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Stewart Filmscreen Develops New Screen Materials for Optimal Viewing with Full 1080p HD Projectors
Posted on Monday, January 7, 2008

CES Las Vegas, NV and Torrance, CA – January 7, 2008 - Stewart Filmscreen Corporation®, the industry leader in precision projection screen solutions in the home cinema and commercial markets, will demonstrate their latest “Generation 3” versions of the highly popular FireHawk gray screen, the GrayHawk Reference Screen (RS) and StudioTek 130 during CES in Las Vegas this week.

All three complete a family of front projection screens that have been optimized for 1080p HD projectors. The ‘G3’ added to the model name distinguishes them from previous versions. Joe Kane of Joe Kane Productions (JKP) fully endorses the GrayHawk G3 and StudioTek 130 G3.

Stewart Filmscreen has always been at the forefront of front projection screen technology and the StudioTek 130 stood as the industry standard for over 15 years. However, it was recently discovered that the granularity of the surface was large enough to interfere with the individual pixels of the newer 1080p images. The StudioTek 130 still offers the same reference standard of reflectivity and needed gain, however, the new surface quality is now ready for 1080p, and higher definition formats to come. Learning during the process to create a new industry reference with a re-optimized StudioTek 130 was then applied to Stewart’s FireHawk and GrayHawk materials.

Why Was Optimization for 1080p Necessary?

The extra resolution capability of 1080p images doesn’t become really important until you expand the image up to sizes generally larger than what is available in flat panel displays. With the emergence of themed theaters and the use of curved (Cinemascope-type or Stewart’s CineCurve) screens, projected images are reaching sizes of 10 to 12 feet wide and even larger. In these situations, the image is large enough to recognize just how much detail really exists in the source material and resultant picture.

When we start blowing up the picture to these larger sizes, almost rivaling commercial cinemas, its necessary to have a screen surface that is fine enough to not interfere with the image. A course surface in the screen creates an interference pattern with the incoming detail.

As much as the original StudioTek 130 was designed for high definition images, the real resolution capability of these images wasn’t there yet, so it wasn’t known how relevant the texture of the screen’s surface would be once these higher resolutions had been realized. It’s only been the last couple of years that displays are living up to the promise of the HD system that was just being standardized 15 years ago and valid 1080p material became relatively popular.

Another key factor that could not be anticipated until now was the number of affordable projectors that would be capable of lighting up screens large enough to clearly show the extra detail. In the days of CRT projectors, a single projector had trouble lighting up a six or seven foot wide image.  That size wasn’t large enough for a 1080p image.  Analog projectors often rolled off fine details in the circuits driving the CRT.  The projector could scan at 1080p rates but couldn’t reproduce the detail contained in the image.

Another major advantage to this new G3 material when combined with 1080p content is that viewers can sit closer to the screen, allowing a much larger field of view, creating a more immersive experience.

Stewart’s re-optimization of the FireHawk, GrayHawk RS and StudioTek 130’s optical coating improves pixel density to ensure the best possible transparency (imaging or resolution) of 1080p (and higher) resolution images. To that end, all three G3 screen materials provide greater depth, contrast and color saturation than previous versions. The materials used for all G3 screens are formulated with reduced surface texture, allowing for larger screen sizes due to the higher resolution. In fact, it is very easy to feel the difference in the original Stewart screen surfaces and the new G3 versions, which are noticeably smoother to the touch. The superior performance is so compelling and film-like, that the delivery system becomes completely undetectable.

JKP Endorsement

The development of the new G3 designs was a collaborative effort between Stewart Filmscreen and Joe Kane Productions. The StudioTek 130 has been Joe Kane’s reference screen ever since it’s introduction at the 1992 Chicago Consumer Electronics Show by Joe Kane and Stewart Filmscreen. A few years later, Stewart developed the GrayHawk RS, also in collaboration with JKP, which was designed specifically for DLP projectors.

Today, Joe Kane and Stewart Filmscreen repeat history with the new StudioTek 130 G3. The improvements that were integrated into the G3 versions of the StudioTek 130 and GrayHawk G3 where closely monitored and supervised by JKP. Both screens are fully endorsed by JKP, representing the only two screen materials in the world with this distinction.

“We are excited by Joe Kane’s endorsement because it validates that we have met our objectives in designing G3 materials and that he recognizes our commitment to providing the best image fidelity possible. We designed the Generation 3 StudioTek 130 and GrayHawk reference to be among the best screen materials in the world for today’s advanced 1080p projectors and large format Home Cinemas,” says Grant Stewart, President of Stewart Filmscreen.

Stewart Filmscreen will have demonstrations of the new G3 screens at their booth # 21458 South Hall 1 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. All their screen materials are now shipping.  Also during CES, Joe Kane will be conducting demonstrations with a 10-foot StudioTek 130 G3 and the Samsung SP-A800 1080p projector at the Samsung booth #11033.