My thoughts on the new Black Diamond motorized from Screen Innovations

The SI black diamond motorized projection screen

Screen Innovations recently announced their new Black Diamond motorized projection screen.

The black diamond fabrics are intended to be used in hgh ambient light situations.

With more and more people going for a projector in their living room, rather than in a dedicated theatre room, this type of fabric is more and more relevant these days.

The living room howver, is not really a place for a fixed frame screen, which used to be the common format for SI screens.

Now, there’s a retractable version that looks like it’s floating in the air, thanks to the cable system.

You can see the screen in this video

Screen Innovations Black Diamond Motorized

My thoughts

The use of the cable system isn’t new. It was pioneered by Grandview who made such a system for the professional AV market.

The idea of the motor placed in the tube isn’t new either; Procolor and Oray have done this for a long time in their range of large projection screens.

The combination of both technologies in a screen for residential installations is new though.

And that combination of different techonlogies is what I like most about this screen.

So let’s look at those in more detail:

The cable system

The cables make it look like the screen is floating in the air, which makes it look cool.

However, the main purpose of the cables is to have the screen drop to the right viewing height.

With regular screens, the viewing height is determined by the position of the screen’s housing and the amount of black drop that comes out of the screen.

The trouble with black drops is there is a relatively low maximum of almost 3 feet. Any length above that and your fabric will be in a V-shape in stead of perfectly flat.

Cables allow for the right viewing height and a perfectly falt screen – a nice combo

The motor

I don’t know which brand is used, but I am guessing it’s a Somfy with 32 rpm.

A fast motor is a greast choice, because many regular screens have only 17 rpm.
This means they take twice as long to unroll or roll in (given the same amount of fabric)

The fabric

More and more projection screens find their way into the living room where ambient light is not as easy to control.

That’s why a quality optical high contrast fabric works well, much better than a regular matt white or non-optical high contrast fabric.

It comes at a price though, so you’ll have to pay a premium for the increased performance.

The housing

The housing is a bit of a let-down.

Yes, it keeps it all light and yes, I know that once rolled in, it’ll be way up on the ceiling.

I would have preferred more of a boxed solution with 3 sides closed and just the bottom part open.

Conclusion

The combination of features is what makes this screen exciting to watch: when it is rolled out and when it’s used as a projection surface.

If you have the budget for it, you’ll enjoy watching it – and watching your guests amazement as it drops from the ceiling.

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