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White, Grey, or Silver - A Review!

post #1 of 1037
Thread Starter 

Welcome to my third screen review. This review will demonstrate three professionally manufactured materials that are White, Grey, and Silver. I hope to demonstrate the differences of what these different screen colorations can offer and how you may benefit.

The White screen will be a white uncoated PVC vinyl that many manufacturers carry and is most similar to the Draper 1300/ Vutec Brite White. The Grey screen that will be demonstrated will be the Stewart Firehawk. This is a hybrid screen made on a tensionable grey PVC vinyl backing. And finally, I will present a Silver screen known as the SilverStar from Vutec.

I have lived with all three of these screens in my home theater. This is not a trade show review where a glimpse of a product and limited first impressions are stuck in my head. I have run all three of these screens through a battery of tests and am fairly confident of their abilities and limitations. They all represent their coloration characteristics to the highest available performance. As a reminder, this review is for fun and will be full of my observations and opinions. I will not use any special instruments in the review process (only YOUR eyes), and I will try to present all information and pictures as accurately as possible. My camera is also not perfect or calibrated for color accuracy; however, all pictures are untouched and were taken from the same manual setting. Unfortunately, there is no one perfect screen surface so you will likely have some tradeoffs. This review will show you images that are possible with these three different materials but not how they can be integrated into your theater.

Also, I get paid nothing to do this. I do not endorse or work for any manufacturer or even have any ties to the AV industry except as a hobbyist. I also do not claim to know why each manufacturer does what they do except that they are in business and they likely choose products that they can sell. Finally, and most importantly, I am not an expert. I will attempt to pass on my impressions and will try my best to call them as I see them.

Now, on to the screens!

1. Draper 1300 or similar Vutec Brite White 1.3

This, like all other vinyl/pvc material, needs tensioning. It is very white. With the slight surface sheen created from the manufacturing process it brings the gain up slightly above 1. It also does not suffer from any hot spotting. This screen has basically and unlimited viewing angle with virtually no noticeable drop-off. This material is actually light transmissive so you can see the image on the backside. This allows the material to illuminate and may help in the light diffusion process.

2. Stewart - Firehawk 1.35

The Stewart Firehawk is a grey pvc/vinyl material that also needs tensioning. The grey material is slightly darker than the Vutec Greydove/Draper HiDef Grey and it has a reflective emulsion carefully and lightly splattered on. The grey material is designed to give you good blacks and the reflective emulsion boosts the whites bringing the gain up to 1.35. This, of course, reduces the viewing angle.

3. Vutec - SilverStar 6.0

Material is some kind of silvery angular reflective paper laminated onto a solid composite foam board. Screen surface is silver in color and pretty smooth. Very bright, but not too bright for HT. Super vibrant colors and over the top whites. The SilverStar somehow has a better viewing cone horizontally than all the other high powers. It's hard to estimate the gain of this screen but it is definitely very bright. It feels like about 3+?. Remarkably, it doesn't seem to suffer from hot spotting. However, I bet if you went with screen sizes larger than what Vutec actually manufactures, you likely would see something.

Both the White and Firehawk screens are made with a PVC vinyl backing so they need to be tensioned to remove the wrinkles. The SilverStar comes as a solid fixed screen so it has no wrinkles at all. All three of the screens are Angular Reflective in nature so are ideal for most projector mounting applications including the ceiling.

How do they compare?


A standard white screen has been the AV industry standard now for a long time. Why? In offers accurate colors, great looking whites and the most generous viewing angles of any screen. Basically, no nonsense. Plus there are numerous materials to fit the bill for a matte white screen material. All standard or Matte White screens are basically neutral gain or 1. Some manufacturers say their product is 1.1 or 1.3, but this slight bump in these numbers are considered false gain and usually attributed to a slight surface sheen from manufacturing the product. There are white colored screens like the Da-lite Cinema vision or High Power that offer increased gain but from an emulsion that is put onto the screen backing. Don't expect to see noticeable differences in gain within the 1-1.3 gain range.

