Screen quality?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Noel, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. Noel

    Noel
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    Hello,

    Just wondering if screen quality has a significant impact upon picture quality? I have a 5 foot (wide) white Euroscreen which I bought a while ago for about £150. Recently the following questions have been popping into my head:

    1) Is white the best colour (grey better?)<br />2) Should I go for a higher gain?<br />3) How on earth do I do a side by side demo? (Dealers aren't exactly set up for this.....)<br />4) I know that my screen is a cheapie, but will I see a big increase in picture quality if I invest in something "better"?

    My projector is a Sony VPL-CX1, mounted about 12 feet from the screen. Viewing distance is about 10 feet. I can get the room quite dark, but not pitch black (in the daytime).

    Thanks for your help,

    Noel
     
  2. otto_12

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    Hi Noel,

    Screen quality does have a significant impact on the projected image.

    My company, Projecta, is a screen manufacturer and you can find some background information of the importance of a screen here: <a href="http://www.projecta.nl/why.htm" target="_blank">http://www.projecta.nl/why.htm</a>

    Please find the answers to your questions below:<br /> <br />1) Is white the best colour (grey better?)

    There are different screen surfaces and matte white is the surface that can be used in most situations. However, you would need to control ambient light, because it has a low gain value (around 1) (further at 2)

    2) Should I go for a higher gain?

    If you want to go for higher gain, you need to take into account the position of the projector and the viewing area.<br />The general rule is: the higher the gain, the smaller viewing area.<br />If you can live with a smaller viewing area, you will get a brighter image.

    Make sure your screen surface is reflective, because you have the projector hanging from the ceiling. Glass-beaded or retro-reflective surfaces will not be suitable in this situation (see our website for a detailed description)

    3) How on earth do I do a side by side demo? (Dealers aren't exactly set up for this.....)

    Unless you have 2 screens, I would not know how to solve this...

    4) I know that my screen is a cheapie, but will I see a big increase in picture quality if I invest in something "better"?

    Yes, you will get a better picture by investing in a better screen. You have to make sure that the screen is absolutely flat, but you will probably see the biggest difference by choosing a reflective screen surface.

    I am sure that a good dealer or otherwise the screen manufacturer will be able to help you out.

    Good luck,

    Otto
     
  3. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Have you tried the Home cinema buying guide

    What’s the best Screen?

    by our very own Gordon. Available on the HCC web site. Loads of good info in there, as always from Gordon

    From my limited experience, Stewart screens are regarded as the best but they are not cheap. OWL, ScreensUK and Da Lite all do good value screens that are well regarded. Other may be able to contibute their favourites here.

    At the event in Glasgow this weekend, the Stewart Greyhawk might be making an appearance. I suspect that there are many people who are in a similar situation to yourself (Sony owners) who might be attending and who can pass some comments onto you. I don't know that the Greyhawk has been shown before in the UK. I have never heard of it before.
     
  4. otto_12

    otto_12
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    In addition to my previous and the other reply, some info on grey screen fabrics.

    Grey screen fabrics increase the perceived contrast of the projected image and you can compare them to a solar filter for your camera.

    Depending what you want to improve you could choose for this surface material. Keep in mind that the gain for the Grayhawk is 0.9, which is certainly lower than what you have now.

    Otto
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Welcome Otto: I'm going to pop over and look at your site soon.

    Grey screens are designed for high light output fixed panel projectors that are going to be used in light controlled rooms. The lower gain means less light refelcted adn hence less light bouncing around the room to wash out the image. The grey materail helps get BLACK, blacker than would be achievable with a white screen.

    Those lucky enough to be coming to the event will have the chance to see a Grey screen in the form of a 80 x 60 inch greyhawk from Stewart. It's in a BIG crae on the floor of the shop and it's going to be assembled soon.

    Gordon
     
  6. Noel

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    Thanks very much for the detailed replies. So am I correct in assuming that because I have some ambient light in the room, I'm better to stick to a white screen? I also note that there are different "weights" to screens. I guess this is to keep them flat?

    Sorry to be asking so many questions, I'm not used to being completely clueless!

    Cheers,

    <br />Noel
     
  7. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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  8. Noel

    Noel
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    Again, thanks for the replies. I've now read much of Otto's website and Gordon's article. I don't need the screen to be particularly brighter as I always watch in darkened(ish) conditions. It would be nice to see better blacks and improved contrast, though. I think I'll investigate grey screens. Does anyone know if there's a price list for the Grayhawk?

    Also, if anyone has any impressions after the weekend, I'd be very glad to hear them.

    Many thanks.
     
  9. Roland @ B4

    Roland @ B4
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    I'm a CRT man so I don't suffer from this but

    If the Gray screens just cut down the reflected light.

    Why doesn't putting a neutral density filter in front of the lens become a better option?
     
  10. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Roalnd this is a valid idea.

    The way I see it though is that ultimately how black you can get black depends on what colour you see your screen with all the lights off and nothing on in the room. Putting a filter in front of the lens of a projector will have no effect on this parameter.

    A grey screen will be harder to see than a white one though. Of course, this could be irrelevant. I'm trying to set up all the fixed panel things with the greyhawk for the Event right now. Man that D'iLA is LOUD.....

    Gordon

    Gordon
     
  11. otto_12

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    Hi Noel,

    The thickness often can be used as an indicator to the flatness of the screen, but there can still be a lot of difference between individual screens, because the qualtity of production is also very important.<br />Furthermore, if the screen is made of PVC it is normally not very thick, so tension in some shape or form is used to get a flat screen.

    As far as sticking to white is concerned, you should keep it if your current concern is that the picture should be brighter. If you want to improve perceived contrast, then go for a grey screen.

    Good luck,
     
  12. LV426

    LV426
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    Commparison between using a Grey screen and using a Neutral Density filter on the projector.

    Lets make some guessed assumptions which may not accurate, but illustrate the principle:

    1) Your hypothetical grey screen cuts down the brightenss to 80% OR

    2) Your hypothetical ND filter cuts down the light output from the projector to 80%

    On the face of it, either of these would give the same result.

    BUT

    When you project your image, some light will bounce back off the screen onto the walls and ceiling. It will then be reflected back onto the screen. This has the effect of reducing contrast by filling in the dark areas with unwanted reflected light.

    Let's suppose that the amount of this light is 10%.

    With a filter and a white screen, your main source of light on the screen is 80% of what it would be without. But contrast is reduced by unwanted reflected light, amounting to 10%.

    With no filter and a grey screen, your main source is 80% again, but your reflected light is ALSO reduced by the grey screen by same amount ie goes down to 8%.

    Summary - a grey screen will actually give a better result than a filter.
     

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