We are excited to announce the recipients of the 2020 Screenie Awards, for the best products in projection.
Each of the items featured below have been selected for being our pick based on various criteria including customer interest, sales, customer feedback and in-house testing.
As you have likely seen, Ultra Short Throw (UST) projectors are making a big splash this year. With premium options available from Optoma, LG and Hisense you are now able to take projection out of the dark and into your living room… when paired properly with an ALR screen designed to work with UST projectors.
Even with the tremendous growth of the UST segment, traditional projection is still increasing in popularity.
Manufacturers of both projectors and screens have continued to stir up the industry with new innovations to the traditional projector set up. With a wide array of ambient light rejecting surfaces, as well as dedicated home theater surfaces, screen manufacturers continue to impress with new improvements to their existing lines.
Similarly, projector manufacturers remain on the cutting edge with continued improvements to color and contrast, input upgrades and even more.
While the UST category is the new and certainly worthy craze, for many, the traditional projector setup remains tried and true.
- Brian Gluck, President
Next Projection / ProjectorScreen.com / 4KProjectors.com
Screen Innovations Solo Pro 2
Most Innovative Screen
The Screen Innovations Solo Pro 2 has broken the mold when it comes to motorized projector screens.
This is the first ever, lithium ion battery powered, motorized projector screen (also available with hard wired AC or 24v options) which allows you to place this screen anywhere without the need for an electrician.
With the smallest cassette (ranging in size from 2.875” – 4.625” depending on screen size) of any tensioned, motorized screen, the Solo Pro 2 also offers 12 color options; the most amount of color customization options of any screen.
Have a small space to try and recess your screen? Here comes the Solo Pro 2 to the rescue! Not only can this screen be wall mounted or flown from the ceiling; it also now has available a suspended ceiling bracket.
Wherever you decide to place this screen, installation could not be any easier. Want to move it around? That won’t be a problem with its lightweight and small form factor.
From the living room to poolside to your campsite; the Solo Pro 2 can go anywhere!
The Solo Pro 2 is available in diagonal sizes ranging from 80” - 160” and starts at $3,418
View all Screen Innovations Solo Pro 2 View all SI Screens
Stewart Filmscreen Balon Edge
Best Reference Screen Material: Studiotek 130 G4
With its thin, black border the Stewart Filmscreen Balon Edge offers a modern aesthetic paired with one of the industry's most sought after screen surfaces. The half-inch black, Velux light absorbing border provides just a touch of projector overscan relief while still providing maximum on-screen image.
For a more dramatic effect, the Balon can be mounted away from the wall with Stewart’s unique telescoping wall mount brackets, creating on-screen images that seemingly appear to float in the room.
An LED light kit, along with all of Stewart’s 16k+ front projection screen materials including the unrivaled StudioTek 130 G4 are available on this stunning screen.
The recently reformulated StudioTek 130 G4, is a flexible, front projection screen material that now has negligible sparkle and offers an amazing high dynamic range (HDR) of luminosity. This screen material also provides optimized white field uniformity — unmatched by competing gain screens.
StudioTek 130 G4 is 30% brighter than a traditional matte white screen surface. Featuring a fourth generation, proprietary optical coating, this screen material allows for crisp, sharp focusing of content as well as superb color and outstanding, white field uniformity.
Certified by THX, StudioTek 130 G4 is the reference standard projection material within the AV industry.
The Stewart Balon Edge is available in diagonal sizes ranging from 100” - 200” and starts at $2,562
View the Balon Edge View all Stewart Filmscreen Options
Hisense Laser TV Projection System
Best UST 4K Laser Projector
The Hisense 4K UHD Smart Laser TV with Wide Color Gamut features a dual-color laser that displays a cinema-like picture full of rich, vibrant and true-to-life colors.
This 120-inch ‘panel-less’ 4K Ultra HD Smart Laser TV (also available in 100”) is a masterful combination of movie-theater technology, elegant aesthetics, and a simple table-top setup. The Laser TV delivers 3000 lumens, HDR, Wide Color Gamut, a UHD Upscaler to bring your content to near 4K quality, Wi-Fi, popular music and movie apps (such as Netflix) and many more features to enjoy for an incredible and premium viewing experience.
The Hisense Laser TV is a game changing UST projector that beats out every competitor in its class with superior brightness, contrast, connectivity and design.
