CES 2002: A Dynamite Trade Show!!
January 12, 2002,
Several new and exciting screen products appeared at CES 2002. Leading the way once more was Stewart Filmscreen. Having created the "gray screen" concept with its novel GrayHawk (gain = 0.95), Stewart follows it with another gray material called the FireHawk. The FireHawk has an increased gain of 1.35, and further improves black levels. The material is best matched with DLP projectors that have low lumen outputs, and thus benefit from the additional screen gain.
Vu-Tec debuted a truly phenomenal new screen (not gray) called the SilverStar, which comes in two versions. The SilverStar is rated at 4.5 gain, and the SilverStar Pro is 6.0 gain. These materials make an image sparkle brightly even in high ambient light, and are ideally suited to commercial presentation use. Vu-Tec claims the 4.5 gain version is suitable for home theater applications as well, although it was not demonstrated under these conditions and we will reserve judgment.
Vu-Tec also has a more conventional gray material that it announced at CEDIA in September. Known as GreyDove, this material was demonstrated this week. Frankly, it looked great when compared side by side with the competition. Based on the strength of the demo, I would recommend checking it out if you are in the market for a gray screen. We will try to secure a sample for review.
Da-Lite also announced a new higher gain gray material. The company now gives you a choice of High Contrast Da Mat with a gain of 0.8, or the new High Contrast CinemaVision, with a gain of 1.1.
Draper Screens entered the world of gray screens for the first time, announcing a new material called High Definition Gray, with a gain of 0.8.
Loud speakers anyone?
We have not and will not spend much time with audio components. We have our plate full with video systems, and will continue to focus exclusively on them. However, we are routinely asked about recommendations for audio components to go with new home theater projectors. Since CES was chock full of audio demos, we have two comments to make in this regard.
First, one of the great unknown values in the market today is surround sound speakers by Clements Loud Speakers. They offer both box and in-wall products, and their newest line delivers simply outstanding performance for the money. If you want high performance surround speakers on an economy budget, the Clements line is tough to beat on a dollar for dollar basis.
Second, stepping up into a higher investment class, we've always been impressed with the elegant performance of Triad Speakers. That's what I've got in my theater, and I heartily recommend them to anyone. If you are not already familiar with Triad products, do yourself a favor and give them an audition if you are in the market for premium surround sound speakers.