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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I received my Model C 119 Hi Power screen recently. There are some observations I would like to share.


About Myself:


I am a hi-tech engineering professional. Product design and quality is a big part of my job (and my second nature). When I look at something, I am automatically drawn to the defects, the un-uniformity, the out-of-norm details. I have a critical eye when it comes to safety and the things I like. People often accuse me of being a perfectionist. And I almost never do things out of manufacturer's recommendation. (going with Hi Power is a rare deviation from my personality).


About my Stuff


I have a Panny 300U, ceiling mounted, about 6 1/2 feet off the ground and 14 ft from the screen. My room is about 22 ft wide, 19 ft deep without any window and with total light control. I sit about 16 ft back


I have been using the Panny for about 4 months with a Da Lite matte while screen. It is a very good screen. Color is accurate. Viewing cone seems to be 180 degrees. Contrast is very good. Brightness is uniform. This is the safe bet. However, my screen is in 4X3 format and badly wrinkle (this is a thrown away screen from a friend).


The decision process


I approached the screen buying process as an ignorant consumer. But like everything else, I did exhaustive research to get to the decision. Reading this forum is a big part of my research. The first step was to get some samples. I called Da Lite to ask for samples of HCCV, HCMW and hi contrast Da Mat. I did not consider Hi Power, but at last second on the phone with Da Lite, I asked the Rep to also send a Hi Power sample, just for the heck of it, I thought.


Looking at the sample, I immediately dismissed the hi contrast Da Mat and the Hi Power. One being too dark, the other being ridiculously too bright. Taped on my Matte White screen, the 6-inch Hi Power sample stuck out like a traffic sign at night. Since I wanted a Model C, my choice was pretty much narrowed down to the HCMW (since Da Lite doesn't make the Model C in HCCV).


But I did some more reading on this forum and began to take notice of all of the rave reviews of the Hi Power. I looked at my Hi Power sample again and again. After several days of indecision, I called AVS for advise and Jason recommend the Hi Power. I took that recommendation and placed an order without my usual sureness of knowing I have made a good decision. Several times after placing an order, I had urges to call AVS to change my order to HCMW. But for some reasons I resisted the urges and stuck to my decision.


Cosmetic/Mechanical


The screen arrived with some suspected box damages. The delivery man pointed out those areas and asked me to pay special attention for possible damages inside. He also wrote on his record of possible product damage for my ease of future return.


I found the packing method and material to be sub-standard for a package that big and that heavy - it was about 60 lbs. Da Lite could use a lot of improvements in this area. However, to my surprise, my screen inside was perfect. No scratched, no dents. I opened the box finding the screen in perfect condition.


It was much bigger than I had imagined. I knew the outline dimensions before ordering, of course, but the actual case was big, imposing and ugly. It looked very industrial. It might be suited for office use, but is not worthy of putting in any slick HT. If it came from Europe, I am sure the case design would be much different.


Installation, to my big big surprise, was so easy. After careful measuring, I put in two #9 3 1/2 in Deck Screws into the drywall, with studs behind it. I hung one end of the casing on one screw, walked over to the other end and hung it up. And that was it. Besides the time it took to measure (which was a long time for me since I triple checked everything), the whole hanging process took perhaps 10 minutes by one person.


I pulled the screen down. The surface was undamaged. It looked gorgeous. But there were some major waves. There was a big wave from the top corner down to the bottom center. There was another smaller wave from the bottom left corner up to the middle area of the screen. I did not even try to smooth it out.


I tried to close the screen for the first time, it would not retract into the casing. After several tries, I gave up. Much latter, after reading the manual, I followed the instruction of "letting the screen up briskly", the screen did retract but not without several pulls-and-release. I now wish I had ordered the CSR.


The image


I had promised myself I would try to calibrate it first, before looking at any image. I didn't have Avia or any other real calibration disks. So I used the THX Optimizer found in some DVDs. This time I used the Monster Inc. disk. I found my previous settings for the Matte White screen (using the same THX Optimizer) were way off for this Hi Power screen, especially contrast. I had to crank it way down for this screen. After calibration, I played the Monster Inc. movie. And I was in for some surprises.


The colors were excellent. They were vibrant (no surprise there). The contrast was as good as the MW. The black level probably decreased somewhat but I could have sworn it looked the same to me. I am quite happy in that area.


The screen looked perfectly flat even I knew there were some major waves going on there. I looked and looked and looked, but couldn't find anything but perfect flatness. Also, the image looked very smooth. To compare with the MW was like to compare canvas to silk. The brightness level was uniform across the whole picture area, from top to bottom, from left to right. I am quite happy in this area.


