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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone using the DaLite Deluxe Insta-Theater with the Wide Power screen? I am debating between this portable and the Picture King tripods with the High Power or Video Spectra.


Since it's for portable use and light control will not be the best I am leaning towards the high power. Typically viewing will be off axis from 10-35 degrees so I will be losing gain. So the way I figure it at 10-35 degrees the gain will be somewhere as follows: (based on conversation w/ DaLite for table top mounted PJ)


High Power: 2.4 - 1.3

Wide Power: 2.0 - 1.5

Video Spectra: 1.4 - dim(not sure if it's less than one here at 1/2 the gain)


So it appears to me the High Power or Wide Power are more beneficial for my application over the Video Spectra. And the Wide Power with the suposedly easier setup of the Insta-Theater may be the best way to go. Just not sure how durable the Wide Power screen is (acetate/plastic-like) and the reliabilty of the Insta Theater mechanism vs the Picture King tripod w/ High Power??


-hardwired
 

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I've had the 100" Insta-theater for several months now and have logged about 150hours of movies and TV on it. While it is not my primary display, I take it out to set up and tear it down at every use, which is at least once every week or so. I use it with a NEC LT85, the lesser cousin of your LT150. Personally, I like the screen and am very happy with it, but let me try to give you more details to chew on. I am no videophile, although I am a chip design consultant who, for the past 4 years, have done work for a video technology company who is known as one of the best (if not the best) in the world at video, helping turn their great video technology into chips. But I know more about the inner workings of deinterlacing and video enhancement than I do about screen gain, so take my advice with a grain of salt. My little 800 lumen projector works well with the Insta-Theater, although I usually turn the lights almost all the way down. The image is sharp and colors are vivid on the screen (note though that I use a very good external line doubler). A higher power screen may or may not be too much gain in zero to low light situations,depending on the viewer of course. with lots of ambient light, however, you may need a higher power screen. The wide power screen does have a wider viewing angle as compared to many other screens so that is a plus if you have a wide room as I do. I personally feel it is the perfect screen for my situation with my wide room and low lumen projector, and the fact that I usually have the lights way down low when I use it. Even with some lights on you can still see well enough to know what is going on, because i have watched an occasional sitcom on it while my wife is reading the paper with a lamp on next to me, and it is good enough for that (in this case I don't care too much about picture quality). If you are going to watch a serious movie, however, you will probably turn the lights down anyway.

The screen is made of a very thin material which seems at first like it would be fragile, but I have opened and closed it many many times and it shows no sign of wear. The mechanism is very smooth, and with the help of its hydraulic arms, I can open and close it smoothly with only one or two fingers of pressure. As Pham stated, the left and right edges of the screen are slightly curled toward you, but not enough to notice it while watching. The slightest wind gust will send a ripple thru the screen, for example, if someone walks quickly by the screen. So you may not want to have it right under an A/C vent, although I have no problems in my setup where the A/C vent is a few feet away. the nice thing about the thin screen is that the unit is very light. The whole screen glides down into a hard case which protects the screen very well and makes it very easy to carry, even though my screen is about 7' long. The bottom section of the screen is black and is perforated to allow the sound of your center channel speaker to get thru, and you can roll up the screen to whatever height you want or need. The two 'feet', which are normally in line with the case when stored, rotate out to be perpendicular with the case to give the screen good stability. I store my screen almost vertical, leaned up against a wall in the closet, and there has been no problems of bent edges or uneven rolling of the screen. So, while the screen looks thin and fragile, it really has turned out to be quite a well made and durable unit. As much as I take it in and out of the closet and set it up and put it away, I would let you know if it was not durable or if it was difficult to set up or put away. But instead, I marvel at how easy it is and how portable it is, especially for such a large (100" diagonal, 4:3) screen. If you don't need a portable screen, you may want to do a built in with better tensioning of the sides, but if you need a portable screen, I would definitely recommend this screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kada,

Thanks very much for the feedback on the Insta-Theater. Initially I was looking at the tripods when DaLite recomended I consider the Insta-Theater for my situation. Doing a search I found very little information on this screen with only a few AVS members with any experience at all with it.


