Stewart 110" Firehawk Home Theater Projection Screen for $175. Is that a good deal? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-07-2014, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Stewart 110" Firehawk Home Theater Projection Screen for $175. Is that a good deal?

This is for sale on my local craigslist-type site

Is that a good deal? I am currently building my first HT and was going to make my own screen, but if this one is a good deal for the money I might just grab it.

Thanks!

Last edited by ODirty; 07-07-2014 at 10:36 PM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-07-2014, 11:14 PM
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If it has a crease, wrinkle, hole, scuff or scratch (which they'll conveniently forget to mention), it'll be $175 wasted because you WILL notice it during viewing. If it's close and you can easily take a good look at it first without feeling pressured to drop money down, it sounds worth a look. That's still a decent chunk of money for a used item with no protection and a decent DIY screen (which most are quite capable of) can easily hold its own without disappointment.

If it's in perfect shape, fits your room well, doesn't hotspot, and can be brought home without damage..that seems like a good enough price. If it doesn't fill ALL those requirements, build your own and don't look back.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 08:22 AM
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I've gotta say, DIY screens don't touch the frame build quality that commercial screens have, and Stewart is very good with this.

Building a frame and wrapping some blackout cloth around it doesn't create the same positive gain grey material that the Firehawk delivers. You also have to then make a quality border for it, which isn't in the same ballpark with velour tape, compared to a beveled velour wrapped screen.

And of course, when you go to stick any DiY screen into your car, you aren't necessarily going to be able to take it apart easily to make it fit.

Not the DiY screens can't look great, but they lack many of the advantages that good professional screens have.

In this case, $175 for a screen in very good shape, is an excellent price. This screen likely ran at a cost of over $1,000. So, this is a significant savings. You want to look at the screen material carefully and make sure it is in good shape, and you may want to call Stewart about getting replacement material and the cost of that. Stewart should be able to send you replacement material at a price, but if 110" is the right size, then the frame alone is worth well more than $175.

Make sure that it's a 16:9 frame, not a 4:3 frame or some weird aspect ratio. Bring your tape measure with you and be prepared to look closely, but the price is excellent.

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post #4 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 11:21 AM
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Is there a chance of it not being a fixed-frame screen? If so, make sure it IS a fixed-frame Stewart and that there isn't anything wrong with the frame.

To AV, would it be possible to buy a less expensive brand's frame to attach a Stewart material to? Is the difference in frame quality likely to be significant..or is the value mostly in the name and its resale ability?
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ftoast View Post
Is there a chance of it not being a fixed-frame screen? If so, make sure it IS a fixed-frame Stewart and that there isn't anything wrong with the frame.

To AV, would it be possible to buy a less expensive brand's frame to attach a Stewart material to? Is the difference in frame quality likely to be significant..or is the value mostly in the name and its resale ability?
Stewart typically uses a snap type screen frame. These tend to be rather pricey. Some manufacturers claim this to not be the 'best' way, and instead 'rods' are a better way to connect screens. From my experience, this is not at all the case and is marketing BS. Stewart has done this for years, and Carada does it as well. In 10+ years dealing with Carada and Stewart I've never seen any of their screens have any issues.

Now, I think Stewart is a 'name brand' company that has a premium associated with their more typical stuff. That is, the difference between a Elite Sable screen a a Stewart fixed frame screen certainly isn't worth the price. But, Stewart has unique screen materials such as the Firehawk material which is a positive gain grey screen. Generally speaking, these use a bit of an optical coating to achieve the positive gain while still using a grey underlying screen material. It's difficult to accurately achieve this in a DiY setup.

But it's the frame, where the money is at. I believe they are 3.5" or 4" thick aluminum with a good thick velour covering. The velour is securely fastened all the way around the frame and looks fantastic. The Sable screens have a much cheaper wrap and aren't as well constructed.

The frames are also designed to produce zero shadowing of the image. If any projector is placed above the top of a screen, and the frame of the screen has square inner edges, then the top edge of the screen will cast a shadow onto the screen. By using a beveled frame and pressing it against the material, the screen ensures zero shadowing.

Can you use a different screen? I'm sure you could, but as a DiY project it would be significant. I certainly wouldn't be up for the time involved in all of that myself.

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post #6 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 12:59 PM
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I paid over $1800,00 for a 100" Stewart Black Hawk Screen over 10 years ago.
I bought direct from the factory. I have been very satisfied.

If the one on Craigslist List has no creases, marks, tears, or scars grab it
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Laredo View Post
If the one on Craigslist List has no creases, marks, tears, or scars grab it
If the frame is in good condition, and the screen surface is in poor condition, then I would contact Stewart about the cost of replacement material and would very likely buy it anyway.

Your aren't getting this level of quality for under $500, or likely $1,000, brand new. Certainly Draper and DaLite don't deliver this level of quality for that price.

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post #8 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 02:04 PM
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I bought an electric Stewart screen a few years back taking a gamble. It did have a vertical ripple. Contacted Stewart and they offered to fix it free if I paid shipping. What I got back was a new screen. They are a top notch company. So bottom line ended up with a $3800 screen for $500. Of course don't count on that but any way affordable to get into their screens is the way to go. Very happy with mine.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-16-2014, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I texted the seller and informed him/her that their dimensions given didn't match the advertised size. They never texted me back. So I think we will just go with a DIY screen.

Any suggestion in what works best for the black border around the screen?
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-16-2014, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ODirty View Post
Well I texted the seller and informed him/her that their dimensions given didn't match the advertised size. They never texted me back. So I think we will just go with a DIY screen.

Any suggestion in what works best for the black border around the screen?
You can get velvet or velvetine (I'm sure I misspelled that) and either apply directly to your screen edges or wrap and staple(at the rear, of course) some trim. If you use trim, make sure it is either very shallow/thin or sloped so the inside (facing the screen) is very thin..otherwise it can cast a shadow by blocking a bit of the image depending on your offset.

You can even find sticky-back velvet/felt which might be easier if you're applying directly to the screen edges without trim.

If you're going super cheap, I've heard black hockey tape can work as well.

If you want velvet and want to jump a hoop to save some money, there's a thread somewhere here where you can find folks to split the cost and fabric because you only use a narrow bit of the length so a lot gets wasted on a single use..leaves a lot for a second screen, second attempt, or to sell for cheap to another forum member.

Last edited by Ftoast; 07-16-2014 at 05:07 PM.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-16-2014, 06:13 PM
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You could just go for the "Zero-Edge" look that is prevalent on LED tv's as long as the screen material is neatly wrapped around the frame.
Not for everyone I suppose, but we like the clean look.
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-17-2014, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ftoast View Post
You can get velvet or velvetine (I'm sure I misspelled that) and either apply directly to your screen edges or wrap and staple(at the rear, of course) some trim. If you use trim, make sure it is either very shallow/thin or sloped so the inside (facing the screen) is very thin..otherwise it can cast a shadow by blocking a bit of the image depending on your offset.
When I built mine I got some synthetic velvet from a fabric store for around $40. I wrapped it around the frame and stapled it in about 1,000 places (beg, borrow, or steal a pneumatic stapler!). It's worked very well for me and I would recommend this approach to anyone.


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