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Stephen Hopkins

HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
2,604
An acoustically transparent (AT) screen is a difficult balance to strike. It has to be both a mirror to light and a window to sound. For decades, an AT screen, like those found at your local cinema and allowing you to hide conspicuous and often ungainly speakers behind it, would cost thousands of dollars. For most of that time period, an AT screen brought substantial image quality compromises due to perforations in solid vinyl or PVC to allow both for light to be reflected and sound to pass through. These perforations aren’t noticeable from 50 feet away on a 50-foot screen, but on a 120” screen at 10 feet away, they certainly were.

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Stephen Hopkins

HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
2,604
The WVS and WAB materials are only available in the Standard Fixed Frame (as reviewed) and Thin Fixed Frame. It looks like Elite makes a few acoustically transparent retractable models, including the Spectrum Electric AUHD line.
 

Frankie_A

Agent
Joined
Nov 26, 2005
Messages
45
"It’s not trying to do any magic to improve your projector’s image… that’s not its job. It’s simply reflecting what you shine on it unaltered while also letting sound pass through unhindered and uncolored." FINALLY someone telling it like it is. The reason why you NEVER see grey or dark color screens in commercial cinemas is because the screen should not be used to compensate for shortcomings in the projector specs (yes you will see gray-ish looking screens but upon closer look they are really silver, not gray and they are necessary for polarized 3D to work -- and even THEY are hated in the industry because of anomalies the inflict on all 2D movies that are shown on them). If you need a dark gray screen to get good black levels, the screen simply can't really do that -- it can't manufacture better specs than the projector can produce; that's a law of physics, just like software can't really up-rez a 2K image to be a 4K image -- it can only make it seem like you are getting better blacks or higher/sharper resolution, but it's an illusion...and it's physics.

That said, watch your movies in a properly darkened room and stop trying to see movies in a lighted room. You are spending a lot of money to give you and your audience a movie going experience -- you call it your Home Theatre -- so ask yourself, have you ever gone to a cinema where they leave the lights on during the movie? Having low ambient light in your darkened Home Theatre solves a lot of ills and ALWAYS makes your picture look better.

Also, nowadays most theatrical screen manufactures are making perf screens with what they call microperfs -- basically smaller holds in patterns that are less problematic in terms of the possibility of moire patters. I have gotten samples of screeens with the smaller microperfs and was not I was not able to see the perfs at all at 4 feet away with an image projected, so depending on your seating distance, a theatrical screen would probably be a lot less expensive than the consumer AT woven screen. And of course perf screens are all AT screens.

I'd also like to point out that typically cinema screens cost WAY less that screens marketed to the consumer video market. We purchased Technicote's Pearlescent 1.2 gain screen 40ft x18ft for $3000. The caveat here is that theatrical houses like to sell much larger screens than you typically need in a home theatre. And they won't sell directly anyway, you need to go thru a cinema supply house. If you can haggle a deal with a supply house, you may have to wait until they get an order for a large screen that they can then slice a section off for you.
 

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