My biggest surprise was how little the variation of the brightness level was. I did the "stand up / sit down test" and found there was minimal change in brightness level. If I had to quantify it, I would say the brightness increased about 10%, no more, when standing up. Also, I found the image looked even more vibrant (by 10% if I had to quantify it) and I liked it even better than sitting down. At this point, I am completely confused why some people would not recommend Hi Power for a table mount projector. In that set up, the image would be the same as when I am standing up in my set up, which is better.


The I did the "move over" test. I changed my sitting location to one person over on the sofa and the brightness looked exactly the same as when I sat in the center. I then moved over to the extreme side (remember the room was 22 ft wide). The brightness decreased, oh perhaps, about 10% - 15%, which is a lot less than I had expected.


I then did the "lying down" test where I just lied down on the floor, my children's favorite position, and quite surprisingly, the brightness level again decreased only 10% - 15%.


So you can guess, I am EXTREMELY DELIGHTED with how little the brightness level changes. It DOES NOT look like a RPTV - at least in my set up.



Scan Lines


For the first time, I saw scanline! I saw it in some - not all - movies. And it came and go. I didn't see any in Monster, but with Star Wars 1 I saw it in a few scenes. Cumulatively, I saw the scan lines about 2 minutes out of 45 minutes of watching SW.

Black Level


I tried the opening sequence of Harry Potter 1, which was a mixture of dark night and fog and street lights which I thought a very difficult combination for this Panny. The back level was quite satisfying, I did not see any difference to compare with viewing on the MW screen.

Contrast


I tried the Star Wars 2 Asteroid Chase sequence. I was delighted. The colors were so good, the contrast was excellent. I got the same WOW perception as when I viewed the same sequence at a dealer using the Sharp 9000 on a Firehawk screen. Some people might argue that they cannot be the same, and perhaps they were right. But my PERCEPTION was my image was as good as what I remembered with the Sharp/Firehawk.

Skin Tones


I used Show Girls for this (don't laugh - you have to admit it had a lot of skin tones). Again, I was very happy with how natural the skin tones looked. I never saw any of these actresses in real life, but I guess this screen/projector rendered pretty accurate skin colors.

Bad DVD Transfer (?)


While Monster and Harry Potter looked excellent, some scenes in SW1 looked just awful. Especially the scenes in the desert. It looked edgy, colors were unnatural. Scan lines were clearly visible.

Conclusion


I went through the typical agonizing process when ordered this screen. Will it be too bright? Any hot spotting? will it looked like a RPTV? Can I watch it lying down on the floor?... But after seeing it up close and personally, I now think most of my agonizing was baseless and unnecessary. Yes, I saw some scan lines and some bad transfers, but I was expecting that and they didn't seem to bother me at all.


Would I recommend it? You bet! I would recommend it in both ceiling mount and table mount configuration. I think it would look even more fabulous when you table mount your PJ.
 

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River,


Great post!


I went through a similar thought process and analysis of the samples as you did. When I first put the High Power sample up, I thought the same thing, "no way, this is just too bright", but after alot of viewing, it did not look that bright and everything else just looked dull and kind of "dirty". I was concerned about the off axis brightness, but the colors were just so vibrant, I went ahead and ordered my High Power from Jason last Friday.


However, after reading the recent 300U/High Power reviews, I have been getting nervous and wondering if I made the right decision. Your review has given me enough peace of mind to get through the next few days until my screen arrives. Thanks again for the well thought and informative review.
 

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As a HiPower owner and believer, your post is undoubtedly the most thorough and descriptive articulation I've read in a very long time. Congratulations on your purchase!
 

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Thank you. I have a high power on order. (They accidently sent me a High Contrast Matte White) And have been having the same fears you expressed. Particularly about the change in brightness from floor to seating, and seat to seat.


The benniffit of the screw up, is I can now to a "Pepsi Challenge", between the two materials.


You've made me much more comfortable with my purchase. I can't wait.


Thanks!


-Jason W
 

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My custom-masked High Power (Model C w/CSR) will finally be delivered tomorrow... Can't wait!!! :D


Thanks for the post, River!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sushi
My custom-masked High Power (Model C w/CSR) will finally be delivered tomorrow... Can't wait!!! :D


Thanks for the post, River!
How do you like it? I am very happy with my Model B w/CSR. The CSR impresses people when they see it, except that they ask why I did not get an electric screen :p
 

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excuse my ignorance here, what is CSR? Also what is model B and model C? Everybody is talking about them but I cannot extract the information from the conversations... I also went to the dalite website and couldn't make out what the heck was going on... :)
 

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CSR is

Offered exclusively by Da-Lite,the Controlled Screen Return (CSR) system adds an impressive feature to the ever-popular Model B design. The CSR system ensures the quiet controlled return of the screen into the case providing optimal performance and smooth, consistent operation.



