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Portable Projection Screens

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Elite Screens' Blog Team
2017/02/17,

Elite Screens' Blog Team

ezCinema Series, 80-inch 16:9

I have recently completed a review of the Optoma DV11 Home Entertainment projector. This product integrates a DVD player and stereo speakers into a projector and makes for the type of entertainment system that can be pulled out and assembled, at will, in a living room setting. The perfect screen to complement such a system would be durable, portable and equally easy to pull out and set up. Elite Screens ez-Cinema systems match that description perfectly. What makes this such a compelling product, in the complementary ease-of-use and low price point. With a retail price of just $249 for an 80-inch screen, it is not uncommon to find street pricing around the $175 mark or less

Build Quality

The ez-Cinema system is a very stable screen in terms of the mechanical elements that make up the mechanisms. The case is part of the system - which I like since you can't misplace it and it doesn't take up additional space (unless you count the depth, which requires the lid to be opened.) The top bar which lifts and secures the weight of the screen is ingenious. Instead of simply anchoring the lift tab to the top of a ridged bar, the ez-Cinema utilizes a sort of anti-tilt bar that distributes the load across the ends of the screen. This seemed to help the screen rise and sink evenly without allowing it to twist and become uneven over time.

Looking at the Matte White screen material itself, it seems durable - and indeed you can wash the surface with a damp cloth, though for most dirt and dust a soft duster will work wonders. The gain is 1.1 and it has a viewing angle of 100 degrees (50 degrees to either side of center, which is wide enough for just about any practical use. The black 1.25-inch fixed masking around the screen looked to be made well and I noticed no tears or inconsistencies on the front of the screen. The rear looked like some glue had dried in a more randomized manner, but it didn't appear to be anything other than cosmetic - in an area where it would never be seen except by nosey reviewers.

The case is durable but lightweight. I didn't feel 100% secure in the twin buckle clasps that adorned the front of the case, locking it closed. A double latch would have been more confidence-inspiring, though the case never once popped open of its own accord. It is possible that larger screens utilize this type of locking mechanism as the online video shows a different style of buckling clasp. When the case is opened the extending height adjustment pole was found locked securely in place behind the screen. The system really does look solid, with parts that aren't likely to wear out or break over a typical lifespan. I especially liked the ability, however slight to tilt the screen one notch position to manually keystone it to fit the projector angle in the event that you have a slightly off-axis alignment.

Setup and Installation

With fixed screens you have a more detailed procedure of assembly and instructions to follow, any one of which could render the screen lame if not followed perfectly. In contrast, the ez-Cinema setup process is akin to popping open a soda can. Here are the setup steps in a nutshell (a very small nutshell):

• Spin out the stabilizing feet perpendicular to the base to ensure the screen system doesn't topple over when raised up 
• Flip up the metal latches and open up the box cover 
• Fire up your projector and make sure it is sending a picture that can be visible on the screen during the next few steps 
• Remove the support rod 
• Insert the square end of the support rod into the support plate located in the middle of the case and adjust the height to where the screen is at the correct height for your projector (ensure the hanging hook is facing forward) 
• Lift the screen and place the metal hanger on the support hook. 
• Adjust by raising or lowering the vertical support pole as needed - the screen will follow. This is only possible if you can get behind the screen. If not, then make sure you put the screen all the way down before attempting adjustments to the vertical pole (be certain to never let the screen fall without tension.)

Observations

The ez-Cinema screen lived up to its name during use, it's truly easy to setup, operate and put away when finished. The added benefit of low cost of entry make this a product that is hard to pass up, especially if you are on a budget and want a portable solution. When projecting images on the screen we found that darkening the room somewhat was helpful, especially since the Matte White material only offered a 1.1 gain (not raising the image intensity at all during use). While there is a ~1" side and top mask (with the bottom mask increasing as the screen is raised) light does show up a bit more than on a felt-lined fixed screen. This is to be expected and I did a comparison to show the difference using the same image in the same room with the same lighting:

Looking at the Elite Screens ez-Cinema on the right, you'll see a slightly more noticeable overshoot when the picture is overscanned onto the black 1.25-inch matte. This wasn't detracting in the least, but don't expect to get the same type of light rejection as you would with a fixed-wall felt-lined frame (pictured on the left.)

