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. For that and other reasons, I’ve always wanted to try a curved home theater screen but generally considered them poor values. Enter Elite Screens, whose retractable Osprey design I reviewed in these pages (Home Theater, October 2011). That company now offersa range of fixed-frame, curved models—the Lunette Series—at surprisingly affordable prices. Two different screen materials are available for the Lunette: Elite’s CineWhite, with a specified gain of 1.1, and the company’s AcousticPro1080a, a woven, acoustically transparent material said to have a gain of 1.0. Since the AcousticPro1080 increases the price of the screen rather dramatically, we went with the CineWhite.
The Lunette’s wide, curved frame is covered in a nonreflective black velvet. The back of the screen is blackened to eliminate light penetration (a feature many more expensive screens don’t offer).
Setup of the Lunette was easy, primarily because Elite assembled it for me while I watched! (Elite’s
U.S. offices are located within easy driving distance of our studio.)
But it didn’t appear to be a major challenge, though I’d recommend at least two people be on hand for the job. Once set up, the Lunette’s curved surface was uniformly smooth and wrinkle free. Elite furnished us with a stand (not commercially available) for our temporary review setup. The screen is normally wall mounted.
There are two primary disadvantages to a curved screen. First, retractable versions are not available from Elite—or any other manufacturer to our knowledge. And second, a large concave surface can do weird things to the room’s acoustics. I couldn’t check for the latter, but the Lunette’s curvature is so gentle, I suspect its acoustic impact will be nil.
Viewed from just inches away with a bright, stationary test pattern, the CineWhite screen material had subtle, visible texturing. It was noticeable only because of its absence on our reference Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130. But it was not visible at a comfortable viewing distance on normal program material.
I also saw a hint of pincushion distortion, visible as a slight curvature of horizontal lines at the top and bottom of the picture. But with careful setup, this was invisible on anything but test patterns. Elite claims that a curved screen eliminates pincushioning, but that likely depends on the design of a projector’s lens (whether or not it’s corrected for an assumed flat screen) and the vertical position of the projector (in our tests, the projector was located slightly below center screen).
My prior positive experiences with that flat Elite screen using the same screen material largely told me what to expect, and I wasn’t disappointed. The picture quality was uniform from one side of the screen to the other, even at ridiculously wide viewing angles. Colors popped beautifully onKung Fu Panda 2, and the resolution on the Elite from this disc was little short of astonishing. Prometheus, though far darker and offering less colorful eye candy, was just as impressive in its own way.
I loved what the curved screen did to enhance the cinematic feel of movies, and if my home installation allowed for such a screen (it doesn’t—I need a screen that retracts), I’d choose the Elite Lunette without hesitation.
HT Labs Measures
Both the Elite Lunette and the Screen Innovations Black Diamond 4K screens were measured against our Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 reference for both color consistency and brightness loss from the center to the sides. Any such measurements will include the effect of both the screen and the projector. We have no way to reliably isolate the two; therefore, the measurements here should be used for comparison only. All measurements here were made with our meter located at a centered position, just behind the projector. A center reading was taken first, then readings at 75 percent left and right. The measurements on all three screens were somewhat worse at the right side of the screen than the left, suggesting that the differences were related to the projector in some way (though they were not visible to the eye). Here we show only the worst-case, center-to-rightside
Different screens will require different calibration settings, so the Sony projector was recalibrated for each screen prior to taking any readings. The gray-scale results are shown in the accompanying table as the average Delta E. Delta E is simply a figure of merit that shows how closely the gray scale adheres to the HD color standard. The lower the number, the better, and most experts agree that readings under 3 to 4 will appear visibly uncompromised to the eye. While the Screen Innovations has the most deviation, it’s likely that the screen itself had less to do with that than the projector. None of the color deviations from the center to the side shown here were obvious on normal program material. What was clearly visible was the loss of brightness from screen center to 75 percent right on the SI screen. An important part of the SI’s design is its ability to reject light coming at it from an angle. Unfortunately, such a screen can’t differentiate between a table lamp located at an angle to the screen and the light coming from the projected image and hitting the screen at the same angle. —TJN
Stereowise Plus is an Audio-Video (AV) website that gives insightful feedback on the latest and best in consumer electronic product and industry trends. It focuses on product evaluation while promoting awareness of high tech items and their value to AV consumers. Jeff Roy and his team had a chance to go over our ezFrame fixed projection screen with its Award-winning WraithVeil rear-projection material.
Elite Screens ezFrame 100 Inch Fixed Frame Screen Review
More and more people are bringing the movie theater to their home. Front projectors have come down in price significantly, and now one can enjoy a 100" or more picture in their home. When I got my first front projector several years ago, at first I used a large white sheet. But to get the best picture, you need a screen. Up for review today is the 100" 4:3 Elite Screens ezFrame R100V.
There is a lot to be said of the elegant look that you get from a fixed mount frame. And a standard CineWhite or CineGrey material does not work with every application. That is why today we are reviewing the ezFrame with Wraith Veil screen material. It's features and specs include:
Award winning Home Theater Screen with full tension uniformity
Models available with CineWhite 1.1 Gain, CineGrey 1.0 gain, Wraith Veil (rear) 2.2 gain, and AcousticPro1080 (sound transparent) 1.0 Gain material
Anodized black aluminum frame with black velour surfacing to enhance the appearance with the stylish masked border that absorbs projector light overshoot
Easy to assemble and install in minutes
Sliding wall mounts ensure the installation is properly centered
Available in 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratios
Diagonal sizes ranging from 84" - 226"
Custom sizes are available
2-year manufacturer warranty
The Elite Screens ezFrame R100V came well packaged. Opening up the packaging showed a high quality product in both fit and finish. The included instructions were also easy to follow. I was able to put it together by myself in less than an hour, taking my time.
