Call it blogger’s block. I was wracking my brain for days, trying to settle on which product to write about next, and just kept hitting wall after wall. All I can say us that it’s a good thing that my husband has been on a home theater kick this week, because the other night, while we were out for a stroll, conversation took that turn, and I started to school him on some of the cooler A/V accessories out there. Somewhere in the course of my monologue, Vutec’s ArtScreen™ came up, and a lightbulb went on in the old cranium. “By gum,” I thought, “I haven’t told them about that one yet!” And so, here we are.
Now ladies, I know that many of you, like me, have guys who are Jonesing for a sizable plasma or LCD screen, which would preferably be mounted smack in the middle of the most prime living room wall. And guys, I know that it’s hard to talk your women into one of those, because (also like me) they just don’t want to have to look at it all the time. And that’s where the ArtScreen™ comes in -it’s the middle ground that just might make it possible for everybody to get what they want.
The Vutec ArtScreen™ is what is technically referred to as a “screen masking system,” but in regular people speak, it’s a clever disguise for your wall-mounted HDTV. Made up of a custom frame, a small motor, and your choice of “art,” the ArtScreen™ lets your TV be a TV when you feel like watching something, but also helps it masquerade as wall art when it isn’t in use.
Here’s how it works: you select a framing material that best suits your tastes, and it’s made into a custom frame according to your TV’s exact measurements. This frame is fitted with a motorized roller, which raises and lowers a custom “canvas” (featuring artwork from Vutec’s collection, or a design of your own) at the touch of a button. Wanna catch the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory”? Click. Picture up. Had enough TV for the time being? Click. Picture down.
You know you want one.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about one of our Friday training sessions, so today, I’ll get back on track. This morning, we met with a rep from Vutec, a well-known projection screen manufacturer that’s right in our neighborhood. About a year and a half ago, I got to take a very interesting tour of their manufacturing facility (it’s like being inside an episode of “How It’s Made”), but this morning we focused less on the process and instead took a more detailed look at their projection screen styles and fabrics.
They offer a lot of very cool options, among them an acoustically-tranparent screen material that lets you hide your speakers behind your screen, with no decrease in sound quality. But my favorite product from this morning’s meeting was the SilverStar™ Projection Screen, a rigid (read: non-fabric) screen that utilizes some very unique technology developed right at Vutec.
SilverStar™ screens have a high gain (6.0), which means that they give you a nice, bright picture with excellent contrast, even in rooms with a lot of ambient light. While high-gain screens make for a terrific projected image, many of them have one not-so-small problem: their “viewing cones” are smaller than low and medium-gain screens. “Viewing cone” refers to how wide an angle you can view a screen at and still be able to see the projected images. For example, many low-gain screens have a 180° viewing cone, meaning that you could be positioned at a 180° angle to the screen and still be able to see a clear picture. The thing is that, in most cases, the higher the screen gain is, the narrower the viewing cone becomes, so you need to sit as close to the center as possible to get the best picture. It’s a trade-off.
But not with Vutec’s SilverStar™ screens. Vutec developed a silver-based material that provides multiple optical layers, so you actually get the sharp, bright picture of a 6.0 high-gain screen, with the wide viewing angle of the lower gains. You can get the best picture possible, but still have lots of flexibility in seating options, which comes in handy when you want to watch a movie with more than 2 or 4 people in the room.
It’s the best of both worlds.