As much as I like dedicated home theater rooms, more customers these days likely want the big-screen experience without the “cave” part of the man cave.
Ambient light rejection screens were invented for this purpose, and Seymour Screen Excellence’s Ambient Visionaire screens are among the latest to address this concern.
I sampled the Ambient Visionaire Silver 1.3 gain screen. The material is coated with millions of nano mirrors designed to reflect the projector’s light back at the viewing area, while light coming from the side is absorbed by carbon particles in the substrate.
The company says the nano mirrors are so small that it takes 5,000 to reflect one pixel from a 4K projector.
The screen material itself is fairly rigid, and features a black backing. It attaches to the frame with a system of grommets that makes for a secure and mostly fool-proof setup and puts a consistent tension all around the screen. The frame itself is light and assembles easily — much easier, I should add, than the process of stretching Seymour’s Enlightor 4K acoustically transparent material on its frame.
CE Pro Verdict
PROS: Rejects moderate amount of light from all angles; accurate colors; screen material can be easily cleaned
CONS: Material can crease; slight shimmer but less than other light rejecting screens; not designed for high ambient light rooms
I paired the screen with my Epson 5020 LDC projector (there are newer versions, but the light output is comparable).
To start, I played a number of Blu-ray movies as well as white and color test patterns on the Seymour screen to see how it fared both in the dark and with room lighting. The room has four small dimmable sconces, but it’s not very well lit.
I didn’t have a full-sized screen for this review — just a small sample piece, which also made it easier to place up against my permanent screen, which also happens to be a Seymour Screen Excellence (the aforementioned Enlightor 4K material).
Even without measuring anything, I could tell right away that the Visionaire gave me a brighter picture, and the colors look just as vibrant without a noticeable color shift.
I began with some of my favorite video material, the Blu-ray version of Life of Pi. The mix of gorgeous colors and some challenging night scenes make it a good demonstration test disc. With the new screen flat up against my main screen, and the wall sconces turned about halfway up, it was easy to see the difference the Visionaire’s nano surface made.
A blue sky was significantly brighter on the new screen, while maintaining the colors’ fidelity.
As the screen preserves the projector’s light, it also preserves the colors. Some light rejection screens can cause minor havoc on colors, though a color bar test pattern showed me that the Visionaire kept blues blue and reds red. Some tones benefited more from the Visionaire’s makeup than others.
Using a light meter, I found cyan to be about 20 percent brighter with the Visionaire, while white was 25 percent brighter with the Visionaire, compared with the original screen. Note, however, this is not a black screen like the Screen Innovations Black Diamond. With enough ambient light, blacks will lean toward gray.
Satisfied that the Visionaire would work well in a multi-use entertainment room, I turned off the lights. Some light rejection screens can be too bright for a traditional lights-off theater. This one is a compromise screen, which delivers when moderate lights are on, but also rendered an excellent image with especially good contrast when viewed in the dark.
One issue many light rejecting screens suffer from is excess shimmer caused by the reflective layers that make the screens do their magic. The Visionaire presents a bit of that, but it’s significantly less than similar screens I’ve viewed and was only noticeable in lighter scenes and colors.
Every home theater installer should have multiple screens in their go-to list. The Visionaire is a good option for rooms that may include some light, either natural or artificial, or rooms with light colored walls and décor that could reflect light back on the screen.
This screen will pre-serve the projector’s picture without sacrificing the image quality in the process.