In recent years, it seems like every major electronics brand has decided to capitalize on the home theater trend by popping out their own line of gear aimed at bringing theater equipment to the consumer level. Though there are tons of brands to choose from when purchasing equipment, the best brands are those which have devoted all of their efforts into making projection gear. A prime example of this is Elite Screens, which focuses only on projection screens. Because they specialize in creating and distributing only his one element of home theater, they have truly mastered their craft and provide some of the best products available on the market.
So, let’s say your plan is to set up a projection system, and you need to decide on a good screen to use. There are a few key details you should iron out before you plop down a chunk of change on one. For starters, you need to know what it will be used for and where it will be placed.
Elite Screens makes projection screens for just about every situation imaginable whether for the living room, backyard, or meeting room; they give you a lot to choose from. And, with so many models and varieties out there, how do you decide which one is right for you?
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at a few of the trademark projection screens made by Elite Screens and discuss what they are made best for.
Things to Consider First
But, hold on just one moment! Before we begin looking at different screen designs, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the terminology used to describe the various characteristics of projection screens. We’ve made it easy for you by defining some of the key vocabulary that you need to know in order to be able to make an informed purchase. Here are some things to look out for:
- Standard vs. Tensioned vs. Fixed Frame Screens: Tensioned and fixed-frame screens stay perfectly flat while standard screens are susceptible to unwanted movements caused by outside variables. One or the other screen type might be more appropriate for your needs depending on what your budget is, what will be displayed on the screen, and where it will be placed.
- Screen Color: When buying a projection screen, sometimes there are different screen colors to choose from ranging from plain white to darker grays. The default option for most screens is CineWhite, but depending on your needs, you may feel a different color suits your environment better. The darker colors such as CineGrey 5D are designed with light reflecting technology to help improve the clarity of the screen when there is a lot of ambient light present. It’s a good idea to consider the lighting situation in the room you plan on putting a screen in and choose the best color accordingly.
- Front Projection vs. Rear Projection vs. Dual Projection: There are different kinds of screens made to accommodate different projector placements. If you plan on placing your projector in front of the screen, you’ll want a front projection screen. On the other hand, if you plan on putting it behind the screen, you’ll want to buy a rear projection screen. And, if you’re not exactly sure what you want or would like to have both options available to you, a dual projection screen allows you to place your projector in the front or the back.
- Screen Size: There is a lot more to selecting the right screen size than you would think. In fact, engineers have actually designed a formula you can use to calculate which size screen is the best depending on how far away viewers will be located. There is a reason most people do not like sitting in the front row of a movie theater – the screen is right in their faces and too big for them to feel fully immersed in the film. This is a testament to the saying that “bigger is not always better.” Screen size matters.
Hopefully, this has given you an idea of some of the qualities screens have, and the next time you read through product descriptions, you will know exactly what is meant by “fixed-frame” or “rear projection.” Since you’ve now been schooled on the essentials, it looks like it’s time to move along. Without further ado, let’s look at some of the best of what Elite Screens has to offer.
Elite Screens Yard Master 2 Review (Best Value and Choice)
Best Backyard Screen
There are certain considerations which need to be made when choosing a projection screen for the outdoors. First of all, you have to consider where and what the projector will hang from.
Some people have movie nights in their driveway and hang a screen from their garage door, but what if you don’t have a garage? And even if you do have one, the number of locations where you can set up your screen is limited.
A good outdoor projection screen is able to stand on its own and be moved from place to place. Another thing to think about is its simplicity. Some projection screens take quite a bit of assembly to put together and are not able to be stored away very well.
A screen for the outdoors usually needs to have the capability of being set up and taken down quickly and easily, as leaving it outside for days at a time could subject it to weather damage. It should also be able to be stored away without taking up an unreasonable amount of storage space.
The Elite Screens Yard Master 2 is a projection screen designed specifically for outside use. It takes all of the factors laid out above and offers a solution to them. Included with your purchase are a collapsible frame, legs, a weather-resistant screen, support ropes, stakes, and a padded carrying case for travel or storage.
All of these elements combined make the perfect package for anyone looking to through backyard parties with videos on display.
The Elite Screens Yard Master 2 is a projection screen designed specifically for outside use. It takes all of the factors laid out above and offers a solution to them.
