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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the high end video market and have been reading quite a bit lately about screens. Up to this point I had basically ignored the screen part of my home theatre and now I am questioning wether it's more important than the projector. After-all I can upgrade the projector but I would really rather not have to change the screen to match each new technology that comes along. Wouldn't I do better selecting my equipment by figuring what I want in the way of size and image quality then look at what may or may not meet my goals?


I have in mind what I want (at least 100') but if I get the wrong screen or match it to a specific projector it get's to be a bit like purchasing a computer. You know, the old ready, set, upgrade routine. I would like to get a great screen get it in place and be able to forget it. It shouldn't wear out, no moving parts and all and I don't have to worry about bubblegum stuck in the middle because there are no children in the house. Projectors breakdown and have to be replaced sooner or later and there's always the latest innovations.


I have previewed a SharpVision XV-Z9000U. It looked great other than being just a tad dark. It was playing on a 100' Stewart GrayHawk screen. I have no way of knowing for certain if this was set up properly or if what I saw was the best it has to offer. Either way it's tons better than what I have now. And better than most any others I've seen. This or better is what I'm after.


So, back to my point. I have reached a point in my life where I like to do something, do it right the first time and change-out only when necessary; or until something better comes along, wooop there's the upgrade thing again. It seems that I would be better off in the long run by first finding a screen that will be the right size and neutral, white or silver enough and high quality enough to meet my needs and then decide on a projector.


Hmmmmmm what to do?
 

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Dan - for starters read, read and read some more of the posts in this forum over the past few months. I've seen the Sharp 9000 on a greyhawk and it was way to dark for my liking. My personal opinion FWIW is that you can do much better with a HD2 DLP like the 7200 for around the same $. Do your homework - it will pay off in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I haven't actually made a decision yet. I am still researching and won't be making this purchase for several months. I am finding more information on this subject every time I run a search. Tons of info to sift through.


I am wondering at this point about having to match a specific screen to a specific projector. It seems like there should be a better way. This is what has me stymied. It seems, so far, that not only is there an "ideal" screen for a certain "type" of projector but for each different projector within each "type".


Draper and Stewart seem to take the approach of "type" of projector to screen. Yet, I keep hearing and reading how that isn't true. Hmmmm... seems goofy to me. These two screen companies seem to be the best quality to me so far.


lovingdvd,

Thanks for the recommend on the 7200, I'll look for one to preview. Which screen should I ask to see it on?


JHouse,

Thanks for the link. Looking for help at this point.
 

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Unfortunately, with a digital projector there is a certain interrelationship between projector and screen and the size of that screen. If you know you want a 100" screen, and you know what lighting conditions you'll have (how much ambient light will affect the picture) you're halfway there. If you have no ambient light issues, then you can pick a screen surface to complement the projector you select. Or, you could just pick a solid, all purpose screen and live with the results that a particular projector gives you on it if you plan to change often.


A matte white or white screen with slight gain, say 1.3 will give you a screen compatible with the widest range of projectors regardless of technology. If you're looking at a high end DLP, then in a couple of years you won't need a grey screen material anyway. Downside is that you will not have optimized your setup for your current projector. This is the tradeoff decision that you have to make, optimize the screen for the projector and replace it with a new PJ, or get a multi purpose screen and live with the results.
 

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I think the projector comes first. Screens are matched to projectors, not the other way around. I haven't had a projector manufacturer offer to custom build my projector to my specifications.


Then, if you really think you may upgrade your projector in the near future, make your own. You can build from many DIY projects, and you can also order fabric from the companies to put on your own frame. This will cost less, and then you won't feel bad about upgrading in the future. If you want an electric tensioned screen, well, talk directly with the company. I'm sure they can give you a good long-term recommendation, but I'll bet the answer will be Sean's, or very, very close to it.


Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
JHouse,


I have been reading about your suggested PLV-70. Interesting read and it sounds very impressive. I will take your advise and preview one. I'm going to be in Atlanta on the 26th. Hopefully I'll have time to view one then.

Thanks,

Dan
 

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For a screen, I would do as Dawn suggests - make one.


Just build a wooden frame with a center brace and stretch/staple blackout cloth over it (white cloth one side, off-white vinyl the other). It'll cost around $40 and it'll give you a good idea of what you want from a screen.


I built one as a temporary measure, and it's been in use for around two years now. :)


Gary.
 

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Remember, calculating ft. lamberts of brightness is relatively simple. Then, pick a brightness you want.



If Stewart says one screen is better on a PJ than other, remember, they have all the screens and PJs and can do objective / subjective testing. Many here do not and typically praise whatever set up they have or parrot here-say.



