Semi-Comprehensive ALR and Grey Screens Review
I have spent a good deal of time sampling various ALR and Grey materials, mostly in the budget category, but also including SI's Slate materials. I feel like I should share my thoughts and comparisons, and when I have time will post some pictures. I feel like this will help anyone looking for a screen as I have been. I will welcome questions here for people looking for a similar screen as I was.
As a background, I've been into Home Theater for a long time, but only have been able to afford a projector since 2016. At that time I bought an Epson 3000 and a Silver Ticket High Contrast. I sampled several screen materials from Elite and bought the HC sight unseen. It has been good but I always wondered what other materials would do at a higher price.
I recently moved and have been sampling materials for a new screen (smaller as per room needs). My needs for this room were wide viewing cone (to prevent hotspot due to my short throw), mild to moderate ALR, but low artifacting in the dark which is where I mostly watch movies.
I got samples from Elite (Cinegrey, Cinegrey 3D), SI (Slate 0.8, Slate 1.2), Seymour (Matinee Wide, Matinee Black, Glacier Grey), Silver Ticket (Grey, High Contrast, new ALR which is not the UST material, but a more expensive one).
Here are my thoughts on each, categorized by company.
High Contrast: my current screen material really surprised me. It compares very favorably to matinee wide. The viewing angle is slightly wider, and the on-axis gain is lower. It has mildly more texture artifact, but will probably hotspot less (can confirm from my full sized screen). While ST advertises as non-ALR and matte, it is absolutely mild ALR with pretty low angular gain, but the gain is there. I feel like it is the best compromise at the best price and will probably buy another one. The Matinee Wide is better but more than double the price.
Grey: Way too light, almost white. Washes out easily. Visible texture despite not being ALR. Definitely out.
ALR: WOW this screen material is amazing. And it had better be, because the price is way out of line with other ST screens. If you have high ambient light and a bright projector you owe it to yourself to check this out. It seems to be one-directional ALR (from above, not from sides) but it is aggressively black compared to overhead can lights. Because it doesn't fight side light, it has a very wide viewing cone and likely won't hotspot bad. It also has little to no visible texture. The main downside is that the on-axis gain is really low so the image will be darker, which is a negative with lights off. If this material wasn't SO expensive I would probably be buying this one. It compares favorably to Slate 0.8, it has lower bright colors, but also deeper blacks, and much much better viewing angle and texture. Very very impressive with lights on.
Cinegrey: matte grey does not fight ambient light very well. No clear texture, but the overall gain is too dark and the darkest of the grey screens I tested which makes it look bad with lights out (where the grey screen shine over ALR screens). This one is out of the running.
Cinegrey 3D: awful texture and shine, will be very prone to hotspot. Out for those reasons. If you need ALR this aggressive one of the others will be a better option anyway. I guess it's available because it's cheaper than those options. Probably similar to slate 1.2 but way worse texture.
Matinee Black: Aggressively ALR. Very great contrast with lights on, the best of all the materials. But also has by far the worst texture and viewing angle. Unacceptably so. Very bright whites and very deep blacks.
Matinee Wide: Very similar to Silver Ticker HC. Noticeably less texture, brighter brights, but also slightly brighter blacks. Little bit narrower viewing cone. Might hotspot at my throw <1.4. This is a really really good material, but also >2x the HC price.
Glacier Grey: By far the best grey material I tested, but as it is matte, it also washes out. Best image with lights out, no viewing angle artifacting or texture. Very good material if you have full light control.
Slate 1.2: Best image with lights on for bright subject matter. Very little texture artifacts, but the viewing angle is compressed. Main problem is cost here. Good for sports. Similar black level as matinee wide or ST HC, but brighter whites.
Slate 0.8: Probably best with lights on for dark subject matter. Still little texture, but more than 1.2. Viewing angle is further compressed, the worst here besides the Matinee Black. Also very expensive. Similar white level as matinee wide and ST HC, but deeper blacks.
In terms of ALR ability I would rank like below, but also depends on your content habits and how much light you usually have up. The Matinee Wide and HC screens still do a pretty decent ALR job despite being lower on the list, but also artifact way way less and also cost less than most of the alternatives.
1) Matinee Black
2) ST ALR / Slate 0.8
3) Slate 1.2
4) Cinegrey 3D
5) Matinee Wide / ST HC
6) Grey Screens
1) Grey screens have no artifacting, except ST has some texture
2) ST ALR
3) Matinee Wide
4) ST HC
5) Slate 1.2
6) Slate 0.8
7) Cinegrey 3D
8) Matinee Black
Last edited by Cryptic7; 02-27-2020 at 06:25 PM.