Originally Posted by eliocon
I received my 100 Brilliant White Criterion screen yesterday and I have to say I'm totally floored by the quality. I can't believe what an enormous difference it makes. I upgraded from a 92 Optoma Graywolf 1 manual screen. My equipment is as follows: Panasonic AE900, Denon DVD 3910, Dish Network HD PVR, Yamaha RX Z1, 8 Infinity Beta speakers and an MK sub. My HT room is painted matte navy blue on all the walls except the wall the screen is on. That and the ceiling are painted black. Navy blue carpeting finishes the completely light controlled room. It's a cave.
Unpacking: As everyone else that has purchased one of the screens has said, the screen was packed perfectly. Everything was in perfect order and without any blemishes. The screen, which comes rolled on a cardboard tube, was smooth and wrinkle free even before I stretched it onto the frame.
Construction: The frame was surprisingly rigid while not being terribly heavy. I really thought it would feel less hefty than it does. The difference between closing the door on a Toyota as opposed to a Mercedes. This feels like a Mercedes. And the velvet covering is really something. I had assumed that, for the price, the frame would be covered with something that would look and feel more like black wallpaper flocking than real velvet. I'm not sure what the material is but it looks and feels really great. It's the kind of elegant touch you expect will cost you a couple of hundred dollars more. I still can't get over the quality feel of every component of this screen. It went together perfectly. All the corners slid solidly and smoothly into each other. The hardest part was stretching the screen material over the snaps and even that wasn't hard. From unpacking it to standing back and admiring it on my wall literally took 30 minutes. And I installed it alone. Now granted my room had a low ceiling so the screen isn't hung to high but still it's amazing that something so large can be comfortably handled by one person.
Picture Quality: Here's where the Brilliant White material really shines. As much as I liked my Graywolf, I still think it's a really nice screen for the price, I always had several issues with it. First was the granular surface. It always made the image look like I was viewing it through frosted glass. The Carada doesn't have this issue at all. Hit it with an image and the screen material disappears completely. The picture is crisp and sharp from corner to corner without a bit of hot spotting. In addition I had a lot of blooming occuring on text with a black background. The Carada eliminated this.
My second issue with the GW was color uniformity. Or more specifically lack thereof. Granted 3 chip LCD projectors always have varying degrees of uniformity issues but the GW screen aggravated a somewhat minor error by exaggerating it. On the GW I had a splotch of green near the center top of the screen, blue to the left and red to the right. On the Carada I see NONE of these. At all. I have looked at every shade of gray on all 3 of my test discs and the splotches just aren't there anymore. And these weren't dust blobs either. I know what those look like. I had always thought there was something wrong with the AE900 and that I'd have to send it in for a new optical block. It wasn't the projector it was the screen. I guess the unevenness of the coating was exaggerating colors on certain areas of the screen.
Issue three was the viewing angle. My AE900 is ceiling mounted and, even though my ceiling is a low one, the angle that I sat at forced me to sacrifice a lot of the brightness coming from the Graywolf. It also didn't hold its brightness from one end of the couch to the other. The Carada has a MUCH wider viewing angle. I can't see any difference at all whether I'm sitting, standing, left or right on the couch. It's made my entire room the best seat in the house.
The black level on the Optoma was really nice but since it has a 1.8 gain and the Brilliant White has a 1.4 I think it's a wash. At least to my eye it is. The black levels on this screen are richer than I expected. And since it's so bright I was able to lower the brightness on my AE900 and boost the blacks a bit more without losing any shadow detail. I do have the Denon set to 0 IRE which tends to crush the black a bit but man oh man it looks good. That goes for my HD DVR as well. And I can't control the black level on that at all and I get deep inky blacks with it.
Colors just pop off the screen with the Carada. Everything looks zingier and fresher and more three-dimensional. The Graywolf always had a certain dinginess to it. Overall it's one of the best screens I've ever seen.
Service: Here I get to sing the praises of Rex Bittle and David Giles. Both those guys really know customer service. They respond quickly and thoroughly to any and all email questions no matter how large or small. Both of them are incredibly patient and knowledgeable. I felt like I was in very good hands in the 3 months it took me to make my decision. I used to work in management for Apple Computer retail and good customer service was something we always put before everything else. Rex and David have Steve Jobs beat. If everyone treated their customers like these guys do the world would be a better place. Thanks guys!!!
If anyone considering buying or switching from a Greywolf to a Carada please feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to share my experiences with you.