...quality, excellence, and unmatched image accuracy
Stewart Filmscreen was established in 1947 as a family-owned business with specialization in custom projection screen design for both commercial large scale applications and small in-home designs. Stewart projection screens are regarded by the industry as among the best, featuring the highest standards in screen design and workmanship.
Stewart screens product range for residential use includes over 9 different screen fabrics for front projection, apart from their full range of rear projection screen materials, and well over 30 different specialized screen arrays―ranging from fixed screens, retractable screens, and variable masking screen arrays.
In this projection screen review, we discuss Stewart Filmscreen's most popular screen fabrics and screen arrays for the home cinema.
Stewart Filmscreen has always been on the forefront of projection screen technology, creating some of the most advanced projector screens. Thus, it is no surprise that Stewart have been winner of the Academy Award® for Science and Technological Achievement, and the Industry Certificate of Excellence.
Stewart screens are not readily available online as most screens are custom built, yet these are among the best one can find, offering unmatched performance and quality. With a wide range of projection screen solutions ranging from home cinema and movie theater screens to simulation and visual imaging, Stewart Filmscreen is often the primary choice in projection screen technology for the audio video industry.
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Stewart Screens: Projection Screen Fabrics for all Applications
Stewart screens are custom-made from quality raw materials, according to the customer desired specifications. This means that one is not limited to off-the-shelf products, sizes, or styles.
Surely, there is a price to pay for this high level of customization. But the vast selection of available screen accessories and fabrics for both front and rear projection applications, as well as complete solutions for dedicated and multi-purpose rooms, ensures that there is always a Stewart screens solution for your home theater requirements.
MicroPerf X2 THX-Ultra
Image courtesy of Stewart Filmscreen
And for the ultimate experience in home cinema, Stewart Filmscreen has come up with the MircoPerf range of THX Ultra Acoustically transparent Stewart screens.
The 'THX Ultra' label signifies this product has reached the highest standards in the audio and video industry as set by THX; more information on THX standards can be found in our article here.
These projector screens have tens of thousands of micro-perforations per square foot (invisible at normal viewing distance in the home theater), resulting in less than 1db of sound loss when speakers are placed behind the screen.
As stated elsewhere on our site, with today high resolution digital video projectors, perforated screens have a tendency to produce image artifacts known as moiré unless these are correctly designed. Stewart screens avoid this problem completely by rotating the screen material so the perforated grid does not interfere with the projector pixel grid.
Front Projection Screen Fabrics
Stewart screens are available in nine different types of front projection screen surfaces spread over five different fabric categories. This means that Stewart have almost doubled the range of screen fabrics available for home cinema over the last few years. Furthermore, most of the flexible front projection surfaces manufactured by Stewart are also available in a MircoPerf version of THX acoustically transparent screens. These screen fabrics are:
GrayHawk RS G3:
This follows on the footsteps of the original popular GrayHawk screen fabric and is designed to maximize performance with today’s 1080p video projectors. The G3 uses an ultra-fine optical coating for improved image detail and brightness uniformity across the entire screen surface. The screen surface comes in a neutral density gray base to increase black levels, shadow detailing and overall color saturation.
- Improved performance in environments with ambient light
- Increased image contrast and resolution
- Certified by THX and the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF)
- Peak Gain: 0.9
- Viewing cone for 50% peak brightness: 120 degrees
FireHawk G3 and SST Series: The Stewart FireHawk series comprises two projection screen fabrics, the G3 and the SST. Both series come in flexible fabric and are designed for 1080p video projectors, but there are a few significant differences.
The FireHawk G3 is optimized to significantly improve contrast ratios, regardless of the projector type. It is a perfect choice for front projection applications where ambient light may be present providing increased black levels, shadow detailing, and superior color saturation. FireHawk SST is also formulated to dramatically increase black levels, shadow detailing, & color saturation but is mainly optimized for use with Sony projectors.
- FireHawk G3: Gain 1.3
- Viewing cone for 50% brightness: 60 degrees
- FireHawk SS: Gain 1.1
- Viewing cone for 50% brightness: 62 degrees
StudioTek Series: As with the FireHawk, the StudioTek comes as a double series, the StudioTek 130 G3 and the StudioTek 100.
The StudioTek 130 is generally used with high output broadcast quality projection systems to produce images to the strictest color and white field uniformity standards. This material is over 30% brighter than standard matte white surface materials and is the reference standard projection material within the AV industry. This is no surprise; this screen fabric is certified by both THX and the Image Science Foundation (ISF). The StudioTek 100 has similar characteristics but in view of its supported wide viewing angle, is mainly ideal for use where ambient light can be controlled.
