Projection Screen Reviews

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 13, 2013  |  3 comments

Performance
Setup
Value
Price: $1,600 At A Glance: Outstanding picture at any viewing angle • Cinematic curvature • Excellent value

At one time, two of my favorite Los Angeles–area theaters were in Westwood: the Village and the National. The Village had, and still has, a huge, flat screen. The National (tragically closed and torn down in 2008) had a gently curved one of about the same size. While the Village had the more awesome audio, I always preferred the subtly more immersive visual presentation at the National.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 13, 2013  |  1 comments

Performance
Setup
Value
Price: $2,899 At A Glance: viewable with ambient lighting • Works best with carefully planned lighting • Image dims significantly from center screen to the side

The best projection quality has always required a completely darkened room. This takes the edge off that Super Bowl party, with guests stumbling around in the dark spilling their buttered popcorn and drinks in your lap.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 27, 2012  |  1 comments

Stewart Active 170 3D
Performance
Setup
Value


Da-Lite High Power
Performance
Setup
Value
Stewart Filmscreen Reflections Active 170 3D
Price: Varies by size, type (see review) At A Glance: Higher gain than popular StudioTek 130 G3 • Good off-axis performance and color uniformity • Noticeable hot spot

Da-Lite High Power
Price: Varies by size, type (see review) At A Glance: High Gain • Picture darkens visibly off-axis • Hotspotting virtually undetectable

We’ve come a long way from the days when screens were an afterthought. I imagine there are still a few enthusiasts who cut their projection teeth on a sheet or a bare white wall, or even an old, beaded, home-movie screen. Today we know better. The screen is a vital part of the projection setup.

Screens now come in a wide variety of sizes and characteristics. Their physical construction—fixed frame, retractable, flat or curved, masked or unmasked, perforated or not—is a subject for another day. There are also rear-projection screens. Here, however, we’re primarily concerned with the characteristics of the screen material itself, as used in front-projection setups, the type most commonly found in theaters, both commercial and home.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2011  |  1 comments
Performance
Setup
Value
Price: $2,699 At A Glance: Gets the black bars out • Solid value • Minor uniformity issues

Elite Screens may be less well known than some of the bigger names in the business, but they offer a wide range of projection screens for every application. Since their products are manufactured in China, they’re more than competitive in price. But this limits their ability to offer customization, such as sizes not included in their standard lineup.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 26, 2011  |  2 comments
Price: $2,199 At A Glance: Image pops with room lights on • Minimizes room reflections with lights off • Fixed frame—no retractable version

Lighten Up

Many of us will tolerate a projection system that requires a totally darkened room for movie watching. But when other family matters make this impossible, or when your buddies come over on a Sunday afternoon for the big game, how many of us are willing to totally blacken the room and leave everyone to stumble around in the dark?

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 19, 2010  |  0 comments
Projectors are great. Projectors are fun. Projectors give you a big, immersive, theatrical experience, which is what we all want from our home theater systems. Even a great flatscreen HDTV is just a television compared with the drama that a front-projection image provides.
Kris Deering  |  Oct 20, 2008  |  0 comments
Make off like a bandit with a masked home theater.

I ’m always on the lookout for new and innovative improvements to make to my home theater. One of the best I’ve seen to date is from screen manufacturer Carada, which directly sells its products online and over the phone. The company’s Masquerade screen-masking system features motorized panels that eliminate those obnoxious black bars that appear when you watch a “scope” movie on a 16:9 screen. The system accommodates any projected aspect ratio between 1.78:1 and 2.70:1. It also provides a big increase in perceived contrast and depth. Additionally, Carada’s innovative, motorized system costs less than most motorized masking systems on the market. Since you can mount it over your existing fixed-screen frame, you won’t need to invest in a new frame or screen.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jun 08, 2007  |  1 comments
Moving projectors into the light.

As much as I love projectors, most people feel they can’t live with one. Apparently, some people don’t like living in a completely light-controlled environment. Come on, caves are fun. Not convinced? Neither are most people. So enter a subcategory of the screen market—one that caters to those folks who want a big-screen image, without the cost of a flat panel and without the light requirements of a regular front-projection system. I wrote an article a few months ago on several screens that fit this niche. You can read that one here. Planar’s Xscreen takes a similar approach but adds a few different features.

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