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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first foray into the world of home cinema. I recently bought a BenQ W1070 projector together with a Duronic MPS100/169 matte white manual pull-down screen (100"). I was initially incredibly impressed with the set-up, although I soon noticed that the screen had a fair amount of rippling on its surface which was rather distracting in horizontal panning shots.

I contacted Duronic and have now received a replacement screen. The replacement does have some mild rippling as well but it's less severe than the old one and perhaps it's unrealistic of me to expect a screen of this price to be 100% flat and ripple free.

What I've noticed on the replacement, however, is a sort of mild "grain" effect when the image is bright, almost a bit like sandpaper. It's quite hard to describe but it's almost as if you can see the screen when there is a bright image, especially one of uniform colour such as shots of the sky. When I first spotted it my heart sank as I thought there was some form of defect in one part of the screen, but I soon realised that the location of the "grain" depended on my position relative to the screen, and that any area of the screen can show up the grain if I position myself in the right place. If I move right up to the screen or view it from the side it disappears completely. I have tried shining a torch at the screen and that shows it up too.

What I can't understand is why I should notice it now on this screen and not the predecessor, when the two screens are the same model and therefore ought to be identical. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing it? I only put the new screen up yesterday - is there any chance it's something to do with the fact that it's a new screen and the effect will wear off, in the same way that many new items appear "shiny" when new? I still have the old screen as the courier hasn't collected it yet and when comparing the two they do look very similar, although when shining a torch on that one it doesn't quite exhibit the same grain effect as the new screen (or at least it's less noticeable).

It is only rather mild, and it's probably the kind of thing that wouldn't bother some people (in fact my Dad didn't even know what I was talking about when I pointed it out) but it is a little bit distracting once you know it's there.
 

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Based on your description, what are you are likely seeing is the sparkling effect that usually results from high gain screens. My understanding is that Duronic screens are universally high gain. Do you know what gain yours is published at?

Here's what a smart guy named Jeff Meier says about gain in his excellent and frequently updated Projection Screen Materials Report:

Actual screen gain is one of the most important factors in screen selection. A value of 1.0 means the screen will reflect all of the light back to the viewer from the projector. A value of 2.0 means that you will see an image twice as bright as a piece of printer paper would look. This happens because the light from a 1.0 gain surface is reflected uniformly while that from a 2.0 screen is reflected more toward the viewer than the sides. There are some negatives to using a screen with gain. These include image artifacts like sparkles and grain, uneven image brightness and color errors. Screen gain also will fall off as you move away from the center of the screen.

I've got a 1.4 gain screen, and the sparkles can jump out a bit, particularly on brighter, whiter sections of the projected image. But the big advantage of gain is the ability to see the projected image more clearly in a room that has a higher ambient light level, and/or to improve the performance of a projector that just doesn't throw much light. So gain is a trade off, like everything else in this hobby.

As for not noticing the sparkles on the first screen, chances are the rippling effect distorted screen performance sufficiently to partially mask the gain sparkle. Plus you were fixating on the ripples, like anyone would have, and probably couldn't focus on much of anything else.

At the price point you purchased, it looks like you probably got a decent product. You might consider buying a calibration disc (Spears & Munsil), or hiring a good ISF guy to do the work for you. A well calibrated projector will perform better in every way.

For now, pop in a movie you really like, and just enjoy the show.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks very much for your response - I'm not sure exactly what gain the screen is published at but it is described as "high gain". I'll see whether I can find out.

You may well be right that I was focussing on the ripples previously and am now just fixated on this. I will try and follow your advice and just enjoy the film, and hopefully in time I'll stop noticing!

I am very new to the whole world of home cinema so still have much to learn and I'll no doubt upgrade my equipment in due course. I must say I am very impressed with the BenQ W1070.
 

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Thanks very much for your response - I'm not sure exactly what gain the screen is published at but it is described as "high gain". I'll see whether I can find out.

You may well be right that I was focussing on the ripples previously and am now just fixated on this. I will try and follow your advice and just enjoy the film, and hopefully in time I'll stop noticing!

I am very new to the whole world of home cinema so still have much to learn and I'll no doubt upgrade my equipment in due course. I must say I am very impressed with the BenQ W1070.

That is a bright projector, which is also making the screen surface more apparent. Make sure you are using the low lamp settings, and calibrating it can also help.
 

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^^^that too.
Try using eco-lamp (not smart-eco), switch over to cinema or a user preset and turn contrast down around 45 or lower and make sure BrillianColor is turned OFF as well.
The screen's gain using overly large reflectors (and likely physical texture) is the real problem, but dimming the projector a bit can help make the issue less visible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks very much for the responses guys. I'll have a play with the settings and hopfully that'll help. The effect isn't *too* bad (my friend didn't even notice it at all) so hopefully some minor adjustments will eliminate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I played with the settings as suggested and I think it has minimised the effect somewhat, although it's still noticeable. Guess I'll just have to live with it for now and hopefully in time I'll stop being bothered by it!

Would I be better off going for a low gain screen next time? Given that my projector is reasonably bright and I mainly watch films when it's dark, perhaps I don't really need a high gain screen?
 
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