InFocus X9 - Projector Screens
11/12/2008 - Art Feierman
General Screen Recommendations:
As I don't see this as a big projector in terms of attracting enthusiasts and purists, my screen recommendations are on the practical side.
Yes, for those of you really into ultimate performance at this budget, you would likely choose a high contrast gray surface, to improve the black levels. Certainly there's no shortage of lumens, in any mode, so a gray surface is not an issue regarding brightness. That's especially true if you have ambient light coming from the sides, which means an HC gray screen will, by it's ability to "reject" side ambient light to a significant degree, may give you an overall brighter looking image, compared to the surroundings.
For most people who will buy the X9 home theater projector, unless there is a specific side ambient issue, where the HC gray can help, I would just say, a white surface, or a white surface with gain, is just fine. If you really are a black level fanatic, then the X9 probably isn't for you, to begin with.
Again, side ambient lighting notwithstanding, the X9 with a gain white screen - of 1.3, is going to be very bright in movie mode, and if you select a really high gain screen (which means some roll off) of 2.0 to 2.5 gain, then with a 100" screen size, the X9 is probably approaching the brightness of a plasma display or LCDTV.
In other words, enough brightness to light up that family or bonus room nicely, even with a moderate amount of ambient light.
As I have said elsewhere, that's where I primarily see this projector - family and bonus type rooms, though that's not to say you can't build a home theater around it!
In summary, if you have a serious side lighting issue, you can go with either the HC gray type screen, or a very high gain white, both will help with the side ambient light. And the really high gain screens, give you some serious brightness, that few projectors can match. I don't normally recommend those high gain screens for purists, but I do know that some do like them. For "normal" people, who just want to run out and buy a projector and screen, set them up in a non-dedicated theater room, kick back and watch a movie or sporting event, each screen type has advantages. So consider your room - especially where any ambient light is coming from, and screen size, and judge accordingly.
One additional thought. I must say, that black levels were reasonable while watching the X9 perform, filling all of my 128" Firehawk G3 screen (HC gray). Not bad, not bad at all, and it performed in the same general league (black levels) as most of the 720p projectors, although a couple are a little better.