You can take a look at Model B w/CSR


I got it on mine so that the kids would not let the screen retract quickly and stretch the screen permanently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After being disappointed with my non CSR Model C, I wish I could do it all over again with the CSR feature.


Strongly recommend any potential consumer to consider the CSR, especially for larger screen sizes.
 

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My 8'x10' Model C /CSR finally arrived, at nearly 9pm. It came securely boxed, and in pristine physical conditions. Da-Lite apparently executed the custom-masking exactly to my specifications. Actually, it looks very nice with a generous (8" or wider) black-masked border on all four sides. So far so good... :D


The casing is, well, LOOOONG and HEAVYYYY. I thought I knew how long 10' are, but it is longer than I imagined. With its length, the Model C casing does not really look thick or obtrusive. I like its "sharp" no-frills no-nonsense design, and the white casing is a good match on the white ceiling.


Now I really have to finalize my strategy to directly and solidly ceiling-mount this baby (no chains/wires, please!)...
 

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River

Very nice review. I have owned my Hi Power for 3 years. I have never looked back to the mat white screen I also own. I have found that by dropping your sharpness setting down will cure alot of the scan line / harsh looking scenes ! At least on my Sony 400Q it helped greatly.


I wish I had CSR as after 3 years my screen retract stops no longer work and I manually hook the handle on a nail to keep the screen down.I have been holding off on repair as I think I may try to convert the screen to electric. I have seen a few post about it .


sushi

Glad to here that your received your Hi Power in good working order.

I have made my mind up to purchase the HS-10 . I got a great deal on the long throw lens. That is the most sensible in my install.


Mdmclean

Just tell your guest that could buy a movie every week for a year for the price of not having to operate that cool CSR by hand ! John
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mdmaclean
CSR is

Offered exclusively by Da-Lite,the Controlled Screen Return (CSR) system adds an impressive feature to the ever-popular Model B design. The CSR system ensures the quiet controlled return of the screen into the case providing optimal performance and smooth, consistent operation.



You can take a look at Model B w/CSR


I got it on mine so that the kids would not let the screen retract quickly and stretch the screen permanently.
mdmaclean,

thanks for the info. CSR sounds very useful, I'll definitely buy a screen with since I have kids too that can disassemble a F1 car in a pit stop! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
For the Model C, 119in dia, it would be around $150.00 addition for CSR. Might be the same cost increase regardless of screen size.


You need to see my frustration trying to retract my non-CSR screen every night in order to appreciate the CSR and realize the additional cost is really worth it.
 

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Yes, my church happens to have a non-CSR Model C, and I found the screen to be VERY difficult to properly retract. That was in fact the final kick for me to go for the CSR.
 

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Be careful and shop around. When I ordered mine, the CSR added around $76.00. No where near $150.00.

CSR is a wonderful feature. I makes the screen appear as if it's electric when raising. At first I just expected it would be some kind of simple drag device that slows the screen from a full rate ascent, right at the last moment before it slamms up. However it's proven to be an interesting device that meters the speed all the way up. In otherwords, you no longer hold on to the screen when you raise it. In fact, in my case, keeping your hand on it slows it down too much and the screen dosen't go up all the way without some fiddling. Just tug on it, and let go. A slow motorized looking controlled ascent occurrs all the way up. Very much adds to the "precieved value", if not the actual value of the screen. (Makes it look much more high end and expensive)


Really cool.


-Jason W
 

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jason,

where did you get your screen?

Thanks
 

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I've pretty much decided on an L300u also, but have been told several times that the HCCV screen is the best mated to this projector for the best black levels without negative gain. (45x80). Can you explain again which High Contrast screen you recommend - I didn't understand the B and C - and can you please explain why your recommendation over the the HCCV> Thanks.


-Jonathan
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Da-Lite model B and Model C are pull-down screens. Model B has a smaller roller thus a smaller & lighter case. However, because the roller & case are not strong enough for larger sizes, Da-Lite only makes Model B in smaller screen sizes. If you want to go larger, you need to use Model C.


Remember, both of them are pull-down screens which are prone to waves. Ironically, we can build a Space Station and invent exotic medicines but cannot make a pull down fabric flat! All of the pull-down screens are likely to have waves which would become visible & distractive when a moving image is projected on. Hi Power fabric will still have the waves, but they are not visible when there is an image projected on. That is the main reason, to many people, to choose the Hi Power fabric when they need to have a pull-down screen.


But when you have a fix screen, which is perfectly flat, you don't have the waves problem. In that case there are better materials for your screen. HCCM is one of them, and perhaps the best suited for 300U projector which will benefit from increased contrast and black level.


If you must have a pull-down screen, Hi-Power - to some people - is better. But when you have a fix screen, perhaps HCCV is what you want to consider.
 
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