Projector Screen Review: Elite CineTension Matte White Motorized Projector Screen, with remote controls: Overview 1

01/25/2007 -Art Feierman

Elite CineTension Projector Screen: Color Accuracy

This would be the Elite projector screen’s weakness. For measurement purposes, I used the projector closest at hand. In my measurements with my Optic One pointing at the projector, the way it was set up, I measured white to have a color temperature of 7069K.

I then measured light reflected off the screen surface, and measured a color temperature of 7404K, slightly cooler (more bluish).

By comparison, I then measured the Carada, which came back with 6979K, definitely closer to the original direct from projector measurement. The Carada shifted warmer by a very insignificant 80K, while the Elite went the other way (cooler) by 345K. The other notworthy difference was measured green output. The Carada was just a tiny bit heavy on the green (less than 0.5%, while the Elite was 0.8%. In both cases those should be considered very good. Immediately below, both the Elite and Carada, with the Elite on the top. Very, very close. My camera does a less than perfect job here, but the point is, the color balance is still very close, (just not this close.) BTW, the yellows looked a lot better on the screens than in this photo! Also, live, in looking at a white image, as well as the color bars, you can see the slight difference in the color of these two screens, with the Elite being slightly bluer…

The important point to consider, is that if you are calibrating (even a basic calibration using a typical $40 – $50 disk like AVIA, or Video Essentials), you will be adjusting color based on the light reflected off of the projector screen surface. In other words, your adjustments will take into consideration any shift in color balance caused by the screen.

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The  right side image  (and you can click to enlarge, was shot with a 1080p projector Optoma’s HD81, with the source being the Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player, and the disk, the HD-DVD of Phantom of the Opera:

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Elite CineTension Projector Screen: Tensioning

I had the Elite screen mounted almost two months before I got around to doing this review. In that time frame, the projector screen was almost always in the closed (up) position. It was closed for the last 2 weeks before I started the review. Upon putting the projector screen down, I found the tensioning to be doing the job extremely well.  The screen appeared almost perfectly flat. I noticed only a slight bit of curvature in the lower right corner when I first rolled it down, but most of that was in the border fabric, not the surface. By the time I put a full white image on the screen, or watched some slow pans, I could not detect any unevenness in lighting or distortion on as would be created by a non flat surface. The bottom line, therefore is that the tensioning works great. How well this will hold up after a year or three of use, I have no way of telling, but their tensioning system sure seems to work reasonably well. In addition, the tensioning is adjustable, although the manual warns to check with Elite tech support first, that the intial setting is ideal…

Note, in the image above,  you can make out the tension control nob.

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Elite CineTension Projector Screen: Evenness of illumination and roll-off

No problems here, either. As you would expect from a matte white surface, the viewing angle is extremely wide. Even moving way outside the the edges of the screen, the image remained bright, and evenly illuminated. Any unevenness that I could see, was if not completely, almost certainly due to the inherent inability of projectors to provide even illumination to begin with. (Note: most projectors drop off 15 to 25% in brightness in the extreme corners. You can detect a lighter bar on the left, that is actually a reflection off of the glass doors to the room, as is a faint difference about 1/3 from the right, and also on the Carada screen behind the Elite.

 

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Installing the Elite CineTension Projector Screen

I don’t do my own installations – been there, done that. But I can appreciate the different ways manufacturers set up their screens for mounting. The Elite, like some, but not all, other motorized screens does a nice job of making it easy. First of all the brackets are fully slidable. This easily allows you to find the studs in the wall that you will be using, and then simply sliding the bracket to where it needs to be. Some screens only have as little of 6 inches of adjustment side to side, which can make lining it up with the studs a real bitch.

In addition the Elite projector screen, comes ready to mount either to a wall or from the ceiling.

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One word of caution. Upon initial mounting, the screen mount was not level – that is the top surface was not perfectly parallel with the ceiling, but rather tilted forward slightly. The screen still dropped and closed without a problem, however, upon initially hitting the down button, the screen made a loud clang like sound (the housing and the bottom of the screen frame are both metal. It made a similar loud clang as the bottom of the screen retracted into the housing.

Once I adjusted the screen on the bracket so that it was correctly parallel to the ceiling, the clang went away. Although that banging in its own right doesn’t mean there is any issue with the screen’s performance, I imagine that if you have it much more off angle than I did, that the surface of the screen may rub against the opening in the housing as it goes up or down, and that can’t be a good thing!

This should certainly be easily avoidable, especially since you have been “warned.” Adjusting it was easy.

I should note that the documentation for installing is pretty basic, but enough for anyone who has any idea of how to hang heavy things. The kit that comes with the projector screen has both masonary anchors and drywall anchors, so you should have whatever you need to do a normal mounting. The Extruded Hanger (bracket) shown on the screen above, is designed for either wall mount or ceiling mounting. I have this Elite Screens model mounted to my wall.

The CineTension projector screens have 16 inches of drop when fully extended. This is a good amount, making it easier to ceiling mount and still have the surface fabric hang down low where you want it. You can control the drop on the projector screen as well, so if you don’t need all 16″ exposed, you can have the screen not come as far down. You can set a stop, so it remembers where to stop.

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