Screen Innovations Black Diamond II
Ambient Light Rejection Projector Screen
EDITOR'S NOTE: The review below pertains to the 2009 version of Screen Innovations' Black Diamond screen material, which is no longer available for purchase. The Black Diamond screen currently available is a different product and this review does not reflect on its performance.
Editor's Note: The Black Diamond II comes in two forms - the 0.8 gain material reviewed below and a 1.4 gain material which we have not yet reviewed. As the two screens are certain to perform differently, our Highly Rated award only applies to the 0.8 gain version. -bl
The Black Diamond II combines some of the best features of black screens we've seen in the past - namely Planar's Xscreen and the Nexy BSB. It has the Xscreen's excellent light repelling ability and the Nexy screen's light weight and flexibility. It also has advantages all its own - instead of the rigid, heavy frame of the Xscreen and the complete lack of frame on the Nexy BSB, the Black Diamond II has a lightweight aluminum frame clad in black velvet, like traditional fabric screens. That makes for easy shipping, mounting, and assembly. It will begin selling through Screen Innovations' dealer network on March 1. A 100" 16:9 Black Diamond II will retail for $2,699.
Ambient Light Rejection. The Black Diamond, like other black screens, is built to combat ambient room lighting. This works by rejecting any light that hits the screen from an oblique angle, preventing it from washing out the image on the screen. For the most part, the only light which makes it back to the viewers is the light from the projector.
We tested it under an overhead light, as well as lights on in the back of the room. In these situations, the Black Diamond looks much higher in contrast and richer in color saturation than a conventional white or gray home theater screen. The picture in ambient light is remarkably vibrant.
Blacker blacks. Projectors, by their nature, cannot project black. The black you see on screen is the absence of projected light, which appears black only in comparison to brighter areas of the screen. The Black Diamond's dark, charcoal gray surface enhances the appearance of black, and can help correct for light spillover from other parts of the image. The end result is a picture with blacker blacks.
Smooth HD surface. Screen Innovations calls the Black Diamond II an "HD" screen. Like the recently reviewed Da-lite JKP Affinity, it has a perfectly smooth screen surface. As we discussed in that review, a smooth screen surface is ideal for 1080p projectors, as it ensures that no detail loss occurs due to screen texture.
Easy shipping. This does not seem like much of an advantage until you have had to wrestle a hundred-plus-pound rigid screen, plus external packaging, through your doorway. The Black Diamond II rolls up like a regular fabric screen, and is shipped like a regular fabric screen as well - in a long rectangular box. This makes it much easier to transport, ship, store, and maneuver, which is a welcome benefit for the do-it-yourselfer.