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FURNISHINGS : Wide TV Screens Stretch Home Viewing Possibilities

August 08, 1992|From Associated Press

The ability to view movies or sports events on a giant screen was once limited to the confines of a movie theater or a sports bar. But no longer.

Front-projection television sets that are capable of projecting video images on screens 10 feet wide are making their way into homes across the United States, says Video magazine.

Unlike rear-projection televisions, which project the video image on a fixed screen that is a part of the unit, front projectors require a separate viewing screen. And picking the proper one requires a basic understanding of how it operates.

Front-projection screens come in three varieties: flat and fixed, flat and retractable, and curved and fixed.

The retractable screens are excellent where the installation isn't permanent. Curved screens offer a brighter picture but reduced viewing angle.

Most screens consist of at least three layers: a white mat over a glass cloth backed by a black mat. Most include a layer of beads or pearl-like grains to increase reflectivity. The surfaces are usually white or light gray.

A white screen is best if you can turn off artificial lights and eliminate most of the daylight during viewing sessions. Otherwise, gray is a better choice.

In selecting a flat screen, don't overlook how it's going to be mounted. A flat mounting surface is critical to performance.

If it's not perfectly smooth, hot spots and dark areas may distort video images.

Mounting the screen rigidly against a wall takes care of most potential problems, but screens can also be purchased with rigid frames.

Those available include Da-Lite's $450 72-inch Perm-Wall screen, which comes complete with its own tubular mounting frame, and Uni-Screen's $621 rigid, wall-mounted 72-inch model.

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