“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Screen Innovations Visage Projector Screen Review

by March 05, 2006
Screen Innovations Visage Screen

Screen Innovations Visage Screen

  • Product Name: Visage Projector Screen
  • Manufacturer: Screen Innovations
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStar
  • Review Date: March 05, 2006 19:00
  • MSRP: $ 3899
  • Frame Construction: 3.5-inches x 1.75-inches Aluminum frame
  • “T-Line” tensioning mechanism
  • Total depth 1.75-inches
  • 2.0 gain solid surface screen
  • 10 times higher contrast than standard matte white screen
  • Lifetime replacement policy
  • Velvet wrapped contoured frame for stray light absorption (standard)
  • 10 velvet colors and 4 hardwoods available to match any decor
  • Outside frame measurements 52-inches x 87-inches as reviewed
  • Available sizes: 60-120 inches 16:9 aspect ratio; 60-100 inches 4:3 aspect ratio


  • Front projection now possible in non-light controlled rooms
  • Impeccable build quality and engineering.
  • Excellent performance
  • Wide viewing angles considering the high gain
  • Solid surface makes a perfectly consistent viewing surface
  • Lifetime replacement policy


  • Pricey
  • Projector needs to be mounted within 5 degrees of the screen top or bottom for best performance
  • Ambient light from behind projector not completely rejected


Visage Screen Overview, Build Quality, Measurements

Front projection systems are becoming very popular due to the high performance price ratio. Installing a front projector in your home can transform your system from the average run of the mill home theater into a true home cinema. However, the down side of front projection systems is their ability to overcome ambient light issues.

This one obstacle, more than any another, dismisses front projection systems from many rooms and requires the individual to look at fixed panel technology to overcome the ambient light issues. For all of you that have these challenges and you have been dreaming of a front projection system, your day has arrived and your waiting might be over.

Screen Innovations, a company headquartered in Austin , Texas has recently introduced a new revolutionary screen. It is called the Visage (formerly referred to as the'Mirage') and it has the ability to overcome light-filled rooms even with moderately bright front projection systems. The new breakthrough screen uses a patented high contrast filter that covers 60% of the screen surface. This enables the projected image to be reflected by the screen while at the same time absorbing ambient incidental light from other angles produced by windows and room lighting.

The screen image is almost unaffected by the ambient light while simultaneously maintaining a bright, punchy projected image. Screen Innovations claims 10x the contrast ratio and 2x the brightness over conventional screens (2.0 gain). The new screen is compatible with all CRT, DLP, LCD, and LCOS front projection systems. Screens are available in 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios and sizes of 60-inces to 120-inches diagonal.

  The standard finish on the 3.5-inch contoured frame is black felt, but Screen Innovations offers 10 custom finishes and even 4 wood trims to match any decor. Even the most discriminating designers would be pleased with the broad selection available.

For the purpose of this evaluation, we decided to order the Visage Reference 92-inch diagonal (45" x 80") standard screen. The screen is very well packed in a large wood crate to prevent damage. This type of packing is necessary because the screen arrives fully assembled and ready to be installed.

Unpacking and Build Quality

Unpacking the Visage screen, we found the build quality meticulously impeccable. We could find absolutely no flaw of any kind in the structure of the screen. The 3.5-inch frame is beautifully constructed and the mitered joints look like something engineered for NASA. Elegant crushed, hammered velvet covers the entire screen frame and the Screen Innovations logo graces the lower right corner. The screen material is solid and this provides a 100% tensioned wrinkle free-smooth screen surface. We were absolutely astounded by the detailed build quality of the Visage. 舠 Gorgeous 舡 would be an understatement.

The Visage screen is very easy to install thanks to the Screen Innovations convenient mounting system. The installer need only be equipped with a low torque screw gun, level, tape measure, and pencil. Mark a level line on the wall at the correct mounting height; the mounting bracket is then installed ensuring the bracket is level using the supplied deck screws .

Installation Note #1: The installer should be able to attach the mounting bracket to the wall studs. If this is not possible, the use of heavy-duty wall anchors can be utilized.

The heavy-duty wall anchors are available at most hardware stores and can support 30-50 lbs each. The anchors are self tapping but drilling a small pilot hole prior to installation aids in the installation. After the wall-mounting bracket is installed, level, and square on the wall surface, carefully pick up the screen and hang it on the wall bracket.

The manufacturer claims one person can accomplish this task, but for safety we recommend using a helper for the installation. Make sure your hands are clean or use clean cotton gloves to prevent soiling the luxurious velvet finish on the frame. Once the screen is mounted on the wall bracket, all that's left to do is check to ensure the system is level and centered. If the screen is not perfectly centered on the bracket, you can gently tap on either side of the screen frame to slide it one direction or the other.

When we evaluate projectors and screens, most often we need to have total light control or wait until it becomes dark to start the evaluation. This is not the case with the new Visage screen. We started the evaluation of the screen during the day with all the widows and blinds open, causing the room to be completely flooded with ambient light.

Projector Screen Measurements (Ambient Room )

Obviously it is much better to have a light controlled environment to perform measurement tasks, but we were curious how the Visage screen would fair in a non-light controlled room using the Sencore 5000 color analyzer. To our surprise we were able to obtain some pretty solid gray scale tracking and color temperature balance at 80, 90 and 100 IRE. Anything below 80 IRE was pretty much immeasurable because of all the light in the room.