The white screen that I will be showing is extra white pvc/vinyl tensionable material with no surface texture or emulsion. This material has been in my own HT for years. The cool thing about this material is that light penetrates it allowing the illumination effect. This illumination effect diffuses and blends the light a bit hiding some source material artifacts and provides spot on linear color accuracy and whites. Also, since the light is able to penetrate the material, it may defuse the light in such a way as to lighten up the area between the pixels known as screen door and possibly soften some source material artifacts. Basically this screen is low enough gain and forgiving enough to hide many of the flaws of your system. In reality, it's about the same as all the other matte white screens but is tensionable to eliminate any wrinkles.


As we start thinking about grey and what it does we enter into negative gain territory. Obviously the darker the grey gets the less reflectivity it has and thus its ability to hide your system flaws increases. Of course what's really happening is you are just reflecting less light/image! Grey has just recently become popular and this can primarily be contributed to the fact that digital projectors are gaining in popularity, they typically have problems providing the deepest of blacks, and there are enough higher lumen projectors available now to make using grey possible.

Keep in mind grey reduces the reflected light and thus causes coloration changes. Some people don't mind this, others just can't get used to it. And of course, if it's the only screen in your theater, you may not even notice, as you have nothing to compare it to. In some applications grey screen may be necessary to tame a projector with lots of lumens or if your projector suffers from lack of contrast range it may also be of some benefit. How does it change colors?

Thank you Movie Bear for this illustration.

I will be showing the Stewart Firehawk for grey. This is not your typical grey screen. It actually is a grey hybrid screen that has reflective emulsion on a grey backing to give it the darks of a grey screen and the whites of a 1.35 gain screen. The Stewart Filmscreen team came up with this screen combination that essentially offers the deepest of blacks, a reflective coating for the punch of 1.35 gain in addition to rejection of ambient light via a viewing cone. Viewing on the Firehawk is a little like having an equalizer on your stereo and pushing up the bass and the treble. If you're a purist this may bother you. The casual observer will likely love it.
The Firehawk sheds ambient light better than any product I've seen, but the best picture is definitely obtained by watching on-axis. You do have some amount of leeway from side to side without noticing the drop-off and this should be fine for most home theater environments. I actually think this product performs it's best with a little ambient light. In total darkness blacks tends to lose shadow detail and whites tend to look crushed to me. If you like some ambient light in your viewing environment the Stewart Firehawk may be for you.


Silver, it's back and Wow!
The movie industry started out with silver for a reason low light projectors. This is similar to what some HTs experience. You can significantly boost gain through silver as high as ~10 gain! Unlike greys, colors and whites are vibrant and almost leap off the screen and yet it can still offer the perceived blacks of a grey screen. Silver however obviously has the highest probability for hot spotting. The trick is to find a surface or emulsion that offers the properties of silver with the excellent diffusion of a standard white screen. Enter the Vutec SilverStar and as far as I know they are the only company that offers such a screen.

I've been living with a 122" SilverStar for a few weeks now and can't stop getting excited about what it does. It's hard not to like this screen right from the get go. Colors are beautiful and almost leap off the screen! Whites are white white white. The dynamic range is in a totally different league, response is linear throughout the range, and the viewing cone is remarkably much wider than the Firehawk at 1.35 gain. Unfortunately, the biggest screen they manufacture is only 122 diagonal as I would love to have one even bigger! Trick questionhow do get a 122 plasma? Match a 1000 lumen projector with the SilverStar! Seriously though, I love watching stuff on this thing. Perfect screen? Of course not, there are tradeoffs with everything. One thing is the viewing cone/light diffusion efficiency. Hey this thing sets new standards for light diffusion efficiency. It is so good it has a hard time shedding ambient light. Make sure you have NO direct ambient light hitting the screen. You will see it. Even though you can still obtain a great image with low indirect lighting, no lighting will yield the most impressive results for Home Theater. Also because this thing is ~3+ gain (no, it's not too much) you may see flaws of your system more easily(projector, source, component etc.). Compression artifacts may become noticeable if sitting too close etc. Bottom line, this screen surface is very sensitive to light. Feed it the right stuff and you will be rewarded with a stunning image that other screens are just not capable of producing. People say this screen surface also has a characteristic behavior of being kind of sparkly/active in some scenes(sky). This is compression artifacts from the source material. How can you alleviate this? Sit at least 16 feet from the screen. My closest viewing puts me at 18 feet, so I can't see it but if I move closer to the screen it does become evident if I really start to look for it. Kids, this screen is like a high performance sports car. You will feel every pit, bump and piece of gravel on the road. If you're looking for a Ferrari this is probably the screen for you.

