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Black Matte Border

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Tip from Jay Mitchosky:  What is it?  Material (rigid or not) that covers the blank areas around the letterbox screen.  What benefit do you get from this?   The darker or deeper the black that borders the picture, the brighter the image will appear.  It adds noticeable gain in brightness and impact.  Some use cardboard.   Some use cloth.  Some use picture frame matting.  Some have even used plywood painted black!  Whatever the construction, so long as it is black and non-reflective, the border apparently improves the tv picture.

Here's how Jay made the border for his set:

".. You will be astounded at how much they improve letterbox material.

Here's what I used for mine:

  • Black fabric
  • Heavy corrugated cardboard
  • Carpet Tape
  • Velcro

Cut the cardboard to fit the width of your screen (obviously).

For height, you have a couple of options: 1) size to accomodate 2.35:1 aspect ratio and simply reposition for 1.85 and larger, or 2) create multiple mattes for different ARs. My preference is the first option, but you must have the proper clearance above and below the screen for the larger ARs.

Use carpet tape to affix the fabric to the cardboard. Plan for fabric length to wrap the cardboard at least a couple of times to ensure full black. You will benefit from measuring your cardboard before buying the fabric.

I chose to fix the mattes to my RPTV using velcro. I have 4 little velcro tabs on the front of my TV (the wire side) and velcro strips on the back of my mattes (the fuzzy side). The tabs on the TV are essentially invisible when the mattes are not in place. When it comes time to watch a movie pause it at a fairly bright scene (so you can clearly see the letterbox bars) and adjust the mattes on the velcro as needed. You may want to experiment with the different ARs before sticking the velcro on your TV to make sure it is low enough to accomodate the bigger ARs."