Product Review (December 2006)
Screen Innovations Visage Home Theater Screen

By Kevin Nakano


High performance home theater screens have become a viable option for those looking for the ultimate cinematic experience in their media room. Screen Innovations has introduced their new high-performance Visage model, specifically designed to minimize the effects of ambient light entering into the room. This reference screen design offers both high performance and good looks for those consumers unwilling to compromise their picture quality. The velvet covered frame is designed to absorb any light including the overscan coming directly from the projector. The frame is available in several velvet colors and hardwoods to match virtually any decor. However, we found the standard back velvet surface worked best for us. The Visage has a screen gain of 2.0 and is offered in seamless sizes up to 120" diagonal in 16:9 aspect ratios or 100" diagonal in 4:3 aspect ratios. Our 100", 16:9 review screen had an active area of 87" x 49". The frame takes up another 3.5-inches per side making the total screen size a whopping 94" x 56". The Visage construction is top notch and the screen comes well packed in a wooden crate.

Well Packed
Heavy foam secures the corners and sides of the screen to prevent damage from rough carriers. The construction of the Visage is impressive with excellent structural integrity. Unlike conventional frames, the Visage does not use snaps or Velcro to hold the screen material in place, but instead leverages from a "T-Line" tensioning mechanism that provides virtually perfect uniformity and no sagging across the entire surface. Additional padding is placed in front and back of the middle of the screen to prevent any movement if shock is encountered during shipping. The center of the screen is most vulnerable to high surface impact, so the additional padding helps prevent movement. Even handles are mounted on the ends of the large wooden crate.

Installation
The Visage comes with a clever mounting system that includes a bracket that attaches to the wall. The bracket is several feet wide and has predrilled holes where large screws fasten to the wall studs for a secure hold. A simple level ensures the screen will sit level once attached. The long mounting bracket has a protruding lip that runs the entire horizontal length, which evenly distributes the weight of the screen when mounted. This is a really great design and it would be nice if other manufactures followed suit. The screen itself is a bit heavy and bulky (especially our 100" version) and will most likely require two people to lift it onto the wall bracket. We mounted the screen so that the top aligned perfectly with our Optoma H77 projector. The 2.0 surface gain provided a nice complement to our H77.

No Color Shifting
Our Optoma H77 DLP projector was used during the review of the screen and provided us with our reference images. Using our Sencore VP300 video signal generator along with the GretagMacbeth ColorOne spectroradiometer and ColorFacts software, we found the Visage was extremely color neutral. The reflected image showed virtually no color shifting from the source of the H77 projector. This is a very important attribute of any high quality screen. Any color shifting can alter the picture quality and may not be completely correctable through calibration. All measurements were made with no ambient light entering the room since this in itself can change the color readings. As you can see from the CIE chart, the primary colors are very close to ideal and virtually the same as the original primaries measured from the Optoma H77 projector.

Performance
Projection systems with conventional screens most often look washed out with the slightest bit of ambient light entering the room. The challenge is to maintain good picture contrast even when some ambient light is present. Screen Innovation's Visage achieves this goal and produces an excellent picture in this type of environment. Even when compared to our reference Stewart FireHawk, the Visage was noticeably brighter due to the 2.0 screen gain. In cases where we had some ambient light in the room, the Visage had a great picture. When the room was completely dark, we did notice some subtle screen reflection known as hot spotting, but it was fairly minimal. This is where the Visage started to lose its advantage. So the bottom line is to determine the environment in which you plan to use your screen. There are many good choices out there and the performance of these new screens are amazing.

Conclusion
The Visage is most certainly a high technology screen that works very well in rooms with some ambient light. This may not be a good fit for everyone, especially given its high price (~$4k). It does however, produce a superb high contrast picture when compared to the performance of the vast majority of other screens out on the market, especially
when controlling ambient light becomes difficult. If you have 100 percent lighting control in the room where you can easily make it very dark, then the Visage may not be your best choice. For the rest of us who have to deal with some real-world ambient light in the room, Screen Innovation's Visage performs incredibly well.

- Kevin Nakano





OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Projector: Optoma H77 High-Definition HD2+ DLP™ Projector
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD+ A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP622 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player with HDMI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T3 Controller
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
HDMI Video Switcher: Radiient Select-4 Four Channel HDMI Switcher
HDMI Cables: Accel Corporation UltraRun HDMI Cables and Adapters
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review at a glance


Screen Innovations Visage Home Theater Screen

Specifications

Screen Gain :

2.0

Seamless 16:9
Screen Size Availability :

45", 60", 72", 84", 92", 100" and 120"

Seamless 4:3
Screen Size Availability :

45", 60", 72", 84", and 100"


Company Information
Screen Innovations
11110 Metric Blvd. Ste D
Austin, TX 78758
Phone: (512) 832-6939
Fax: (512) 832-6136

Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $3,799
Warranty: Lifetime Replacement Policy

Sales: sales@screeninnovations.com
Tech Support: sales@screeninnovations.com
URL:
www.screeninnovations.com

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