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SI’s Transformer Masking Screens Move from Concept to Reality

Screen Innovations (SI) is now shipping its new variable-aspect-ratio screen, Transformer.

Screen Innovations (SI) is now shipping its new variable-aspect-ratio screen, Transformer. First introduced as a concept screen at CEDIA 2015, Transformer offers a simple method of displaying multiple aspect ratios without utilizing any masking material. 

“Masking has been an integral part of projection screens for decades, because they are a simple solution to a problem; not all content has the same aspect ratio,” said Skyler Meek, director of marketing at SI. “However, they are unnecessary. Instead of covering the screen with obtrusive draping systems or masking panels, we have created a screen that transforms, seamlessly changing its shape, depending on the type of content the viewer is watching.”

Transformer aligns well with SI’s philosophy for simplifying the customer’s viewing experience. When Zero Edge was introduced to the industry in 2011, it offered a completely new presentation for projection screens. Compared with the traditional velvet-wrapped frame, Zero Edge eliminated the large extrusion in favor of a smaller ultra-thin bezel, similar to that of today’s flat-panel TVs. In keeping with the minimalist design, in 2015, SI unveiled Zero-G, an all-new approach for how a motorized screen could be presented in a room. 

Zero-G screens appear to ‘levitate,’ with no visible black-drop material in between the viewing surface and the cassette. Instead, color-matched Dyneema cables suspend the screen. These features have culminated into Transformer, allowing SI to modernize traditional masking screens after nearly three years of development. 

SI’s engineering team assures integrators a streamlined installation process, with a a simplified method of packing and pre-construction. “The number-one complaint I hear from our dealers is the masking installation process is too complicated and time consuming, sometimes averaging a full day or more. We feel Transformer will make all masking screens obsolete, bringing beauty and simplicity to our dealers,” said SI CEO Ryan Gustafson.

SI’s variable aspect ratio screen also features LED ambiance lighting, which moves with the frame as it expands.

Transformer is available in custom sizes up to 235 inches (7,315 mm) wide, equating to a 254.5-inch (6,464mm) diagonal in the “ultra-wide” 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Customers can also choose SI’s Slate (ALR) or Pure screen materials, both of which are available in acoustically transparent varieties, allowing speakers to be concealed behind the screen.

From the factory, Transformer ships with pre-programmed default positions of 16:9, 1.85:1, 2.35:1, and 2.40:1 with user adjustable customizations for any of these positions. SI worked diligently to make certain the unit remains extremely quiet, with a focus on friction free motion wherever possible and utilizing industry-leading Somfy Sonesse RS485 Quiet Motors. 

Transformer is available for order now, and is shipping globally starting at $18,000 MSRP.