The frame itself comes in 6 pieces, and held together with 6 joints. Tension rods slide into the sleeves on the edges of the screen. The rods then fit into a groove in the frame and are held in place with plastic clips. To make it even easier, there are red marks on the frame to know where the clips should go. It was quite ingenious actually. The product was a good looking screen that was well tensioned.
The Wraith Veil screen material is a clearish material that is designed for rear projection. The image is projected from behind the screen. It is quite different from the traditional white or grey screen, but then again, those screens don't work in all installs. The Wraith Veil material does fill a need.
The Wraith Veil material works well in bright lit rooms. The 2.2 gain did help to brighten things up. It's surface coating allows the screen to make the colors look more brilliant. Black levels are also improved. You may have seen this material used at your local movie theater hallway to show previews.
Watching on the screen also did not disappoint. Images were quite brilliant and bright. Color uniformity was also excellent. The 1080p resolution of my blu-ray came through beautifully with all of it's visual glory. Black levels and shadow details also came through well. The Elite Screens ezFrame with Wraith Veil screen proved to be a necessary tool to provide the eye candy I was expecting.
With all said and done, there is no better way to get the best image possible than using a dedicated screen. And a fixed mount screen just gives a better look. With the velvet finish on the ezFrame, you get on elegant one. It's quality was great, and the assembly was simple. Once completed, the built product looked stunning! Based on its design, features, and quality, the Elite Screens ezFrame R100V has earned our Editor's Choice award. While the Wraith Veil screen material included in the review is not for everyone, as it is for rear projection, the ezFrame has multiple fabric options to work with your particular install needs. At an MSRP of $579.00, it is also a good value. They also have all the formats: 4:3, 16:9, as well as 16:10. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at http://www.elitescreens.com/.
AV expert and professional writer, Scott Tharler takes a close look at the Lunette curved-frame projection screen on Discovery News.
(see full article)
Elite Screens Lunette
Curved Projection Screen
For the last seven years, Elite Screens’ primary focus has been on home theatre screens with high-performance-to-cost ratios. Elite Screens’ secondary markets are government, house-of-worship, educational, and military. The Lunette screens combine Elite’s high-performance CineWhite screen material with curved extruded aluminum frames. The reviewed 106-inch diagonal Lunette 2.35:1 Lunette screen has an MSRP of $1,129 (frame model Curve106WH1). The 100-inch diagonal model (Curve100WH1) is currently the most popular Lunette screen size and has an MSRP of $1,029. There is also an acoustically transparent option offered at $1,299 MSRP for the same curved 106-inch diagonal size that was reviewed. The Lunette screens are currently Elite’s highest-performance screens, designed to compete with high-performance screens from other manufacturers, but at a lower cost.
All Lunette screens have a curved frame. The largest 2.35:1 size is 158-inch diagonal, and the smallest available size is 85-inch diagonal. The same screen material is available with a flat frame in Elite’s ezFrame screen series. A 103-inch diagonal ezFrame (flat) version of the curved Lunette has an MSRP of $798 (a 103-inch curved Lunette model would have an approximate MSRP of $1,079). Curved screens are popular in home theatres using an anamorphic lens combined with a 2:35:1 or 2.40:1 aspect ratio screen. The curve of the screen reverses the inevitable small amount of pincushion distortion caused by the anamorphic lens. Curved screens can be used without an anamorphic lens to good effect, especially if the projector throw distance is long enough to avoid barrel distortion (the opposite of pincushion) that can be more obvious at short-ish throw distances. Alignment of the projector-to-screen will also affect the amount of geometric distortion. Minimizing distortion requires that the projector lens height remains within the height of the image area of the screen. The more above or below the top/bottom edges of the screen, the more geometric distortion will be introduced. A ceiling mount that puts the projector lens two feet above the top edge of the screen would have quite a bit more geometric distortion than if the ceiling mount was low enough to place the projector lens at the same height as the top edge of the screen. There are typically four reasons a curved screen might be chosen over a flat screen. The previously mentioned anamorphic lens combined with a 2.35:1 screen is one reason. The second reason is that a curved screen may produce images that are slightly sharper than a flat screen at the far left and far right sides of the screen. However, viewers tend to look directly at the central one-third of the screen most of the time, with the outside edges of the screen taking on a less critical “peripheral vision” role that heightens immersion. Viewers rarely look directly at the left and right one-third of the screen during movies. That means the slight advantage in sharpness at the outside edges of images may not be obvious while viewing movies. This sharper-at-the-outside-edges factor may not be true for every projector/lens combination or every system/setup. If the projection lens is optimized for sharpness on a flat surface or if the throw distance is long, there may be no sharpness advantage for a curved screen. The third reason people use curved screens is simply that a curved screen has a “cool factor” that you don’t get with a flat screen. The fourth potential benefit of curved screens is that more light is reflected towards the viewers, with less light reflecting to the sides and bouncing off of walls, leading to light-contaminated black levels. This is a more significant factor when the sidewalls are somewhat close to the screen and when the walls are painted something other than black or very dark neutral gray. Color on the walls will create colored reflected light that can contaminate images. When it’s not possible to make the room completely black or very dark gray, or a very dark shade of some color (less ideal, but better than a medium-to-light shade of any color), a curved screen can help reduce unwanted side effects from the non-dark walls.
