NewsPT-AE8000. The AE8000 is not as outwardly different from its predecessor as was the AE7000 from its own, but outward appearances mean very little. The AE8000 has significant improvements in all areas of picture quality, from brightness (both in 2D and 3D) to contrast (both in dynamic range and shadow detail) to color accuracy and the clarity of detail. Any one of these improvements can seem rather small, but taken in sum they constitute a major upgrade that will interest both videophiles and more casual users. Update September 12: We have received further information from Panasonic regarding the price of the AE8000 and its replacement lamps. We have also been told that Panasonic will offer consumers two free pairs of 3D glasses with the purchase of a Panasonic AE8000... more W1070. Sporting native 1080p resolution and a max light output of 2,000 lumens, the W1070 has the pixels to show HD moves in their native resolution and the power to light up your living room, even if you can't get the space completely dark. Home video projectors, as the name implies, are designed for multipurpose use in family rooms and living rooms; i.e. places other than a home theater. They are more likely to have higher light output, onboard speakers, and more modest contrast than home theater projectors since black level is less of a concern when ambient light is present. Conversely, home theater projectors are optimized for darkened rooms and typically have very high contrast. The W1070 defaults to Dynamic mode, which like other projectors' Dynamic modes is very bright and very green. Dynamic mode will be useful any time you need to prioritize light output over the projector's other qualities, such as contrast and color saturation, as these take a beating in order to increase overall power... more Black Diamond Zero Edge projection screens. They are the world’s first and only multi-directional ambient light rejecting projection screens which allows them to have the look and feel of regular flat panel televisions. And Epson showed us their super-bright projector that can actually give better performance than the picture on a flat panel TV. John Sciacca for Residential Systems magazine, June 12, 2013 Orignal article appears here. ...So I headed up to the job site to take a look at the project and it turns out that the projector is going to be installed in a library where one wall is almost entirely windows with a 30-foot ceiling. With zero window treatments planned. So I called the customer and asked if they had ever owned a projector before (they hadn’t) and I explained how projectors work and that part about how they can’t project BLACK and that with the lighting conditions in their room, they were not going to be able to use a regular screen if they wanted to, you know, see it while that great big ball of happiness we like to call the sun was out and about. I explained that the only way to have a projector they could enjoy during the day would be a Screen Innovations’ Black Diamond. (Or invest thousands of dollars in window treatments. Which I could totally automate, BTW. So, your call…) I sent them a video demonstrating how the screen worked in high ambient lighting conditions and explained that we would also want to couple this with a high-lumen projector to get as much light on the screen as possible, but that it would mean dropping to a 110-inch, the current Black Diamond Motorized maximum. (read more)
Screen Innovations Showing Five New Projection Screen Solutions Designed for the Commercial AV Market at Infocomm 2013Austin, TX and Orlando, FL (Infocomm booth #4575) – June 12, 2013 – Screen Innovations (SI), a leading US-based manufacturer of projection screens and associated technologies, announces today that the Company will show five (5) innovative new projection screen solutions to Infocomm 2013 attendees this week in Orlando, Florida. Pure™ Zero Edge Touted by integrators as being “the coolest, most forward-thinking solution to hit the Residential and Commercial entertainment space since the flat panel TV,” Pure™ Zero Edge screens redefine what white and gray projection screens can do to enhance the visual entertainment experience. Two options are currently available; Pure™ White is a 1.3 gain screen, Pure™ Gray is a .8 gain screen, and both feature SI’s sleek and stylish Zero Edge bezel. Filling a void onscreen and in the marketplace, Pure White Zero Edge and Pure Gray Zero Edge projection screens feature SI’s new and proprietary Micro Texture that is nine (9) times finer and smoother than that of the best screen material available on the market today. Capable of reproducing perfect resolution from 1080P to 8K and beyond, Pure delivers image quality that is razor sharp with perfect color and uniformity that provides a sensory experience unlike any other. Quick and easy to install, Zero Edge screens do not require any additional assembly once unpacked. Mounting options include on-wall or flown from the ceiling by slender cables. New optional LED Lighting is built in to the frame and now incorporates six (6) custom