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DNP Supernova

Since 1989, dnp Denmark has been the worldwide large-screen production centre of Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd. With 35 production plants, 21 product divisions, more than 34,000 employees worldwide and an annual turnover exceeding USD 13 billion, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd. is one of the world’s largest printing and media companies.

With a 65% market share, dnp Denmark is the world’s leading supplier of optical projection screens for high-quality display solutions. The dnp product portfolio includes a wide range of optical screens for front- and rear projection applications. Many of the world’s leading brands depend on dnp for their screen solutions.
I contacted Manfred Freiberger back in early March to see if I could get a sample of their Supernova screen material for a review. Manfred was kind enough to send me a sample of their .8 gain ISF certified material. Their 2.0 gain Supernova is being replaced soon (June at Infocomm in Orlando) with a 1.6 gain Supernova. Hopefully when that's released Manfred will do me the honor of reviewing that as well. :T

The Supernova is layered screen technology. Seven layers to be exact. Seven layers of which there secret is known to only a few dnp employees. What Manfred did know he was happy to share though. The bottom layer is a high reflective layer and the subsequent layers vary between translucent layers and contrast filter layers.

The sample was sent in an aluminum suitcase:





The sample they sent was a XX" size framed mini screen. The frame itself is aluminum with a felt/velvet 1" strip on the outer portion of the screen to absorb light spill. The bottom and left sides of the frame were silver/aluminum in color and the left and top were black. Kind of a neat touch. :T

My initial testing of the Supernova were to take spectrophotometer readings of the material with my X-Rite i1pro. I took these readings using both CalMAN and BabelColor. I've gotten really comfortable with CalMAN lately and it offers customizable work spaces. BabelColor is my old 'tried and true' program for quick readings.

The initial readings had me somewhat confused at first. They are a bit off from D65 neutral showing towards a blue/green push. After a brief moment of shock I then remembered that the Supernova is optical layered technology and that my i1pro may not be reading the full story just by an initial reading from it's own internal reflectance lamp.

This first chart is the BabelColor screen. The Supernova measurement is on the left with generic N7.5 readings on the right. The square box shows the difference between the two colors with the Supernova being the outer box. The CIE plot shows the Supernova sample as the green box, underneath the N7.5 box, tracking slightly southwest or green/blue.



These next two charts show the CalMAN spectro analysis with the first chart being the Supernova sample and the second being a X-Rite ColorChecker Gray Scale Card. The reading is from the middle gray on the card which is a N5 neutral gray. The CalMAN chart confirms the early reading with BabelColor, but hardly tells the true story of the Supernova.





Before I get to the actual screen readings from a reflected calibration images, it would probably do to explain a bit about the technology behind dnp's Supernova. dnp incorporates multiple layers or lenses into the Supernova, each with a different purpose. These layers, when combined, allow the user to enhance the image for optimum viewing by focusing and concentrating the projected light. dnp states that the key to creating outstanding image in bright environments is contrast. More from dnp on contrast:

[PIE]Empirical studies show that in order for a viewer to be able to see detailed information clearly, the minimum acceptable image contrast is 15:1.

This is NOT achievable using a standard white front projection screen in normal environments. That’s why, in 2004, dnp introduced the Supernova screen range – the world’s first front projection screens to break the 15:1 contrast barrier. What’s more, our rear projection screens offer contrast ratios of well above 30:1.

Thanks to advanced contrast-enhancement technologies, dnp optical screens dramatically boost the perceived quality of your image. You get blacker blacks, more vivid colours and brighter, sharper images. In fact, scientific tests show that dnp optical screens can enhance the contrast level of a projected image by 7 times when compared to a similar image on a standard white front screen. [/PIE]

The next chart is the actual reflected readings from the screen using a colorimeter. This is limited version of what a calibrator would run through to calibrate your projector. I just did gray scale readings and gamut readings. If you're unfamiliar with this I'll give a brief description. Gray scale readings give you a sense for how the pj/screen combo will track with regards to D65. The SMPTE (Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers) has set the standard as D65. Therefore that is what the goal is. The gamut readings are readings done using 75% primary and secondary color windows. It also includes a 75 and 100% white window reading. The primary purpose of these readings is to tell us how the color accuracy of the screen is. And of course, all of this would be moot if I didn't include the second chart, which is the direct reading from my projector after calibration.






So, what do these charts tell me? They tell me that the dnp Supernova is worthy of the ISF certification, as it accurately reproduces what is projected onto it. And it conforms to our wishes here in the screen forum at the Home Theater Shack as a D65 screen. Once all of the layers/lenses in the Supernova are utilized it performs as advertised with amazing results in high ambient light environments.

Gain - Gain measured with a 60IRE field was .78 and at 30 degrees it was still at .5. I only did those two readings.

