Projector Screen Buying Guide
What is a Projector Screen?
It is a reflective surface, mostly white, that you can hang, mount, or place in a room at a required distance from a film or digital projector. You can use it for various purposes, such as for an engaging learning session, sales presentation, training, and entertainment. A projector screen offers you higher reflectivity compared to an empty or bare wall, resulting in a higher resolution and brighter image. This screen also facilitates you with truer color retention and a uniform image surface. However, you can apply some special paints on a wall that play the role of a screen.
There is much more that you need to know about projector screens. For this reason, we have mentioned the important aspects of the screens that might help you in buying process. So, spare few minutes and give a read to this article.
Benefits of Purchasing a Projector Screen
There are ample reasons why investing in a screen is a smart approach. Here are some benefits of watching TV shows, movies, or playing your favorite video game on the screen.
Better than a TV
High-quality screens offer you an image that is two to three times larger than the images you see on a smart TV. They also offer you images or videos without affecting image quality at much affordable prices.
The best benefit is that you get a lot clearer 3D images on the projector screens than on a flat-screen TV.
A modern and portable projector screen with high-resolution features allows you to use it almost anywhere. You can take it to school or work or to a friend’s house for presentations.
In-Home Movie Theatre
Who wants to get out of the house when you have a theatre of your own? Yes! These projector screens provide you with an in-home movie theatre feature with amazing picture quality.
A projector makes your gaming experience absolutely incredible, as it allows you to play with a large group of gamers on a large screen.
Home entrainment projectors have a compact size that even allows you to store them in small spaces without any trouble. The compact size also makes the carrying procedure easy, especially if you are taking it on a trip.
Types of Projector Screens
When it comes to projector screens, there is a wide range of choices. You can purchase one based on your preferences, space to accommodate it, or purpose.
1. Manual Projector Screen
Looking for affordable screens? The manual screen is the best option for you. It contains a pulley at the bottom of the entertainment screen. Since it doesn’t offer you a remote feature, you can use the pulley to pull it down and up. This type of screen now features a controlled return system, so the screen doesn’t roll up quickly, offering a long lifespan and durability. You can mount them on the ceiling, wall, or other places, giving you more feasibility than others.
The manual projector screens have a lighter weight than electric screens, as they don’t have any motor. These screens can also be non-tensioned or tensioned.
2. Electric Projector Screens
If you want a screen that can easily get down or up, this is the best option for you. The Electric Projector Screen offers you both style and function. You can operate it with the help of remote control from even a distant location. Its sleek and compact design offers you easy storage. The best candidates for these screens are people who have a large room to dedicate to home theatre. You can mount electric projector screens on the ceiling, wall, or floor.
Generally, these screens work on 100 volts, but you can also find one with 220 volts. They are also available in non-tensioned and tab-tension models. If you don’t want to relocate the screen, then a recessed ceiling screen is a perfect option for you. This is because it will completely hide in the ceiling when not in use. On the other hand, mounted screens give you more flexibility.
3. Floor Rising Screens
Looking for an alternative to large and portable tripod screens? Then, floor-rising screens are great for you. They are lighter and simpler to set up. The primary reason why they are an ideal option for you is that there is no need to assemble them. You only have to set up its feet to enjoy a movie in your own theatre. You have to twist the feet to make it look perpendicular to the screen, and after that, you have to pull the screen up.
You will find a spring roller attached at the back of the screen that provides sturdiness to the projector screen. The floor rising screens generally have a manual system, which allows you to pull the screen down and up by yourself, similar to the manual screens. If you want more feasibility, you can also find screens with the remote feature.
4. Tripod Projector Screens
Tripod Projector Screens are the best for those who love to travel a lot and want to carry the screen on their trip. These portable screens have two parts: a tripod stand and a screen. Both of these parts are foldable and lightweight, which makes them small and easy to carry. It has a long rod in the middle that goes upward to carry the screen and has three legs. You have to attach the screen to the base of the tripod.
Tripod screens are one of the most cost-effective options. Although you get a screen that doesn’t easily wear and tear, you need to compromise on picture resolution.
5. Fixed Frame Screens
This is one of the luxurious and expensive types of screens in the market. People usually purchase it to create high-end home theaters. They work best for people who don’t plan to change the location of the screen, as they are permanently fixed in a room. Despite this drawback, they offer you the longest lifespan, which is the primary reason for their popularity among home theater lovers. They also don’t give waves and bends that you might have to experience with other screens.
Additionally, this projector screen also has the best picture quality. It also comes with various options of screen material. Of course, the high-end features also make these screens more expensive than any other type.
6. Projector Screen Paint
This is relatively a newer alternative, and we must say that it is an incredible option. One gallon of paint can offer you a diagonal viewing space ranging between 92” and 240”. The best part is you don’t need to paint your wall. You can pick the right-size board and paint it to project your favorite video, movie, and anything on it. This way, you will get the same experience, which is also affordable and portable.
Although the image quality will not be as wonderful as all the synthesized screens, it is a cost-effective option that caters to your basic needs. Don’t forget that a normal screen of that size needs a great amount of money and labor for installation.
Types of Projection
There are two types of projection – rear and front. You can choose one based on your preferences and the purpose of purchasing the projector screen.
