Epson Home Cinema 8700UB - Projector Screens
No real change in recommendations from last year's 8500UB. Thanks to excellent blacks, you have a lot of good choices in screens.
10/25/2010 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector Screen Recommendations
I like those dark blacks. I don't like noticing gray bars that are the letterbox area with most projectors. As great as the black levels are, with the 8700UB, I like watching on my Firehawk G3 - a high contrast gray surface screen.
If you want some real punch though, pair the 8500UB with a white surface, with gain of 1 to 1.5, and with a masking system to keep you from seeing the letterbox area. You get a dynamic image and without letterbox distraction.
This is the last projector that will be reviewed in my current testing room. We move next week, to an all new room. Firing the Home Cinema 8700UB on the Carada Brilliant White with 1.4 gain, and filling all 106" diagonally really does put out a bright image with any decent lighting control.
It is because of the excellent black level performance that blacks still remain pretty black, even on a white surface with gain. I might conjecture that the blacks on the 8700UB on a white surface, might still seem darker, than say, the Home Cinema 8350 on a high contrast gray screen of the same size.
Those HC gray screens won't give you as wide a viewing area, and you can always notice minor roll-off in the corners, in terms of brightness, if you are looking for it, but they are great at dealing with various types of ambient light.
So the message is, match the screen to the room conditions as much as to the projector!
A couple of screen related thoughts worth considering (from a previous review):
First: In my testing room, when I fill the 106" Carada Brilliant White with the Home Cinema 8700UB, 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 far 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 can distract, in the letter box area.
With a projector like the 8700UB, however, the blacks are sufficiently black that they will rarely be noticed, even without masking, though, the smaller and higher gain the screen, the lighter they will be, of course, as the image will be brighter.