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Projector Screen Buyer's Guide

Updated on August 7, 2014

Buying a projector is not a cheap investment, and sometimes we are so delighted with the experience that this new product brings to us that we forget that there are other accessories that help - a lot - to improve and enhance the projector image quality.

The main accessorie for projectors is the screen.

It makes it possible to obtain greater contrast and clarity while using less of the projector.

But....How to buy a projector screen?

Find the perfect projector screen is another quest.If you don't want to pay a lot of money for an equipment that not fit with your previous equipment is necessary to understand what options you have and what each one helps.

Below I will review each of the 4 variables that we must check when buying a projector screen:

  • Style
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Material

Be prepared!

1. Style

When we think about style, we find basically two types of screen: Fixed and retractable.

Fixed Screens

Fixed screens, as the name implies, have a solid framework that sits behind the screen and pin them. They are stretched and attached at their tips - usually by specific fasteners - providing a tensioned surface and consequently smoother images.

This type of screen is cheaper and much easier to use since after installed you can just put the projector to work, unlike the retractable that has to be open or mounted before each use.

If you have a room dedicated just for projection / Home Theater, and has kept it because getting a fixed screen is probably the best option.

But when you arrive at the store to buy a physical projection screen there are numerous options, what to do?

Besides the different quality of construction, the biggest differences you'll find between the models of low and quality is the frame or black border, usually lined with velvet around the screen image. You can see it on the image.

But because this edge is so important?

When you look at a fixed frame that has these edges you best fit the screen and consequently enhances their perception of contrast. The recommendation is that the screens have between 5 and 7.5 cm edge depending on its size. You can find some with a value above or below this thickness, but I recommend you stick to it so there is no discomfort.

Another important point is that if you need to increase the image beyond the screen edge velvet "erase" the surplus, maintaining contrast and focus on the screen.

Retractable Screens

Retractable screens are quite common in classrooms. You've probably witnessed and laughed a bit of many teachers trying to open or close it. And this is really a complicated job for those not familiar with the latch system.

Fortunately, when we think of building a space for theater in our home or even for business meetings, there are plenty of motorized options that make our lives.

This type of screen is more expensive than the fixed and more complicated to put together, so why choose it?

It caters for multi use spaces - those that you have to share with family, friends or even with their neighbors - and that do not allow definite presence of a screen.

Moreover, you need not be stuck with physical media that descend and ascend the screen in the same place. It is possible to choose screens and supports are able to be one moves. This type of equipment is of great value for modular spaces - such as meeting rooms - that change its layout according to demand.

Another important factor when choosing a retractable screen is the feature screen tensioning, stretching the screen and allows an image with greater smoothness.

Painted Screens - Walls

Yes, you can point a projector at a wall and project an image, but do not expect it to be an amazing picture.

So do not spend all your money on a projector screen and leave aside. This is important!

Some manufacturers sell a type of ink that promises to solve the problems of refraction and brightness with increasing

Where will you use your Projector Screen?

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2. Size

The larger the size of my screen better, is not it? Yes and no.
Yes because it is amazing to see all drooling over its image of 120 inches and not because sometimes the size of your space does not contain such a large screen projector or enough to make a quality image of this size range, taking all the comfort of those who are watching.

A very large image may cause other problems: You will not want to have to stay moving their eyes to see the full screen - as in a game of tennis - or see all the pixels, so it's good calculate.

One example: If you have a 120 inch screen in 16:9 format (we'll explain this below) you should be sitting between 4-5 feet from the screen. If your room is smaller than it probably is the screen will give you a headache - literally!

At the bottom of the page you will find the link to a projection simulator that tell you the exact distance you should be from the screen and the screen size needed.

When we think of size, another point to be considered is to analyze the projector or projectors to be used with the equipment. The farther it is, the weaker the image. Once saw an interesting analogy: Let's think of a flashlight. When you're with her near a wall the picture is very small and strong. As you move away, it loses strength and size gains. With the projector is the same.

Know the limits of your projector is essential to not end up buying a larger screen than necessary or sub-harness the power of it with a smaller screen than you could have.

For Those who want a DIY Projector Screen

3. Format

Although there are varying proportions of video formats currently, 4:3, 1.77:1, 16:9, 2.35:1 among others - when we think of projection screens are only three that really matter formats: 4:3, 16:9 and 2.40:1.