Installation Note #2: We noticed that the projector must be installed within 5 degrees of the projected image height either above or below the screen. If the projector is installed outside of this requirement, performance will be diminished dramatically. This is due to the ambient light filtering properties of the screen. This means, unfortunately, that if you have an ambient light source directly behind the projector broadcasting light on the screen it will also affect screen performance, so you'll want to try and limit ambient light interference coming from the same direction as the projected image.

Using the Optoma H-72 1280x720 DLP projector currently under loan from Projector People for an upcoming review, we started with the daytime broadcast of the Winter Olympics and Speed TV . What, you were expecting Oprah or Days of our Lives ?

A word about screen shots: It was very difficult to obtain picture perfect screen shots of the screen with all the ambient light in the room. This had more to do with the limitations of our Olympus digital camera than the Visage screen's ability to display the image.

When we started viewing the projected images, it was hard to believe we were viewing a front projection system. The image looked more like it was being viewed on a conventional CRT television. Colors were bright, punchy, sharp, and vibrant.

The Visage screen did an absolutely wonderful job of overcoming the huge amount of ambient light that was abundant in the room. We did a direct A/B comparison of how well the screen stacked up against our 42 舡 Panasonic LCD TV in the same lighting conditions and were very surprised to find very little difference in the brightness of the image.

No monitoring surface is perfect when having to deal with direct ambient light. The Visage was no different. When the sunlight streamed through the open windows, broadcasting directly on the left side of the screen the image did wash out. It would also do the exact same thing on any monitor placed in that position. Even the CRT monitor, we are using to type this review!

The bottom line is that this is the first screen we have tested that you can view in the daytime and be able to achieve a watchable image. In fact, no other screen material that we have tested to date even comes close to the performance level obtained with the Visage. To summarize the experience with the Visage during daytime viewing, we felt like a vampire that had been cured from the nighttime curse and now free to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine. Watching Nascar and the Olympics during the day on a 92-inch diagonal was an exhilarating experience to say the least.

Visage Screen Viewing Evaluation and Conclusion

Projector Screen Measurements (Light Controlled)

We decided to take some calibration measurements in a light controlled environment. We were very pleased with the very solid color temp measurements we obtained using the New Optoma H-72 projector, previously calibrated close to D65 on a white screen. We obtained very solid readings from 20IRE to 100IRE with the H-72 and the Visage combination.


Viewing Evaluation

DVD: Alien vs. Predator
With the very positive results we obtained during the daytime evaluation, we were very anxious to put the Visage screen to the test for nighttime controlled lighting evaluation. Once again, using the Optoma H-72 projector in a totally darkened room, we selected the near flawless transfer of Alien vs. Predator . We selected this DVD because of the dark, almost dreary, presentation and its abundance of low light, gray, and almost pitch black scenes.

The opening scene where the woman is climbing on the ice shelf is a very good passage for evaluation and contains a lot of contrasting colors to view.

We must say that at the beginning of the light controlled evaluation, we had the preconceived notion that because the screen material filters and absorbs light that it would somehow compromise black levels and grayscale. Well, we are here to tell you that if there is a compromise we sure did not see it.

Black levels were very impressive as shown above. The contrasting black gloves and handle on the ice axe were inky black against the white snowy background. The colors of the blue jacket and red hat were vibrant and punchy but not overly saturated. In no instance did we see hotspotting, and color graduation was smooth as silk.

We were curious how the same scene would look on our current reference screen, the Carada Criterion Brilliant White 1.4 gain screen. As stated previously, we were most pleased with the performance of the Visage screen. Having said that, the image looked a little more solid and natural on the white screen with total light control. The differences were very subtle but we preferred the white screen material when viewing in total darkness. Flip on a light, any light and the Visage was there to please in all its glory.

We have noted at times on very high gain screens that colors, while vibrant and punchy, look overly saturated and washed out. We also have noted that many times true deep black levels were compromised for the sake of the extra boost in screen gain. The Visage had no such trouble and the overall viewing of this particular scene was impressive. Turning on the large overhead light did wash the image out slightly but we found that we could happily view the movie with the lights on. This was not possible with previously reviewed front projection screens.

As the movie progressed, the image took on a dreary dark cast as the crew of adventurers one by one met their doom. The very dark scenes looked very natural. Once again the black, grays, and overall dark subdued level of the film looked very impressive and convincing. Viewing angles were equally impressive for a high gain screen. Generally, we have found that high gain screens have very narrow viewing angles

Moving to either side of the screen, we found that the viewing angles were acceptable. The importance of wider viewing angles is if you have seating toward the sides of the room your guests will not receive a compromised image because of their seating position.


The Visage screen is a breakthrough in screen technology. With the implementation of this new technology it now makes front projection systems a viable alternative in non-light controlled rooms. The Visage screen was equally impressive in a light controlled room striking a perfect balance of performance and usability.

The impeccable build quality, engineering and over all luxurious design of the screen make it an easy recommendation. We will be very sorry to see the new Visage screen returned to the factory. Watching Nascar on a 92-inch diagonal screen on Sunday mornings was an awesome experience. Going back to a 42-inch diagonal screen will be painful to say the least. The Visage screen is pricey but if you can afford the price of admission get it and you will go where no front projection system has gone before: into the light.

Visage 92" 1.78:1 Projection Screen
MSRP: $3899

Screen Innovations
11110 Metric Blvd. Ste D
Austin, TX 78758
Phone: 512-832-6939
Fax: 512-832-6136

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
About the author:

RLA Home Theater and Hi-Fi began as a hobby and has expanded into a business. Ray took his love of music and movies and turned it into his personal business to bring movie theater sound and quality into the homes of his customers. Ray brought great knowledge and expertise to us from a custom installer/integrator's perspective.

View full profile