I am almost positive I will be going with this screen at this point. The footprint is much smaller than the tripod and since it is only about $70 more than the price of the Picture King w/ High Power, the extra convenience will be well worth the price. Not to mention the advantage this screen has in the wider view angle that fits my wide 2 sofa seating area.


For the future theater room, I also like the option of being able to set-up the 100" Insta-Theater in front of a fixed 120" screen which will probably be something like a Video-Spectra or maybe high contrast. And if I change my mind and want to ceiling mount the PJ, well then I don't have the retro-reflective issue of the High Power and still have the wide gain of the Wide Power as an option. Did you have the opportunity to compare the Wide Power vs the High Power on some of the DaLite samples? I haven't seen any pics for comparison myself, but I am told the picture quality should be basically the same.


Nice to hear that the bottom runner is perf for the center. Any idea how transparent the audio is with the Wide Power material?


The only concern then is with the reliabilty, in which you have given a vote of confidence. Although I will still be careful with this thin film-like material. BTW, have you ever taken this screen outdoors during a calm evening under the stars? This sounds like it would be fun to do.


How do you display or mask for widescreen material? My thought is to align the the image with the top of the screen and then hang some black felt I have with strings to the sides and maybe a dowel on the bottom. It should be lightweight enough to hang on the mechanism.


Which video sources and line doubler do you use? I have an HTPC w/ a Radeon LE and it does well for dvd.


Nice to see another hardware guy on the forum. Although it's more like we're becoming firmware guys these days.

-hardwired
 

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Hi, I have never seen the Hi Power screen before but I have heard of many who like it in the forum. I just went with the Insta Theater with the thought that it was the best all around for my situation, and had a good compromise of decent gain with wide viewing angle.


I have not yet done anything to mask the screen but was thinking it might be best pull up the screen all the way, align the image with the bottom of the screen (just above the black perf so that the center channel will be just below the image, and hang a black felt or something light from the top. It would have to be very light material though, it doesn't take much weight to pull the screen down, but felt should be fine.


I don't think the screen is very transparent to audio, in fact I moved my center from the top of the screen (I have a Sony KL-W9000 50" rear projection 16:9 presentation monitor as my everyday TV in a built in wall unit, with a hole above it for the center, for movie nights I set up the Insta Theater screen in front of the Sony and stuff the LT85 under the couch) to the bottom so that the audio can go thru the perf. I haven't done any real testing of transparency though, so my reasons may have been purely an assumption since I noticed the perf at the bottom (I figure, if the material is transparent, they wouldn't go thru the trouble of perf'ing it).


You think a lot like me -- I have been thinking about setting up the system in the backyard and having a neighborhood movie night for the kids. It would need to be a very calm night, though. The 100" screen could act like a large sail and an unexpected breeze could knock the whole thing over, dirtying or damaging your screen.


For the line doubler, I am running svideo out of my dvd player thru the faroudja chipset (fli2200/2220 deinterlacer/enhancer) and rgb into the LT85.


You are right, hardware design involves more and more firmware these days, and the hardware/chip design itself looks a lot like writing software (verilog or vhdl), but that is good because it allows me to work remotely. I no longer need to draw schematics, instead I write code, which is mostly text based. I just need a decent laptop and a DSL (or other high bandwidth) connection and I'm all set.


good luck with your screen, I hope it works out as well for you as it does for me. Hmm, I wonder what DVDs I have from Netflix, tonight might be a good night to take the screen out of the closet...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
kada,


Is the svideo thru the faroudja chipset better than a good progressive scan dvd player (like the Panasonic RP51/RP62) or an HTPC? Which player and scaler do you have btw.


