Hands On: Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge Home Theater Screen

Edge-to-edge picture looks like a flat-screen TV

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Screen Innovation’s Black Diamond Zero Edge looks more like a huge flat-panel TV than a projection screen, which helps it blend pleasingly into most room environments.

With Screen Innovations’ (SI) introduction of the Black Diamond Zero Edge, there’s no reason to fear if aesthetics factor into your projection system decisions. The Zero Edge strips away the industrial appearance that traditionally wraps screens to deliver a product that mimics a contemporary picture frame. And that’s a welcome sight for any design-conscious homeowner.

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Like SI’s other Black Diamond products, the Zero Edge is available in a choice of screen gains—.8, 1.4 and 2.7—and the Texas-based company offers the model in sizes up to 144 diagonal inches.

SI sent me a 100-inch, 1.4-gain Zero Edge screen for my media room, and with the help of my wife I was able to unpack and install the screen within an hour. The fixed-framed screen, like a picture frame, needs no assembly other than securing a pair of flanged mounts on the wall, and then it’s as easy as hoisting the screen onto the mounts. The sample included the company’s optional LED lighting package that can be set up to sync with an A/V system’s audio, or programmed to run specific scenes for added ambiance.

After the screen was hung and the LED connections were made, I watched some high-definition content from the NFL Network and broadcast network shows like NBC’s The Voice. Initially, it appeared that the image may have been slightly softer than the 1.4-gain traditional Black Diamond screen it replaced, but I think the difference between the various network broadcasts’ HD quality also accounted for this. The more I watched, in fact, the more I felt that the Zero Edge’s performance was identical to other products within the Black Diamond line, whose gray screen materials are known for providing some much-needed contrast in rooms where ambient light is present.

Learn More about home theater screens: Light Matters.

Swapping out my LCoS Dream Vision Dream’E projector for a DLP-based SIM2 Nero projector, I found the Zero Edge was able to render the added levels of sharpness, color richness and brightness without any problems, and it worked well with the Nero’s optional active 3D functions. Common problems videophiles have encountered with gray screens include a loss of brightness on the edges, “hotspotting” and “sparkle.” I did not use a light meter on the Black Diamond, but eyeing it closely, the screen produced a clean and uniform image.

I rounded out the evaluation by running through the LED lighting, which might bring back memories of the Ambilight technology that Philips introduced for its plasma displays about a decade ago. The LED glow is a slick way to illuminate a room with various colors and flashing patterns, but it’s not exactly my cup of home theater tea.

Still, it’s yet another feature that adds to the allure of this unique screen, which hits a home run in helping you bring home theater viewing out of the dedicated dark rooms and into more multipurpose rooms — without sacrificing substance for style. The Zero Edge delivers solid picture quality, it’s versatile enough to use in just about any room environment, and the razor-sharp looks and LED option score high on the wow factor.

AT A GLANCE

SPECS

Available in a choice of gains.
Optional LED lighting kit can be added.
A variety of screen sizes are available.
Pricing varies depending on the size and configuration.
www.screeninnovations.com

PROS
Image quality is on par with SI’s standard Black Diamond screens A choice of screen gains lets you match your screen to the room environment Interior-friendly design

CONS
The optional LED lighting kit may be distracting to some viewers

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