While it's tough to deny the wow-factor involved in watching a flick or gaming it up on a wall-sized screen, the one dig that front projection has been forced to deal with is the necessity of darkness for optimal viewing pleasure. Planar has reportedly developed a specially designed screen that works with any front projector to provide a "colorful, sharp image" even with all the lights on. This widescreen display, dubbed the Xscreen, pulls off the seemingly impossible by sporting a 4mm layer of hardened glass beneath the actual screen, which apparently provides the "perfectly flat" surface needed to reflect those random rays of light that currently cause all that viewing frustration in lit environments. If that wasn't enough, Planar's design team stepped it up a notch by crafting a "black high-gloss finish frame sure to enhance any décor," which is presumably an attempt to overcome the Xscreen's inability to roll up and out of the way like other screens without a glass backpanel. While the Xscreen is nothing more than a display, the Xscreen Plus offers a smorgasbord of standard video and audio inputs / outputs (DVI, VGA, component, S-video, RCA, etc.) to make routing those lengthy cable runs a bit more manageable; the upgraded version also rocks "Pixelworks video processing," onboard speakers, a universal remote, and Europeans even get the luxury of dual TV tuners (got beef with America, Planar?). While both flavors are available in 60-, 70-, 80-, and 100-inch sizes, there's no telling how much this gigantic blank picture frame / front projection display will run you -- but until we get some face time with this enlightening panel to determine marvel or gimmick, you're probably better off left in the dark.

[Via Gizmag]

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Planar Xscreen enables front projection in lit rooms