preferences and 256,000 colors, including 6500 kelvin white. This unique feature set provides an incredibly sleek appearance and immersive entertainment experience that can’t be achieved with any other screen. Available in large-format projection screen sizes up to 120” in 16:9 and up to 150” in 2.35:1, the Zero Edge line now includes Pure White 1.3 gain, Pure Gray .85 gain, Black Diamond 2.7 gain, Black Diamond 1.4 gain or Black Diamond .8 gain screen materials. Prices start at $1599 MSRP and are based on configuration. FlexGlass™ An innovative new rear projection screen material, FlexGlass offers all of the benefits of the best rigid optical panels with the added benefit of custom and curve capabilities that can only be achieved with a flexible screen material. Delivering unmatched edge-blend capability, zero hotspot, almost infinite viewing angles and as the ability to be rolled on a 2-foot core to significantly reduce freight and job site handling issues, FlexGlass is an ideal choice for multiple-projector, edge blending and short throw projector applications; all of which serves to fulfill a very real need that isn’t currently being met by any other manufacturer in the marketplace. Black Diamond™ Motorized Utilizing one motor, four custom helixes, and a spool of slender aircraft cable, Black Diamond Motorized silently lowers a thin wing containing the rolled Black Diamond screen downward from a recessed ceiling-mounted cassette. The cable-hung wing then stops, and from it, a small tube quickly emerges and lowers itself down to an adjustable, pre-determined image height, leaving only the image space in sight. Because Black Diamond screens do not require masking or any black drop material whatsoever, there is no visible material above, below, or on either side of the screen surface, allowing the images projected on Black Diamond Motorized to appear as though they are suspended in air. Unlike flat panel TVs, Black Diamond Motorized delivers zero glare and reflection when used in a bright environment, and by virtue of its industry-leading Black Diamond ambient light rejection screen technology, light scatter is measurably reduced by over 75%. Delivering a next-level entertainment experience while literally disappearing into the room’s existing décor when not in use, Black Diamond Motorized appeals to the senses - and satisfies the needs of - a diverse audience in a variety of Commercial environments. Black Diamond Motorized is the ultimate blend of art + science. Those interested in learning more about the SI value proposition are encouraged to contact Katye (McGregor) Bennett to schedule time to view the Company’s new lineup during Infocomm by emailing Katye@kmbcomm.com or calling (425) 328-8640. For more information on the SI line, to find local area dealers, or to access screen calculators and more, visit www.screeninnovations.com or call (512) 832-6939. To download SI product images, videos, logos and associated marketing materials click on the following link: www.screeninnovations.com/downloads/.
###About SI Screen Innovations (SI) is a leading US-based manufacturer of projection screens and associated technologies for residential and commercial applications. Best known for Black Diamond™, the world’s first and only multi-directional ambient light rejection projection screen technology, SI has effectively revolutionized the two-piece projection category by pioneering and producing screens which deliver an unparalleled video image in either light or dark environments. Sold at affordable price points and designed to blend flawlessly with surrounding décor, SI projection screens deliver stunning images and a fully immersive entertainment experience, rivaling or surpassing traditional displays. Operating under the principle that “No matter the budget, Screen Innovations has the best available screen solution to suit your needs,” SI produces a comprehensive assortment of screens and accessories for nearly any budget or application. Interested parties are encouraged to visit www.screeninnovations.com or call (512) 832-6939 to learn more about the SI family of products and services available. Follow SI on Twitter @SIScreens and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/screeninnovations. John Sciacca for Theo’s Roundtable, May 29, 2013
Following up on yesterday’s post, here are six more reasons why you don’t need a dedicated room to have a great home theater: 1) “Sound quality will always be compromised.” Certainly it’s easier to craft a perfect sonic chamber in a dedicated room, with walls built to ideal dimensions and acoustic treatments in the perfect combination of absorptive and reflective surfaces, ensuring that audio sounds as close to the mixing room as possible. But with modern audio processing and powerful room-correction software available from companies like Audyssey and Trinnov, even the most difficult rooms can be tamed. 