If you are lucky enough to be planning a home theater, it is a good idea to do your homework in order to figure out the perfect projector screen as well as the perfect projector. With so much to choose from, it can take a little time to understand the options, including manual vs. electric projector screens, recessed ceiling screens, and mobile screens like tripods and portable pull-up screens.
If you are like most people, you probably want an enormous screen that will dominate the room. But before making your purchase, there are some factors to consider so you can avoid making a costly mistake that may affect the quality of your home theater experience. The goal is to buy a projector screen of an appropriate size, material and type that will provide vivid images for hours of enjoyment with family and friends.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Projector Screen
In order to choose the right projector screen, you must take several factors into consideration. Some manufacturers make recommendations about what kind of screen to buy. You also have to figure out if the screen will be in a stationary spot in your home at all times, such as a home theater, or if you will be moving it from place to place.
Another very important factor to consider is how much control you have over the lighting in the room. In a perfect world, you can darken the room to make the images on the projector screen pop. Fortunately, if the room is lighter than optimal, there are some steps you can take to remedy the situation.
Arguably the most important factor in choosing a projector screen is the size. To figure out how big of a screen your home theater can accommodate, you have to take into consideration where the viewers will be seated. The bigger the room, the further back viewers can sit and the larger the projection screen you can use.
Here are some tips for figuring out which projector screen is the right one for your home theater, and visit this online shop for a wide variety of projector screen options.
Consult your Projector Manual: You can save yourself a lot of time and effort when it comes to choosing a projector screen by reading the manual that comes with your projector. Some projectors work better with specific projector screen types, and the projector manual may make some suggestions for purchasing the appropriate screen.
Size Matters: The size of your wall is a key determining factor in choosing the right projector screen for your home theater. You want to consider how many people will be viewing the screen, and make sure that everyone, including the back row, will be able to have a good viewing experience. A rule of thumb is that the height of the projector screen should measure approximately one sixth of the distance from the screen to the back row.
Wall Shape: You also have to take into consideration the shape of the space on your wall that will accommodate the projector screen. You may have windows that get in the way, or your wall may taper toward the top if the ceiling is vaulted.
Up Front Viewing: Many of us have had the experience of sitting in a movie theater in the forward rows and craning our necks to see the screen. To avoid this uncomfortable situation, the projection screen should be placed around two screen heights away from front row seats.
Eye Level: For optimum enjoyment, place the bottom of the projections screen around four feet above the floor so that the center of the screen rests slightly above eye level for viewers. You can test out various options by sitting where viewers would sit to place the screen at the correct level.
Recommended Distances: The screen should be placed far enough away so that your eyes can easily take in what they see on the screen for comfortable and enjoyable viewing. For a 16 x 9 inch projection screen, a popular size that accommodates movies properly, that means the closest viewer should be sitting around 16 feet away from the screen. If your room is not big enough, go with a smaller screen.
Stationary or Mobil Projector Screens: For home theaters, a stationary projector screen such as a wall mount or a ceiling mount will probably be the best choice. Both wall and ceiling mount screens can be operated manually or by electric remote control. You can also go with a recessed ceiling screen. However, if you intend to move your projector to other locations, choose a mobile or portable projection screen. The most popular mobile screens are tripods that are operated manually.
Fixed Screens: The fixed projector screen remains in the same location all the time. Typically, a fixed screen will have a solid from with the screening material stretched to the frame and attached by snaps or a hook and loop system. A fixed screen is generally less expensive than a retractable screen, and maintains the tension on the surface to produce a smooth image.
Retractable Screens: A retractable projector screen is ideal if you use the space for another purpose. You may want to do away with the projector screen and watch TV, for example. A retractable screen can be mounted to the ceiling or the wall, and it can be motorized or manual.
Projector Screen Color: Most people do not realize that projector screens come in anything other than white. While a white screen is by far the most popular and appropriate color in most situations, for rooms that are too bright you can go with silver or even a black screen for a room with a lot of light.
Gain Control with “Gain”: In the ideal situation when you have complete control over the lighting in a room, choose a matte screen to give you a pleasing, soft image that is easy to watch for long periods of time. However, if your projector gives off lower light, or if it is difficult for you to darken the room, choose a matte screen with “gain” that will make the projector screen more reactive to images provided by the projector.