Now at a reduced price, you can get the 4K Laser UST projector with:
- Brightest Image – 3,000 lumens
- Best Contrast - 2,000,000 : 1
- Dual Laser Light Source – No Rainbow Effect
- Best HDR Support – HDR10/HLG
- Best Integrated Audio – 20w Speakers + 60w Subwoofer
The Hisense Laser TV is available in both 100” and 120” diagonal sizes and and starts at $5,499.99 without a screen and $6,999.99 with a screen.
Hisense Laser TV 120” Bundle View Hisense 120L10E
Hisense Laser TV 100” Bundle View Hisense 100L10E
Grandview Dynamique UST ALR
Best Value UST ALR Screen
In ultra-short throw systems, the screen is as important as the projector. For one, you benefit greatly from a screen that is properly calibrated for ambient light rejection at the correct angle so that your UST projector will be reflected while other light sources are deflected. More than this, because of the steep angle and close proximity of a UST projector, the proper gain level is a significant performance booster with regard to contrast and quality.
Of course, many ultra short throw screens claim to do the same thing, but not all are built the same. While some manufacturers have screens that offer UST ambient light rejection capability, not all are truly 4K capable.
In our experience, Grandview’s Dynamique line is the best value in ultra-short throw screens because they render 4K with accuracy, with a quality frame construction and without breaking the bank.
Our team has found that, for the money, Grandview offers the most impressive balance of all considered aspects of a UST screen: its ambient light rejecting ability, its gain level properly matched to a UST projector, and its ability to accurately display 4K without distortion.
Grandview also offers a variety of sizes: 90, 100, 110 and 120, making it the right fit for almost any UST theater system.
The Grandview Dynamique is available in diagonal sizes ranging from 90” - 120” and starts at $1,399*. (*on sale)
View all Dynamique Screen Sizes View all Grandview items
JVC DLA NX7 Native 4K Projector
Best Home Theater Projector under $10,000
What can we say about the JVC DLA-NX7 that hasn’t already been said? That its the best home theater projector for under $10,000? Well surely we’re not the first to say that! But we most certainly agree that it is the best home theater projector for under $10k and literally one of the best out there period.
When JVC introduced the NX series, they were in effect making their full leap into native 4K resolution. It was a giant leap and the NX7 was its mid-level prize - the NX9 being the ultimate with a price-tag to match, and the NX5 being the most affordable. While the DLA-NX9 is surely the most astounding lamp-based projector we’ve ever seen, the NX7 gets remarkably close for less than half the price.
What should you expect with a DLA-NX7? You should expect the best black levels and overall color reproduction you have ever seen in your home. Between JVC’s exceptional dynamic iris, their patented DILA (Direct-Drive Image Light Amplification) technology, and the aforementioned inclusion of native 4K display, the NX7 delivers with authority.
At 1900 lumens, the NX7 is brighter than many of its competitors and only slightly drops down to 1,600 lumens when viewing HDR content while most of its competitors will see a reduction of close to 50% from peak brightness.
JVC’s newly developed Auto Tone Mapping feature automatically adjusts settings based on the mastering information included in HDR content. This feature enables different HDR images to be viewed optimally for specific content. As a result, HDR performance appears brighter on the NX7 than it does on similarly bright projectors.
Like 3D movies? JVC is one of the few premium projector brands still supporting 3D with their own brand of high quality glasses available.
Frankly speaking, there is nothing that can compete with the NX7 at its price point and even the more expensive options from brands like Sony fall flat in comparison. When it comes to native 4k under $10k ($8,995 MSRP), the NX7 is a sure-fire winner.
JVC NX7 View JVC NX7
Stewart Filmscreen Cabaret
Most Attractive Screen Design
This screen can't help but get noticed. Beautifully finished in a hand rubbed automotive lacquer, Cabaret offers a bold and stylish look. An equally impressive 16K+ imaging surface also gives Cabaret unequaled attention — on or off. Choose a standard color or match your Cabaret to any color, limited only to your imagination.
The pinnacle retractable screen enclosure, Cabaret is designed to complement any modern space. The curved case profile is flawlessly executed and finished in a high gloss, automotive lacquer. Pick any current or classic car finish, or go with standard glossy Jet Black, Cosmic White, Scandalous Red, or Crater Lake Blue. This is a stunning machine.