We went ahead and placed the order for the 100" Dalite Insta-Theater with Jason here at AVS. I'll let you know my impressions when I receive the screen and will try to compare it to the other DaLite samples already on their way.
 

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I just received my 80 " Insta-Theater about a week ago. Kada's experience pretty much matches mine exactly, so I don't have much to add, except I am very pleased with the screen.


The case is thin enough that I just leave it infront of the TV which I use for daily viewing, and pull it up when needed. The mechanism is very smooth and easy to move.


This is my first high gain screen, so I'm not sure if it's typical, but there is a certain sheen over white areas that was not on the old screen. Also, the overall picture is noticeably smoother.


I didn't notice the perforation in the black area below the screen. I'll have to take another look next time I have it up.


-Brian C.
 

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hardwired, I just have an old Sony S5500 and my line doubler is really just a demo board for the fdja chips. I also have an old DVDO box but the demo board performs much better, especially with DCDi for video and because it has the video enhancer chip. It is probably not as good as a DVD player with comparable line doubler built in, since it would go all digital from the disc and thru all the video processing. Probably the best I've seen is the new FDJA DCS box, which is a DVD player built into a Faroudja NRS box with DVI output. That's digital all the way thru to the display device! Anyway, that's a $10K box and well beyond my budget.


Brian makes a good point about just storing the screen where you are using it. Even the 100" screen, while it is 7' long, is only 4" high and 4" deep when the case is closed. I used to leave mine out too, but got concerned that my 6 yr old and his friends might decide to run on top of it like a balance beam gymnast. If you don't have that problem though, it really doesn't take up much room stored that way as Brian said. The perforations are unnoticeable at first, but you can see them if you shine a light from the other side of it.


Let us know what you think of the screen when you get yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Brian,

Glad to hear you are happy with your Insta-Theater. Which screen were you using before and which projector do you use.


What do you guys think of the Insta-Theater case? Can you leave the Insta-Theater in the case on the floor and just open the case and pull up the screen without actually taking it out? I have kids and my neighbors have kids and have the same "balance-beam" fears. I wouldn't think it would take much to damage the aluminum casing for the roll-up screen.


The real beauty of this screen is the small footprint IMO and I plan to use it mostly set up in front of my big old 50" analog RPTV like what you guys are doing. Since it will be so easy to setup it may give me an excuse to give HDTV a try thru the LT150 :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
kada,


What are your thoughts of the LT85 for dvd? I understand it has the resolution to show all pixels at 480P. A buddy also has a 53" NTSC RPTV and is interested in FPTV.


Is their a newer NEC or other DLP model that has zoom and perhaps can achieve a shorter throw? I see some buzz on the board over some Panasonic models but have not looked at them. An SVGA PJ with the 80" or 100" Insta-Theater combined with a Panasonic RP62 (replacement for RP56) seems like it would be an excellent DVD combo for around $2K.


Does XGA cost much more than SVGA 4:3 DLP PJ's these days? In his situation I believe he can go with the less expensive Model B where it was not an option for me.
 

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Hey guys,


I'm seriously considering one of these screens for my setup (to help with the WAF in my living-room theater). How far from the ground is the viewable part of the screen when it's fully extended? That is, how much of the perferated material is there at the bottom of the screen? I'm curious to see if my current setup can easily swap to the new pull-up screen or if I'll need to raise/lower my LT150 to get it to hit the screen at the right height.


Thanks for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bandersnatch,

I think it's around 2 feet but you don't have to pull it out all of the way.
 

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Hardwired,


My previous screen was a home-brew, unpainted, Home Depot canvas stretched over a wood frame. Unfortunately, due to my pathetic construction skills, it self-destructed after about a year of use. Projector is an LT-150.


The aluminum case looks pretty sturdy to me, but I've just got cats, and I'm pretty sure they aren't fat enough to dent it. I can see the concern with kids, though. Maybe glue some razors to the top? :)


-B
 
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