Epson Home Cinema 8350 - Projector Screens
With improved blacks, the Home Cinema 8350, (compared to the older projectors) could conceivably have you choose a different screen than you would with the 8100, because of the improvement in blacks, but, the reality is, the change isn't enough to be a real factor. For that reason, I offer the essentially the same recommendations as last year.
10/5/2010 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector Screen Recommendations
Let's start with screen size. For movie viewing, if you want the Home Cinema 8350 in its best image quality mode, you've got a bit shy of 500 lumens. That's pretty comfortable on a 110" diagonal screen, and should be acceptable through much of the lamp's life. Few people actually have screens, it seems, small enough to maintain good brightness by a lamp nears the end of its life, and has lost about half its brightness.
Since the projector is roughly 3 times brighter in its brightest mode, with that 110" screen (or smaller), you will have a whole pile of extra lumens for watching your sports and hdtv in general without making the room really dark.
With all that in mind, let's also discuss screen surface in terms of black levels. If you are buying the 8350 instead of buying a projector that's $700 - $1000 more, that is in your budget, but you just don't care that much about the better black levels, then you are probably the person who will love a white surface, perhaps with modest gain like 1.1 to 1.4 gain. The Carada Brilliant White I use (gain 1.4) for my photo shoots, is an excellent example. Stewart has their legendary Studiotek 130, Da-lite, Elite, Draper, Vutec, etc. all have such screens. That's definitely a good fit.
The Epson Ensemble HD system I have in my testing room has a matte white, 100 inch screen, and I have the older 1080UB projecting onto it. We're talking a really nice and bright image in the brighter modes. Lots of pop. The 8350 will have that same pop and wow factor. The sports are just killer.
But, if movies are your thing, and you want to lower those blacks down, then as long as you don't starve yourself for lumens, by all means, pick a high contrast gray surface. It will help with ambient light from the sides, and that can be important.
I would conjecture that if you really are thinking that HC gray screen as a match, but your budget could afford the more expensive 8700UB with its better blacks, then that would be my recommendation.
A couple of points worth considering:
First: In my testing room, when I fill the 106" Carada Brilliant White with the Home Cinema 8350, it is a whole step up in brightness, compared to filling my larger (and darker) 128" high contrast gray screen in the other room. The combination of the smaller screen and 1.4 claimed gain is impressively bright compared to viewing in the other room. It's a much bigger difference, than toggling lamp power between high and low. So, if you've got the lighting control, then one decision is whether to trade more image punch for blacker blacks.
If any of you are using a masking screen that covers the letterbox area when you are viewing movies, you won't see the otherwise very dark grays that distract, in the letter box area. That too is a real plus for a projector with good, but not superb, black level performance.