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Screen Gems

Over the past few years, 3D has been a major priority for manufacturers of video displays and projectors. In turn, companies that pair projection screens with projectors are also focused on this trend, with new options that better cater to both 3D and 2D content.

Over the past few years, 3D has been a major priority for manufacturers of video displays and projectors. In turn, companies that pair projection screens with projectors are also focused on this trend, with new options that better cater to both 3D and 2D content. But 3D is far from the only story for screen manufacturers as every company has been offering updates to their lines in recent months. Here is what some of the industry’s top suppliers of projection screens are now offering.

Vutec’s SilverStar 2D/3D-A is also engineered for both 2D and 3D content.

Vutec. Since the 1970s, Vutec has been creating screens with 3D in mind. With the recent increase in demand for 3D technology, the company has begun offering its patented SilverStar 2D/3D-A for active 3D technology and SilverStar 2D/3D-P for 3D passive technology. Both screens are engineered for both 2D and 3D capability, and are designed to produce high brightness, vivid colors, high contrast, and wide viewing areas. According to Vutec, by utilizing its SilverStar screen, a viewer can reclaim the light lost from the 3D projection process. An added benefit of using the screen, the company says is that projector brightness levels can be reduced, allowing a home theater system to be more energy efficient. Especially while viewing 2D, the projector can be operated in economy mode, which in turn, increases projector bulb life. SilverStar 3D is offered in standard sizes and can be custom made to order and multi-plexed for large applications. SilverStar 3D is available in both the Vision X and Vutec brands and can be offered in a flat or curved version.

SI’s Black Diamond G3 screen material features 2.7 gain.

Screen Innovations (SI). With its new Black Diamond G3 screen materials, SI says it has eliminated the need for a dark dedicated environment for video projection. The company’s Black Diamond G3 upgrades include 2.7 gain for commercial and 3D applications. Black Diamond 2.7 is polarization preserving for passive 3D and increases projector brightness by 2.7 times compared to a 1.0 gain screen, and SI says it has one of the widest viewing cones available. The company’s 0.8- and 1.4-gain materials also are designed for improved light rejection, increased contrast, and smoother images. Black Diamond G3 screen materials are available in seamless screen sizes from 80 to 142 inches diagonal (custom sizes available). A Micro-Seamed Black Diamond Venue Unlimited, in custom sizes, will be available soon. The 0.8 and 1.4 are already shipping, and the 2.7 ships May 10.

The fast and functional nature of retrofit projects means that particular systems enjoy greater demand than, say, a complete home theater or whole-home automation installation.

Stewart Filmscreen. Stewart is offering a new screen that maintains the proper polarization of the company’s Silver 3D screen, yet the screen is optimized with a new optical coating to improve uniformity, reduce hot spotting, and offer what the company says is a significantly wider viewing cone than previously available on other passive 3D screens. Stewart began rolling out its new Silver 5D screen late last year, with its fixed-frame unit making its first public appearance at ISE this past February in Amsterdam. The screen, which is also showcased in a new 3D technology exhibit in New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image, is available in seamless sizes up to 40 x 90 feet with MicroPerforated Silver 5D products coming soon. Stewart developed improved polapolarizationpreserving screen technology to reduce artifacts and allow a single screen material to function more adequately with non-polarized 2D projected source material. The Silver 5D material has been designed to be compatible with Stewart’s CineCurve, Directors Choice masking systems, and all other premium Stewart fixed-mounting systems.

Draper’s TheatreMask system in action.

Draper. Introduced at CEDIA EXPO 2010, Draper’s TheatreMask is available in both WMS (Width Masking System–height constant) and HMS (Height Masking System–width constant) formats. It adds only two inches on each side of the screen frame, less than an inch above the screen, and is just 3.75 inches deep. It was designed to install quickly and easily over a Draper Clarion, or other permanently tensioned screens on the market. The frame is covered with light-absorbing black Veltex fabric and can be used to mask screens in sizes through 152 inches diagonal 2.35:1 CinemaScope to 1.85:1, 16:9 HDTV, 4:3 NTSC, or any format in between. With the TheatreMask HMS, screens in sizes through 142 inches diagonal 16:9 HDTV can be masked to any wider format.

Elite’s Insta-RP is a rear-projection material designed for installation on glass surfaces like this store window.

Elite Screens. Elite’s Insta-RP is an adhesive optical rear-projection material that is made of a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material that is designed for excellent contrast and textured for optimal uniformity. According to the manufacturer, it delivers a 2.2-gain image for applications where there is either controlled or high ambient light. The Insta-RP is suitable for commercial applications such as retail storefront windows, resorts, restaurants and nightclubs, or wherever a permanent rear-projection display is needed, Elite says. The Insta-RP material installs quickly on any glass surface and is made for both small and large commercial venues. It can accommodate anything from a small window space to a sports arena with special custom sizes up to 3,000 meters long. Small retail units measure from 68 to 151 inches diagonally and are available in 4:3, 16:10, 16:9, and 2.35:1 aspect ratios.

dnp Denmark’s Zenith Screen is a 2.2 gain rear-projection screen.

dnp Denmark. Calling it “the latest in rear projection,” the dnp Zenith Screen line was designed to overcome the challenges of brighter and more powerful projectors by preventing hotspots from appearing on the screen, improving contrast and brightness uniformity, and balancing viewing angles. The screens feature a gain of 2.2, along with more tint and an anti-glare surface that minimizes reflected ambient light. The Zenith Screen line is designed for the 100-inch-plus market; especially for TV studios, conference rooms, home entertainment and multiple screen installations where high-quality images are essential, even in unfavorable lighting conditions.

ImageScreen offers four black velour configurations of its Manual Masque screen.

Image Screens. This German manufacturer wants to make it easier and more affordable for electronic systems contractors to offer a high-contrast manual masking system for a fraction of the cost of a typical motorized system. Four black velour configurations of the Manual Masque screens are available from the company’s North American distributor, StJohn Group: the Cadre No. 1 Flat and Cadre No. 1 Curved Manual Masque screens. High-quality piano hinges also are used on the masking panels for a quieter, more secure manual operation. Native Cinemascope screens are available in viewable widths up to 196 inches and have side panels that mask to 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Retail pricing for the line starts at just over $3,500, with ground shipping included.

Da-Lite’s Silver Lite 2.5 is optimized for passive linear and circular 3D applications as well as 2D content.

Da-Lite. The Silver Lite 2.5 is a multi-purpose frontprojection surface that is optimized for passive linear and circular 3D applications and is also an excellent 2D screen material. For passive 3D applications, Da-Lite’s silver surface maintains 99.3 percent of polarized light and the 2.5 gain of the material compensates for the light lost in the polarization filtering process. The polarization retention and high-extinction ratio eliminate the ghosting or crosstalk common with stereoscopic 3D projection, according to the company. For 2D projection, the gain and high contrast characteristics of the material make it perfect for projection in high ambient light conditions or for use with a low output projector, Da-Lite says. Silver Lite 2.5 is a washable surface and has a 25-degree viewing half angle.

Jeremy J. Glowacki is editorial director of Residential Systems magazine.