Viewing Evaluation

I won't go into too much detail on the evaluation section. Suffice it to say that the screen performed very well and did not detract in the least from standard or even high definition viewing. I noticed no screen flaws and the screen texturing was unnoticeable from any normal seating distance. I felt that reducing the light in the room worked much better on this screen, however that will also have a lot to do with what type of projector you intend to use. If you are going for theatrical movies, try to darken the room and run the projector in it's Cinema mode (lower light output). If you are hosting a sports party, then run your projector full-out and know that this screen will only be as bright as the projector can push it. Here are some images I captured during the review:

Conclusion

This is a great product. It's impossible to fault it due to its low price and the fact that Elite Screens has so many more options to choose from should you require more features. For example, if you like the idea of lifting the screen up without the need for an adjustable height pole, then the ez-Cinema Plus' integrated "scissors-lift" system is for you at just a tad bit more. My only request would be that Elite Screens would add additional screen material options to these products. I would love to see a 1.3 or 1.4-gain screen in this model line-up, especially for a likely target market of consumers who may not have as much flexibility in reducing light in their viewing rooms. Overall this is a MUST-have product for anyone who would like a portable screen that can be put up quickly - and put away when not in use. For the price, you simply can't beat it.

Elite Screens F80NWH Projector Screen MSRP: $249
Get a Special Price from VisualApex.com
(Limited time offer: $50 discount for Audioholics readers!)

The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  Excellent

  Very Good

  Good

  Fair

  Poor

Metric Rating
Build Quality
Ergonomics & Usability
Ease of Setup/Programming/Integration  
Features
Fit and Finish
Performance  1/2
Value


About Elite Screens: Elite Screens Inc. is a California based company that specializes in making quality commercial and home-theater projection screens for the retail and custom install sales channels. Our company began as an innovative venture into the projection market by manufacturing veterans from the AV/IT industry. Elite Screens quickly established itself as an entry level commercial and home theater screen manufacturer. This was accomplished by making a quality product cost effective with a focus on mass-producing screen material, sizes and aspect ratios that were most commonly preferred by AV customers in general. We avoided custom made products in favor of uniformity that would match the mainstream demographic while including extra features that are not usually included by other manufacturers. We stand behind our customer satisfaction and are so confident in the quality of our product that we offer a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty over the industry’s standard 1-year warranty.

Reviewed by www.audioholics.com


AudioGurus Reviews the QuickStand 5-Second Series

Product: QuickStand 5-Second Series
Website: www.audiogurus.com
Reviewer: Clint DeBoer


When the QuickStand 5-Second Projection Screen was announced late last year, I knew this was our solution. The QuickStand 5-second series takes the original QuickStand concept and adds even more functionality, resulting in a free-standing “pull-up” stage projection screen that can be taken up and down in—you guessed it—under 5 seconds. The screen is available in various sizes and aspect ratios that are perfect for for large group presentations. The screen utilizes innovative dual cross spring scissors that lift the screen, a Greenguard Gold Certified Maxwhite FG material with a 1.1 gain. The entire screen mechanism is encased in an ATA wheeled aluminum stage case and a drape kit is included for when you need a truly clean presentation or you place the screen on a raised platform.
(see full article here)


REVIEW: Elite Screens QuickStand 5-Second Series

Church Product Review: Elite Screens QuickStand 5-Second Series

Product: QuickStand 5-Second Series

Magazine: Church Production Magazine

Reviewer: Mark Hanna

Review: Projector screens have a long and sordid history in churches. Not that long ago a church that had a projector screen was “cutting edge.” However, today having a projector screen in church is almost, dare I say, a requirement. Also, more and more churches are going portable, for both main site and multi-sites. Anyone working or volunteering in a portable church knows the importance of time—and gear that saves time. For these people, an investment in anything that saves time is always a good investment.

If you have ever set up a folding portable screen with skirt kit you know that “fast” is really not in the equation. Between snapping the screen to the frame and standing it up, they should really just be called “foldscreens.”

Elite Screens has released a solution for those plagued with slow set-up times with its QuickStand 5-Second series. Despite its remarkable size (our review unit was huge), this screen truly goes from road case to projection-ready in five seconds.

