August 19, 2008
By: Andrew Robinson – Reviewer’s System
Elite Screen’s Kestrel Series is a fully electric, floor-mounted (or rising upwards vs. down) front-projection screen for applications where a traditional drop-down or permanently fixed screen is out of the question. It comes standard in Elite’s own MaxWhite FG or fiberglass-backed surface for uniform picture clarity and can be ordered in various sizes and aspect ratios, ranging from 84 to 100 inches diagonally for both 4:3 and 16:9 content. Your decision on the screen size that’s right for you will determine the overall dimensions of your Kestrel screen’s piano gloss-finished casing.
The Kestrel is a motorized design, utilizing a “scissor-backed” spring-loaded system that is controlled via the included remote, which can also be programmed to operate other components (up to eight total) in your system. The Kestrel screen can also be raised and lowered via a 12-volt trigger connected to your projector. The “scissor” mechanism keeps the screen taut, regardless of where you set your ultimate screen height.
The Kestrel is unique in that it is an automated design that is not only portable, but also has tremendous potential in more permanent installations. In the case of my personal home theater, I had wanted to have a recessed screen in my ceiling. However, the trusses in my ceiling made that an impossibility, resulting in my having to “hide” a regular motorized drop-down screen behind some elegant yet bulky crown molding. Had the Kestrel been available when I was shopping, I could have easily sunken the casing into a custom mantle piece or the floor for a much stealthier installation. Imagine a large floating shelf that doubles as a mantle, only to transform into a theater screen when the family decides to gather around for movie night. That’s pretty damn cool.
Currently Elite is only offering the Kestrel in a single finish and screen, which can be a bit limiting, depending on your particular projector or set-up. For me, the lack of a perforated option meant no swapping out my screen for a Kestrel.
The Kestrel series screen from Elite is one of the coolest screens I’ve seen in a long while. It’s affordable (like all Elite Screens), provides great performance for the money, addresses a common problem faced by many enthusiasts, and can be operated and installed easily without the need for costly custom installers. Is it perfect? No, but it’s designed for everyday use that can be enjoyed by everyone.