Draper TecVision Review:
Comparing the MS1000X and XT1300X
Draper, a company that has been in the projector screen business since 1957, has released an all-new line of screen materials. This new line, called TecVision, consists of six screen materials that fill a variety of different niches. Two of them are of particular interest: the XT1300X, a 1.3-gain white surface, and the MS1000X, a 1.0-gain grey surface.
Projectors keep getting better. Native resolution keeps getting higher, black levels get deeper, and color gets more and more accurate. It's natural to wonder how to pick a screen that will accentuate your projector's best qualities and minimize its deficiencies. And to a lot of folks, this is still a difficult question. By looking at the XT1300X and the MS1000X side-by-side and comparing them against our reference screen, it becomes easier to decide what kind of screen you need for your theater.
Screen material is only half the story, albeit the more important half. Every screen needs a frame. Our screens used Draper's Onyx, a sturdy aluminum frame with a generous 4" border that nicely offsets the projected image. The frame's matte black aluminum finish does a fair job of reducing reflections, but the optional Vel-Tex fabric wrap does a far better job and is recommended for home theater use. TecVision screen materials are also available as manual or motorized tab-tensioned retractable screens.
Draper's TecVision materials are only available through authorized Draper dealers. A 100" diagonal 16:9 TecVision screen in an Onyx frame with Vel-Tex coating retails for $1,997 regardless of the fabric chosen.
The Onyx frame comes together very quickly. Eight aluminum brackets (two per corner) connect the frame pieces using four hex screws each, and a hex key is provided in the box. The frame fits together snugly with no hang-ups or rough spots. Frame assembly took about ten minutes.
Attaching the screen material to the frame is a multi-step process. First, thin plastic rods are inserted into pockets on each edge of the screen material. These rods are flexible and can bind up as you work, especially on the long edges. Placing something on top of the screen material to keep it from shifting can make this step easier. Next, rigid plastic brackets are slid over the rod pockets. These brackets serve as the retention mechanism, tensioning the screen surface and holding it to the frame. Those brackets lock into grooves on the reverse of the frame. Attaching the screen to the frame took another fifteen minutes.
Stretching the screen until the brackets lock into place can be quite difficult. The brackets do not lock into the frame unless the entire bracket is in position, and the brackets bend slightly under tension, making it more difficult to pull the entire bracket over the finish line. The theoretical advantage of this mounting system is completely uniform tension across the screen surface. On the other hand, some other manufacturers use a snap-in system that is much easier to mount.
We successfully wrestled one screen into its frame, but tried and failed on a second. This is at least a two-person job, and a larger screen might need three people. The final bracket is the most difficult due to the tension already placed on the other three sides, so expect some grunting and sweating (and possibly profanity) before it locks into place. Or you could have your local Draper dealer assemble the screen for you, and watch someone else grunt and swear while you relax and enjoy a beverage.