The upside

Setting up a projector screen is typically not a lot of fun, and usually a pretty tedious task. The Elite Screen QuickStand 5-Second series screen is actually very easy. In fact, I’m not sure I could do justice to how easy it is in writing. One of the big selling points is that Elite says it only takes five seconds to get the screen raised. The truth is, it really only takes five seconds if you do it slowly. It’s amazingly easy and very smooth going up. The scissor-style supports on the back are very stable. It looks great, and comes with a skirt kit that provides a neat, professional, finished look.

Unlike so many other manual screens, you will never have to worry about Elite’s QuickStand 5-Second screen being damaged because someone wasn’t prepared to lower it and the screen rolled itself up too tightly or quickly and was ruined. Plus, I really like that it stores in the heavy-duty road case, so there is not really any assembly required.

The screen itself is great. Our review unit featured Elite's MaxWhite Fiberglass (FG) 1.1 gain material with wide diffusion uniformity, ensuring a flat projection surface. It comes in varying sizes: 150- and 180-inch in 16:9, 154- and 185-inch in 16:10; and 163-inch in 4:3. It’s also flame-retardant and complies with NFPA 701 standards. The material has low chemical emissions and is certified GreenGuard Gold Certified UL 2818.

The Downside

While the screen is portable, at proximately 160 pounds and just under 14 feet long, moving our review unit was not a one-person operation. The road case does have wheels on one end, so it is possible for one person to move it—as long as that person is only moving it in a straight line. When you get to tight turns and stairs though, a second person is really required. Also, the road case is too large to travel in most standard elevators, and even our church’s coffin-length elevator was too small to accommodate it. So keep in mind, if you are going to be using this screen on a second floor or traveling in a trailer, it will be important to confirm all measurements.

For testing I was able to get some help and we were able to carry the screen up the flight of stairs to test it in our church’s chapel. I found a second person to be helpful when it came time to raise the screen. The scissor supports and handles are spaced far enough apart that one person would really struggle to raise the screen properly. While it is easy enough for one person, Elite Screens recommends using two, one for each side, to ensure that the screen rises evenly. I could see how you might damage the screen or the supports if you raised or lowered the screen unevenly.

Also, don’t forget this screen, when fully extended, is well over nine feet tall, so you can’t lower it from the top handles. This means you are going to have to place your hands on the scissor section, which makes me a little nervous. The opportunity for pinched fingers appears to be pretty high. While the screen does come pretty high out of the road case, it doesn’t come out high enough for the bottom to be over the audience’s head. It simply does not extend to the point that you could have it above the audience if they are on the same elevation. The few feet covered by the skirt kit brings the top of the screen well above eye level, but the bottom wouldn’t be viewable unless it were on a stage or elevated platform of some kind.

Considering the size, ease-of-use and quality build materials, I think this is a great travel screen. The Elite Screen QuickStand 5-Second could be a huge contender in the mobile church market. However, to accommodate a screen this big, the road case is big and heavy. So the formula you have to consider is convenience vs. size and weight. I think there are many times that convenience is going to win out. The fact that the screen is huge is completely overshadowed by the fact that it is so amazingly quick and easy to put up. Trust me, that’s a fact your volunteers will appreciate.


ezCinema (F100NWH) Review by Devindra Hardawar of Engadget

How I fit a 100-inch projector setup in my NYC apartment

Reviewer: Devindra Hardawar of Engadget
Product: ezCinema F100NWH


You could call me a bit of a movie fan. I own hundreds of Blu-rays and DVDs, see an obscene amount of movies in theaters and have been podcasting about my obsessive media habits for the past eight years. Movies aren't just mindless fun for me; they're a way of life, a religion. So it was only a matter of time until my 50-inch plasma HDTV started to feel too small and the siren song of an in-home projector came calling. My only problem? I live in Brooklyn. And while my apartment isn't the shoebox you'd normally associate with NYC, it's still a tough space to visualize fitting a projector and a giant screen. This is the story of how I made that happen. (see full article here)


Gamer’s Dream: Elite Screens ezCinema Plus 100” on LanOC Reviews

LANOC Reviews is a website specifically for gaming, gaming hardware and LAN parties. They started by hosting LAN parties and moved into reviews in March of 2008. They give an opinion from a gamers point of view because they are gamers!They put the ezCinema Plus F100XWH1 through its paces and it came through with flying colors.