From the few weeks of viewing the SilverStar I have been very critical as I am a skeptic with every thing. However, the good definitely outweighs the bad in my system and it would be very hard at this point to go back now to anything with less gain and/or performance.

Now for the testingseeing is believing!

My Home Theater for testing

The projector being used in the test is a JVC G1000 (D-ila), producing approximately 600 true lumens right now. It is "ceiling mounted" and aligned with the top of the screen. Center couch seating is 18' from screen, projector is 26' from screen. Screens are approximately 9-10 feet wide and all 16:9 aspect ratio.


One interesting test I put these three screens through is the examination of a single pixel. I really wanted to see if I could illustrate my theory that a white uncoated PVC screen actually diffuses screen door effect in digital projectors slightly. What I found was something even more remarkable. I fully expected the SilverStar to exacerbate the screen door as it is much higher gain than the other two screens. What I found was that it actually minimized it? Huh? I'll let you decide, but I think it is actually harder to see the screen door and pixel dimple on the SilverStar Here are some pictures. Pull back from your screen a bit and see if you concur

Screen Shots

Hey, I could go on and on about how great each one of these screen materials are or I can let you see for yourself. As they say A picture is worth a thousand words so I offer these full screen shots of these three different materials and same source material. These shots were high-resolution shots taken from the Kodak high resolution digital website. I apologize for those taken a little off center and I've been testing out my new camera. All pictures were taken from a subcompact digital camera (Canon Powershot S400). The lens is very sensitive to geometry issues compared to my other camera. I think you'll get the idea Enjoy!

Also, all shots will be presented in order of White, Grey, Silver for reference, and were taken in very low lighting conditions. Not total darkness but very dim. It would be impossible to read a newspaper under these lighting conditions without the reflection of the screen.


White, Grey or Silver

What's best for you? Of course it is important to match the best product with your own equipment and environment. In my case I went from a white screen which I loved, to a grey screen which took me a long time to get used to, and finally a silver screen which I'm having more fun with than... It's kind of like the first time I started watching High Definition materialI'm still watching in awe.

If you want no-nonsense performance and accurate delivery of colors and whites I highly recommend a white-based screen. If you are trying to overcome some limitations of your equipment or environment, like poor black level, a grey screen may be for you. If you want what is possibly the best of both worlds and an awesome punch to your image, you should really consider what Silver could do for you.

I hope that others manufactures will consider the benefits of silver and start working on their version of the best of both worlds Until then, bravo Vutec! what a screen!

Okay, one final White, Grey, Silver split screen shot of all the tested screens in one shot. I thought I'd bring back your favorite

Sorry about the green shading in the background on the right...that's from my D-ILA.

Again, Thank you AVScience! and

Vutec Corp for the SilverStar
Stewart Filmscreen for the Firehawk

For further information screen info you can contact:

Vutec Corp (FL): www.vutec.com (954) 545-9000
Stewart Filmscreen Corp. (CA): www.stewartfilm.com (310) 784-5300
Draper, Inc. (IN): www.draperinc.com (800) 580-1560
Da-Lite Screen Company (IN): www.da-lite.com (574) 267-8101
post #2 of 1037
Thread Starter 
What About Contrast?

Can a Gray or Silver screen offer different contrast? Yes, and No.
A screen is just a passive device so it's really only capable of showing you what your projector is displaying. However, this is only true in perfect conditions (total darkness). Enter ambient light into the equation...