The optional LED lighting system can bring added contrast to the screen image as well as add a visual aesthetic to any room. Both the low voltage control and lighting features are remote controlled, or they can be easily integrated into a control system of your choice.
Custom wall brackets allow the screen to be positioned away from the wall so deployment does not interfere with wall decor. Soundly engineered and built by hand, this screen is a work of art.
Available with all of Stewart’s premium, 16k rated surfaces (including our favorite StudioTek130 G4), it won’t just be the screen’s housing that will impress – the image will too!
The Stewart Cabaret is available in diagonal sizes ranging from 100” - 150” and starts at $4,442
View the Cabaret View the Cabaret with ST130 Surface
Best Home Theater Projector under $4,000
At the $5,000 and under price point there are a lot of economical 4k projector options, but not a lot of awesome ones. The Epson 6050 Powerlite Pro Cinema projector is the best of both worlds.
Packaged with a premium Chief ceiling mount, spare bulb, extended warranty and back input cover panel, this Epson 6050 has everything you need right out of the box to start projecting with a fantastic image.
Featuring a generous motorized zoom and both horizontal and vertical lens shift, installing the Epson 6050 is much easier than many competing projectors in its class.
It also features a wide range of preconfigured image modes allowing quality viewing in well-lit to pitch-black environments and its dynamic iris provides superior handling of dark scenes without loss of detail in the image.
Another advantage that the 6050UB has is its lockable ISF Day and Night modes and an extra aspect ratio setting for pairing with an anamorphic lens.
While similar to its sister model the 5050UB, the 6050UB is not available in the mass market retail channel and only can be purchased through select, authorized Epson Home Cinema Dealers (such as ourselves). It is built using cherry picked components from assembly line of both models, with the more premium and higher performing components tested going into the 6050UB. This ensures a top-of-the-line image; the best available in any Epson Home Theater/Cinema projector.
The 6050UB, when paired with a true 4K screen is state-of-the-art and sure to satisfy any home theater enthusiast. While other projectors have certain advantages with regard to ultimate color and contrast, the 6050UB surely gets close to the mountaintop. It is our best pick under $5,000 ($3,999 MSRP), even without including the bonus mount and bulb.
Epson 6050UB View Epson 6050UB
Screen Innovations Zero Edge Pro
Best Ambient Light Rejecting Material: Black Diamond 1.4
The Screen Innovations Zero Edge Pro is a truly customizable, robustly built, top performing projector screen. With 3 frame size options and 13 frame accent colors and an optional LED backlighting kit, this modern design can blend with any décor.
While available with all of SI’s premium surfaces, this screen wins our Screenie Award for “Best Ambient Light Rejecting Screen” when paired with their world famous Black Diamond 1.4 surface.
This is not only best performing multiple-layered optical screen ever made, but also the largest at up to 76-inches tall making a seamless 150-inch image in 16:9.
Black Diamond is capable of rejecting ambient light discreetly on both the horizontal and vertical axis. Lights above and windows on the side are simultaneously rejected.
The optics in Black Diamond reduce reflected light on the walls, ceiling, and floor. The result is an immersive dark room experience without the need for blacking out adjacent walls.
If you are looking for the BEST ambient light rejecting, contrast enhancing, highest resolution screen surface there is then look no further than SI’s Black Diamond.
The SI Zero Edge Pro is available in multiple aspect ratios, 16:9 diagonal sizes ranging from 80” - 200” and starts at $1,764 (Black Diamond Surface starting at $3,087)
View the Zero Edge Pro View the Zero Edge Pro with Black Diamond 1.4 Surface
Paint on Screen
Best Projection Screen Coating
Paint On Screen is the go-to product when a DIY screen paint solution is the best option for your needs.
The application process is simple in comparison to many other projection coatings - and by simple we mean user-friendly. Unlike some other projector coating brands, Paint on Screen is a simple 1-step process for ease and convenience.
Paint On Screen paints are a top-shelf choice when needing to cover a lot of square footage on a limited budget. They are also a top choice for outdoor application as they offer a uniquely formulated exterior paint and exterior primer.
These paints are inflected with the finest projection materials in the world including real precious metals such as silver, gold and platinum as well as diamonds.
Paint on Screen is also offered in a color-matching formulation to match any desired decor, as well as chroma key blue and green.
