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Screen Advice

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I'm in the early stages of planning out my home theater in my new house and am overwhelmed with advice and choices. I'm looking for a 110" screen, and haven't decided whether to go with AT or fixed screen. Can anybody assist me with opinions on the following:

1) How do AT screens compare visually with fixed frame screens (am i giving up visual impact in exchange for AT)?
2) How well do the Spandex screens work? Will it look equal to, better or worse than an HDTV?
3) If I go for the Fixed Screen, should I consider paint or Coroplast?
4) are there any budget DIY screen materials I should seriously consider?

post #2 of 2
Here's an excerpt from my build thread regarding the screen, which you may find helpful as I'm also building a home theater and my new house is under construction.... I think you will find some of the links more helpful than my personal opinion.

The Screen: This is another big decision that's not quite as easy as it seems. I've decided to go with an acoustically transparent (AT) screen with a 2.37:1 aspect ratio (most modern movies are in this format, while your HDTV is in a 16:9 ratio)... a constant image height (CIH). Acoustically transparent means you can place your speakers right behind the screen (well, at least 6" behind the screen). AT screens are, for me, the way to go. The voices sound like they are coming straight out of the mouths of the people on the screen. In fact, all three of my speakers will be behind the AT screen. Some will say, probably correctly so, that my 120"W X 50.6"H and 130.2" diagonal (D) screen is too small to place all the LCR (left, center, right) speakers behind the screen since it's on a 17' wall. (I may even move to a 130" W screen in the end.)

While watching content in a 16:9 format, the picture will be 90"W X 50.6"H... and 103.2"D. There will be black bars on the left and right sides of the screen while watching in this format.

I am planning to go with the Enlightor 4K as my AT screen. For those of you trying to decide between solid screens and AT screens, the solid screens generally have a better picture quality (PQ). Here's a report on screen materials that I thought was particularly helpful.... http://accucalhd.com/documents/accucal_front_projection_screen_report.pdf

For those of you trying to decide on screen size and aspect ratio, I recommend the following articles from Projector Central... Choosing the Right Screen Size http://www.projectorcentral.com/build_home_theater_screen_size.htm and Selecting Aspect Ratio http://www.projectorcentral.com/build_home_theater_screen_aspect_ratio.htm These articles really brought clarity to what were, for me, very difficult decisions... and there is no "correct answer." I choose the 2.4:1 aspect, while most people have gone with the 16:9 ratio.

One more issue before leaving the topic of screens... screen gain. Here's an article that helps demistify this confusing topic.... http://hdliving.com/learning-center/2011/07/01/home-theater-tech-screen-gain-explained Here are are a couple of big picture thoughts... Screen gain and projector performance are joined at the hip. Also, I refer, once again, to the projection screen material report above... screen gains are nearly always lower than advertised... and "off axis" viewing (not sitting front and center) measurements are important. If you are sitting in the "money seat" (the front and center seat from which audio and visual measurements are done) and no one else is in the room, you don't have to worry about this issue as much... however, this is an important issue if mulitple people are in the HT room.
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