Let's assume that we have a room with perfect light control---all walls painted black, for example. (I say this because I don't want to have to deal with secondary reflections off non-white walls in this analysis.) We're going to be looking at how 5 different screens work in this room:
--- an 0.75 gain gray screen
--- a 1.0 gain white screen
--- a 1.5 gain gray screen
--- a 2.0 gain white screen
--- a 3.0 gain gray screen
Let's assume that all screens are angular reflective, and that all of the gray screens are exactly the same base color of gray.

First, let's turn off ALL ambient light, and look at the brightness vs. gray level response of all the screens. The result is shown in the FIRST graph below. As you can see, all of the lines intersect (0,0) at. If your projector is capable of 2000:1, this perfectly dark room would achieve 2000:1 contrast on any of these screens---each with a different peak brightness, of course.

Now let's turn on some ambient light and see what happens. We're going to turn on enough ambient light so that, with the projector off, the matte white 1.0 gain screen is registering a brightness of 5 lumens. Performing the same experiement, we get the results in the SECOND graph below.

As you can see, the two white screens bottom out at 5 lumens, just like we expect. But the gray screens bottom out at 3.75 lumens, a 25% reduction. This is no surprise: the gray color absorbs some of the ambient light. At the high end, the ambient light is overwhelmed by the projected image, and everything looks normal---also no surprise.

In these very poor conditions, the contrast ratios are horrible:
-- 0.75 gain gray: 3:1
-- 1.0 white: 3:1
-- 1.5 gray: 5:1
-- 2.0 white: 5:1
-- 3.0 gray: 9:1
Obviously nobody would want to watch under these conditions. But, I purposefully chose a lot of ambient light so that the differences would actually be visible on the graph. Also, let's not forget that the ambient light is additive, so it not only reduces contrast but it shifts all colors slightly towards the color of the ambient light.

But the point is clear: if you don't have a "black hole" for a theater, your choice of screen can make a difference in the contrast ratio you experience! Perhaps the reason the SilverStar works well is that it makes the blacks look darker than the ambient light, while giving you enough gain so that the whites are still nice and bright.

Thanks Michael Grant for that Contrast explanation and Illustrations!

How about this viewing cone thing?

We all know a passive device can't create light. So how can the SilverStar have Higher Gain and Wider Viewing Cone?

First off, I think the substrate which is used is just more efficient than painted on emulsions. When you paint on emulsions, regardless of how good you are, you will have differences is particle alignment and consistency. These reflective particles are what make "gain" screens get their gain. The SilverStar is different in that it uses a manufactured reflective paper of some sort. This manufacturing process apparently yields incredibly consistent results and therefor more efficiency.

Secondly, the SilverStar substrate seems to have a wider viewing in the horizontal axis. The vertical axis is still wide, but it's very noticable the horizontal axis is MUCH wider than any other higher power screen out there. This is very good for home theater as it gives the full effects of the gain from all seats in the house, and there is no noticable dropoff if you tend to move from side to side during viewing. Wide is good!

How exactly it does it? I don't know. But it does it!

What about Shadow Detail?

Okay, you probably think by now that I'm a little biased toward the SilverStar. The truth? You bet I am. The thing delivers.

You also probably think I just tried to pull a fast one on you by Wowing you with colors and other explanations. What else do you need to be wowed by? Hey, if your not saying Wow by now you either just bought a grey screen or you're wearing your sunglasses.

If you look closely, not only are the SilverStar pictures outright stunning, but there are numerous things in every image that just cannot be seen in the white and grey screens. For more shadow detail examples I'll submit these pics.... Enjoy!

More testing to come...

Let There Be Light!
post #3 of 1037
Thread Starter 
This Post is a Supplement to the testing done for the WHITE, GREY, and SILVER Review.

First off I would like to thank darinp for dismantling both his home theaters and bringing them down to my place about 100 miles away. We had quite an arsenal of equipment, screens, and theater room flexibility to really give us a good idea of what we liked and what we didn't like. On another note, after seeing all this equipment over a 4-hour period, and late at night, your mind starts to get a little foggy on even what's good and what's not. In the end I think we both probably came to some similar conclusions.