JEff
 

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Dan - one other thing to consider that I had to learn the hard way is this: There are probably going to be a number of projectors that you will NOT be able to use because of mounting location requirements. Not all projectors will be mounted in the same location for a given screen size. Additionally, not all projectors will be mounted in the same vertical position for a given screen location and size. Believe me, this varies WIDELY between different projectors.


If you have a limited throw distance (distance from screen to projector) or a limited mounting height (are you mounting on a table or from the ceiling?), you might want to start there. That is, decide how large you want your screen and where you want it placed, then research a projector that will mount in that location.


At the very least, it is a very important factor to consider. I researched the NEC HT1000 for a long time only to find out that I could not mount it anywhere in my theater and make it work.


Good luck and welcome to the club!


Steve
 

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Does Stewart make this info readily available?
 

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"I have in mind what I want (at least 100')"


WOW! I think that's bigger than the Zeigfeld here in NYC! Cool!


;)


TM
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Gary,

Here's the website for Stewart:
http://www.screens-usa.com/stewart/


Anthony,

That may be a typo, I meant 100 inches and I'm hoping for 122. It will depend on the throw of the pj.


Thanks for the tips folks


Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Jeff,


I had to digest what you said for a minute and I think your right.


Stewart (and Draper) seems to have a much more agreeable outlook on how to approach this issue than a lot of stuff I've read. While they do emphasize the importance of the "right screen" for the "right projector" they don't seem to advocate the premise that each individual projector needs a custom "shade of gray" screen. I think I can live with their more general outlook of 'this screen' will suit 'this type' pj.


Thanks for pointing out the testing. I particularly enjoyed the praise & parrot comment. It certainly sums up several things I've come across.


Thanks,

Dan
 

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Hi Dan,


I meant do Stewart make the testing info available - if they test all pjs with all their screens, it would be interesting to see their reccommendations.


The only comparison I have for my Davis is of the screen my pj was demo'd on, and my home made blackout cloth one.


It would be interesting to see what Stewart Filmscreen have concluded - they are the industry standard, and I for one would put their opinion high up on my 'people to listen to' list. :)


Cheers.


Gary
 

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FYI - The Hi-Power is a Da-Lite patent and it is entirely unique in it's effect. Other manufacturers can't offer it and understandably might 'subconsciously' steer you away from it or poo-poo it. But it's worth a look if you want a bright picture, no hot-spotting, and some ambient light rejection.
 

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Dan41,


Your doing the right thing now by asking this type of question.


Unfortunately there can be so many variables (e.g. room size, light control, viewing preference, human issues like rainbows & headaches, budget considerations, etc., etc.) that making a decision can be very involved.


Understand your environment restraints, take into consideration your budget (short and long term), factor in your viewing preferences, do your home work on products (screens and PJ's, etc.), get opinions from places like this forum and take your best shot. I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you carefully think through all the above variables.


The truth is, if you take your time and think it through the end result will blow most people away, and remember, there is no perfect solution.


For what it's worth, here is part of my decision making logic and some assumptions I operated under:


I personally had the luxury of building an HT ground up, so I made some basic decisions up front (must have controlled light, wanted a large screen (133' diag), knew I would go with digital technology (DLP so far), wanted two rows of seating, re-inforced my 10 foot ceiling down the middle, coupled with a flexible design so I can go with almost any throw distance I want (i.e. ceiling mount the PJ from 10 to 25 feet back from the screen).


With those variables I choose a Stewart Firehawk matched with an Infocus LS110. I also knew I was going to upgrade my PJ within 6 months and wanted to keep the next PJ for 3 - 5 years.


I assumed the Firehawk would be a good choice with almost any HD1 or HD2 DLP unit that I would replace the LS110 with. I am currently looking at the Infocus 7200, Seleco 300+, Marantz, etc. I am also looking at the SX-21 and G150 which are D-ILA and I believe compatible with the Firehawk screen.


Another assumption I made is when I change out my next PJ in 3 - 5 years from now there is a good chance I will need to replace the Firehawk as well. This is a feature of advancing technology that none of us can avoid. Actually, for the fanatic, it's part of the fun.


Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi Folks,


Gary,

Sorry, I misunderstood. I'm like you and would love to see the results of the Stewart tests. Certainly they ran some pretty extensive tests to be recognised as an industry leader. I didn't see anything like that on the web site. Maybe someone has access to this information and can relay some of it to us. What a treat.


Can you help us out Jeff?


My understanding is that Draper has been in the business of manufacturing screens for over 100 years and their screens are in theaters all over the world. I'de like to see test results from them too.


Joe,

Thanks for the heads up on Da-Lite. Ive been looking at their site too.


Tom,

Headaches??? As in pain from watching a movie? That's scary.


Still searching.


Thanks Folks,

Dan
 
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