weave of the fiber-glass, which causes no objectionable distortion to the image. I might also add that supported fabrics only require tension at the top and bottom of the screen. Therefore, they typically have only a weight bar at the bottom of the screen and no tension mechanism on the sides of the fabric.
Now, on to non-supported vinyl fabrics. This type of fabric starts out as liquid vinyl and is then formed into a screen by varying methods. The fact that it starts out as a liquid and has no supporting structure is what makes it smooth. The other difference to this fabric is the fact that is needs tensioned from all four sides of the material. This is the reason why you only see this fabric on either fixed wall screens or electric screens with a tab guide system down the side of the fabric.
The other thing to consider when choosing a screen fabric is what gain you are going to. In your posting, you asked about screens with a gain of 1.3 or less. Quickly, the way the various screen manufacturers give screens gain is by adding reflective substances to the base materials. This is done for both the supported and non-supported vinyl surfaces. For example, you mentioned Da-Liteâ€™s materials. They have a material that is called Video Spectra 1.5 that is a fiber-glass supported fabric with a gain of 1.5 (this material is washable). In addition, they have a non-supported vinyl material called Cinema Vision that is a 1.3 gain.
As for your question about these surfaces being durable, they are very durable. However, you would not want the kids to be punching the screen or writing on it. After all, you are buying a screen not a marker board or punching bag. Also, the thing you have to remember about these surfaces being washable is the fact that if the screen has gain (higher than 1.0) it more than likely has a reflective material deposited on its surface. Therefore, when you rub on it for cleaning purposes you will remove this material and create a dark spot in the image. Hence, making sure your screen is either rolled up and out of the way when not in use or placed in a spot were it cannot get dirty hand prints on it is very critical. The only exception to this is Video Spectra 1.5. The reflective materials are imbedded into a coating on the surface which makes it washable.
Whatever you choose for a screen surface just remember that Da-Lite is the largest and the oldest screen manufacturer out there and they definately know what they are doing. Don't hesitate to call them at their toll free number 800-622-3737. They will be happy to answer any question.
I hope this helps!
Will be selling my Matte White DaLite in about a week. Model B manual pull down, 45x80" in great shape. I purchased in March of this year. Would sell it for $150 if interested. Its basically brand new. Will throw in wall brackets and ship. email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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