The Lunette screen arrived nicely packed. As with any screen, you need quite a large clear floor-space to assemble the screen. The frame rails went together easily. Each frame corner has a beefy angle bracket that holds the frame rails together. Some screens I’ve assembled have had to be “tweaked” to remove some trapezoidal shape after initially fitting the four frame rails, but the Lunette frame came out “square” (perfectly rectangular in this case) without having to be tweaked. You always want to double-check any screen frame after assembly. This is easily done by measuring the two diagonals. When the two diagonals are the same, the frame is “square.” If the two diagonals are different, the frame has some trapezoidal distortion.
The Lunette screen material has rod pockets on all four sides. Four plastic “rods” are inserted into the pockets on the four sides of the screen material. This was reminiscent of assembling a camping tent with flexible support poles. The edges of the screen, now with the plastic rods in the pockets, are pushed into channels in the aluminum frame. Plastic “keepers” lock into grooves in the frame rails, which hold the plastic rods in the channels. You begin installing the plastic retainers in the center of the long dimension, then install retainers in the center of the left and right sides. More plastic clips are installed from the center-outward on the long dimension of the screen. As the remaining unsecured area of the vertical edges is similar to the un-anchored space on the top and bottom, you begin adding retainers to all four sides uniformly, still working from the center towards the corners. This keeps even tension on the screen (assisted by the plastic rods in the pockets). The screen material stretches lightly over the aluminum frame so the screen material follows the curve of the aluminum frame with no waviness. The process was simple to complete, and there were no wrinkles or unevenness in the screen anywhere once all the retaining clips had been installed.
Wall-mount brackets are included. These should be anchored to wall studs to support the weight of the screen safely. Elite does not currently offer a stand or legs for the curved Lunette frames. Since I have about 8.5 feet of space behind the screen to accommodate equipment racks, my only options are stand-mounted screens. I used a stand-mounted 2.40:1 screen as the support for the Lunette screen by turning the wall-mount brackets into trick “hooks” that hooked around the back of the other screen’s frame. That left protruding “hangers” hanging over the front edge of the flat screen. The Lunette screen was hung from the two brackets like a framed picture. Careful attention had to be paid to getting the Lunette screen lined up with the projector so that the left and right edges of the Lunette screen were both exactly the same distance from the projector. My first attempt at hanging the Lunette screen resulted in the right edge being about 1 inch farther from the projector than the left edge. This produced an easily visible
difference in image size between the left and right sides of the screen. The projector axis has to be exactly right, and the screen’s position also has to be exactly right in order to not have unwanted geometric distortion.
In my room a JVC Professional DLA-RS60 projector is 14.8 feet from the screen. Viewing distance is 8 feet for this 8-foot wide (nominal) screen, giving an angle view of 60 degrees. Elite recommends a minimum viewing distance equal to the diagonal screen measurement. For this 106-inch diagonal screen, I was about 10 inches closer than their minimum recommended viewing distance. If there were going to be any visible problems with the screen material at my closer-than-recommended viewing distance, I certainly would have seen them.
The projector is on the top shelf of a tall rack. The center of the projector’s lens is the same height from the floor as the top edge of the viewing area of the screen. With no anamorphic lens in the optical path, this setup produced straight lines at the top of the screen and slightly “barreled” lines at the bottom of the screen. The amount of barrel was about 1/8-inch between the center and either the right or left edge of the screen. This slight curve at the bottom of the image was easy to hide by zooming slightly so the bottom quarter-inch or so of images falls on the black velvet-covered frame.
The front of the screen/frame assembly is featureless, except for the small Elite Screens logo in the lower right corner of the screen, offset to the outside edge of the frame, as far from the image area as possible. The frame is thicker around the outside edge, with about half of the 3.5-inch width of the frame rails tapered to a thin edge right at the screen surface.
The surface of the Lunette screen has a slight texture, a very fine “grain” that is smaller than individual pixels. Touching the screen, it feels smooth, as the texture is too fine to be detected by the sense of touch. The only way to see the texture is to get close to the screen, and if you’re like me, you have your high-magnification reading glasses on so you can get even closer than your minimum focus distance. Shining a flashlight on a diagonal helps to reveal the texture.
There is absolutely no prismatic effect visible at any time. Some screen materials produce prismatic effects due to reflections from fine glass or other reflective particles on the surface of the screen. This can have the appearance similar to the “silk screen effect” often seen in RPTV screens or in higher-gain front projection screens. The Lunette screen never had this issue. The fine texture of the screen is completely random, with no visible orientation that could cause density streaking in the horizontal or vertical directions due to directional surface coating in the factory. There’s nothing I see in the Lunette’s images that indicates any coating issues that lead to a visible image defect due to less-than-perfect reflection of light. There were a few times when I thought I saw some slight vertical density patterning in bright areas of images, but this remained present when a different screen was temporarily moved into position, so this effect was either coming from the projector or the Blu-ray Disc™.
Used with Panamorph’s DC-1 anamorphic lens, the amount of downward tilt of the lens made a big difference on how effectively the curved screen eliminated the pincushion distortion from the anamorphic lens. Getting the tilt just right did eliminate the slight amount of pincushion distortion so that less zoom was needed to hide the pincushion distortion. Small adjustments to the tilt of the lens made a difference, so it took some fiddling to find exactly the right angle for the anamorphic lens. Once the anamorphic lens tilt was set as well as possible, anamorphic 2.35:1 images were close to perfect, geometry-wise. Only a small amount of zoom was needed to hide edges of the frame.
