The Pink Sparkle Chronicles

There is nothing worse than designing a beautiful high-end AV system and then when illuminating the screen for the first time, noticing that you have an issue with pink sparkles.

The pink sparkle issue is widespread in the new digital world of video delivered over HDMI.   The sparkles are typically the result of cables that are too long or poorly made resulting in a loss/drop in voltage and the signature “sparkles”.  Google “HDMI sparkles”, and you will see how wide spread the issue actually is.

This install included aProjection Design Avielo projector paired with a Stewart Film screen.  We are using an Anthem AV receiver with HDMI 1.4 switching and repeating, and none of our HDMI runs are over 10ft.  Distribution of HDMI to the projector is via a PureLink HDMI over fiber extender.  The equipment itself is high quality, and nothing in the mix raised any initial red flags.

The first order of business in this installation was to swap out the cables.  We were using a name brand hi speed 1.4 cable and tried replacing it with one from a couple different manufacturers.  The issue persisted with each cable.

Next we bypassed the AV receiver, and plugged the HDMI cable from the Blu-Ray Player directly to the projector via the HDMI over fiber extender.   The pink sparkles persisted, creating a border around the whole screen that was very distracting.

Finally, we removed the HDMI over fiber extender from the scenario, placing the Blu-Ray Player on a ladder within a few feet of the projector and plugging the cable HDMI directly in.  No improvement was discernible.

We were at a loss.  We have installed the same arrangement of equipment in other jobs, utilizing the same cables, and had never seen this issue in those installations.

The only difference was that we were using a new Stewart Screen model.  I have attached a picture and if anyone can see why we would have sparkles please let me know. . .

Stewart Filmscreen actual new product: Couture Collection


Seriously, Stewart Filmscreen, do we really need a Swarovski bedazzled screen?  You of all people should be aware of the contrast issues this creates, as well as the potential for light overspray on the sparkles, causing an experience that has people watching the frame more than the movie.

I must have missed the press release where Stewart hired the inventor of the Phillips Ambi-Light (another winning idea) to run their R&D department.

This makes Da-Lite and their JKP initiative look like genius, as they are actually trying to improve picture quality, while Stewart is focusing on making their frames look like a 15 year old’s iPhone case.

Integrators chime in. . .who would spec this in a job?  I could be off base, let me know in the comments section.


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