Want an all black screen to achieve a hidden special effect? Need to project onto glass but want to retain transparency when not in use? Looking to blend several projectors together for a really large screen installation? Need to find a solution that retains polarization for large 3D viewing? Want to resurface an existing, older screen? Want to create your own huge drive-in movie theater screen? Paint On Screen has got you covered! They even offer a fully customizable color match option to suit the decor of any room.
While there are many projector paint companies out there, our team has chosen Paint On Screen as the definitive because of two primary reasons: ease of use and variety of choice. In our experience, nobody offers a better paint solution!
View all Paint on Screen Options
Marantz SR8012 AVR
Best AVR for 4K Projectors
Marantz has a longstanding reputation of making the highest quality audio/visual receivers. We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that, but what we do need to tell you is that the SR8012 has raised even their exceptionally high bar.
Receivers play an integral role in the overall performance of your home theater setup. What you want to look for in a good AVR is the combination of quality of components and up-to-date technologies. In our consideration, the SR8012 is the best AVR we’ve ever used with a projector.
Before we spotlight some of the SR8012’s many highlights , we’d like to first mention that it is Marantz’s first 11.2 channel receiver. Each channel offers a whopping 205W per channel. This surely makes it powerful enough for you headbangers looking to annoy your neighbors. But all jokes aside, this is one truly powerful AVR.
Let’s cut to the chase for a moment and explain why it is the best receiver we’ve ever used for projectors - it comes with the latest HDMI standards (HDCP 2.2) - 4K/60 Hz full-rate pass-through, 4:4:4 color resolution, HDR, BT. 2020, Dolby Vision and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) pass-through.
...and as if that’s not enough, it has eight - yes eight- HDMI inputs on the back panel and one very thoughtful HDMI input on the front for easy access.
Of the SR8012’s many compatibilities, the ones that immediately grabbed our attention are the all-important Dolby Atmos, the impressive IMAX enhanced, the immersive DTS:X and the uniquely tuned Auro-3D.
The SR8012 also features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless streaming. It is even compatible with Apple’s AirPlay, making it the perfect receiver to pair with iPhone,iPad, and other iOS devices.
But as if this wasn’t an exhausting amount of features as is, the SR8012 offers Amazon Alexa voice control, Apple Siri Voice Control, and Google Assistant Voice Control. Ooh lala!
Finally, we have to mention the SR8012’s built-in HEOS technology, which allows you to stream from a seemingly unlimited number of sources: Spotify, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Apple Music, Tidal and so on, are just a convenient command away.
While we wish we could say we’ve spotlighted the ins and outs of all of the SR8012’s impressive features, we’d be more correct to say we’ve touched on the areas in which we felt the SR8012 was most impressive to our home theater insights. But certainly, the SR8012 is the best sounding and most versatile audio visual receiver we have ever used, especially considering the low $2,999 price tag.
View the Marantz SR8012 AVR View all Marantz items
Da-lite Fast Fold
Best Folding Frame Screen
Folding Frame screens aren’t anything new; they have been a staple of the rental and staging market for decades as well as a portable and storable (in a convenient, wheeled case) solution for auditoriums, venues, backyards and more.
Why are folding frame screens the optimal solution for professional, portable projection setups? Because of the flatness of the surface, the sleek professional look, the option to pair the screen with a skirt and/or dress kit and finally, it allows for up to 16k resolution thanks to Da-Lite’s HD Rental surface.
Da-lite’s folding frame screen, the Fast-Fold has become the industry standard due to its rugged build, ability to withstand the abuse of the rental market and it’s tried-and-true design which has been replicated by many of its competitors. In fact, “Fast Fold” has almost become synonymous with folding frame screens, similar to how “Kleenex” is to tissues.
Now featuring the enhanced “wheel and key-way leg-to-frame locking mechanism, speedy cranks are a thing of the past!
The HD Rental surface is a texture-free front projection surface with a gain level of 1.0. This surface replaces Da-Lite’s older (and textured) Da-Mat surface. Da-Lite is the only manufacturer we know of that offers a truly textureless, 4K+ surface for folding frame screens.
This texture-free surface gives your presentations the extra umph when using a 4K+ projector and meets the needs of the evolving events market.
The adjoining of true 4k surface quality and the time-tested technology of folding frame design, makes the Da-Lite’s Fast Fold Deluxe screen the king of all front projection folding frame screens as far as we’re concerned and their HD Rental surface the highest quality option.