These pictures show you the Supernova's capabilities in high ambient lighting. The background screen is the diy paint mix called Silver Fire with a matte white reference square on the upper left side.


Lights on full





Front can lights off





The Supernova is quite a bit darker than Silver Fire and yet it has equal whites and yet much darker blacks. I'm going to use these pictures in a new discussion thread about something that I've recently become an advocate of - screen noise. Briefly, the Silver Fire panel exhibits a lot of screen noise while both the matte white and the Supernova reflect the image accurately and purely. Look for an upcoming thread on screen noise soon! ;) The Supernova exhibits no screen noise whatsoever.


Keep in mind that this kind of technology does not come cheap. dnp has years of research built into their products and therefore they go for premium prices. One other thing that should be noted is that while the 08-85 screen material is touted as a solution for high ambient light applications, it works equally well in a dedicated home theater, as the contrast filter sets new standards for viewing in a dark room.
For further information do to the dnp Website at www.dnp.dk or contact the US office directly at:

17935 Sky Park Circle
Suite A&B
Irvine, CA 92614
(714) 545-2711


Thanks to Manfred Freiberger and the folks at dnp for allowing me to review this material!

www.dnp.dk
 

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Great read, thanks!

I've hunted for a screen to complement my Panasonic PT-AE3000 for the last six month's and in the summer I decided to buy the DNP 92" Core 80-85 Supernova screen. There where No reviews and not much info about DNP, not enough to suit me at least (I did not find this one!). I could hardly get hold of it but got lucky that one company that did business with DNP agreed to sell me one even though they only worked with other companies. I was lucky enough to get my call answered by a HomeTheater buff :D If not for him I don't think I would be allowed to buy.

It was this or a Firehawk.

I am glad I did get this one because as you pointed out - the surface is as even as glass, almost; no grainy stuff. I wish it could be even more black but I think it is even better than my old DLP projector with a white screen (dark room) now (if my memory serves me). Amazing greyscale detail, very happy with that.

Your article made me exhale in relief that it really had good on the spot curves for brightness scaling and correct colour, although with the ISF stamp I wasn't too worried about defunct colour curves but now I know for sure at least.

As I wrote earlier, the reason why I just had to get a new screen was that I was not at all satisfied with the black level when the screen was all black or almost so, now I can't complain and I don't see me changing my projector for some years now.

I could not get a bigger screen since there is a minimum projector distance to be meet, all those lenses/polarized stuff I guess.

Allot of money but I try to think of it as a lifetime investment. When next I change screen I think it will be with new technology like a OLED screen 100" or some such - but for projectors I can't see me changing this one.

Cheers!
 

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Excellent review mech, very informative and a great read.:T I spent some time looking at this screen myself because I was considering to offer it in my store and learned that it does a have a limitation in ambient light, the SN does not reject light from the sides only horizontally, so lets say you hang this screen in your living room and have light coming in from a window off to the side the image will wash out.
As long as your not dealing with lights from the side this screen offers a great image in high ambient light conditions.
 

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With no malice toward Zman at all, he just happened to be the one to mention it, I would like to take this opportunity to try to dispel one of the myths that have sprung up about screens "rejecting" ambient light - such rejection is impossible. There is no way a screen can differentiate between the sources of light that strike it. A screen is an unthinking object and can't make decisions to interact with some forms of light and not with others. :)

The only thing an opaque screen (front projection) can do is adsorb light and/or reflect light. The way it does these is what makes a given screen behave as it does in our home theaters.

Without giving a boring dissertation on screen design (which I'm still learning about myself) I will say that some screens, such as the Da-Lite High Power, can seem to reject light that is striking the screen from a steep side-angle while brightly reflecting the light from the PJ, but what it is really doing is simply reflecting the light back toward it's source. No light is being selectively rejected as the term implies.
 

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I agree with you in general theory but the SN is a different animal, think of it's lenticular design like vertical blinds closed at a 45% angle, whether you stand on a ladder or sit on the floor you can not see any light come thru, stand off to the side and your flooded with light.
 

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Interesting with the info about light from the side not being filtered out as well as top/bottom. I would compare this screen with an old CRT T.V. ; those were not that fun to watch in full daylight either. Ofcourse the 85degree half gain angle does give away that it can't be too good at side lighting, but now maybe I wont be as dishearten about my white ceiling.

I do wish I had gotten a bigger screen, saw that the 2:35:1 114" worked with the projector 3meters from it. But 16:9 is a more overall screen - I do tend to play games on it :D

Cheers!
 

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I agree with you in general theory but the SN is a different animal, think of it's lenticular design like vertical blinds closed at a 45% angle, whether you stand on a ladder or sit on the floor you can not see any light come thru, stand off to the side and your flooded with light.
True, but the "blinds" don't reject light, they simply reflect it away from the viewer; they don't differentiate between light coming from the PJ and light coming from any other source, all they "see" is the angle of incidence the ray of light is striking at.