Keep in mind when reading and viewing we are looking and examining some high-end stuff. All of these screens are very good and will likely please any average human. Our real quest, I guess, is to be total nerds and over analyze the best of the best.

Our mission? First off, was to have a little fun and get to know each of the screens. Then our job was to:

1. Demonstrate black level.
2. Reexamine viewing angles.
3. Test the SilverStar with DLP

Fortunately my theater room/living room/lab has enough space that throwing around 10 foot wide screens can be accomplished with ease. Also, my front screen frame system allows for easy swap out of any material you want in about 5 minutes. This can be ideal for somebody that wants different screens for different occasions.

Okay, for all the test pictures we will still be using my system which should be evident as my D-ILA has a fairly obvious shading issues on the right side of the pictures and it only comes in at about 700:1 contrast after calibration.

Demonstration of Blacks

1. SilverStar vs. Firehawk

Here's a good test. Certainly a screen that's about 3 times the gain should have significantly elevated black levels, especially with this projector. But, what are the shadow detail differences? All these split screen shots will have the SilverStar on the Left, Firehawk on the Right, and are all about 10 feet wide.

2. SilverStar vs. Da-Lite High Power

Another great test. We compared the SilverStar to the Da-Lite High Power because people asked us to, and we had one available. Which has better blacks? Better detail? These two screens actually turned out to be much closer in gain than we expected. We actually thought the high power might be slightly brighter perfectly on axis. All these split screen shots will have the SilverStar on the Left, High Power on the Right, and are all about 10 feet wide.

Comparing the viewing angles

This will be another demonstration of viewing angles and light sensitivity. The SilverStar will be on the left and the Da-Lite High Power will be on the right. We will go from 0 - 40 degrees in 10 degree increments. We both thought the High Power was slightly brighter on axis but the SilverStar with it's unusually large viewing cone pulled away from it as we went past 15 degrees.

SilverStar with DLP?

Yes, as you go to higher gain like the SilverStar, or any screen, you are going to start to see the flaws of your system and source material. One question isCan a DLP look good on the SilverStar with it's limited resolution and other potential artifacts?

We used the NEC HT1000.
The HT1000 is a native 4:3 format DLP-based projector which uses the new standard XGA-resolution (1024x768) 12-degree high contrast DMD chip. It is rated at 1000 ANSI lumens of brightness in normal operation. It can be reduced to 800 ANSI lumens in eco-mode to extend lamp life and reduce fan noise in operation. The specifications indicate a contrast ratio is over 2000 and even higher when the unique IRIS feature activated. This projector is a little powerhouse with an extremely small foot print.

Does it match these specs? No, but it is equally as bright as my JVC G1000 and has a damn good image for only an XGA projector. It definitely beats my D-ila in contrast but not in smoothness as the D-ila has 77% more pixels, 3 chips, and virtually no screen-door.

Now, we kinda cheated in watching this DLP because we used a DVD player that had DVI connections and thus the picture was REAL good. We got so wrapped up in watching only good content on good equipment that we kinda forgot to try to find out where a DLP projector might break down on viewing with the SilverStar. Generally, I'd say it's not going to be an issue. The SilverStar will give you back exactly what you feed it. Feed it junk and you may be disappointed. Feed it quality material from proper equipment and it should sing.

Also, the HT1000 has a 4X color wheel. This minimizes the rainbow artifact to some extent but having a higher gain screen I think probably exacerbates this. I saw a lot of them in our dark scene testing.

Final Conclusions

Gain of a screen can be confusing at times. Generally, If you have a very intimate HT and sit close to the screen you'll likely be happier with a lower gain screen. It helps hide the flaws and does a little better job of removing the screen from the image. This shouldn't be that much of an issue because your irises in your eyes will adjust to the lower lighting intensity and still deliver a fine image to your brain. Will all the detail be there? No.

If you sit a little further back like 13 feet or more. You will likely enjoy a screen with more gain. It's really about viewing preferences. One thing that's pretty clear is that the further back you go the more the horsepower of higher gain becomes favorable. Go far enough back and it's no contest.

