Sunday, January 3, 2010

Elite Screens 100 inch 16:9 ezFrame Review

When it comes to home theaters with front projectors, the quality of the picture starts with your projector. But the quality of the end result will depend on your screen. Just as the quality of projectors vary, so do the quality of screens. While you wouldn't use a $2,000 screen with a $1,000 projector, it is too easy to use a $200 screen with a $2,000 projector. It is possible to get a good quality screen for a fairly cheap price that will not degrade the quality of the image from your projector. Up for review is an Elite Screens EZ Frame 100 inch wide fixed mount screen.

When I opened the screen that Elite Screens sent for review, I could tell the high level of quality. The frame material was a very high quality, solidly built 2.36 inch aluminum frame with a black velvet finish. The design is quite ingenious with the frame having multiple grooves built into the aluminum frame. All sides of the screen material have a slot that provided plastic rods slide into. Then you push the edge of the screen with the embedded rod into the first grove. There are plastic clips provided, and once you push the screen into the first groove the plastic clip slides into another groove and holds the screen in place. The provided installation instructions are simple to follow. They are step by step, and once you start to install the screen into the frame, the sections of the frame are numbered to show a recommended order of installing the plastic clips to tension the screen to the frame. I started in the middle. After installing the first two clips at the top and bottom of the screen, there was a tight crease and I was worried there would be a lot of creases in the screen material. But as I went around and installed all of the plastic clips, the screen ended up being well secured to the frame and well tensioned with a flat surface free of creases, of the entire screen. The end result was a great looking flat screen with a nice looking solid frame in a black velvet finish. Once the frame is built it is time to mount it. The mounting design is also rather ingenious. There is a third groove that runs the entire length of the frame. Included with the frame were two aluminum brackets. These two brackets are aluminum plates that are flat except for a lip at the top. These plates are screwed onto the wall through a stud, so they are flat with the wall except for a lip at the top that sticks out from the wall about 1/16 of an inch. This spacing a the lip now allows it to slide into the last groove of the frame. So the installation process was rather simple. And after you have to do is screw the plates onto the wall. Once the wall plates are installed, all you do is lift up the screen and set it on the plates. Follow the included instructions and it is pretty simple. And the end product looks great. The screen itself is also washable.

So we know it uses high quality parts, is easy to build even for one person, and the completed screen looks great. But how does it perform? As I mentioned earlier, screens can get very expensive. This is after all not quite considered a budget screen. Screen material options are either CineWhite 1.1 or AcousticPro1080. The screen material provided was the CineWhite. The CineWhite does not quite have the black level performance help that the Cinema grey screens provides, but if you have a newer projector- which should have fairly good black level performance, the Cinema White would do a good job. And the screen material itself is fairly easy to interchange.

The picture looked great. The performance was better then expected. The image was bright enough, with good black levels, uniform diffusion and no noticeable color shift. Overall it was a good looking picture. Times are difficult with many of us trying to cut back where we can. For those of you looking for a screen on a tight budget, and are tempted to save some cash by picking up a manual pull down screen, I would suggest you take a look at the Elite Screens EZ Frame They also have their SaleFrame line which is their entry level fixed mount screen. The tensioned screen will not only look better, the fixed mount frame will have a better overall look. And it will give you years of enjoyment. For more info and complete specs, please check out their website at