Ambient Light Rejection Screens

Evan Powell, March 3, 2016

Draper TecVision MS1000X

Draper has been in business for over 100 years. The company introduced its first screen product in 1957, so they are one of the oldest and most established screen makers in the world. Draper has a huge array of mounting/installation options to accommodate their many screen fabrics, many of which are ISF certified.

For this review Draper submitted their TecVision MS1000X Grey screen along with their Clarion frame with a 2" velvet border, which is only one of several options for this material. The MS1000X is a 1.0 gain gray screen with a moderate viewing angle.

The MS1000X falls sort of middle of the road compared to the other ALR materials in this group. At 1.0 gain it is not the brightest of the group at center viewing position. And we measured its effective viewing angle in our ambient light environment at 64 degrees. That is about double what you get from the screen with the narrowest angle, but it does not have the advantage of maintaining brightness across a extremely wide viewing angle as the Da-Lite Parallax and DNP Supernova screens do.

Contrast on the MS1000X is average in this group of eleven. It measured 23:1 compared to the low of 16:1 and the high of 36:1. The picture shows good color saturation and accuracy (it is ISF-certified for color accuracy). It also showed very good black level in the test with ambient light coming from the side, edging out the SI Black Diamond for its position as one of the top three screens in the review for this black level test. On the other hand it did not do as well as the Black Diamond with ambient light coming from above, and in fact was the lowest contrast screen when dealing with light from above.

The most problematic aspect of the MS1000X's performance was a very noticeable texture in the image, looking like ever-present fine grain. It is visible even when the camera is not panning, but becomes particularly obvious when it pans over non-textured subjects. Of the screens in this review the MS1000X stands alone as having the most noticeable texture artifacts.

One of the benefits of the MS1000X is that its price is likely to be much lower than the most expensive ALR screens in this review. Since prices vary by screen size, mounting options and shipping/installation costs, it is impossible to provide meaningful price comparisons. We would avoid the MS1000X if we had ambient light coming from above the screen, but with side illumination only it produces a very acceptable image. In low ambient light, matching it with a high contrast projector can give it an extra boost. Under these conditions if we were looking for the most cost-effective ALR options, we'd make sure to get a quote on this one.

Review Contents: Overview Contrast Half Gain Angles Black Levels
  Peak Gain Texture Artifacts Color Bias DaLite Parallax
  DNP Supernova Draper MS1000X Elite DarkStar Elite EPV DarkStar9
  Elite EPV PolarStar Microlite Black Crystal SI Black Diamond SI Zero Edge Slate
  Seymour Matinee Black Stewart FireHawk G4

Reader Comments(10 comments)

Posted Jul 27, 2017 3:45 AM

By Lee

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Is there a conclusion anywhere in the article? Great article, but would be great with a short summary section!

Posted May 11, 2016 11:04 AM

By Tuki

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It would be nice to include the high gain Vutec SilverStar 6.0. Thank you.

Posted Apr 9, 2016 12:18 PM

By Scott Tallal

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Hi Evan,

This review has been incredibly useful! We only wish you would have included at least a few of the high gain options, most notably the dnp SuperNova 23-23 and the Screen Innovations Black Diamond 2.7. Perhaps you can do a shootout between those and other high-gain options in the not-too-distant future?

Keep up the great work!

Posted Mar 31, 2016 8:09 PM

By Jason

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I'd also like to see the Elite Cinegray 5D does in the tests.

Posted Mar 17, 2016 4:22 AM

By Mishari

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I wish you added 2 points: - contrast measure at all lights off to see they have better contrast than white screen. Some of us do not want to have dark walls and ceilings. - Add Elite Cinegrey 5D, which is highly available to public and well reviewed.

Posted Mar 16, 2016 8:14 PM

By Tomas

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Hmm, how come here is missing Black Pearl HDR from SimPit? Unrestricted viewing angle, exceptional black levels and color ... and one of most affordable ALR screens as well

Posted Mar 13, 2016 8:04 PM

By Rob Hunt

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Excellent review, very detailed. However, i think it would benefit readers to have a large television also tested along side these screens, since that is the screens biggest rival. some 75 inch tv around the same price as a screen/pj setup. Then viewers could understand the magnitude of the benefits and drawbacks of a ALR setup.

Posted Mar 6, 2016 7:04 AM

By Hector

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Excellent review. I wished I was there while you were doing the reviews :) I have been looking for unbiased review on ALRsa d you have exceeded my expectations. Thanks again!

Posted Mar 4, 2016 5:12 PM

By Paul B

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What a great review of multiple ALR screens. I can't thank you enough as I am completing a basement remodel and have been searching for ALR screen reviews and challenged by the limited information, as well as critical details about how the products were tested. Having all of the listed screens objectively evaluated under the same standards is invaluable in assessing how the screens might work in my environment. Thank you for recognizing the critical need for this area of review. This is, by far, the best and most complete review of ALR screens. Keep up the great work!

Posted Mar 4, 2016 2:59 PM

By Matt Frazer

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Thank you so much for posting this extensive review of ALR screens, I have never seen anyone undertake this task and you should be comended for the effort. I currently use a Carl's place DIY ALR screen that I bought on a whim to replace my painted wall (following the projector central instructions when it was painted). I noticed a signifigant improvement in my tightly packed dedicated theater since the room is under 10 feet wide and I get light polution reflecting from the walls. It would be interesting to get this screen added since it is so cheap, to see if it can hang with these other options... Although after this whale of a test I wouldn't blame you if you never want to see another ALR again. Keep up the great work, it's reviews like these that keep me coming back.

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