I compared images on the Lunette screen to images from a Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 100, Stewart’s no-compromise reference screen. As you read these comparison comments, keep in mind that a flat StudioTek 100 in a 103-inch diagonal size will cost very close to three times as much as Elite’s flat ezFrame screen. The flat StudioTek 100 screen will cost roughly two times more than a curved Lunette screen of the same size. The StudioTek 100 reflects light in all directions and requires a blacked-out room to eliminate reflections that affect the StudioTek 100 images quite a bit more than they would bother reflections from other types of screens. Any nearby reflections will wash out the black levels. Colored light reflections will impact image “purity.” The theatre room is fully blacked out to allow use of the StudioTek 100 screen… black carpet, flat black ceiling, and flat black walls. I find the StudioTek 100 screen has the uncanny ability to appear as though the images were coming from the screen itself, as if the screen was the world’s best flat panel display rather than being a projection screen. The only other screen I’ve seen that does the same thing is the DaLite/JKP Affinity screen, another reference-grade screen. Both the StudioTek 100 and Affinity screens have a surface that reminds me of my wife’s cosmetic powder. The particle size is so small you can’t detect particles or texture at all. The surface of both of these reference-grade screens even has a unique feeling when touched… it feels like an ultra-fine powder, much finer and smoother feeling than even “baby powder.” It’s almost a creamy smooth feeling. Not that I recommend ever touching these or any other projection screen on purpose. If you can’t help yourself, be certain you’ve removed any fingerprint/skin oils or other contaminants from your fingers before touching.
For side-by-side comparisons, the two screens were overlapped with a single 3.5-inch frame rail down the center of the projected image. The most obvious difference was how quickly black levels were disturbed by turning on a dimmable floor lamp in the room. The Lunette screen remained considerably darker than the StudioTek 100 screen, all the way from just barely on to full brightness. With the room completely black, differences were surprisingly small between the two screens. The Lunette screen was a little brighter, but the StudioTek 100’s black level was just a little better, as you might expect given the 1.1 Lunette gain versus the 1.0 StudioTek 100 gain. As usual, the StudioTek 100 screen produced images that appeared to originate in the screen rather than looking like they were projected on the screen. The Lunette screen’s images had about half as much of that “in-the-screen” look. That may sound disappointing, but you should realize that this effect is not common in projector screens in general. So it was very promising that the Lunette screen at least brought some of that effect to the table. The StudioTek 100 images were just slightly more “real” looking, due to the lower black levels and the slightly enhanced sense of the image originating in the screen itself. This difference was subtle. I wasn’t really aware of it until placing the screens in the side-by-side evaluation mode. There were no observable color or luminance problems, though, it is difficult to compare luminance measurements from a curved screen to a flat screen since the curve of the Lunette tends to direct more light back to an optimally placed viewer. The uniformity of illumination of the screen matched the illumination profile of the JVC projector precisely, meaning that the screen itself wasn’t changing the measured center-to-edge illumination profile of the projector, as measured on the Stewart StudioTek 100 screen. There were some small measured differences, but they were just as likely to be due to the differences in flat versus curved screen material as they were from any real unevenness. There was certainly no visible unevenness of illumination. Measurements varied 4 percent or less, but when you’re dealing with 14 footLamberts (fL) or so, 4 percent is just over half a footLambert.
Overall, the StudioTek 100 images were just slightly more “solid,” dimensional, and convincing. But it wasn’t nearly the difference you might expect given the price differential of similar sizes of StudioTek
100 vs. Lunette. The cost differential is two to three times more for the StudioTek 100 versus images that are subjectively five percent better on the StudioTek 100 screen. But turn on any light source in the room at all, and the Lunette screen has a clear advantage over the StudioTek 100 screen. If the room is painted anything other than flat black with black carpet, the Lunette will also have an advantage over
the StudioTek 100 screen. It’s not that the Lunette screen is unaffected by light or reflections, it is. But the degree of effect is much less than the StudioTek 100 screen. The Lunette screens are better able to deal with rooms that can’t be blacked out. The room itself can dictate that the StudioTek 100 would be a poor screen choice, while the Lunette screen would have clear performance advantages. Certainly, even more directional screens would edge out the Lunette screen, but those other screens would likely have less even illumination and they are likely to have some of the prismatic effect I find so distracting at times.
I never detected any sparkly pixels or visible screen texture in any images, including 3D Blu-ray. I’ve seen the sparkly pixel issue in some very well-respected (but not reference-grade) screens. It seems to be more of an issue with older screen materials that may have originated in the years before 1080 x 1920 resolution became the “standard” for good home theatre systems. The Lunette screen is completely absent
of any sparkly pixels or prismatic effects. That means the Lunette’s reflective properties approach the quality of reference-grade screens. The system had been calibrated with the StudioTek 100 screen. Switching to the Lunette screen produced measurement results that didn’t change enough to justify recalibrating. The Lunette screen matched Elite’s 1.1 gain specification closely enough that I have no concerns about the 1.1 spec. While the images may not have been quite as good as the StudioTek 100 screen’s images, the Lunette’s images were more similar to the StudioTek 100 images than they were to more typical screens that steadfastly cling to the look of light reflecting from a surface rather than being a window into the alternate reality of a good HD movie. There was an excellent sense of depth in Lunette
images. While the Lunette screen was less affected by light sources (or reflections) in the room than the StudioTek 100 screen, it’s not a screen I’d pick if there was always going to be light in the room. A very dark room still makes images from the Lunette screen look their best.
