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Projection Screen Materials Adapt to Shifts in Home AV

By Derek Dellinger March 14,2013

Vutec’s SilverStar SSX is a sleek, rigid screen with an ultra-slim frame formulated from Vutec’s SilverStar technology.
At their core, the ideas propelling new innovations in projection screen technology speak to an underlying principle of the custom integration industry: the picture can always get better. Refinements in resolution spur improvements in screen materials, shifting family habits force screens to deal with ambient light concerns, while acoustic transparency remains an important engineering priority. With 4K beginning to grab consumer awareness, projection screen companies want to ensure consumers that they’re seeing things clearly.
“A good screen with limited texturing is necessary for high-resolution 4K projectors,” explained David Rodgers, marketing manager for Elite Screens. “The same can be said for acoustically transparent materials. The perforated or woven screens with the visible acoustic passages just don’t cut it when it comes to dealing with 4K resolution, free of moire╠ü effect.”
Elite’s Lunette A4K is a curved-frame projection screen designed to wrap the viewer in a vivid image with direct and off-axis luminescence and color uniformity. The curve design also eliminates the “pincushion effect” commonly experienced when projecting in a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) format. In the coming year, Elite will be launching new lines of ambient light rejecting “black” screens as well as polarized “5D” (alternating 3D or 2D) materials.
Seymour-Screen Excellence now offers The Absolute, a curved, fixed-frame film-screen with a motorized lateral masking system, which enables it to return to a fully closed position.
But Rodgers noted that price points, too, must also keep up with the shifting market. “Long before the crash of 2008, Elite set up a business model that catered to the declining prices in projectors so that consumers would not have to buy a screen that cost more than a third of their projector price,” he said. “With our brand perfected, we carried this concept into the dedicated integrator channel with our EPV (Elite Prime Vision) line of dedicated custom integrator products.”
There’s one important rule to remember: “You can come down on your price, but not your quality,” Rodgers added. “Our pricing structure was set up to accommodate this.”
Stewart's Plan for 4K
Last year, Stewart Filmscreen addressed the arrival of 4K by launching a 4K+ logo program to indicate which materials were ready for 4K or greater resolution. While screens that met the qualifications of a “4K-ready” screen were previously available in Stewart’s line, the company said that the new identification makes it easier than ever to specify screens that are optimized for 4K projectors.
Other recent advancements from the company include its new Visionary ElectriMask, extending the capabilities of Stewart’s Visionary Electriscreen (VE) screen by incorporating masking panels to provide multiple aspect ratios. The screen housing can be installed during rough-in framing. The screen fabric and masking can be retained at the factory, protected at the jobsite, and installed after dust-generating construction, Stewart said.
SI Tackles ambient Light
Last month at ISE 2013, Screen Innovations demonstrated its new Black Diamond Motorized projection screen. Utilizing one motor, four custom helixes, and a spool of slender aircraft cable, Black Diamond Motorized silently lowers a thin wing containing the rolled Black Diamond screen downward from a recessed ceiling-mounted cassette. The cable-hung wing then stops, and from it, a small tube emerges and lowers itself down to an adjustable, pre-determined image height, leaving only the image space in sight.
Draper’s High Performance XS850E incorporates multilayer film technology to provide precise resolution, high contrast, and a broad viewing cone.
“We follow trends closely and react quickly to those that make solid, long-term, sustainable sense,” said Ryan Gustafson, president of Screen Innovations. “That’s one of the reasons we are bringing Black Diamond Motorized to market. It’s a unique product that solves many of the inherent issues that have hamstrung the two-piece projection category for years: location, location, location.”
Gustafson believes that, as the family dynamic changes over time, technology has to adapt in time with lifestyle trends. “Now, families typically spend more time together at home watching movies, playing interactive multi-player video games, and entertaining in open-concept or multi-purpose rooms that allow for a variety of activities,” he said. “Utilizing our proprietary multi-directional ambient light rejecting technology, Black Diamond Motorized is able to be used in rooms with or without light control.”
In addition to the Black Diamond Motorized, SI recently introduced a new Black Diamond Zero Edge G2 projection screen, as well as several new versions of its Lunar 0.85-gain 4K and Solar 1.3-gain 4K screen materials.
New Screen Selector Tools
Other developments are happening behind the screens themselves. Matching screen surface capabilities with room conditions can often be complicated, which prompted Draper to simplify the process with a new screen surface selector web tool. Its new screen surface selector takes into account variables such as projector brightness, light on the screen, projector location, and specs.
To address ambient lighting concerns, Draper has introduced the High Performance XS850E, an optical screen surface incorporating multilayer filmperforatedscreenmaterial.TheS-Vision3DGXis technology to provide precise resolution, high contrast, and a broad viewing cone. XS850E is available on Draper’s Clarion and Onyx fixed screens.
“High Performance XS850E gives a nice bright image in the dark or with ambient light,” said Bob Hadsell , Draper’s home theater manager. “What makes this surface really special, though, is that you see the same great image off axis, and the contrast levels are excellent in all conditions.”
Seymour-Screen Excellence now offers The Absolute, a curved, fixed-frame acoustically transparent film-screen with a motorized lateral masking system, which enables it to return to a fully closed position. The masking system can be programmed to stop at any aspect ratio from 1.33:1 to 2.37:1. Both the screen and the masking layers of The Absolute are acoustically transparent.
The Absolute is available with either SSE’s ISF-certified 0.98-gain Enlightor 4K or 1.1- gain Enlightor 2 acoustically transparent screen surface. The Absolute’s 3.7-inch-wide borders are comprised of the company's Infinite Black true velvet material, which absorbs 99.7 percent of projected light.
Severtson Screens recently released its new curved S-Vision 3D GX "micro perf" screens, which feature PristiVue technology, a 3D coating micro-perforated material. The S-Vision 3D GX is designed for use in residential, commercial, and pro-AV applications, and is also intended for both fixed and electric/motorized applications; it can be rolled into a spindle in motorized applications. According to the company, the result of the Micro Perf is to both maximize the effect of 3D cinema while at the same time offering an acoustically transparent audio experience, as well.
Vutec’s SilverStar SSX is a sleek rigid screen with an ultra-slim frame formulated from Vutec’s SilverStar technology. SilverStar technology is designed to overcome ambient light, but with the optional SilverStar SSX LED Edge Lighting System, Vutec has addressed a different sort of lighting concern. The LED Edge Lighting System maximizes the true picture by establishing a reference point, Vutec says, creating a color base line that helps the human visual system perceive true color. This system provides a softened light halo reducing eye fatigue, making the projected image more pleasurable to experience.
Derek Dellinger is web editor for Residential Systems and