Epson Home Cinema 8100 - Projector Screens
10/04/2009 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 8100 Projector Screen Recommendations
If you want to lower black levels, then, in general, I'd recommend a high contrast light gray surface, but I'm figuring that many people buying the 8100 over the more expensive 8500UB, are the ones less concerned about black levels. People who are more concerned about sports and general viewing normally aren't focused on black level performance.
Really, though, the screen needs to match three things: The room, owner's viewing preferences, and the projector's characteristics. Overall, in most cases, the room comes first. A high contrast gray screen or a very high power white screen will "reject" side lighting, and can be a great solution to windows without full blackout coverings on side walls, or perhaps an opening into another room on a side wall.
Take all three into consideration. If your room has no ambient lighting issues, and you are strictly a movie watcher, then by all means a high contrast gray, or even a plain matte white should work best. If you have lighting under control, but want as bright as possible for sports, go with a screen with some gain.
Keep in mind that high contrast screens (and, even more so, very high gain screens) have a narrower viewing cone - where you can sit relative to the center of the screen. With a very high gain screen you definitely want to be as close to dead center as possible, and want to avoid being outside of the left or right sides of your screen.
Personally, I've been watching this projector primarily on my Firehawk G3, a high contrast gray (but expensive) screen. It's a very good fit for my room, and my mixed viewing. While in some ways the Firehawk is rather unique, consider screens like Elite's HC gray, and Da-lites HC Cinemavision, as similar type, but less expensive screens.