Elite’s Lunette screens definitely achieve Elite’s stated goal of high-end performance at mid-range prices. The Lunette screens fall just short of reference-quality performance, though, they may be a far better screen choice for the typical home theatre room than a reference quality screen that has to be used in a blacked-out environment to achieve reference-quality performance. At a cost of one-third to one-half the cost of a reference-grade screen, the Lunette screens (and ezFrame flat models) deliver near-reference images and are easier to live with in real-world theatre rooms. The Lunette screens are highly recommended for home theatre enthusiasts looking for a high-performance screen that’s easier to live with than a full-blown reference screen. WSR
• Extruded aluminum frame, non-reflective black velvet covers, forward-facing frame surfaces
• 40-foot curve radius
• Wall-mounting brackets with adjustable “depth”
• Wide range of standard sizes available
• Stock aspect ratios of 1.78:1 and 2.35:1
• Custom sizes and aspect ratios available as special orders
• 160-degree viewing angle
• Opaque screen material with integral black backing eliminates light leakage through screen
• 2.35:1 screen size range – 85-158 inches diagonal
• 1.78:1 screen size range – 84-150 inches diagonal
• Matte CineWhite screen material is standard
• Optional AcousticPro™ 1080P2 screen material
• CineWhite screen material gain 1.1
• AcousticPro screen material gain 1.0
• Frame width – 3.5 inches
• Warranty – Free replacement during first 7 days (2-way shipping included); 2 years parts and labor with 1-way shipping for retail customers; 3 years parts and labor for government, military, house-of-worship, and educational markets
• MSRP - $1,129, 106-inch diagonal Lunette curved screen, as reviewed
Elite Screens, Inc.
16410 Manning Way
Cerritos, California 90703
Phone: 562 483 8198
Fax: 562 483 8498
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site - www.elitescreens.com
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ELECTRONIC HOUSE -Review: Elite Screens' ezFrame Screen
This screen looks and performs better than its price tag suggests.
September 16, 2010 | by Arlen Schweiger
As much as you’d love a $20,000, four-way, motorized masking, curved CinemaScope screen for your theater, that’s a daydream for most. However, for less than a tenth of the cost you can still own a rock-solid projection screen.
The EZ-Frame screen products from Elite Screens look like they cost a whole lot more than they do, and their performance is on par with that. If you’re debating flat-panel TV versus projection, consider that a 100-inch EZ-Frame and modest high-def projector combo costs about as much as a quality 50-inch HDTV—only the picture is quadruple the size.
To test the installation rigors and performance, Elite sent me a 92-inch EZ-Frame regular white matte, 16:9 fixed screen. You may get away with doing the install yourself; I enlisted colleague Bob Archer to make it an easier two-man job.
If you’re installing it in a basic theater room like mine, screen assembly and mounting will be no sweat. Elite marketing manager David Rodgers says most custom electronics pros can zip through it in 30 minutes to an hour. Bob and I weren’t that speedy, but even as novices it took us less than two hours.
After unboxing and laying the contents on the floor—most theaters will have more breathing room than mine for this—we started attaching the horizontal velour-surfaced aluminum frames, which come in two pieces, and then the vertical sides. The only knock was that in one corner not every screw hole aligned perfectly; but overall fastenings were plenty tight so leaving one screw out wouldn’t hinder the installation.
It took about 35 minutes to assemble the frame, insert the tension rods and carefully unroll the screen (you want as little debris in contact as possible), and we were on to the tensioning. Attaching the fix plates into the frame slots for this task was much more difficult, but the process still only required about 40 minutes, despite our breaking a handful of the plastic pieces and feeling like our thumbs were about to fall off.
Wall hanging proved simple with the 2-inch flat strap sliding brackets, and after measuring, leveling and mounting, the screen was ready for action. At the time of this review, I’d used it with a BenQ mini LED projector and an Anthem LTX 300v D-ILA model, running the gamut at about $500 and $6,500, respectively (and I’ve since used another high-performance model, DreamVision’s StarLight). Having projected the BenQ onto my white wall, the addition of the screen made a noticeable improvement in picture clarity and brightness, plus framing the image in black provided boost in contrast.
In handling the much higher-performance Anthem 1080p unit, this value screen has been nothing less than a champ—it looks like a really crisp, really large LCD. One of its merits as a bargain performer is that you can put that extra cash toward a better projector.
Blu-ray, HD DVD, cable, and PC content of varying resolutions was rendered smoothly and brightly, with nice color uniformity and no hot spotting.
If you’re worried about not having an always-dark dedicated theater, I found that even with a can ceiling light turned on inches in front of this screen, the image was highly viewable, so higher-gain options ought to work exceedingly well under ambient light conditions—another plus for the screen side of the debate.
Arlen Schweiger - Managing editor of Electronic House Magazine
Arlen contributes product news items to electronichouse.com along with his role on the print publication. Got a tip? Send it along!
Specifications, Pros, Cons
Available in white tension PVC, high 1.8 gain white, tension contrast gray
Solid or acoustically perforated material options
Black-backed screen material
Black, lightweight velour-surface aluminum frame
2-inch flat strap sliding mounting brackets
4:3, 16:9, 2.35:1 aspect ratios
Sizes from 84 to 200 diagonal inches
MSRP starting at $649 (street pricing can be found for about half)
Priced at a bargain
Easy to assemble and mount
Quality image enhancement
Looks nice even when there’s no picture onscreen
Screw holes won’t always align
Fix plates somewhat breakable
No masking option
Elite Screens 100 inch 16:9 ezFrame Review
By Jeff Roy, January 3, 2010
When it comes to home theaters with front projectors, the quality of the picture starts with your projector. But the quality of the end result will depend on your screen. Just as the quality of projectors vary, so do the quality of screens. While you wouldn't use a $2,000 screen with a $1,000 projector, it is too easy to use a $200 screen with a $2,000 projector. It is possible to get a good quality screen for a fairly cheap price that will not degrade the quality of the image from your projector. Up for review is an Elite Screens EZ Frame 100 inch wide fixed mount screen.