Decide what aspect ratio you should buy depends on the type of media that you use in your projector. If your main use is watching movies, playing video games, or watch TV, buy a 16:9 screen. If you will use the screen and projector for presentations, it is worth opting for a 4:3 screen. And finally, you are a movie buff, and frequently watch movies on bluray with ratio of 2.35:1, 2.40:1 buy a screen.

For example, This is a 16:9 screen.

4. Material Screen

After you set the type of screen that need, the format that best fits our needs and size serving straight into our space, it is time to identify what is the best material for excellent projection.

But what are the main differences that each material behind a screen?

Usually when imagimanos a screen projectors, stayed with the white in our heads, but the truth is that there are several screens in grayscale or even black. But because whenever I see a screen she is white?

Because it is used in cinemas. In dark rooms. And just thinking she is the best. But they are good for dark rooms.

In well lit and where there is the possibility of conducting a light treatment rooms, white screens - that reflect a lot of light - eventually leaving the washed image.

In this type of room, the gray screen works much better than the white, bringing greater contrast to the image. The contrast in turn, signals the difference between the darkest color and the lightest color projected. With a higher rate of this variable, it is possible to have higher image definition, even in bright places, as noted earlier.

Bottom line: If you have a dark room, check the White screen. If not, opt for fabrics in grayscale, tint increasing with increasing light to the place used.

Gain refers to the amount of light the display reflects compared with a reference standard called Lambertian surface. A perfect Lambertian surface reflects light evenly in all directions.
This may seem pretty cool, but it's not a good thing for the projection, because eventually "wash out" the image.

Thinking about this scenario, we conclude that contrary to what we imagine - that more is always better - in a dark controlled room / light, a smaller gain produces better and higher contrast images.

Another problem that comes with the addition of gain is the creation of a hotspotting, where the center of the image is noticeably brighter than the sides.

This factor also makes you miss the view from the angle, ie, if you are not located exactly in front of the projector, will feel the loss of image quality. If you use the projector alone and aligned with the screen has no problem. The problem is when many people are in your living room or classroom. Probably will be in the corner who is being harmed.

But hey, then the gain is a big bastard and I do not use it?

Not so. If you have a narrow room or a projector low light needs to project on a big screen, then you can increase the gain as needed.

So do not opt ​​for screens with "ultra-gain" if not in a very specific situation of these. Current projectors are already quite bright and has enough power to function in bright places.

There are some screens negative gain (0.8) that were used for that projectors could reach the black, impossible color yet. With the increase in technology and improvement in the quality of the colors of the projector, this type of screen is not required, but can still be found out there.

You can stumble on screens with a gain of less than one, like 0.8.

Rear Projection Example

Transparency Acoustics
Acoustic transparency is a variable that may be left in the background for some people. For a screen that has this feature, it is necessary that have small "pores" or holes in the screen, so that the sound passing through it with no problem. With this, we could recreate the sound of commercial cinemas that have sound system behind the screen.
If you can not imagine it gets closer to a screen the next time you go to a movie and you will see the small pores.

The problem is that this works very well in a cinema because we are away from the screen. In your home, for example, if you sit too close to the equipment probably begun to feel uncomfortable about viewing these small pores, then only consider buying this type of screen if you have a good space between you and the screen.

Rear Projection
Virtually any projector can be used in an application rear projection, where the projector is behind the screen. The benefits of this type of installation are very good, since it decreases the noise of the projector, maintains image quality and takes away the discomfort of having that annoying friend of his passing in front of the image each time. There is no contraindication, but buy only if really needed.

3D screens
You only need a special kind of screen to 3D if you have a 3D projector based on double projection, ie, a projector for the right eye image and one image projector for the left eye.
The Runco's d - 73D is a good example of this projector if you're interested.

If this is your case, you need a material that retains the polarization necessary to form the 3D effect. An increase in gain also helps a lot, since this type of projector has an output of much weaker lights.

In the international market, we can find some kind of screen that work this way, as Mocomtech, Stewart Silver 5D or 3D2 Elite Screens AirBright

If you have a single 3D projector - which is much more common - can perform any type of projection screen.


If you go to the shop and buy any projector screen, your image quality will probably increase.
But if you start to understand how it works and see all the options you have, you can improve more and more the usability of your projector.

So, what projector screen will you buy? Comment below!!

If you have any doubt, you can send me a message at the comments below or at my site.


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