Not everyone needs or wants a dedicated home theater in their homes, but they may want to accommodate a projector and take advantage of the big picture a projection rig provides. The Screen Innovations Solo is a clever product that takes the pain out of installing a motorized roll up screen by eliminating the need for wiring.
Features and Specifications
First, the specifications. The Solo uses the Slate gray ambient light rejecting material from Screen Innovations. Slate has a gain of 1.2 and an optimal viewing cone of about 90 degrees. It is spec’d to reject 65% of ambient light and has a “micro-texture” surface.
The Solo provides an 80″ (diagonal) 16:9 viewing area. It features Screen Innovations Zero Edge design that keeps the surface of the flexible PVC material flat and taut.
The Solo screen is truly cordless because it contains a rechargeable battery. Upon first installation, a six-hour charge gives the Solo enough juice for a year or two’s worth of use, depending on how frequently it is activated. Furthermore, the battery may be charged up to 500 times! And the charging cord is long, plus attaches magnetically, so topping off the charge is super easy.
An included remote extends and retracts the screen. You can also use the remote to set the precise distance the screen drops, and Screen Innovations provides 12″ of black material at the top that accommodates the adjustment.
Installation and Use
I cannot recall any other screen being as quick and easy to install as the Solo. It hooks onto a pair of wall brackets, each requiring only a single screw. As long as you get the thing level, you are home free after two minutes of work.
Once hung and charged, it was a matter of a few button presses to get the screen to drop to the exact height I wanted and get it paired with a projector, in this case LG’s HU80KA 4K DLP ($2996.99). The result looked great, even with room lights on in the evening. Of course I had to shut the lights off for the best image, but watching a preseason football game in the evening was no different that if I had a TV.
There’s not much else to say! The screen surface has a very fine texture that was not a distraction. Picture quality was best when viewing head-on, with rich colors and punchy contrast (within the known limitations of DLP technology anyhow). But sitting somewhat off axis still provided a very good viewing experience.
I used the system to watch Rampage as a UHD stream on Vudu, which is 4K with HDR. The projected image was vibrant and color accurate, with good motion. DLP has its limitations, but the LG HU80KA is affordable and the total system price here is under $5000 for the projector and screen and the total picture quality I witnessed was in line with that price point.
Without the Solo, it wold not have been practical to install a screen in my living room because I rent, so in-wall wiring is out of the question. Plus, the screen physically blocks the door to my back yard when it is deployed, so I truly appreciate being able to retract it at will, with just a push of a button.
Ultimately, the Screen Innovations Solo is a simple solution of a vexing problem: How to make a motorized screen that’s cordless. The big battery lasts so long, by the time it needs to be recharged it’s likely owners will have forgotten that it needs to be charged to begin with.
Build quality is first rate, operation is silent, the screen itself is a high quality material. So, which the Solo may not be the solution for every installation, it’s easy to see situations where it’s exactly the right solution for adding some projection to a room. Recommended.