Back to the sparklies issue. I'm fully convinced now that it is entirely compression artifacts from the source material. The sparklies which I'm going to now call active screen really doesn't sparkle at all. This is just a compression artifact that can be viewed on any higher gain screen and is most visible in blue sky scenes. It looks a little like the screen is crawling with tiny insects or something. The same artifact was equally as visible on both the High Power and the SilverStar.

Which screen did I like better?
The Da-Lite High Power is a great screen material. However, it does have a very noticeable viewing cone. When viewing straight on it can be stunning and provide even better whites and maybe contrast than the SilverStar. One thing that makes the SilverStar different from other high power screens is it's unusually large viewing cone. As you walk from 0 to 60 degrees off-axis the diminishing gain is very smooth, consistent and subtle. It really makes watching something and walking around the room at the same time a pleasure.

Of course, then the High Power sheds ambient light better. This is definitely attributed to it's obvious viewing cone and under the right conditions, like higher ambient light and watching sports, it would be an awesome product. For watching movies, I would definitely take the SilverStar. It felt like it had more depth and the screen tended to just disappear more. I've heard people say this same thing when going from a matte white screen to a grey screen. The SilverStar exhibits this same quality but at a gain of over 3. High gain, detail, and depth. It's pretty awesome, and in many ways a stunning combination.
post #4 of 1037
You mentioned that the silver screen has 'sparkles'. How badley? I saw a glass bead screen (pretty sure, looked close at it) with a sharp9k and it has sparkles that bugged me. Do you think it has less or more sparkles than a glass beaded screen?

BTW, another excellent review
post #5 of 1037
I picked up an old dalite silver screen from goodwill for 5 bucks, I don't use it its not very big but I just wanted to see what it looks like. The image is very sparkly but it is indeed very bright, I'm guessing the sparkles would be similar to teh silver screen in the tests
post #6 of 1037
Was I correct in reading somewhere that the SilverStar was something on the order of $60/sq. ft.? (it does look stunning, BTW)

post #7 of 1037
Holy...is that a huge difference! I want one.....off to look up prices! (shudders to think.......$1000!??)

Couldn't find any prices online........
Any dealers in Canada?

Is there any other screen product on the market like it?
post #8 of 1037
Wow - what can one say? Thanks again for the excellent review. I wonder what us DIY screen makers can do about making a silver screen?
post #9 of 1037
Outstanding review, Tryg. Was the purchase of the Vutec Silverstar inspired by your findings from your previous review of DIY screens where you lauded the performance of silver spray paint?

In addition, yes please to posting the cost of the SilverStar.
post #10 of 1037
I guess it depends on your priorities. I'm into black levels, and for that reason would still go for the grey screen, which appears to have notably better blacks than the silver.

post #11 of 1037
Great post! Kudos for the time and effort. - CP
post #12 of 1037
Thread Starter 

I think we all like good blacks. But good black really is a function of the darkness of your Home Theater and the limitations of your projector. Trying to cheat this with a grey screen is really only cheating yourself out of the real image. Check this out..

Did you even notice the green leaves in the left pictures on the grey screen? Did you even notice that there was a red flower on the grey screen? This is mostly because this is a grey screen reflecting less light/image.

However, If you look at the full images above it becomes obvious these areas that I chose are actually starting to fall outside the viewing cone of the Firehawk. Yes, and this is only a 10 foot wide screen with a very long throw to my projector. If my projector was closer it would look even worse as the angles would be greater. If you're a Firehawk owner you probably never even noticed this.

For everyone else... I can only guess on prices of this product. I suspect you might be able to get the SilverStar for around $50 a square foot. Call Alan or any AVS rep for pricing...I'm sure they will equally wow you with a good price. Maybe a powerbuy?
post #13 of 1037

Originally posted by Andrikos
I'm thinking dalite high power... LOL

We will compare them on Saturday, but one thing for people to remember is that the Hi-Power is retro-reflective, so really requires the projector to be somewhere around the viewing level (either low on a table or mounted pretty low for ceiling mount) to get the advantage of the gain. The Silver Star sounds like it is really for ceiling mount, being angular-reflective.