Click here to see the full review.


Elite Screens Quickstand Portable Projector Screen Review

Elite Screens Quickstand Portable Projector Screen Review
By Clint DeBoer


Superbowl parties have changed the way I entertain. Well, really, my job as a home theater reviewer changed the way I throw Superbowl parties. Or maybe I just like big screens and rowdy outdoor gatherings. In either case, this year saw the debut of the Elite Screens QuickStand Portable Screen. With this screen came the standard CineWhite screen material as well as the Wraith rear projection screen material we had spec'd to use for this year's game. I expected big screen entertainment. I expected ease of setup. I expected a product that was durable and which could handle many years of use in various venues and indoor/outdoor viewing opportunities. So, did I get what I expected? (see full Review)

Superbowl parties have changed the way I entertain. Well, really, my job as a home theater reviewer changed the way I throw Superbowl parties. Or maybe I just like big screens and rowdy outdoor gatherings. In either case, this year saw the debut of the Elite Screens QuickStand Portable Screen. With this screen came the standard CineWhite screen material as well as the Wraith rear projection screen material we had spec'd to use for this year's game. I expected big screen entertainment. I expected ease of setup. I expected a product that was durable and which could handle many years of use in various venues and indoor/outdoor viewing opportunities. So, did I get what I expected?

Well, I'm not going to tell you this early in the review, else you wouldn't read the rest. And no, I'm not going to put it in the closing paragraph either, so don't look there. You're just going to have to read the entire review. But don't worry—I'll make it interesting. I promise.

 

Why an Outdoor Projector Screen? Why Rear Projection?
Listen, if you've never brought your projector outdoors, you have no idea what you're missing. You can achieve a larger screen than anything you can typically accomplish indoors. You can invite more people than you can typically fit into your living room or home theater. And you can most certainly create a more entertaining and fun environment for viewing sports, watching a movie, or just checking out the six o'clock news.

I'm kidding about that last point. If you use your outdoor projector and screen for that, you are a serious news junkie and I really don't think you'll find the rest of this review entertaining at all.

Take a projector outside and you can add life to an event that was previously, by definition, pretty well contained. You can socialize with your neighbors, bring that movie-going experience right to your back yard, and create an environment where you can cook, play and enjoy the big picture in a social setting that blows away anything you can pul off indoors. We used the Elite Screens QuickStand in a couple of scenarios. One was for the Superbowl. And it was awesome. We had wings, and kids playing, and tables with tons of food and drink—and all of it was completely open and inviting. Whether you were a football fan or just enjoyed people, the experience was one that was talked about for weeks afterwards—and that's when you know you're entertaining right. The Elite QuickStand was a big part of that and, without a doubt, the experience would not have been nearly as much fun without that screen. We also used it at a local non-profit ministry where we held a family movie night and entertained over 150 parents and children with an evening of Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Build Quality
So that's why you want to do outdoor and big screen projection, but as for the Elite QuickStand, this solution will let you do it in a way that is easy to set up, and reproducible. When you used a portable screen—as opposed to a home-made solution—you are going to get more out of your projector: more color, more brightness and certainly more clarity. The QuickStand features an aluminum frame that, along with the screen material, fits inside of a rolling road case. The case is very durable, with corner and edge protection as well as robust handles. I'd call it medium quality, which is to say it will bear up under being hauled form place-to-place, but you wouldn't want to throw it on and off of an airplane too many times.

The frame, as we mentioned, is constructed from a thick gauge of aluminum and the hinges that allow it to fold are well-made. The screen material comes in a nicely protected pouch, and we had a separate one for the WraithVeil rear-projection material. There are several hook and loop strapping points to hold everything in place so it doesn't shift around as you utilize the portable road case. A couple of straps hold the lid in place when open, so it doesn't flay all the way back when you're loading or unloading the case.

