Published On: July 8, 2011
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Vutec Artscreen System Reviewed

Though Vutec's Artscreen system performs rather well, the aesthetic of the screen and the design of its functionality left several things to be desired by Home Theater Review reviewer Andrew Robinson.

Vutec Artscreen System Reviewed

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Vutec_Artscreen_system_review.gifEver wanted to hide your HDTV from view sometimes? I'm willing to bet your significant other has. Maybe you've thought, If only I could display something on my projection screen when I wasn't using it without burning out my projector. Well, Vutec, makers of some of the finest front projection screens in the business, have a solution; it's called the Artscreen and as its name suggests its art for your HDTV screen.

Additional Resources
• Read more home theater accessory reviews from Home Theater Review's staff.
• Explore reviews for projector screens in our Projection Screen Review section.
• Search for projectors in our Video Projector Review section.
• Learn more about LED HDTVs and Plasma HDTVs.

The basic premise behind Vutec's Artscreen is simple, to make your HDTV or projection screen appear like a framed work of art when not in use by covering it with a work of art. Sizes start at 32-inches and go up to 103-inches though custom sizes and/or specs can be accommodated at an extra cost. There are dozens of frame and matte options to match any décor. As for the artwork options there are, once again, dozens of options from artists such as Monte Nagler, Howard Behrens, Jim Holehouse, Mike Shaffer and Shelly Lawler as well as famous contemporary prints, popular art and even sports imagery. The Artscreen's numerous artwork, frame and matte options allow for almost unlimited customization but Vutec can also accommodate personal images be they photographs, paintings or digital imagery as well.

The whole process of choosing what combination of frame, matte and imagery you wish to have is streamlined using Vutec's Artscreen Designer program online. Your local Vutec dealer can also assist you or your interior designer in the design and purchase of your custom Artscreen. Prices vary depending on the size, shape, construction, materials and configuration of your Artscreen for no two are bound to be the same. The type of Artscreen mount you choose, on-wall or recessed, can even affect the final price. You can even order an Artscreen with a motorized mount to allow for your HDTV to tilt and pan when in use and sit flush when not. There are even Artscreens that can conceal not only your display but a soundbar and/or center channel speaker as well.

In use, the Artscreen is a pretty cool piece of kit and performs as advertised. I saw the Artscreen demoed at one of Vutec's Southern California dealers where it was used to conceal a 42-inch Sony HDTV. The materials looked to be of a high quality, the lines straight and the seams largely - ahem - seamless. In truth it looked like any custom frame job I've ever seen, only the image rolled up to reveal a nice HDTV. The motor mechanism is largely silent though there was a fair amount of ambient noise present during my demo and the motion was smooth and surprisingly quick. Those of you with nicely appointed digs with an HDTV over your fireplace would probably be well served with an Artscreen by Vutec.

Read about the high points and low points of the Vutec Artscreen on Page 2.

Vutec_Artscreen_system_review_painting.gifHigh Points
• The bulk of the materials, be they frame or matte appear are of a high quality and in line with what you'd find at a high-end custom frame shop.
• The Artscreen can be customized to showcase personal works if you don't like the selection of images available through Vutec.
• The Artscreen's motor is smooth, quick and largely silent furthering the feel of a high-end solution.
• You can get Artscreens made to cover large projection screens, which is possibly a bigger deal then hiding a 42 or 50-inch HDTV, for projection screens are nothing but giant blank surfaces when not in use.

Low Points
• There are a few frames that feature some pretty ornate design work that doesn't always line up properly at the seams and can look a bit wonky or cheap if I'm honest. Though, these same frames would look wonky in any installation, be it an Artscreen or just framing your favorite photograph.
• Some of Vutec's library of images are a bit cheesy, reminiscent of art you'd find in a hotel lobby. Thankfully, you can supply your own image if the ones in Vutec's library aren't to your tastes.
• Because the Artscreen uses a motor to retract the image panel you'll have to make sure you have the requisite electrical outlet nearby to accommodate. I'm sure licensed dealers install most Artscreens so this shouldn't be too big of an issue.

Competition and Comparison
As cool as the Artscreen is, it's not alone for companies like Stewart Filmscreens, VisionArt, Media Décor and others offer similar though not identical solutions. Prices appear to be roughly the same across the board with all the solutions I found online, with prices starting at around $4,000 and going up from there.

For more information on this or other home theater accessories please check out Home Theater Review's AV Racks, Home Theater Seating, HDTV Mounts and More.

Vutec's Artscreen is a novel idea and a neat solution for those of you who would rather hide your technology versus flaunt it. The possibilities are seemingly endless and if there is a look you're going for that Vutec can't deliver, it's nice to know they'll fully customize an Artscreen for you. While even the entry level Artscreen isn't exactly cheap, it's worth it to some for Vutec isn't the only manufacturer offering such a solution. While I personally don't feel the need to hide my HDTVs from view when not in use, my wife (who was with me during the demo) thought it was a terrific idea. If you're looking for a way to disguise or hide your HDTV or projection screen when not in use then I recommend you check out Vutec's Artscreen.

Additional Resources
• Read more home theater accessory reviews from Home Theater Review's staff.
• Explore reviews for projector screens in our Projection Screen Review section.
• Search for projectors in our Video Projector Review section.
• Learn more about LED HDTVs and Plasma HDTVs.

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