One of the best things about the Yard Master’s design is that it uses a collapsible frame which does not require tools to set up. You simply take the folded up aluminum frame out of its case, lay it flat on the ground, and unfold it.
Then, you unroll the rolled up screen, lay it flat across the frame, and fasten it down. Finally, you unfold the collapsible legs, attach them to the bottom of the frame, and stand the whole contraption up.
If you want added support to make sure it does not topple over, you can attach the included ropes to the frame and stake them into the ground. The focus is on simplicity, and within just a few minutes, you can have this screen up and running.
The screen itself is specially made to help resist the weather; however, it is not meant to remain outdoors for extended periods of time.
It will last much longer if it is well taken care of and stored away when not in use.
Additionally, Elite Screens gives you three different options for your Yard Master screen which cater to different projection styles.
You can choose to have a screen that supports front, back or dual projection. The main difference between front and rear projection is that rear projection often results in a loss of brightness; however, brightness is mostly dependent on the strength of the projector. Thus, with a high-quality projector, brightness should not be an issue.
Elite Screens Aeon Review (Clearest Screen)
Best for Nightly Home Theater Use
If you’ve ever dealt with a standard projection screen, you may have noticed that fans and accidental bumps into the screen can cause it to ripple. This rippling distorts the image and makes whatever is being projected unclear to the viewer. Imagine the case where you have an air vent above the screen in your home theater. You’re in the middle of watching a movie when the air conditioner kicks on, causing the screen to begin to sway from the breeze.
There are two adjectives which describe this scenario perfectly – inconvenient and annoying. For this reason, standard projection screens are not the best for movie viewing and most consumers who spend time researching and finding the best gear for their home theaters often opt for fixed-frame screens such as the Elite Screens Aeon.
With a fixed-frame projection screen, the screen is stretched across a frame which pulls the screen tight and keeps it free of wrinkles.
Usually, the frame is assembled with some type of hardware (nuts and bolts) to ensure that it stays strong and in form. Then, the screen is slid into place where it is locked in and pulled tight to prevent it from any type of wrinkling. And finally, the fixed-frame screen is mounted on a wall where it stays perfectly flat similar to a flat screen TV. It’s a low-tech solution that isn’t much different from you typical cinema theater setup.
Most consumers who spend time researching and finding the best gear for their home theaters often opt for fixed-frame screens such as the Elite Screens Aeon.
Fixed-frame screens are advantageous for several reasons. First of all, because the screen stays perfectly flat, the viewing experience is unhindered by any type of screen movement caused by uncontrollable variables. Second, flat screens display the clearest and most crisp images, making them the best for theatrical purposes; movies and video games look amazing on them.
And lastly, this type of screen is usually cheaper than more technical screens which incorporate electronics or fancy engineering to achieve different effects. Fixed-frame screens are pretty much as simple as it gets; they make the perfect screens for home theater use and come at very reasonable prices.
The Elite Screens Aeon is meant specifically for the home theater and comes in two different colors – CineWhite and CineGrey. Depending on your home lighting situation, you may feel one color works better for you than the other.
The CineWhite will leave whatever is projected onto the screen uncolored while the CineGrey will enhance the darker tones just a little bit. Once you select the best size and color for your theater setup, all it takes is a quick installation before the box office is right there in your living room.
Elite Screens ezFrame CineGrey 5D Review
Best for Daily Home Theater Use
One of the biggest problems home theater enthusiasts face when setting up their projection screens is ambient lighting. Light that leaks in from various places such as windows and open doors during the day can cause images on the screen to have very low contrast and look washed out. Optimally, you would set up your home theater in a room where ambient light can be completely controlled; however, this isn’t always possible.
The good news is that there are projection screens designed to help reject ambient light and remedy this problem. What it comes down to is the color of the projection screen, and Elite Screens has three different options: CineWhite, CineGrey, and CineGrey 5D. Each of these colors has its own case of advantages and disadvantages, but for this particular situation, the CineGrey 5D is the best one to choose.
Products like the Elite Screens Aeon can be purchased having either the CineWhite or CineGrey colored fabric. The CineGrey 5D is the darkest of the materials that Elite Screens has to offer, and it is the stock fabric used on their ezFrame line. Its darkness enhances the blacks on screen and helps create a better contrast when ambient lighting is present, thus it is the best type of screen to buy if you plan on using it a lot during the day.
