A new website has come on the scene to provide cost-effective cinema-style projection port windows for home theaters. HomeTheatreGlass.com is a spin-off from Port Window Glass, a division of Amercian Computer Optics. Founded in 1985, ACO developed the OptiClear anti-reflective glass formulation that the company says is currently implemented in 75% of the cinema industry globally. OptiClear port windows are said to be found in all IMAX theater locations, and are used widely in studio and post-production screening facilities.The company has partnerships with Christie/Dolby (which implements Dolby Vision HDR movie theaters) and Barco for their Premium Large Format installations.
OptiClear glass starts out as water white glass—which has had most of its iron oxide removed for clarity—and then benefits from the application of a durable multi-layer broadband anti-reflection coating to each side. The resulting window boasts 99% transmission of visible light while cutting reflection to under 0.5%. OptiClear's minimization of any polarizing effects also makes it suitable for 3D installations that use polarizing glasses.
Port windows allow home theater designers to avoid both the noise and aesthetic disruption of a common ceiling-mount installation by placing the projector in a dedicated room or ventilated cubby at the back of the theater. HomeTheatreGlass.com was set up to provide a service-oriented mechanism to connect home theater integrators and DIY theater builders with affordable completed port windows or raw OptiClear glass.
A choice of 6mm or 10mm thick OptiClear is offered in a wide range of sizes. In completed windows, the glass is angled to follow the THX standard which insures that the less than 1/2% trace reflection is directed away from the projector lens. Where sound leakage is a serious issue, a combination of 6mm and 10mm glass can provide the additional required attenuation for soundproofing.
According to the company, most home cinema applications will use relatively small windows with an open aperture of 8 x 8, 10 x 10, or 12 x12 inches. Completed windows add 1.5 inches in each dimension for the frame, so a 12 x 12 open view requires a 15 x 15-inch window. As an example of pricing, a pre-fabricated 12 x 12-inch window with a 9-inch square aperture using the 10 mm glass currently costs $225, though custom sizes are readily available and can be ordered on the website. The video above shows the construction process of a custom window for cinema client. HomeTheatreGlass.com also hosts videos to help you size your window requirements and to demonstrate how to safely clean and maintain OptiClear glass.