The Elite QuickStand screen really breaks down into three pieces, not including the screen. You have two legs to support the screen, and then the rectangular (in our case the 16:9 Q120H1 model) screen frame. Once you remove the two legs, you can unfold them and set them aside while you unfold the central frame. This process proved to be very simple and it was extremely intuitive. Once your frame is assembled, you lay it down and then proceed to attach the screen. This is done by starting in the middle and working your way out. It is not done by starting at a corner and working your way around the perimeter of the screen. I know this because I read the instructions—after having done it incorrectly...Actually, that story is true—it just happened about 10 years ago when I strapped up my first screen to a frame in my living room. Starting at the center allows the screen to stretch evenly and you have a much easier time getting the hardest snaps—the corners—to fasten. Elite Screens gives you something I've found incredibly helpful: corner straps. These straps are pull loops that you can grab and yank on. (Seriously, you have to yank as if you're trying to rip the screen in half.) There is an advantage to this, however, as the screen material is stretched so tightly, it eliminates any wrinkling after just a few minutes.

Once the screen material is mated to the screen, you can assemble the frame by selecting your height (you have tons of options here) and then securing it together using the included threaded bolts. Each has a black plastic knob on the end that you can simply hand tighten. Some screens I've reviewed included fasteners that required a tool or which were otherwise difficult to secure. I found the Elite Screens solution to be extremely quick and simple.

The legs on the Elite QuickStand fold out easily enough, but they don't have any incline adjustment to compensate for uneven terrain. Because of this, you may need to "shim" them in the event you need to place the screen outdoors on an incline. I've seen outdoor screens that have the ability to vary the pitch of the legs in order to correct for slight inclines—this is a feature we'd love to see added to the QuickStand.

Conclusion
Portability, flexibility and quality all rolled into one is a good thing. If you need a portable solution that's dirt cheap, you can find alternatives—but most of those pull up out of a roller and they curl at the edges. If you want or need a truly flat screen and a screen with much better contrast, then the QuickStand is a solution you really need to investigate. For under $1000 you can get a 100" screen that is durable and which you can take with you easily and quickly. I don't know that I can do a better job at recommending it than to simply say this is one of the best and most affordable quality portable screen solutions I've found on the market.

The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Detail and Resolution    4/5
Contrast and Black Levels    4/5
Color Reproduction    5/5
Build Quality    4/5
Ease of Setup    4/5
Features    3/5
Fit and Finish    4/5
Performance    4/5
Value    5/5


 ezCinema Plus Review by GamingShogun

ezCinema Plus Projection Screen Review by GamingShogun

Elite Screens ezCinema Plus series represents a new paradigm in how people setup their projection screens. While the idea of a pull-up screen has been around for awhile, Elite has done it like no one else by way of a “scissor” style skeletal system along with pneumatic pistons to hold the armature in place. The result is an extremely easy to use projector screen that also has great portability. The model we received to review, model F100XWH1, features a 16:9 screen ratio of 100-inches diagonally and has a 49×87-inch viewable area.

The screen itself is made from Elite’s “MaxWhite” screen material. “MaxWhite” features a 1.1 gain and black backing in order to avoid light penetration. The movies we projected onto the screen all looked great and I found no drawbacks to the MaxWhite material in the least. One final, awesome point about the MaxWhite screen material is that it is very easy to clean with some mild soap and water. An aspect of projector screens that I never had given any real thought to was scent. When deployed for any length of time, the ezCinema Plus screen did not make the room smell of vinyl and plastic like a lot of screens out there. Elite Screens has gone to great lengths make sure that this screen series has a GreenGuardcertification for an insanely-low amount of air pollutants. You see, much like that “new car smell”, manufactured vinyl and plastics often give off scents which are not all that great for you to breathe in. This product is nearly free of those pollutants and, let’s face it, it is nice not to have your house stink of vinyl when trying to watch a movie and eat some popcorn.
 

We wanted to take the ezCinema Plus screen through some various, possible uses. So, the first test we put it through was watching movies on our back patio. Our patio is basically a rectangle in shape, which makes it easy to place the projector on one end and the audience chairs on the other.  Additionally, the “rectangle” is enclosed by very high walls (but no ceiling). Unfortunately, this is where we encountered the most problematic issue with the unit: windy conditions. I had the screen fall backwards twice because the wind “wooshed” through just right and pushed it down.