When I opened the screen that Elite Screens sent for review, I could tell the high level of quality. The frame material was a very high quality, solidly built 2.36 inch aluminum frame with a black velvet finish. The design is quite ingenious with the frame having multiple grooves built into the aluminum frame. All sides of the screen material have a slot that provided plastic rods slide into. Then you push the edge of the screen with the embedded rod into the first grove. There are plastic clips provided, and once you push the screen into the first groove the plastic clip slides into another groove and holds the screen in place. The provided installation instructions are simple to follow. They are step by step, and once you start to install the screen into the frame, the sections of the frame are numbered to show a recommended order of installing the plastic clips to tension the screen to the frame. I started in the middle. After installing the first two clips at the top and bottom of the screen, there was a tight crease and I was worried there would be a lot of creases in the screen material. But as I went around and installed all of the plastic clips, the screen ended up being well secured to the frame and well tensioned with a flat surface free of creases, of the entire screen. The end result was a great looking flat screen with a nice looking solid frame in a black velvet finish. Once the frame is built it is time to mount it. The mounting design is also rather ingenious. There is a third groove that runs the entire length of the frame. Included with the frame were two aluminum brackets. These two brackets are aluminum plates that are flat except for a lip at the top. These plates are screwed onto the wall through a stud, so they are flat with the wall except for a lip at the top that sticks out from the wall about 1/16 of an inch. This spacing a the lip now allows it to slide into the last groove of the frame. So the installation process was rather simple. And after you have to do is screw the plates onto the wall. Once the wall plates are installed, all you do is lift up the screen and set it on the plates. Follow the included instructions and it is pretty simple. And the end product looks great. The screen itself is also washable.
So we know it uses high quality parts, is easy to build even for one person, and the completed screen looks great. But how does it perform? As I mentioned earlier, screens can get very expensive. This is after all not quite considered a budget screen. Screen material options are either CineWhite 1.1 or AcousticPro1080. The screen material provided was the CineWhite. The CineWhite does not quite have the black level performance help that the Cinema grey screens provides, but if you have a newer projector- which should have fairly good black level performance, the Cinema White would do a good job. And the screen material itself is fairly easy to interchange.
The picture looked great. The performance was better then expected. The image was bright enough, with good black levels, uniform diffusion and no noticeable color shift. Overall it was a good looking picture. Times are difficult with many of us trying to cut back where we can. For those of you looking for a screen on a tight budget, and are tempted to save some cash by picking up a manual pull down screen, I would suggest you take a look at the Elite Screens EZ Frame They also have their SaleFrame line which is their entry level fixed mount screen. The tensioned screen will not only look better, the fixed mount frame will have a better overall look. And it will give you years of enjoyment. For more info and complete specs, please check out their website at http://www.elitescreens.com/index.php.
March 23, 2009 - Bill Livolsi, ProjectorCentral.com
Traditionally, if one needed to use a projector in a room with a lot of light, the answer was to get a brighter projector. But what if one could instead get a brighter screen? Elite's StarBright™ 7 is a new 7.0 gain screen material that helps bring lower lumen output projectors into the light of day.
The StarBright™ 7 works by taking the light from your projector and reflecting it back at a narrower angle. As a result, the StarBright™ 7 gives you a significantly brighter picture if you're sitting in the "sweet spot" where all the reflected light is falling. In conference rooms, houses of worship, and lecture halls where the audience is sitting toward the center of the screen, the StarBright™ 7 provides an attractive, affordable alternative to a super bright projector. A 103" 16:9 diagonal StarBrite7 can be had for $1739.
A high-gain screen like the StarBright7 directs more light back towards the direction of the projector, and diffuses less light out to the sides of the screen. As a result, if you are sitting at or near the center of the screen and viewing it head on, the projected image appears far brighter than it would on a 1.0 gain screen. While the StarBright™ 7 is spec'd at 7.0 gain, we measured an actual boost of 7.4 gain. So a 1,000 lumen projector on the StarBright™ 7 appears as bright as a 7,400 lumen projector would on a 1.0-gain screen.
In fact, the StarBright™ 7 is so bright that one may occasionally notice a bit of glare right at the point where the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. This is most noticeable when viewing from a close distance as it would be in home theater, but it is not a concern when sitting farther from the screen as most audiences would be in applications where this screen is most likely to be deployed.
Every screen has what's called a half-gain angle, which is the viewing angle at which the screen image appears half as bright as it does at zero degrees viewing axis. The StarBright™ 7 has a half-gain angle of 12 degrees, giving you a 24-degree cone in which the audience will perceive the image at its optimum brightness. Outside of that cone, the image will still be visible, though much dimmer. Outside of a 30-degree area in each direction (or a 60-degree cone), the image becomes much harder to see. For best results, you'll want to plan for as much of your audience as possible to be sitting within an angle not to exceed 30 degrees from center.
The StarBright™ 7 has a visible texture that is noticeable when watching high-definition film or video. In practice, it can make moving images look grainy or artificial. Still images are not affected by this artifact, so if you are planning to use the StarBrite7 for presentations or static digital signage, this is a non-issue.
Finally, our sample screen has some horizontal streaking on its surface, perhaps from the manufacturing process. It is very subtle and not easily noticed - in a way, making it similar to LCD vertical banding of years past. And just like the more subtle occurrences of vertical banding, if you're not actively searching for it, you probably won't see it. Like the texturing mentioned above, this is only really noticeable with motion video/film material since it creates a subtle fixed pattern in a moving image. For anyone planning to use the screen for static image display, this becomes a non-issue.
The Elite StarBright™ 7 is a great presentation screen for rooms in which ambient light demands a brighter image, and where audiences are sitting relatively close to the center viewing axis. While Elite Screens suggests home theater usage for this fabric, we do not feel that this is the StarBright™ 7's best application. The limitations related to hotspotting, graininess and streaking are most apparent only with film/video material and a relatively close viewing distance.