If your projector is right above your head then it would seem like the Hi-Power would be better at reducing hot-spotting, but it will be interesting to see.

I've said this before, but I think the extra gain on this thing might bring out the artifacts from DLPs even more. I predict that this screen gives more of an advantage for LCOS projectors, which tend to show less artifacts in general.

How about a Sony 1920x1080 SXRD with one of these things? Then you'll really wish they made this screen bigger. Looks like the Hi-Power can go to 6' high and whatever width you want before adding a seam. That's 169"x72" for a 2.35:1 screen or 128"x72" for a 16:9 screen.

post #14 of 1037
Tryg: You are truly the Marquis de Screens.

Please, please, please give us some ambient light shots and opinions. I really want to know if this thing makes daytime viewing tolerable, decent, whatnot. And I want to know what happens with a few lamps off the sides not hitting the screen.

Thanks again for the review!

post #15 of 1037
OK, I'll jump in with a counterpoint. At least within the limitations of the camera and jpeg compression for internet posting, I find the whites on the SilverStar to look a little crushed. For instance, the shot of the outdoor cafe: the central pillar's sunny side is washed out so that some of the horizontal lines disappear, and the boat on the near bank has less visible detail on the SilverStar compared to the FireHawk. But I agree the shadow detail is outstanding. Always tradeoffs.
post #16 of 1037

Your review was wonderful. This review really gave me better impression how different screens would look like in my setup. The timing is just right as I am about to order one.

Great work! Hope to see more in the future.
post #17 of 1037
Tryg, thanks for the great info. I am planning my first HT and hope to buy either the Virtoso that Mr Wigggles is demoing or maybe the Optima H76 after it is reviewed. Both are HD2 dlp projectors. I hope for a 100" (diag)16x9 screen. Seeting would be 12' first row and 16' second row. Would the Silver work for this set up? (I hope you say yes because after seeing your pictures I will not be happy with anything else)
Dan Brown
post #18 of 1037
I agree with gesundheit, the whites look a bit blown out in some places. Would this be something that could be compensated for with a touch of calibration specifically for the screen? I am assuming that the exact same settings were used for each screen for comparison purposes.

Also, is the material available in a roll up version or only for fixed screens?
post #19 of 1037
These pictures trace the history of my experience. The white and gray screens show what my prior setups did. Crushed blacks, ordinary colors, typical image (but it was big and artifact free so I was impressed). The Silver Star shows exactly what I now enjoy on my HD20/PLV-70 with 120" diag. 16:9 Hi-Power. This makes perfect sense since my pj is about 3 times as bright as Tryg's but my screen (with a ceiling mount) is probably 1/3 the gain of the Silver Star.

My experience parallels Tryg's current revelation. Fabulous colors, better shadow detail, and generally much more obvious overall visibility of all the content. What he says about watching in awe is absolutely true. I can still feel it.

You DLP Mustang Chip guys ought to be going nuts. Your picture on this screen would be incredible. You have more than double my contrast ratio and better fill ratio. Think of the shadow detail. Tryg is showing you dramatically improved shadow detail on D-ILA for kripes sake.

I understand that this screen can be had for even less than the FireHawk. I smell a production rate/backorder problem in the making. They are going to sell really fast.

I just got a digital camera yesterday, so with any luck, over the weekend, I'm going to get you some screen shots.

This screen means that we can have bright pictures on extremely detailed and QUIET projectors. How cool is that? This could change the landscape. DLPs won't need to be ashamed of any inherent limit in brightness. They won't need it. Heck, they can now concentrate on increasing contrast ratio further. Those luminous colors that I once thought only direct views, crts and some plasmas had can now be had by all.

Tryg has done us a great service. Here's to spreading big stupid grins all around!
post #20 of 1037
Thread Starter 
rogo - I will try to take some shots with ambient light of all three screens. I'll even leave the Firehawk in the sweetspot (middle) where it performs it's best.

geundheit - yes there is camera JPG compression when you shooting these these brighter areas. take a look at me in the very first pic. I couldn't even get a good one of me cause everthing around me was so bright. upon compressing the picture file it got even worse. so yes the whites suffer a bit from the camera.