2) “There’s no good way to hide all of the speakers!” There is a phenomenal array of speaker technologies available capable of delivering terrific audio that is all but invisible. (There actually are invisible speakers—installed behind the sheetrock and using the wall as a transducer—but their sound is a bit too diffuse and non-localizable for home theater use.) One readily available option is in-wall speakers that can be painted to match your wall color and blend in. High-performance in-wall models can be found from companies like Meridian, Bowers and Wilkins, Wisdom Audio, Triad, and many others. Speakers can also be concealed in cabinetry or columns or woodwork. California Audio Technology (CAT) is renowned for custom building amazing-sounding speakers into practically any enclosure. Leon is another manufacturer renowned for building custom models. JBL Synthesis also has a variety of models that work well in cabinet installs. Another great pairing with your projection screen might be Le Wing by Screen Research. This conceals high-performing front left/center/right speaker channels inside the screen housing to be dropped to the perfect listening location on demand. Other “out of the box” thinking can be found with Monitor Audio’s SoundFrame series. These speakers can also be cleverly concealed behind artwork to look like a painting on the wall. 3) “There’s no good way to keep noise from escaping a family room, and no good way to keep noise outside the room from creeping in.” I’ll be honest—this is a tough one to rebut. Soundproofing is difficult—and expensive—even in dedicated rooms, let alone an open space like a living room. The next best thing you could do would be to isolate the rooms you don’t want to disturb—say the bedrooms—using sound-isolating techniques on their walls. Even so, a movie played back at reference volume level will likely be heard throughout the home. There are some things you can do like using “Night” listening modes that compress the dynamics so loud sounds like explosions won’t be as loud. Audyssey also has a new technology called LFC that’s designed to contain the low-frequency sounds that most disturb the neighbors while still allowing for an impressive theater experience. Even so, with a 6½ year old of my own, this is a problem I struggle with so I’d be a liar if I told you this wasn’t difficult to overcome . . . 4) “Stadium seating is the only way to go.” Stadium seating is great when you need to cram a lot of viewers into a shallow space, but for the typical home theater is really unnecessary. If you’re going to be routinely hosting events where you need to seat more than 8 to12 people, then a typical-sized living room might be tough. But if we’re talking typical daily viewing where it will likely just be the 2 to 6 people in your family, a couch will be totally adequate and far more comfortable. A couch is far more social, where you can turn to the person next to you and share a comment . . . or ask them to pass the scotch. 5) “Dedicated theater makes watching movies more of an event.” When the lights are down and you’re watching the movie, the room becomes the last thing you or your guests are thinking about. And, yes, the process of getting up, gathering all of your drinks and snacks, and walking to another part of the home to watch a movie might be “an event.” It might also become “an inconvenience” over time. Equally part of “an event” is having everyone settle into the couch, saying, “OK, it’s time for the movie!” and then pressing the Watch Movie button on your control system and having all of the lights slowly dim, the window coverings drop, the screen lower, and the system turn on. 6) “I don’t care what you say—a living room theater will just never be good.” For my final point of rebuttal, I offer up my own living-room home theater as an example. I promise you, it has impressed everyone who has ever sat through a movie there. John Sciacca
A month ago, I wrote a post called “The Death of the Dedicated Theater Room” that listed all the reasons why a theater in a multi-use space such as a living room or family room makes so much more sense than going with a dedicated room. Multi-use spaces are generally more welcoming and comfortable, don’t require an exodus from one location to the next to watch a movie, and—most importantly—every home has one. (For simplicity’s sake, going forward I’m just going to call any multi-use space a living room.) Before I begin debunking all of the reasons why you think you can’t put a great theater in your living room, I want to start by saying that if you have the means, budget, space, and desire for a dedicated media room in your home, go for it. This is definitely not a knock on building a dedicated room, and in many circumstances, a dedicated space can deliver an amazing experience. With that said, here’s why I think you’re wrong when you say you can’t put a good theater in a living room. 1) “A living room lets in far too much light to be a good theater.” Granted, one of the benefits of a dedicated room is that it often has a single door and no windows, which makes it easy to make the room completely dark. But there is a lot that can be done to make a living room acceptably dark for movie watching.