With any other type of static display, from spreadsheets to hymn lyrics, concerns about subtle graininess and horizontal streaking don't apply. For this type of usage, the audience viewing angle is the primary consideration. This screen will perform at its best in rooms or lecture halls that are relatively long and narrow, and becomes less effective if the audience is dispersed at a wide angle to the stage or podium.
In the right setting and with the right application, the StarBright™ 7 delivers an extraordinarily brilliant, vibrant picture. In those installations where it can be deployed to its maximum advantage, it is a cost-effective alternative to a very high lumen projector.
1/17/09 - Art Feierman, ProjectorReviews.com
ezFrame Fixed Frame AcousticPro1080 Projector Screen Overview
Back last February ('08) we reviewed Elite's Home2 Series Fixed Screen with Acoustic white surface. We gave that screen a Special Interest Award, rather than our normal Hot Product Award. This was due to certain limitations of the screen, that limited the number of potential users. That particular weakness was the lack of a dark backing resulting in too much light passing through the acoustic screen material, and, when a light surfaced wall is behind the screen, light reflected back through the screen, washing out the image. The screen did work well enough, however when the wall behind the screen is extremely dark. With white or off white walls, that screen's image was effectively ruined.
For those limitations, Elite has been on my case, for many months, to review their newer acoustic screen surface. This new surface is called AcousticPro1080 and it comes with a black mesh backing, which solves the problem mentioned above. It is definitely suitable for use with a light colored wall/surface behind the screen, as well, of course, as working well with a dark surface behind the screen.
For this review Elite provided this fixed frame screen in an 84 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio version. The Elite part number for this size is: R84WH1-A1080. Realizing that 84 inch diagonal is a smaller size than most would buy (but very convenient for reviewing), below I list not only the info on the test screen size, but MSRP for several larger screen sizes as well. Elite offers this screen in huge sizes if needed, even 150 inch and larger. You'll get the idea. Dealers generally sell Elite screens with good discounts.
The frame itself is a nicely beveled light absorbing black finish, about 2.5 inches thick. There are thicker screen frames, but this amount of border is enough to look good.
Overall, this Elite screen performed very well. Timing is such, that my main theater (which had off-white walls - unfortunately, until last week), was finally painted to a dark rust color. I had the opportunity to work with this Elite Screen with both light and dark wall color. It did a nice job, in both cases.
As I have mentioned in previous screen reviews, we are not really setup to measure and provide hard objective numbers (gain, acoustic properties, viewing cone, etc. This review is therefore subjective on these topics.
To observe the acoustic properties, this screen was placed in my theater, below my Stewart Firehawk G3. Since I do not have a center speaker that would place behind the screen surface, I simply slid my two large front speakers a little closer together, and propped the screen frame up against the outer sides of each, allowing all the sound from the speakers to pass through the Elite screen surface. Putting a friend to work, I had him bring the top of the screen forward and down, moving it out of the way of the speakers, to see what differences/losses I could detect, with the screen in front of the speakers.
The photo below, of the setup was taken before the speakers were moved closer together:
Please note, I'm an old "audiophile" with a pair of what were, pretty state of the art conventional speakers from the early '70s (IMFs), and I still take my audio seriously. I watched/listened to several Blu-ray based concerts with this screen.
On the other hand, I'm definitely "an old guy" relative to the ability to hear high frequencies. As such I can't comment on the amount of loss of extremely high frequencies as I doubt I can still hear above 13K or 14K (in the good old days, I could easily hear 19K). Those of you younger than I may well detect more loss of highs than I can. That said, Elite claims only a very modest loss of high frequencies - 2db at 20K, which if dead on, I would consider excellent.
The image immediately below of James bond (Casino Royale), projected onto the Elite screen with a calibrated Sanyo PLV-Z3000 projector. Looks good here, looked even better "live".
84 inch diagonal: $927
92 inch diagonal: $996
100 inch diagonal: $1080
106 inch diagonal: $1135
110 inch diagonal: $1252(available in March or April)
120 inch diagonal: $1344 (larger sizes are available as well)
Technology: Woven white surface acoustic material, 0.3mm perforations, square (but off-angle) pattern, black mesh backing
Acoustic Properties: Maximum loss of 2db @ 20Khz
Warranty: 2 years parts and labor
Unlike many other manufacturers, the Elite's long side frame pieces come in two pieces each, instead of single pieces. This allows the entire screen to be packed into a much smaller box, one that avoids the high extra shipping costs normally associated with fixed frame screens, due to their size requiring significant "oversized" box shipping charges.
It sure seems simple enough. I, however, am not one who looks forward to doing such things, so, of course, I convinced Elite to deliver the screen, along with someone who would assemble it in my presence. This works because Elite Screens is located less than an hour from my location.
Basically it took about 15 minutes for the screen to be assembled. Dave Rodgers from Elite did all the work, while I watched. First step after unboxing the components (a nice small box), was to connect the pieces of the frame. Remember, Elite instead of using single long pieces for the frame, breaks the long sections down into two pieces.
After the frame was assembled, the frame was placed face down on my floor. The screen surface and the black acoustic cloth were laid on top, and fastened into place by several dozen little white clips. The large number of clips is to insure even tension so that the screen surface remains perfectly flat.
It really was that simple. If I had done it, I would have run out of patience and probably tried to get everything to stay in place, using a minimum of clips, and then wondered why the screen ended up with waves in it. Dave does good work, the screen is very flat and taut.
Bottom line: Putting the screen together should not be a challenge for those willing to try.