D_B_0673 - The sparkly/active characteristic of the screen needs to be commented on more. This to me is the only relevent downside of two. I really noticed it at first but as I started watch the content I started getting more immersed in the film. I now have adapted and have a harder time seeing it or even explaining it. I don't notice it now. Hopefully I can get some comments from some fresh eyes on Saturday and we'll try to define it. Remember this baby is like a sports car. If you've been driving a nice cushy cadillac for the last couple years then you hop in a Ferarri it may feal a little foreign/ugly. You might complain about how much you can feel the road and how twitchy the stearing and throttle is. After a week of driving though you probably can't imagine going back the mushiness of the Caddy. Your senses are elevated, you are now finally in control.

The other downside? These things need to be bigger. 9 feet wide for me is not enough. The thing looks puny on my 32' x 16' wall Seriously though, they need to start thinking bigger if possible. 10 foot wide is the sweet spot for me. When a 1920 x 1080 projector comes out, I expect to go a little larger. Please Vutec send me your prototype 14' x 6' 2.35 screen to study

Free - I hope to do just that. I'm fairly confident you can calibrate your projector from the screen and eliminate any crushed whites and still get all the rest. My projector is currently calibrated right on the edge for my white screen. I finally stopped when I could almost see a little crushed whites during calibration. Now apply it to the Firehawk and SilverStar and of course your gonna get different results. A projector with the right capabilities and calibrated to the SilverStar should look breathtaking.

I've heard a rumor they are working on a fabric version. But, of course, I don't believe rumors I just spred them.
post #21 of 1037
Only fixed screen.

Yes, you can adjust the gray scale on the white end.
post #22 of 1037
After playing with home made screens I settled on a Firehawk because it was the best compromise for my situation.

Why not white or silver.
White looks horrible in ambient.
Silver is extremely sensitive to any imperfection. The "sparklies" finally got to me. Stewart makes a silver high gain screen for 3D viewing that is quit good because it is very very uniform in texture., but it has got to be perfectly flat.
post #23 of 1037
Tryg..this is great reading. Even though I already have my set up installed I find this absolutely fascinating.. This is the type of stuff that make this forum so amazing.

The HT rags can only dream about publishing stuff like this.

Out of curiosity could you please elaborate on the "other" parts of your system. What pj did you use....DVD player...video processor if any...HD source...interlaced or progressive...yada yada yada!!!

post #24 of 1037
For me, the only way I could make a fixed screen work would be to suspend it from the ceiling.

How heavy is the screen and what type of a board is it mounted to? Could you use 2 or 3 cables and hooks in the ceiling and put it up and take it down pretty easily?

Where do you mount the projector to maximize the gain of this screen? Does it have to be above the top of the screen; at the top of the screen; below the top or in the middle of the screen to get the 6.0 gain?
post #25 of 1037
I might have to get me one of these screens. The pictures look wonderful
post #26 of 1037

Thanks for such useful research.
How and why is the Silver Star better than the old curved foil screens?
Can it be easily cleaned?
How is it shipped so as not to be damaged?

post #27 of 1037
Thanks again Mr Tryg, This is going to be my first HT, first projector, first dvd player and on. I can't wait. I am remodeling a small basement room now. I cannot go any bigger than 100' diag (16x9). The War Department (wife) is going to kill me when I show the cost of the screen, but I think your comparison pictures might keep alive. I could catch a bus to Olympia and move in with you...
post #28 of 1037

Originally posted by TomJones
How and why is the Silver Star better than the old curved foil screens?


A downside (and it may not be enough to disuade the potential buyer) of this highly reflective type of screen is the falloff of the projected light at the edges of the screen. The curved silver screen attempts to ameliorate this by directing that edge light back to the viewer.
post #29 of 1037
Oh, and that IS my favorite. Thanks.

But talk about poor product placement, AVS has a lot of GAUL!
post #30 of 1037
What would you estimate you are getting in foot-lamberts with the silver screen?
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