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Need help picking a screen

301 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  m0j0
I am building a new theater, and need help/advice on which screen to use. In my last house/theatre, I used a Da-Lite 119" fixed frame. Had no issues with it, but at the time I picked it solely on it's size. Maybe I got lucky and found a good brand & model, but I'd like to make a smarter decision this go-round. Plus, it was pretty pricey.

I want a 16:9 screen, in the 125 - 135" diagonal range. Room will have almost zero ambient light, and will be painted dark grey from floor to ceiling. Will be using a Epson 5050UB projector. I do not need rear projection capable or audio transparency.

Do I need a white or grey screen? I think white, but am not sure.
How about gain? The higher the better, but is .9 ok?

Any specific MFGs that are better than others? I'm fine with Da-lite again, but if I can get similar performance for less $, that's a win.

Thanks for your guidance.
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Matte white is the most often recommended screen material for viewing in the dark with no ambient light in the room. The only thing that would make matte grey worth consideration is if room surfaces are light colored. With light colored ceiling, walls and floor, light from the projected image can be reflected back onto the screen (cross reflections) causing image washout similar to having a small light on in the room. Your dark grey room surfaces make a matte white screen the obvious choice.

Independent testing has shown that matte white screens rated at 1.0 and 1.1 gain generally measure roughly the same in the real world, so there's no reason to be concerned about a .1 gain difference in manufacturer specification. Silver Ticket is often cited as the best combination of performance and value in matte white screens as the screen review in thewirecutter.com (link below) documents. On the high end Stewart Filmscreen is often held up as the industry standard for those willing to pay a premium. There are incremental performance improvements available as you move up the price/performance curve. It's hard to predict how much money someone is willing to pay for each increment of performance improvement so that ends up being something each person has to decide for themselves.

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Wow, thanks for the excellent info and link.

Regarding the recommended Silver Ticket Screen (my choice would be the 16:9, 135", White Material), its costs less than $350 which is mind-blowingly cheap! The article says the screen can perform against those costing 7x more, but I just want to make sure that I would not be saving money at a drastic loss of performance. If anyone can comment that it would be on par with say a Da-Lite Cinema Contour 39089V, its a done deal.

"On par" is a value judgment that would vary from person to person. The Da-Lite Cinema Contour 39089V is a more expensive, higher quality screen that likely has incremental performance improvements. Whether or not you would perceive these differences while viewing movies and be bothered enough to think it worth paying a lot more comes down to individual preferences and value judgment. These are not the kind of decisions that others can make for you. Some will tell you the Silver Ticket is all they needed while others will say it's worth paying more for incremental improvements. Consider what the experienced reviewer at thewirecutter.com concluded after having spent $2,700 on his own screen:

There are screens that are better, or cheaper, but none match the Silver Ticket in that perfect balance of better and cheaper. In fact, measuring it against my own $2,700 screen made me wish I’d gotten the Silver Ticket instead.
The two I would be considering are the Silver Ticket white if on a tight budget or the Stewart Cima Neve if you want something better but don't want to spend more than the cost of your projector.
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