I’ve always loved home theaters. That’s partly why I spent years reviewing home theater speakers, receivers, and other A/V products for a living. I’ve designed and built several home theaters for myself and friends over the years, but being older and running a site that does power tool reviews has really stepped up my game. Now, I always recommend—whenever possible—using a perforated screen with in-wall or wall-mounted speakers. This, of course, leads me to this review of the Elite Screens Aeon AUHD perforated projector screen. I particularly like this screen as it maximizes space while minimizing sound coloration.
Why the Elite Screens Aeon AUHD Perforated Projector Screen
We opted for the Elite Screens Aeon AUHD perforated projector screen for its many great features. The exact model is the 135″ diagonal AR135H2-AUHD. For one, the frame on this screen is just 1/2-inch thick. That gives you a lot more screen real-estate since it isn’t being taken up by a 2-inch bezel frame. Factor it all in, and you get over 500 square inches of additional viewing area. That’s a lot of viewing space!
The Elite Screens Aeon AUHD screen works with, among other things, the AcousticPro UHD sound transparent projection screen material. The weave on this screen is ready for active 3D, 4K Ultra HD, and even HDR. It works well for speakers placed behind the material and prevents both overall attenuation (across all frequencies) and coloration (attenuating only high frequencies). The AcousticPro UHD screen material also has a large 180° wide viewing angle with 1.0 gain. That 180º viewing angle means the AcousticPro UHD has a nice wide diffusion uniformity. Essentially, everyone experiences the same level of brightness and picture quality. The 1.0 gain keeps you from losing any brightness from the projector. You also avoid overblown hot spots or blowing out your room with reflected light.
All the Trimmings
The AcousticPro UHD screen comes with a Black backing mesh to keep light from penetrating the screen material and bouncing back to the viewer(s). Like the screen, it stretches over the entire frame for a nice, permanent, and tightly-tensioned flat surface.
You can get the Elite Aeon AUHD in 100″, 120″, 135″, and 150″ diagonal sizes with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Earlier I mentioned the thin bezel. You can actually skip that bezel entirely. The aluminum lightweight split-frame design is based on a normal beveled aluminum screen frame turned backward. That lets you then stretch the screen material around and secure it to the frame so that you have screen 100% to the edge. It’s really difficult to stretch all the way, but with determination and practice, you can achieve a zero-edge frame. We opted for the 1/2-inch metal frame. If you so desire, Elite Screens also offers an optional LED backlight kit to visually offset the projector screen from the wall.
The Testing System
We tested the Elite Aeon AUHD 135-inch screen using an Epson Pro Cinema 4040 projector and RBH Sound SI-760/R In-wall speakers across the front. These were mounted behind the screen, of course. A Denon AVR-X7200W 9.2-channel AV receiver handled the amplification. It has enough amps to drive our 7.2 system with room to expand into Dolby Atmos down the road (we opted to complete the room and add Atmos later since we had easy access to the attic). For Blu-ray, we used an older Oppo BDP-103D player. Other than that, a PS4, DISH Hopper 3 DVR (4K content), and an Amazon Kindle Fire Stick added to the mix.
Full disclosure: We moved into a home with an existing home theater room—I know, lucky us! This particular home theater originally used floorstanding speakers and a 120″ pull-down screen positioned between. Because I wanted to use my RBH Sound Signature in-walls—and because the new screen could support it—I opted to construct custom frames to hold them on the wall. This allowed me to mount them behind the Elite Aeon AUHD 135″ projector screen. Incidentally, this is how movie theaters position their speakers—behind the screen. It absolutely delivers the best listening experience possible. It also gave me an additional 15″ of diagonal screen real-estate PLUS another 4″ diagonal by using the thin 1/2-inch bezel. A traditional screen would have a thicker 2.5-inch border or similar. Altogether, I pulled off a 7.2 surround system and two rows of home theater seating in a 16 ft. x 22 ft. room.
Putting The Elite Aeon AUHD Together
I assembled the screen frame using the supplied elbow and center joints. The pre-threaded holes made for easy line-up and fastening. I then stretched the material across it, being careful to extend the screen material all the way to the edges and corners. This proved difficult. In the end, however, I got it accomplished. I pulled it at least far enough to be covered up by the 1/2-inch metal trim. Had I wanted, I could have finagled it further to achieve a truly seamless edge all around. The back side of the screen material actually has hook and loop borders all around the edges which attach to the frame.
This size screen includes two center support bars for stability. Th proved perfect as it allowed me to avoid placing a support overtop my center channel speaker! With those in place, I mounted the black backing. Securing the backing involves placed the included custom metal clips around the perimeter of the aluminum screen frame. Then, you insert included plastic rods around the edges of the backing to stiffen the perimeter. This lets you secure the material to the frame without tearing it.
Once everything was assembled, we hung the Elite Screens Aeon AUHD screen. It includes the required wall mount brackets, and mounting process is as simple as grabbing a cordless driver. The entire structure can slide right or left to allow proper centering of the screen to the wall.
Elite Screens Aeon AUHD Testing and Conclusion
The results were spectacular. Not only did we have a larger picture than before—by a significant margin—our sound improved. Previously, the center channel sat above the screen suspended from the ceiling. After calibrating for levels, I immediately noticed a much better representation of dialogue, and the screen real estate gave enough room for a wide stereo image across the front soundstage. One of the first shows we queued up was Doctor Who. We watched what is typically a very colorful show with lots of blues and magentas. Loved the detail. The 1.0 gain was perfect for our light-controlled room, and I noticed absolutely no moiré or pattern from the screen—even at a close distance (1.5:1).
Going with the larger, perforated screen was absolutely the right call for this room. The Elite Screens Aeon AUHD perforated projector screen also seems like a bargain at around $799 (street price). For a fixed screen, it will be hard to beat.