As mentioned in the overview, I did notice a slight shift towards a yellow/gold with the screen, and you can see the difference (though exaggerated) between it and the very neutral Stewart Firehawk G3, in the photo of the two screens with no image on them, back near the top of this page. When viewing normal material, however, it really is far more difficult to spot any color shift compared to my Firehawk G3.
Immediately below, is a photo of James Bond, from Casino Royale. You can see the narrow top part of the image is on the Firehawk, the lower part, on the Elite. Pretty hard to spot the color shift. You'll also notice some other differences, varying brightness, and contrast in the image. That however is due to the Firehawk being a high contrast gray surface, compared to a basic white surface.
Another good "split image" shot is this one of some football "signage" from an HDTV source. It's obvious that the two surfaces are very close:
The screen lived up to its claimed wide viewing angle. There was no hotspotting, and brightness appears uniform even from wider viewing angles than anyone would want normally want to sit at.
I was concerned about the texture of the screen surface, compared to the almost totally smooth and uniform Firehawk, or for that matter, my Carada Brilliant White and my Elite HC gray. Despite that, I didn't notice the texture during normal viewing. I'm sure it's enough to be detectable when looking for it, but I do believe this surface will satisfy all but the most critical. There are finer micro-perf screens out there, for those who may be concerned with this Elite surface. Note, the patterning of the material is finer, and a different "improved" pattern for this new surface, which Elite says is designed especially to work with 1080 projectors.
Here's one more split screen image with the Firehawk on top and this Elite AcousticPro1080 screen on the bottom. This is the very dark train scene from Casino Royale:
As noted above, my hearing isn't what it was 30 years ago when managing high end audio stores. With that as a given, I spent hours listening to music videos, CD's and movies using this Elite ezFrame screen. At the most, I could only notice a very slight loss of sparkle on the high end, when having someone move the screen quickly into the path of the sound. I really enjoyed some superb performances with the screen in place, including the Moody Blues in concert (Blu-ray), and music videos on MTV's Palladia HD channel, as well as other music videos.
For typical movie watching (action oriented, talking, etc.), certainly this screen seems more than transparent enough. Any loss of overall gain (volume) is negligible, almost certainly no more than 2db, and probably a lot less than that.
The only question, one I can't answer without test equipment, is how much loss there actually is on the extreme high end (15K to 20K hertz) where I can no longer hear, but many of you younger folks can. For those not "tuned" into audio, we are talking extreme high frequencies - upper harmonics of vocal and musical instruments. This frequency range probably accounts for well less than 1% of audio content but does contribute to the sound quality for those with good hearing. According to Elite, they only lose 2db at the very top, and that seems to be a very reasonable (slight amount). In fact many (very good) speakers roll off the high end more than that.
As I see it there are four major aspects to this screens performance: Image, Sound transparency, setup and physical attributes, and finally price. Let's run through them.
This Elite seems to be a real improvement over the earlier screen surface I reviewed. The black mesh backing and new surface solve the problem of reflected light, even with white walls. There is, as I pointed out, that very slight color shift, but as you can see from the images provided, it is barely detectable, even comparing side by side with the Firehawk. The shift is probably well within the normal differences from one movie to the next in color balance. It is subtle and should be easy to correct for, if you so choose.
Elite claims a gain of 1.0. That seems very believable.
No significant acoustic problems are audible to my ears, although as mentioned, I can no longer hear the highest audible frequencies. Loss of volume, is definitely negligible, just enough to be noticed when the screen is quickly moved out of the sound path.
While listening to a favorite music video, I did find the high end a touch muted, compared to when the screen was out of the way, but it is only noticeable when quickly switched. No way I could walk into the room and tell by sound if the AcousticPro1080 was in front of the speakers or not.
Setup and Operation
As I stated earlier, the setup really is straightforward - (easy to say, when I was just watching it being done). 15 minutes should do it, once the parts are out of the box. Once assembled, the surface appears nice and taut, comparable, no, actually a bit stiffer than that of the Carada Brilliant White surface I use as my primary screen in the testing room. There's not a sign, anywhere, of a wave or wrinkle in the screen surface.
The screen surface is easily cleanable, with a water moistened cotton cloth.(Nice!)
Elite traditionally sells their screens for less than the older, well established names like Da-Lite and Draper. That is just as true for this acoustic screen as with their other surfaces. A quick search online shows the 106 inch version of this screen selling typically for well under $700. By comparison, names like Da-lite will cost you about $1000 or more for their acoustic solutions in a fixed frame.
It certainly looks like Elite has a very good product in this fixed frame screen with their AcousticPro1080 surface with black mesh material backing. While I am no expert on acoustic screen surfaces (that's the truth), this screen seems to perform very nicely as a video screen, while allowing high quality sound to pass through it from a center channel speaker, or even all three front speakers. There are definitely other acoustic screens with a finer texture to the screen surface, but I really didn't see any issue, from normal seating distances, while viewing at a distance of just beyond nine feet - a reasonable distance for smaller screens such as this 84 inch or maybe even a much larger 106 inches.
When everything is considered, pricing becomes an important aspect in determining value, and this Elite is very strong on pricing. While the pricing is still significantly more than non-acoustic screens from elite, most sizes of this screen sell for about the same price as non-acoustic screens from bigger "old-time" brands, and far less than those companies charge for their acoustic screens.
Add it all up, and I do believe Elite has an excellent overall value proposition. For that reason, it earns our Hot Product Award.
Elite Screens AcousticPro1080 Projector Screen: Pros
Elite Screens AcousticPro1080 Projector Screen: Cons
Elite Screens AcousticPro1080 Projector Screen: Typical Capabilities