Da-lite Fast Fold Deluxe screens are available in diagonal sizes from 106” - 210” in various aspect ratios and start at $824 with their HD Rental surface.
View all Fast Fold Deluxe w/ HD Rental Surface View all Fast Fold Deluxe View all Da-lite Projector Screens
Metra Home Theater Velox HDMI Cable
Best HDMI Cable
When it comes to accurate and reliable projection, the HDMI cable can prove to be one of the most important parts of the system. Our team has spent many hours with the best of the best and what we’ve found is Metra Home Theater cables provide the most reliable performance.
Metra Home Theater’ Group's line is certified by DPL Labs to ensure delivery on promised bandwidth and this is one of the reasons that manufacturers and industry professionals alike consistently recommend Metra Home Theater Group as the HDMI cable manufacturer of choice.
HDR performance is only possible with 18Gbps of bandwidth or greater and their passive Velox cable is our go-to HDMI cable.
It has the highest bandwidth of any passive cable and supports 24Gbps, 4K/60 4:4:4 and HDR transmission.
It is newly designed with advanced features in metallurgy, topology, dielectric, and shielding. This new microwave RF design allows for up to 4dB less insertion loss over long distances by establishing a near linear response performance increase.
What does this all mean? It means Metra’s Velox HDMI cable has cutting edge technology and the most reliable performance in the industry.
Metra Home Theater Velox cables are available in ranging from 1 - 10 meters and start at $76.59.
View 10m Velox HDMI Cable View all Velox HDMI Cables View all Metra Home Theater Products
Elite Screen Manual Tab Tension Pro
Best Manual Screen
The first of its kind; Elite Screens introduces, a manual pull-down, tab tensioned, ambient light rejecting screen. Featuring their ISF certified material, Cinegrey 5D - this lightweight and versatile screen makes installation and use a breeze.
With its auto-locking mechanism, you are able to alter your screen’s aspect ratio simply by pulling it down in different increments.
It’s auto-return feature ensures a smooth, controlled retraction to prevent damage to the surface or housing.
Floating mounting brackets allow easy placement of the mounting points to your wall’s studs or ceiling’s joists.
When you factor is all of the features, the low cost and the fact that it is the ONLY manual tab tensioned screen available with an ALR surface, it is easy to see why the Elite Screens Tab-Tension Pro with Cinegrey 5D surface is our pick this year for the best manual screen.
The Elite Screens Manual Tab-Tension Pro with Cinegrey 5D surface will be available in a 16:9 aspect ratio in 106”,125” & 140” diagonal sizes with prices starting at $1,049.
View all Manual Tab-Tension Pro with Cinegrey 5D View all Elite Screens Products
Grandview Cyber Y Press
Best Portable Screen
When it comes to portable setups, manual floor rising screens are among the most attractive for quick and easy presentation. The setup time is much less than that of a folding frame, while the overall aesthetic tends to be seen as a more elegant choice than that of a tripod screen.
The Grandview Cyber Y Press Pull Up series is an ideal choice for those looking to present in HDTV format at up to 92” inches diagonally. The first aspect worth mentioning about this series is that it is a standalone design – meaning it does not require a screen plus a separate floor stand to function properly. The second point we would like to make is that a screen of this kind is only as reliable as its scissor locking mechanism.
In our assessment of this design, our team has put the scissor mechanism “through the ringer” as they say, and we’ve concluded that Grandview has put forth a very rugged and dependable design. The series gets its name “Cyber Y” because the scissor mechanism forms the shape of an inverted Y when the screen is fully extracted.
Next up we assess its surface. While no floor rising screen can match the performance of a folding frame screen (which maintains its flatness by being stretched onto a frame), the matte white finish of Grandview is on par with the best we’ve seen and the fabric is thick enough to avoid significant blemishes that can often occur with non-tensioned surfaces, such as rippling and curling. Still, this would not be an ideal screen for a short throw projector since it’s not as refined in its flatness as a tensioned screen.
Lastly, the Grandview Cyber Y Pull Up screen comes housed in an attractive black metal case. When the screen is fully extracted from its housing it can rise for the image to begin just under three feet above the floor. This screen is one of the lightest portable screens and easiest to open, without sacrificing durability.
All in all, we highly recommend the Grandview Cyber Y Press Pull Up to those looking for a standalone floor rising screen for portable presentations!