It’s no big surprise that flat panel displays are getting larger. Not only larger, but seemingly more affordable too. Because flat panel displays have gotten larger and more affordable, many within the front projection community -manufacturers and enthusiasts alike -have begun to question the need or relevance of front projectors in any environment outside of a dedicated home theater. After all, in most living room environments, or even multi-purpose media rooms, does one need a display larger than say 80 or 90 inches? I say yes, but I also argue that when it comes to 80 plus inch flat panel displays -media room or not -a front projector is going to give you a better imageand potentially be more affordable. Right now the largest display size commonly available to consumers is 70 inches, though I am aware that both 80 and 90 inch HDTVs are also available. A 70 inch diagonal HDTV is big, I know because I have one in the wonderful (and affordable) 70-inch Vizio E-Series ($1,599.99 at Vizio.com). At just under $1,600 the Vizio E-Series’ value is nearly beyond reproach, however if you wanted to step things up to say 80 or even 90 inches diagonally the jump in price is steep -real steep. For example, Sharp’s 80 inch (or 80-inch Class) LED HDTV starts at $4,999.99 and caps out at $6,499.99 depending on what features you need it to have. Their 90 inch variant retails for $10,999.99. Five years ago both displays would’ve cost you three if not four times that amount, so let’s not get too bent out of shape. But even at a little over ten grand, is the Sharp 90 inch LED HDTV the best way to go? Is the 80 inch at even a penny under five grand the way to go? What if you want to go larger? The problem facing a lot of these larger than life HDTVs is that in order to hit certain price points manufacturers are reusing or utilizing back or edge lighting systems designed for smaller displays -say displays ranging in size from 60 to maybe 70 inches. This means that light uniformity and brightness -yes I said brightness -suffer. Also, because many of these displays use either glass or special coated plastic in front of their screens, glare is also a big issue. So is power. All of these things add up to an experience that doesn’t quite live up to the promise put forth by those who would otherwise have you believe that the only way to enjoy big screen viewing outside of a dedicated theater is via a large HDTV. So, what does all this have to do with front projection? With the advent of both light rejecting screens and affordable projectors we now have another option for big screen viewing, even in ambient light situations -front projection’s once Achilles heel. It’s not that ambient light or light rejecting screens were discovered yesterday -they weren’t -however, years ago they, like larger HDTVs, had their drawbacks. Today these drawbacks like “shimmer” and light uniformity have (largely) been remedied. Moreover, pricing for such screens, like their HDTV counterparts, have also dropped over the years. And what of the front projection part? For starters they (front projectors) have gotten really good at practically every level -i.e. price. Not only have projectors gotten exponentially better, they’ve gotten brighter too. Like with HDTVs, the level of front projector you can buy today for around $2,000 would’ve cost you ten or more (thousand) just a few short years ago. All these factors add up to an answer that not only has the potential for greater performance over a larger than life HDTV, but also be a better value. Manufacturer image of Zero Edge screen. Image courtesy of SI Screens. Without question, if you’re looking to enjoy an image in excess of 100 inches in a living room style environment then a front projection setup is the BEST way to go over even the largest of HDTVs available today. But let’s stay focused on diagonal sizes ranging from say 80 to 100 inches, which is plenty big. SI Screens is arguably the leader in the ambient light rejecting, front projection screen space and their latest variant, Black Diamond Zero Edge, is the crown jewel of the manufacturer’s line. According to one of SI Screen’s authorized retailers, Projector People, the Black Diamond Zero Edge screen starts at $2,799 for an 80-inch diagonal, 16:9 screen. $2,799 isn’t inexpensive for a screen, but remember we’re trying to put together a package that is equal to or less than a comparable 80-inch HDTV, which in this case is $5,000. So, having now spent $2,799 on our screen, we now have $2,201 to spend on a front projector and mount. Sticking with the online retailer Projector People, let’s add in an Epson 8350 HD front projector for $1,249. The 8350 is a phenomenal projector at its price (and even a few ticks above) and possesses a reported 50,000:1 contrast rating along with a brightness of 2,000 ANSI Lumens -plenty bright for an 80-inch ambient light rejecting screen such as the Black Diamond Zero Edge. The 8350 is not 3D, but should you need 3D functionality you could just as easily step up to Epson’s 3020 ($1,549) and still be well within budget. As for mounting and cables? A quick jaunt over to Monoprice will cure what ails you and all for less than $50 for both the mount and requisite HDMI cable. Final cost? $4,098 for a savings of $901 give or take over Sharp’s stripped down 80-inch LED HDTV. Compare it to their non-stripped 80 inch model and your total savings rockets to $2,401.99. But we’re not done yet. Let’s say we want to step things up to 90 inches and get even more performance (and enjoyment) out of our setup. Well, the 90 inch Sharp retails for nearly $11,000. Going back to Projector People, the 92-inch Black Diamond Zero Edge screen from SI retails for $3,099. We could stick with Epson but let’s throw another projector into the mix -JVC and their DLA-RS46U. While not as bright as the Epson (we’re still good), the JVC is a step up in terms of color and image accuracy when compared to the Epson. Maybe not night and day better, but better none the less. The JVC DLA-RS46U retails via Projector People for $3,495. Throw in the same mount and cables from Monoprice and you’re looking at grand total of $6,644. That’s a total savings of $4,356. I’ve been using SI Screen’s Black Diamond Zero Edge as an example because, well, it’s sexy and the screen most like today’s modern HDTVs in terms of its form factor. But what if you didn’t care for or need a screen as “flashy” as the Zero Edge? Be prepared to save even more! An 80-inch, non Zero Edge Black Diamond screen from SI will run you $2,199 with a 92 inch coming in at $2,499. That is an additional savings of $600 across the board, which is hardly chump change. But we can do even better. Elite Screens’ Airbright 5D Screen. Image courtesy of Elite Screens. Let’s face it, money is tight and while the Black Diamond Screen is amazing (it truly is) there are other ambient light rejecting screens out there. For example, Elite Screens sells an ambient light rejecting screen in their Airbright 5D, which is part of their EPV lineup of screens. The Airbright 5D screen currently isn’t available in sizes ranging from 80 to 90 inches diagonally, though the 100 inch model is available and retails for $1,912. That’s even larger than what we’ve been talking about thus far and for less money. Substituting the Airbright 5D in for the Zero Edge and adding in an Epson 8350 means you can enjoy a 100-inch, HDTV-like image in your living room for roughly $3,200 all in. Incredible. Today’s comparable 100 inch HDTV will run you close to six figures to start. And then there is UltraHD/4K. With a new format right around the bend many are holding off making a purchase until the proverbial dust settles. Those who maybe bought HDTVs last holiday season or slightly before may be kicking themselves or at least be wondering what to do next. While I’m NEVER an advocate for wasting money or looking at any AV investment as “disposable,” I have to say I’d rather be out the cost of an Epson projector in 18-24 months than $11,000 for a Sharp LED HDTV. Or even $5,500 plus for a new Sony UltraHD/4K display that (likely) won’t be compatible with tomorrow’s UltraHD format anyway. A projection screen will always be good, so it’s money well spent. Same is true for your mount -though admittedly those don’t need to cost much. So, if you buy smartly (which if you read this blog regularly you do) you can maximize your enjoyment today, while better protecting yourself for tomorrow. This is why I would “invest” in even a modest front projection setup today over almost any HDTV (or UltraHD/4K) display greater than 70 inches diagonally. As always I thank you all so much for reading. Until next time, take care everyone and stay tuned… Andrew NOTE: Article originally appeared here: http://www.andrew-robinson-online.com/super-size-me-why-front-projection-setups-not-larger-flat-panel-displays-are-the-way-to-go/