Now, it is safe to say that this screen is definitely more at home in, well, a home or dorm environment where wind should not be a problem. However, for those of you wanting to entertain outside, take note, as you need to anchor the two ezCinema Plus feet a bit more if it’s windy. Once I anchored down the screen’s feet with a couple sandbags, it withstood the light breezes like a champ. Once done, I calibrated the projector and started up a Halloween-time favorite of mine: Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat. Seeing the film on the large screen with the moon and stars overhead, it reminded me a lot of going to drive-in movies with my family as a kid – only with a much better sound system. :)

We also hosted a GamingShogun.com movie night where some folks were able to come on by and watch Sean S. Cunningham’s original Friday the 13th, such a classic! Again, the screen proved the talk of the event, people marveling at how large and bright the image appeared. At one point in the film, we noted a strange light artifact but that was coming from the projector itself and did not have anything to do with the ezCinema Plus projector screen.
 

The next hurdle for the ezCinema Plus screen to jump in our review process was playing video games. Unfortunately, our projector doesn’t have a short throw range. Being that this test had to be done inside my living room, I had to place the projector screen on the far end, blocking our front door. My wife loved this ever so much… But, I digress. After setting up the projector and hooking our Xbox 360 game console to its HDMI port, we began… I was simply slack-jawed at how incredible playing Gears of War: Judgment was on such a large screen. Going back to my 42-inch LED TV, I was just sad. It reminded me of using an LCD screen for a while then looking at an old CRT display.

Overall, the Elite Screens ezCinema Plus line of portable projector screens is a fantastic addition to your home or dorm theater setup. You can find the entire line of ezCinema Plus projector screens at the Elite Screens official website. We were so impressed by the great movie-watching experience this screen provided that I am awarding it a 5 out of 5 stars. Additionally, it garners our official“Seal of Excellence” for being such an outstanding product. If you have any inkling to create a home theater – look into this one!

Pros

  • Durable and rugged skeletal system
  • Easy to deploy
  • Comes with its own carrying case built-in

Cons

  • Feet are a bit short for windy conditions
     

ezCinema Plus Projection Screen Review Score

Overall Score: 5 out of 5



ProjectorCentral.com - PicoScreen

ProjectorCentral.com’s Jeff Janas put Elite’s PicoScreen tabletop projection screen through its paces and here is what he had to say: “For less than $100, the PicoScreen gives a consistent display surface that is easy to take anywhere. The quick and easy setup and take down make it practical to use as a temporary screen for the kids or to bring along for an ad-hoc office presentation. After spending some quality time with the Elite Screen, I'm convinced this is a no-brainer accessory if you frequently use a portable or pico projector.” (see full review)


 ezCinema Plus - SECRETS of Home Theater

12/26/2008 - Ross Jones, hometheaterhifi.com  

Affordable Projectors for Non-Dedicated Home Theater Rooms - Mitsubishi HC5500 & Elite Cinema Screen 

Introduction

I am continuing my journey into the world of affordable front projector systems, with a special emphasis on systems that are suitable for multi-use rooms. My first foray, the Sanyo PLV-Z2000, was a success. But I didn’t have anything to compare it to, at least in my own home environment. Now comes the first challenger, the Mitsubishi HC5500, another affordable 1080p projector. These projectors use the same basic display technology (LCD panels), so provide a pretty good apples-to-apples comparison.

Since the goal of the series is a relatively painless and economical way to set up a front projector system in a non-dedicated room, this installment also includes a look at the other end of the picture, the screen. While I’ve seen motorized, curved and acoustically perforated screens at trade shows and in dedicated home theaters, they are quite expensive. The average person buying an entry-level projector is unlikely to spend as much on the screen as they did on the projector. Plus, a permanently installed screen taking up an entire wall of a non-dedicated room is unlikely to pass the Spousal Approval test.

To address those needs, there is an entire market segment of drop-down screens, both ceiling and wall-mounted. My family room has cathedral ceilings, so a ceiling mounted screen isn’t an option. And because my current main display is a rear-projection TV, a wall-mounted screen won’t work either, unless I build a soffet to extend out beyond the front of my RPTV (RPTV’s, using DLP or LCOS technology, are typically around 14 inches deep). So I decided to keep it simple, and started with a pull-up portable screen, the Elite ezCinema Plus.

The Screen: Elite Screens ezCinema Plus Portable Screen

The Elite Screens ezCinema Plus is a portable, pull-up screen designed for traveling presentations or portable home theater applications. The Cinema Plus series uses a spring scissor mechanism for lifting the screen, rather than a telescoping pole found in the regular ezCinema series.