The CineGrey 5D is especially great for family living rooms, as living room televisions get a lot of attention when it is still bright outside. If friends came over to watch a football game, you wouldn’t want to have to turn off the lights in order to be able to see the game clearly. With this shade of material, you are able to keep your house lit and still use your projector system with satisfactory results.
The CineGrey 5D is the darkest of the materials that Elite Screens has to offer, and it is the stock fabric used on their ezFrame line.
Another great thing about the CineGrey 5D is that it is not only made for viewing during the day; it works just as well at night also. The tradeoff that occurs from using a darker screen such as this one is that while the black colors are more defined, the white colors turn out to be not as bright.
This doesn’t mean that the colors will appear dull, but the whites will definitely be a little more muted. Most commercial movie theaters use the CineWhite color for their screens and those who want their home theater to match the style of a commercial theater as closely as possible may not like this.
Again, there is a tradeoff that has to be made here. The CineGrey is best if you don’t want to worry as much about having to control the lighting situation in your home. For those who don’t mind a slightly darker tint to the projected images, this shouldn’t be a problem, and in fact, most won’t even be able to tell the difference.
Those who are anal about these kinds of factors are probably the only ones who will complain. And, to top everything off, the ezFrame is also a fixed-frame screen; it fits perfectly into home theaters
Elite Screens Spectrum Review
Best for Professional Settings
There are certain cases where a projection screen might not be necessary all the time but would prove useful on occasions. In these situations, the ideal would be to have a screen that could be taken out when needed and put away when not in use without being too much of a hassle.
Take, for instance, a school or church classroom. It would be nice to have a screen to use as a tool for giving lectures a few days a week. You could opt for using something like the Elite Screens Yard Master; however, its screen stand would take up a lot of space. And, though it could be packed away in a storage bag on days when it isn’t needed, it would still be cumbersome to have to pack and unpack it all the time, as there is some assembly and disassembly required.
These instances call for something like the Elite Screens Spectrum.
The Spectrums are only sold with the CineWhite color, thus you have an easy decision to make.
The Elite Screens Spectrum is a tensioned projection screen which attaches to a wall and can be let down or rolled up and out of place via an electric motorized system. Essentially, a slim casing with the screen coiled up inside is mounted high up on a wall. The casing connects to a wall switch which is used to turn the screen’s electronic functions on and off, and with a remote, you are able to make the screen roll up or down with its pulley system.
The Spectrum is the perfect solution for when one needs a screen that takes up very little space and can be hidden away easily.
Schools which have projection screens in their classrooms usually use these, as they can be mounted above a chalkboard and drawn up when they aren’t needed. If the teacher wishes to use the chalkboard, with the press of a button, the screen will roll up into its casing. If the screen is needed, another button will unroll the screen and let it take center stage in the classroom. This is a highly convenient system for these types of professional settings.
In addition, the Elite Screens Spectrum is a tensioned screen, meaning that it stays flat at all times. On a standard screen where the material is not always flat, text can sometimes be hard to read. Wrinkles or dents on the material can warp the text, making it unreadable; however, this is not the case with tensioned screens. The flat surface ensures that reading and note-taking is an easy process.
The Spectrums are only sold with the CineWhite color, thus you have an easy decision to make. The only options you’ll have to choose from with this product are its size and width. You can get one as small as 84 inches and as large as 180 inches with either a standard or widescreen display.
One final note about Elite Screens Spectrum is that though they fit best in professional environments, this does not mean they do not work in a home environment. Plenty of home theater enthusiasts use this type of screen in their homes; it’s really a matter of personal preference. When it comes down to it, you have to weigh the pros and cons of each type of screen and decide what fills your needs the best.
As you can see, there is a lot of contemplation to be done when choosing among the various projection screens that Elite Screens has to offer. There is no one-size-fits-all screen that will work in every situation; different designs suit different settings more appropriately than others. As is the case with any hefty investment, you’ll do yourself a great favor by doing as much research as you can to make sure you make the best purchase decisions.
If trying to lay out all the details by yourself ends up being too overwhelming, Elite Screens offers support to their customers regarding screen selection, installation, and much more. Most importantly, remember that Elite Screens specializes in projection screen technology, and because of their focus on this one element, they have ended up producing some of the best products money can buy.
If you’re looking for the best, then look no further; it doesn’t get any better than this.