In this case, the projector is set in front of the projector screen. You need to keep it at the side of the audience, so people don’t experience any interruption while watching the screen.
This type of projection is best for the living room, cinema, and conference room.
In the rear projection, the projector is adjusted behind the screen while the viewer watches the screen from the front. The benefit of this type of projection is that the presenter doesn’t interfere with the projection, and the audient can easily see the screen.
This type of projector works best for theaters and exhibitions.
Choosing the Right Screen Material
You need to choose the material that works best for your room and the projector. The factors that play a crucial role when choosing the screen are texture, colors, and gain.
What is Screen Gain?
Gain refers to the amount of light that reflects back from the projector towards the observer. Manufacturers use vinyl screen material to get different gain values.
If the screen has a high gain, it will reflect more light, which can give you a less washed out, brighter, and visible image in lower lumen projectors. The disadvantage of the higher gain projector screens is that they can experience hot-spotting. In this case, some parts of the screen appear brighter. It happens because the screen reflects the light in a more focused and narrower band. Viewers who will sit in front and close to the screens can see the best images than the person sitting at the side. Moreover, the optimum viewing also decreases with the screen gain.
In a wide seating area, you will need to opt for a screen with standard gain, which is known as neutral gain. This will reflect balanced light in all directions. Numerically, you can find these screens with a gain of 1.0.
Projector screens with negative gain also provide you wide viewing angles. These screens give deeper blacks because of having the ability to absorb the projector’s light. They decrease all projector’s light, which helps you deal with the issues of ambiance light in the space.
Which Screen Color Should I Choose?
It is important to note that the color of the screen dictates the color of the projected image. The standard color is white, which has the ability to show brighter images and vivid colors. If you can easily control the light levels of your room, such as in a home theater room, the white projector screen is the best choice.
Gray screens were popular a few years back when projectors didn’t have proper control over contrast than they have today. These screens were known as high contrast screens because of their capability to provide deeper black levels.
But gray screens along with black screens are the best options for places that have a great amount of ambient light. The disadvantage of these colors is that they need more powerful projectors that can deal with their light colors and darker whites.
What Screen Texture is best?
Even if you purchase a manual screen that you have to pull up or down by yourself, it comes with a smooth texture to offer you a high-definition video of more than 1080p and excellent picture quality.
However, if you choose 4K projectors, the smaller pixels of true 4K models need a 4K-rated screen material that comes with the finer grit to display all the depth and details.
What Control Options Do Screens Have?
Electric or motor screen typically contains a basic switch. Apart from this, you can also operate them with RF or IR remotes, Ethernet, RS-232, and LVC. RF and IR are straightforward and simple hand-operating remote, similar to a TV remote. IR uses the line of sight features that interact with the receiver eye. On the other hand, you only need to be in a radio range to use RF. RS-232 is a serial port that offers you a controlling system from either a third-party control system or an advance wall switch. Homeowners who have a home automation system can link RS-232 with the system to operate the screen.
Ethernet is not similar to the mentioned remote control types. You can use computer software or other devices to control your screen. Plus, it can also allow you to control the mechanism of the screen even if you are in a different part of the world. The low voltage trigger of low voltage control is a simple binary interface that sends signals to the screen to go downwards or upwards. Furthermore, the LV is used in the wall switch, and you can operate several projectors from LVC trigger ports. It allows you to lower the screen when the projector is on and rise up when the projector is turned off.
Steps to Select the Right Projector Screen
Now that you have understood the basic information about the projector screen, here are the four steps that you need to follow to purchase the best screen for yourself.
1. Determine Screen Size
You need to determine the best screen size according to the audience, room dimension, and room arrangement. Generally, the optimal and excellent height is around 1/6 the distance from the screen to the last row of seating. Additionally, you need to make sure that the front row of seats remains at the distance of two screen heights from the projector screen.
In the case of wall placement, you need to cosine the audience floor to determine the accurate height. So, you need to keep the bottom of the projector screens about four feet above the ground so that the back row can see the screen easily.
2. Choose an Aspect Ratio
You need to pick the right aspect ratio based on the type of application you will be projecting. The best and most common formats are 1.6:1 (wide), 1.85:1 (letterbox video), 1.78:1 (HDTV), 1:1 (square), 1.33:1 (NTSC Video), and 2.35:1.
3. Look for Projector Screen Material
You need to pick a projector surface that works best for the environment of your chosen placement location and viewing requirements. As we have already discussed, some fabrics will be best for your darker room. Others offer you a better image in lighter environments. Besides that, different materials give you different features like wider viewing angles.
4. Pick the Type of Screen
Consider the type of screen you want for your purpose. Think about whether you want something that is portable or stationary? Do you want motorized or manual screens? If you are thinking of buying a portable screen, think about whether you want a pull-up, fast folding, or tripod projector screen?
In a nutshell, when buying a projector screen, you have several options in terms of its features, colors, types, and much more. So, before purchasing a screen, it better to decide what features you want. Additionally, consider the purpose, whether you want to carry it for your presentations or install it in your house to watch movies. Once you know what you are looking for, you can easily purchase the best screen for yourself.