The ezCinema Plus comes in various sizes; in a 16:9 configuration up to 100” diagonal inches. The screens are available in white (1.1 gain) or grey (1.0) material, with ?” black top/side masking. The bottom masking is adjustable, depending on how high you lift the screen material out of its housing. The 84” screen is available for $389.99.

Setting up the screen is really easy: first pivot the two rotating feet 90 degrees for stability, flip up the latches, then open the lid and pull up on the screen handle. The screen lifts up easily, without bunching or balkiness, and stays put when you let go of the handle (no locking required). I did not notice any folds, wrinkles, or waves on the screen. Storing the screen simply involves reversing the above-process, which takes less than minute from start to finish. I left the screen in front of the RPTV when not in use. This is really a no-hassle, spouse-friendly way to have a projection screen in the room without installation hassles.

In Use

I fed the HC5500 a variety of program material, including DVD sourced from my Oppo DV-980H player, and high-definition material from both disc and cable TV. My subjective impression was that the Mitsubishi put out a somewhat brighter image that the Sanyo PLV-Z2000, but with slightly less detail than the Sanyo. I would guess that is a function of ANSI contrast.

Batman Begins is a popular demo disc, especially the training scene with Liam Neeson and Christian Bale fencing on a sheet of thin, cracking ice. The Mitsubishi’s image was quite bright, with colors that seemed reasonably life-like (although it seemed slightly oversaturated with user-level calibration). Television HD (1080i) was deinterlaced by the Mitsubishi without obvious artifacts, and programming that lacked quick panning action (like The Late Show with David Letterman) looked especially sharp. NFL football in HD had occasional problems with fast-moving images, but this is more an issue with LCD technology in general than anything specific to the HC5500. Overall, the HC5500 put out a bright, pleasing image similar to that of the Sanyo.

The Elite ezCinema Plus screen was a real treat, taking nothing away from the picture. Off-axis viewing was very good, with no obvious hot-spotting or loss of contrast. Despite lifting and lowering the screen many times over the review period, it never showed signs of wrinkling or uneven, wavy surfaces. The Elite Screens ezCinema Plus screen is a wonderful solution for those interested in front projection, but either cannot or don’t want to permanently install a ceiling or wall-mounted screen.

On the Bench

Uncalibrated, the color temperature was on the hot side (too blue). After calibration, the overall temperature was closer to D6500.

The uncalibrated RGB levels indicated red and green in the right place, but blue was far too high (the graph is an indication of gray scale tracking, i.e., whether the image stays white at all IRE levels or has specific tints at various IRE). After calibration, blue was closer to where it should be, but unfortunately, red and green were not nearly so smooth as they were in the uncalibrated state. Calibration of one item often affects others. The HC5500's color controls are limited.

Gamma before and after calibration were insignificantly different (2.05 and 2.08 respectively).

There is plenty of brightness with this projector, so it works well in semi-darkened rooms. The contrast, on the other hand, is not very good. ANSI CR was 270:1, and the Full On/Off CR was less than 1000. I did not activate the Dynamic Iris for the measurements, because the iris does not generate true contrast. The iris simply makes dark scenes look better by closing down and producing less brightness so you won't see the leakage in the dark areas of the scene. But this also makes the lightest areas darker. We can call this inter-frame contrast, because it measures the contrast between the dark areas of a dark scene frame that is shown with the iris closed down, and the light areas in another frame in a different scene that does not have dark areas, so the iris remains open. True contrast is measured within a single frame, between the lightest areas and darkest areas. Maximum contrast cability would be found within a single frame that has regions at 0 IRE and regions at 100 IRE, which takes into account not only light leakage, but the flare properties of the lens. We use the ANSI test pattern for this. Full On/Off contrast is also measured, but it is rare that a movie scene frame is totally black (0 IRE) or totally white (100 IRE).

I think the low contrast may be because Mitsubishi has to use lower cost LCD panels to keep the price down, and they simply cannot stop leakage through the panels with such a high output bulb. This leakage is seen in dark areas of a movie scene and also in the 0 IRE test pattern. Nevertheless, the image was pleasing and satisfactory.