Innovations in screen technology for front projection have not exactly been fast and furious. At each innovative introduction, we were impressed. Now it seems, the pace is picking up as technology is helping create new products that offer significant improvements in performance.
Sr. Analyst and Sr. Editor
of Insight Media
The big gripe with most users of front projection systems is the poor on-screen contrast when the lights are on - even at modest ambient lighting conditions. The last year and a half or so has brought us new screen technologies aimed at reducing contrast reduction from ambient light on the screen. For example, DNP has introduced its Supernova screen and Sony its blackscreen technology. These screens, with much higher contrast and darker black levels, make a dramatic impact on image quality compared to conventional screens - even with the room lights on.
We have been particularly impressed with the DNP Supernova technology giving it a Best Buzz award at InfoComm in 2005 and a second one in 2006 - this last one for creating a flexible screen version of the technology. The rigid version is aimed mostly at corporate users while the flexible one is targeted for high-end home theater use - the same market Sony is targeting.
And more companies are entering the home theater market with these ambient light-rejecting front projection screens. Screen Innovations for example, is using a version of the Supernova screen, while Xscreen is offering a new screen based on a different technology. That’s the good news. The bad news is that these screens are still very expensive, which will limit their adoption into mainstream applications for a while.
Today, we learned of another innovation from DNP. It has now added a whiteboard surface to the rigid version of the Supernova screen that allows educators (or professionals) to write directly on the screen, interacting with a large-format projected image. The company says the screen conforms to standards for writable surfaces (ISO 15184, SIS 83 91 17 and EN14483-1) as accredited by the Danish Technological Institute.
As a result, users will now have a high-contrast screen that can allow the use of dry erase markers in a with fairly brightly lit classroom. Combining the large screen format of a front projector with a white board saves money —
Things really are heating up in the front projector screen arena. Stay tuned.