The higher tech screens like the SN are getting closer to "the perfect screen", but they still have a ways to go. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
There are but three people in the world who know the secret behind dnp's screen technology. I believe one of them is in Poland. About the only thing I was able to gather from Manfred is that they do incorporate a layered technology to counter act ambient light. And that makes perfect sense as they are based on a printing business. So far it is the best ambient light screen on the market that I have seen. Although I have reviews of the Stewart materials (Firehawk) and some of Vutec's offerings coming up by the end of the year. :T
 

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I hope my observation of the SN isn't taken as criticism, I do like the screen but it has limitations that would affect a lot people wanting to buy a screen for high ambient light conditions. Usually when someone comes to my store and says they want a screen that will look good in a bright room it is because they want to put it in a living room or family room, and in most cases that screen would not be mounted on the window wall or the opposite wall but rather a side wall which means the image would be washed out on the SN when light was coming thru the window. This is the main reason I opted not to pick up the line. But for someone without side lighting this screen is a great option. JMHO
 

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I hope my observation of the SN isn't taken as criticism, I do like the screen but it has limitations that would affect a lot people wanting to buy a screen for high ambient light conditions. Usually when someone comes to my store and says they want a screen that will look good in a bright room it is because they want to put it in a living room or family room, and in most cases that screen would not be mounted on the window wall or the opposite wall but rather a side wall which means the image would be washed out on the SN when light was coming thru the window. This is the main reason I opted not to pick up the line. But for someone without side lighting this screen is a great option. JMHO
"CRITICISM - the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything"

No worries Zman. Honest criticism is a good thing in my opinion. Thanks for your opinion on the SN. :T

The screen manufacturers are not standing still and spend a lot of money on new screen development materials and techniques, but even they are having problems coming up with "super screens" that leave lesser screens in the dust; at least at a price point that people can afford.
 

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Great read, thanks!

I've hunted for a screen to complement my Panasonic PT-AE3000 for the last six month's and in the summer I decided to buy the DNP 92" Core 80-85 Supernova screen. There where No reviews and not much info about DNP, not enough to suit me at least (I did not find this one!). I could hardly get hold of it but got lucky that one company that did business with DNP agreed to sell me one even though they only worked with other companies. I was lucky enough to get my call answered by a HomeTheater buff :D If not for him I don't think I would be allowed to buy.

It was this or a Firehawk.

I am glad I did get this one because as you pointed out - the surface is as even as glass, almost; no grainy stuff. I wish it could be even more black but I think it is even better than my old DLP projector with a white screen (dark room) now (if my memory serves me). Amazing greyscale detail, very happy with that.

Your article made me exhale in relief that it really had good on the spot curves for brightness scaling and correct colour, although with the ISF stamp I wasn't too worried about defunct colour curves but now I know for sure at least.

As I wrote earlier, the reason why I just had to get a new screen was that I was not at all satisfied with the black level when the screen was all black or almost so, now I can't complain and I don't see me changing my projector for some years now.

I could not get a bigger screen since there is a minimum projector distance to be meet, all those lenses/polarized stuff I guess.

Allot of money but I try to think of it as a lifetime investment. When next I change screen I think it will be with new technology like a OLED screen 100" or some such - but for projectors I can't see me changing this one.

Cheers!
Hi Locksley, I was wondering if you could answer a few questions about your Supernova screen. It is very hard to find anybody who has this screen and can give a good review so any information would be great. I currently own a 92" Black Diamond 0.8 screen and as far as ambient light rejection it's great. Some of the limitations are Sparkles, a hot spot, and the off angle viewing is awful, you can move over just one seat and see a difference. My question to you is how does the supernova hold up in these areas. Thank you for any information.
 

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Welcome to the Shack Tommydef. :wave:

The Supernova did not hot spot or show any sparklies. The Supernova is a neutral performer as well where as the Black Diamonds are not.

dnp had a partnership with Screen Innovations at one time. SI would have done better to stay with dnp in my opinion.
 

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Thank you for the quick response it has been hard to find the answers to my questions. If this screen does not exhibit those drawbacks like you say and reject ambient light at the same time it must be pretty nice. If you have seen the Black Diamond in action also, could you respond on which screen is better at ambient light rejection. Last, could you tell me where I might purchase this screen I am in the New York area. Once again thank you for your responses they have been very helpful.
 

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Check out this link for US resellers. :T

I wish I would have been able to compare the two side by side. But I didn't have the BD samples until much later. The BD samples exhibit a pretty hard blue/purple push. I would think that the Supernova would be better at working with ambient light.
 

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Is there an updated information on these screens? What tab-tension screens do they offer and how does it compare to the Vpex screens?
 
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