|Stewart Filmscreen Starglas Video Screen|
|Home Theater Video Projector Screens Video Projector Screens|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Monday, 01 December 2008|
Page 2 of 3
Television and Movies
I kicked things off with Pixar’s classic buddy pic Toy Story (Walt Disney Home Entertainment) on standard-definition DVD. I left the lights in the theater on to test the Starglas’ ambient light claims. Suffice to say, they’re not B.S. In fact, minus the light-mounted just inches from the top edge of the screen itself, there was little glare or reflection visible on the screen. The ambient light performance was quite good and it reminded me a lot of my time spent with Panasonic’s gigantic 100-plus-inch plasma that I reviewed some months ago. While the ambient light performance at first glance seemed about equal in terms of brightness, general detail and viewing angle, the noise floor with the Starglas/Runco combo was far superior, as was the edge fidelity and perceived sharpness. In comparison, the Panasonic was grainy, washed-out and vague. The Starglas was crisp, smooth, punchy and grain-free. When the lights were turned off, the performance just catapulted to a whole other level. The depth of the image was stunning, as were the black levels and color gradation. Edge fidelity was so resolute that the image had a real three-dimensional feel, even though this was an SD source. Colors burst off the screen and were among the most accurate and brilliant I’ve ever seen from a projection set-up. The glass surface of Starglas helped smooth out the roughness that is usually associated with SD when viewed back through an HD display device such as the Runco, which is nice. The image took on a decidedly HD feel, but not like that of any projection system I was used to, no sir. It felt more like viewing the film on the world’s largest plasma. With a diagonal measurement of 120 inches, my dealer’s Starglas installation destroyed the Panasonic and dwarfed even Runco’s own King Kong-sized display.
Next, I cued up the latest Bond flick, Casino Royale (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) on Blu-ray. The Sin City-esque opening scene projected onto Starglas was sharp, with stark contrast between the inky blacks and brilliant whites, yet it didn’t possess any of the blooming or excessive noise I found with the Panasonic when viewing the same scene. While it’s a bit unfair to judge a plasma display against a projection surface like Starglas, for the Runco projector does play a role in the overall performance, one cannot deny nor look past the value for dollar statement the Starglas/Runco combo makes. Nor can you look past the fact that, should you want to save more money, you can mate Starglas to a less expensive projector like my Sony Pearl and still achieve excellent results. Skin tones were rich, natural and very dimensional, allowing for the varying elevations of Daniel Craig’s angular face to be experienced, as opposed to simply being seen. The depth of the image itself bordered on the surreal, more reminiscent of viewing actual events through an open window than a film seen through a playback device. Contrast and grayscale rendering was excellent, with nary an ounce of light or pixel wasted on the surface itself. Seriously, once you watch anything on Starglas, going back to a traditional screen or even a plasma or LCD display just seems like an outright compromise.
I ended my evaluation with some TV viewing via my dealer’s DirectTV service. I watched a couple of minutes of SD and HD programs, ranging from a college football game to cheap infomercial. Regardless of the content the visual was appropriately rich and always enjoyable. When the lights came back on, the image remained. While a bit faded, it was by no means vomit-inducing. I just couldn’t get over how little glare or reflection there was on the surface of the Starglas, given its surface and sheer size. When you turned the lights on near the Panasonic, it proved to be more of a mirror than a display, which simply wasn’t the case with the Starglas. While the installations did vary and no doubt played a role in the ambient light performance of both, if it were my call (or money), I’d have to side with Starglas as being the best all-round performer, be it with low light, black or ambient light viewing.