Originally Posted by MississippiMan
In selecting a screen, the combination of Color Correctness, Texture (lack of), screen Color, and the Reflectivity quotient (Gain) all should play a part in any decision. Inexpensiveness alone does not dictate a choice's worthiness. And inexpensiveness is relative to what one needs, expects, and can afford.
Many have recently stated that with recent PJ improvements, a plain white wall is approaching "good enough" status. That is far too oversimplified a statement. To be true, these things would have to be true.
1. The Wall's surface would have to be unnaturally smooth, almost perfectly flat, or made to be so.
2. The PJ would have to have the perfect balance of Brightness, uniformity of illumination, and deep "NATIVE"
3. The room itself must not distract from the performance of the Screen by itself being too reflective of light received by the Screen's own reflections.
4. Artificial & Natural Lighting would have to be held in check and thoughtfully planned for so as not to compete with / detract from image quality.
Now that's all a lot to ask of anyone who doesn't have a dedicated Theater room in mind, nor a wall that fits the needed criteria for smoothness and color.
A few budget Mfg Screens can fill that Bill, but they all pretty much are fixed Screens, and still represent an investment considerably more expensive than most DIY Screens.
Brook no mistake, the better overall a PJ is designed, the easier it is to accommodate "normal" circumstances.
But using a Wall is not normal in and of itself. Neither is expecting deep, saturated Colors and obsidian-level Blacks in rooms with excessive lighting of highly reflective surfaces.
Projector positioning adds another ingredient to the stew that is of our own making. Given all the varied selections available, a general lack of cooking skills, and all too often the need to make necessary compromises, it's no stretch to say that many do not always get the palatable end results they had hoped for.
Now along comes 3D, with a raft of new challenges to address. Most PJ Mfg are realizing that brightness is an essential key, but the unfortunate truth is that along with brightness comes a reduction in Native & Dynamic Contrast....both who are essential in determining the depth and saturation of any image under any viewing conditions or environment.
Now that is / has been changing. 4 years ago I would have done unmentionable things to have at my disposal an affordable 1080p unit with a true 5K:1 Native Contrast, 2400 lumens, Lens Shift, CMS and such. Now they are here, but all that is really evident is that Mfg Screen technology is lagging behind potential image quality. Certainly there are exceptions, options that run counter to that statement, but they all cost exceptionally more than what many "non-enthusiasts" can justify spending. When a Screen costs as much or more than a Projector....even 1/2 as much....it's a plain example of a regression back to the year 2000, when many expected the Screen to be the deciding factor....not the Projector.
Now anyone who knows what I'm all about knows where this is leading.
I have advocated DIY Screen making since 2001, when I realized that Mfg Screens I was willing to pay for (ie: afford) just were themselves inadequate and actually detrimental to image quality. It was a true revelation to see how good a smoothed, white wall could be under good conditions. And the cost difference? Up to 20x less expensive.
No "Gray" areas to that thinking.
DIY has kept apace of Projector Technology because DIY was...and always will be perched on the "cutting edge" in it's application of known PJ values and viewing circumstances. It cannot always be a simple as rolling on a "out of the can" white or gray paint onto an existing wall, but advancements in PJ design and performance has made that more possible than it was in 2001, lemmie tell ya that!
But the more advanced DIY Screens can...and do take FP imaging potential to higher levels...and do so at ridiculously lower cost than any high performance Mfg screen.
The above pretty much sums it up. With 3D, the amount of gain a surface has is, and will remain among the most important of considerations. It's plainly obvious that with the rise in popularity of 3D, screen sizes have taken a nose-dive. While PJ Mfg are addressing the issue with higher lumen output, they are also accepting losses in the gains made over the last 2 years in PJ Contrast specifications. PJs that have better balances of brightness and contrast cost noticeably more, yet even they have precipitous drops in brightness when 3D is employed.
Screen Mfg who are "upping Gain" are doing so at the cost of "Screen Transparency" and they are charging out the kazoo for the privileged of dealing with the caveats such screen designs bring to the viewing equation. And...if their are no caveats to deal with....one can and must expect to pay even higher prices. Such is the way of things, unfortunately.
So we all are left to either accepting the imbalances we are dealt with and adjusting our plans and expectations accordingly, or spending excessively for Screens that accommodate our needs and desires.
.........or (here it comes) one can explore the realm of high performance DIY Screen making, if one has the work ethic (not always all that much), the need for something really good that is also really affordable (always the case with DIY screens) and who feels like they can justify the time and effort. (problematical for some until they actually give it a shot)
I and others like me exist on the DIY Screen forum to cater to the needs of those of you who are caught between the Rock (3D PJs) and Hard Place (Screen choices) of Front projection) There are very viable and inexpensive choices available, ones that are made to order for the newer PJs. I dare say they have been waiting for the PJs to catch up actually.
For those to whom DIY is not possible, or even downright repugnant, there are Mfg Screen solutions. But there are no giveaways as far as what is needed for acheiving decent all around 3D performance.