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Screen Innovations Black Diamond II 1.4 Projection Screen Review - Summary

Posted on October 5, 2013 by Art Feierman

Screen Innovations Black Diamond II 1.4 Projector Screen - The Bottom Line

I'm sold on the Black Diamond 1.4. That said, I'm equally curious about the .8 version. I'd like to see what the .8's blacks can look like. Still, figuring that this is more of a family room projector screen, than one for a dedicated theater, the extra brightness of the 1.4 is sure to be appreciated.

Image: Lot's of "pop and wow" factor in darkened rooms, but also in rooms with modest ambient light. If all the ambient light is overhead, the projector can almost look like an LCDTV, in terms of surviving ambient light.

Setup: Easy enough. just follow the instructions. We did not wall mount though, wall mounting instructions seemed reasonable.

Pricing: In this case the old adage seems true - "you get what you pay for". You are paying a fairly hefty price for a Black Diamond screen, but, as I have said, if your room and viewing habits call for a screen with serious ambient light handling abilities, it sure isn't hard to rationalize the price.

In Conclusion:

This isn't the right screen for my current "Theater 1" although it would be an excellent choice for my smaller theater 2/testing room. If windows aren't the source of your primary ambient light, then the Black Diamond II 1.4 gain is going to be a top choice, budget allowing.

Throughout this review, I've focused on using this screen for the home market. Remember the same properties that let it work with those dim home theater projectors, still apply to pretty bright conference rooms and open training rooms, with lots of fluorescent lighting. That the Black Diamond is better at handling overhead ambient light should be a real plus in the business world.

I briefly considered the Black Diamond II 1.4 for a Special Interest award - due to its target market, but, screens like this one, (or the Firehawk G3) reach out to a respectable sized market segment. As a result, the Black Diamond II 1.4 screen easily snagged one of our Hot Product Awards.

If we get our house sold sometime soon (looking for a place with more room for working and for better laid out theaters), it will be interesting to see which screens I'll end up with in the new place. I wouldn't be overly surprised if the Black Diamond II 1.4 ended up in one of the new theaters or testing room.

Screen Innovations Black Diamond II 1.4 Projector Screen: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities

Screen Innovations Black Diamond 1.4 Projector Screen: Pros

  • Excellent light "rejection" of ambient light coming from above or below
  • Very good build quality, easy to assemble
  • Very fine, smooth screen texture - not an issue for 1080p resolution devices, and SI claims smooth enough for 4K projection!
  • Clean, pro appearance with beveled black 3.5 inch wide velvet frame
  • For those with limited control of overhead lighting, this screen gets you as close as I've seen to the ambient light handling of an LCDTV, but still a bit short. Still it gets you in the game, with a respectable picture
  • Good color accuracy, but for a slight shift to blue which should be straight forward to calibrate away
  • Reasonably good value, if you need what this screen is offering
  • A motorized version of the Black Diamond II screens is supposed to be "in the works"
  • 3D screen functionality - works with 3D projectors requiring "3D" screen surfaces. (We did not test, but it works with projectors like the LG CF3D with passive glasses, also with the Lightspeed / InFocus Depth-Q projector setup - SI has a nice piece on 3D on their site

Screen Innovations Black Diamond 1.4 Projector Screen: Cons

  • Doesn't handle side ambient light particularly well (compared to a number of HC gray screens)
  • Slight shift to blue which shouldn't be a real problem to calibrate out
  • One year warranty - not unusual, but this is a pricey screen so 2 years would have been better
  • While the value proposition is reasonable, it's still a very expensive screen at $2699 for a 100" diagonal, and it goes up more than $1000 by the time you get to their $142" diagonal (largest)
  • At this time there is no motorized (or pull-down) version for this screen surface. Most unfortunate since those screen types are preferred in the family room / bonus room type environments where this screen performs best. (Soon, we hope)

Screen Innovations Black Diamond 1.4 Projector Screen: Typical Capabilities

  • Offers screens in most common sizes
  • Difficulty of assembly
  • Directions for assembly
  • Frame style - 3.5 inches, is a nice wide width, though some manufacturers offer as wide 4.5 inch frames.

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