The six-year-old StJohn Group, the exclusive North American distributor of select design-oriented lines to an 800-dealer network of custom integrators, will begin shipping next month its first video product ever: the inaugural model in a new line of front projectors it has taken on.
The CineVersum Black Wing Two, at $9,995 retail, boasts what John Caldwell, StJohn’s sales director and co-founder, says will be “the strongest specialty support program in the industry for this type of product – namely, instant availability of in-field replacement products and the highest margins available to specialists.” The latter will be effected through different bundled purchases involving StJohn’s other brands – Screen Research screens, Cabasse and ArtCoustic loudspeakers and iSky acoustical lighting-panels, resulting in increased margins of varying amounts.
The projector is from French company TEC, which purchased the CineVersum brand from Barco five years ago, and it represents the re-entry of the CineVersum brand into the U.S. market after a two-year hiatus. It uses a highly customized version of JVC’s three-chip D-ILA technology, says Caldwell.“What’s been done here is that they took JVC’s V8 motor ‘engine block,’ if you will, and tuned it themselves to 1080p — HD DVD and Blu-ray — requirements. That fine-tuning has also made the projector 3dB quieter,” he says.
The company also just launched at the September CEDIA Expo the iSky line of star-field lighting panels that also double as acoustical panels and present a time-saving and profitable solution for installations crews, says Caldwell. “No one’s ever gone to the trouble of engineering all the problems out of a star-field ceiling before, Plus, this is an acoustical treatment solution that passes the Wife Acceptance Factor test,” he says. The panels’ design helps to solve the dilemma of dialogue unintelligibility while offering a pre-engineered, modular solution that localizes the LED lighting source through the low-voltage iSky Star Engine embedded in each panel, which is designed with a 45-degree beveled edge to compensate aesthetically for uneven ceilings. Moreover, says Caldwell, the light patterns have been randomized to avoid “memorization” by theater occupants who have been exposed to the patterns for a while. “The typical installation time for a star-field ceiling, we found when we polled our customers, is three to five days with a two- or three-person team. With iSky, it’s three or four hours and one guy can do it alone, with the right tools.” The iSky panels can be enhanced with the company’s uRay embedded LED adhesive-backed strips – at $7.50 a foot, a bargain versus comparably used LED rope lighting, which can be $40 a foot, says Caldwell.