- StudioTek 130 G3: Gain 1.3
- Viewing cone for 50% brightness: 130 degrees
- StudioTek 100: Gain 1.1
- Viewing cone for 50% brightness: more than 140 degrees
UltraMatte Series: Stewart Screens provide three screen fabrics under the UltraMatte series, the UltraMatte 130, the UltraMatte 150, and the UltraMatte 200. All three projection screen fabrics come as flexible front projection screens, and are designed for use in large scale applications; the main differences relate to supported viewing angle and screen gain.
The UltraMatte 130 delivers a 30% brighter image than matte-white screen surfaces and supports an ultra-wide viewing cone of over 140 degrees. The latter implies that it is most suitable for use in environments where ambient light can be controlled.
The UltraMatte 150 supports a screen gain of 1.5 or a 50% brighter image than matte-white screen surfaces. Supported viewing cone is slightly less than that of the 130 series but still relatively wide at 126 degrees. This also means that this screen material is most suitable in environments where ambient light can be controlled.
Instead, the UltraMatte 200 comes with a screen gain of 2 and as expected comes with a relatively narrow viewing cone of less than 50 degrees at 50% peak brightness. But there is a third major difference here. This Stewart screen fabric comes color corrected for use with CRT video projectors.
GrayMatte 70: This is a rather specialized screen fabric with a peak gain of 0.7. Its neutral density gray screen is mainly intended for curved or circular installations as it helps dampen cross reflections; but it is equally suitable for use in small screen home cinema applications. This screen fabric also supports an ultra wide viewing cone of more than 140 degrees, with an almost flat response over the entire cone.
As highlighted in our introduction on Stewart screens, Stewart Filmscreen provides over 30 different screen arrays, ranging from fixed frame screens for wall or ceiling installation to specialized screen arrays such as floor rising screens that can be hidden out of view in no time when not needed. However, for the scope of this article, we will mainly focus on the most common screen arrays found in the home theater and home entertainment.
The most popular Stewart screen array is the Luxus series with its range of ceiling and wall mounted fixed picture frame solutions referred to as Luxus Deluxe Screenwall, Luxus Screenwall, Luxus Communicator manual pull-up screens, and Luxus model 'A' electric screens.
The Luxus Screenwall Deluxe and the Luxus Screenwall are basically the same except that the Deluxe version comes with a relatively wider black velvet border around the frame that better absorbs image over-scan while adding a more luxurious feel
The Luxus Communicator comes as a tensioned manual pull-down screen and complete with black border; the easy, smooth pull-down mechanism offers the capability of unlimited stops along its full length of travel. The tensioned screen system ensures that this Stewart screen remains completely flat when extended for use.
A motorized version of the Communicator is available as Luxus ElectriScreen. This is basically the same tensioned screen array but with Stewart's motorized roller system. The latter can be operated by a switch, IR or wireless remote control, or directly triggered by the video projector On/Off power cycle.
For the ultimate in screen aspect ratio control, Stewart Screens have developed the 4Way Screenwall solution.
This screen array features both horizontal and vertical masking, providing total flexibility in aspect ratio control. This is achieved by combining the excellent features of the Stewart fixed Screenwall array with three individually motorized masking panels to cover any aspect ratio from 1.33:1 to 2.35:1.
What if what you want is an electric projection screen that disappears out of site when not in use?
Stewart Screens have two such automated projection screen solutions. The least expensive is Stewart Stealth Trap Door ElectriScreen (shown here.) This comes as an electric roll up system that mounts flush with the ceiling surface.
The screen retracts into an obscure trap door that mounts flush with the ceiling surface and can be painted to blend perfectly with your ceiling, effectively hiding its existence.
Equally interesting in the series of 'disappearing' Stewart screens is Stewart Automatic Vertical Screen (AVS). Unlike the Stewart Stealth array which disappears in the ceiling, the AVS Stewart solution is a floor-rising motorized array with the screen disappearing out of site behind a special trap door once the screen descends into the housing. In principle, this is similar to Elite Screens Raptor series but without the media cabinet.
The above represents a few of the many available projection screen solutions from Stewart Filmscreen. For the full range of Stewart screens, we suggest to visit the Stewart Filmscreen website. There you will find additional information on the different screen fabrics and screen arrays available for both residential and commercial use.
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Home Theater Screens
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