Screen Research Introduces XMask™

XMask Systems with independent motors provide a perfect black image border for viewing movies made in any image ratio

March 7, 2004 - Mission Viejo, CA - StJohn Group, marketer and distributor for Screen Research in the Western hemisphere, announced today the immediate availability of the company's new XMask 2 -way and 4 -way fixed -screen masking systems. These systems are designed specifically for use in applications such as home theater, professional screening rooms, and post production facilities.

Masking systems are designed to ensure the projected image has a light absorbing black border. Movable panels perfectly border the image, no matter what its format, thereby noticeably improving the perceived image quality.

John Caldwell, StJohn Group's director of sales, stated, "The new XMask systems from Screen Research are the highest quality masking systems available - unsurpassed in fit and finish. They feature quiet, reliable worm gear motors rather than chain drive motors which are noisy and not as accurate."

"The masking system housing for the screen is also unique in the screen industry. Depth of the housing, front to back, is an unprecedented 5.5 inches, thereby allowing masking system to be integrated into more types of rooms than ever before," he said.

Standard sizes for all masking systems are 80", 90", 100", 110", 118", and 133" (dimensions are viewable image width). Custom sizes are available.

The product line includes four different models:

The XMask Supreme™ is equipped with four independent vertical and horizontal masks providing the image with a black border, no matter what its format. Image sizes (height and length) can then vary, according to the required formats. The standard native format is 16:9 (1.78) but it can also be adapted to any specific format.
The XMask CineScope™ includes the lateral masks of XMask Supreme in a 2.35 format. It allows the viewer to maintain a constant height for the image, no matter what its format, and is especially targeted at projectors with anamorphic systems.

The XMask WideScope™ has the same characteristics as the CineScope, but with a 16:9 (1.78) format.
The XMask Classic™ has two horizontal masks and is sold in the 1.78 and 1.33 format. The masks are moved by two independent motors.

Each mask can be individually controlled for maximum precision and versatility. This is important in home theater viewing, because not all video source material is mastered so it appears in exactly the same location on the screen. Subtitles are increasingly being offered below the picture on widescreen movies. With the Supreme, CineScope and Classic, the user can adjust the masks to any image format (e.g.1.85, 2.20), and with the Supreme and Classic the position of the lower mask can be adjusted for watching the subtitles.

XMask systems can meet or exceed the demands of any theater designer with a host of options:

- sophisticated control interfaces - RS232, IR, 12v, & dry contact (starting at $1,100 MSRP)
- acoustically transparent vertical masks - (starting at $266 MSRP)
- acoustically transparent black backing layer - (starting at $279 MSRP)
- stand -alone option for use with any existing projection screen

XMask systems' manufacturer's suggested retail pricing starts at $11,400 for an 80" wide (image area) system with a ClearPix2 Screen, or $10,000 without CP2 material.

The XMask comes standard with THX® and ISF® Certified ClearPix2 projection screen material for unmatched video and audio performance. Unlike traditional perforated screens, the acoustically transparent ClearPix screens do not introduce the comb filtering associated with perforations and as such require no compensation equalization for speakers placed behind them. In addition, the absence of perforations eliminates the moiré interference patterns that plague traditional perforated screens when they are used with fixed -pixel projectors (DLP, LCD, LCOS). As a result, home theater designers who use these popular projectors can now place the Center loudspeaker where it belongs - behind the screen and at the proper height for optimum sound and image coherence.

Screen Research offers the ClearPix2 fabric in fixed and electric retractable models, in standard and custom widths, and in matte white (0.95 gain) or pearl grey (0.75 gain). The fixed models employ a patented frame design. Instead of using snaps or Velcro®, the screen fabric is stretched evenly via self -tensioning V -shaped grooves. A spring tension insert grabs the fabric and locks it firmly into the frame with no bowing or creasing. The frame's flocked velour finish eliminates distracting stray light reflections.

This press release, along with product literature and high -resolution photos are available for downloading from the StJohn Group web site. The Screen Research web site contains detailed product and technical information as well.

Designed and engineered in France, Screen Research screens and masking systems are distributed and marketed in the Western Hemisphere by StJohn Group, Inc. Qualified consumers who wish to purchase will be directed to an authorized dealer. During the initial distribution development phase, and only if no authorized dealers exist in their area, consumers may also purchase directly through StJohn Group at suggested retail prices. Contact StJohn Group for details.

StJohn Group is a distribution and marketing company specializing in products and services for the custom integration (CI) market. The company's two founding partners - industry veterans John Caldwell and Kevin Leja - have more than 50 years experience in virtually every facet of the consumer electronics industry. StJohn Group pioneers a New School approach to products and marketing strategies - one that will help move CI dealers closer to the mainstream of the home design market.

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