Projector Screen For Your Home Cinema

Projector Screens

In order to increase portability and decrease the immediate cost, some customers opt to project their image onto a plain wall or white sheet instead of purchasing a professional projector screen. Whilst this method may be suitable for the odd Powerpoint presentation, it can seriously degrade the colour reproduction, decrease brightness efficiency, and lower the overall image quality when used for movies and video presentations.

To get the best performance out of your projector, we always recommend the use of a projector screen. As explained further in the answers below, projector screens are made out of specially designed materials, that maximise the image quality and brightness.

What type of screen is right for me?

Front Projection screens are generally available in two styles – fixed frame screen and roller screens. For a more portable option pull up and tripod projector screens are also available. The style of screen is probably the first choice you will have to make when deciding on a screen.

Pull Down / Roller Screen

Roller screens are better for general activity areas where the screen can roll down for use and disappear when not in use. Roller or Pull Down screens are the most popular style of screen, as they take up little room, can be transported if required, and are often considerably cheaper than other types. Roller screens can be purchased with a motorised option, often including a remote control to raise and lower and screen surface on demand. Motorised screens are handy for corporate meeting rooms or even at the home

Fixed / Framed Screen

Frame screens are generally better for dedicated viewing areas.  These screens do not roll away, they are a permanent fixture in the room.  As the fixed frame screen does not roll the material, the life is generally a little longer, with less stretching over time. The downside to this type of screen is it is always on show and therefore can become dirty overtime if people, particularly childer, touch the surface. As they have no moving parts, they are more durable and but do cost a little more than the basic pull down screens (depending on surface materials).  We highly recommend fixed framed screens for home theatre rooms.

Tripod projector screen / Pull Up Projector Screen

For a portable projector screen the pull up screen is the lightest and easiest to set up while the tripod projector screen will give you a larger sizes and a cheaper buy price. The major trade off is always the size. Most people go down the bigger is better road, but when trying to jam a two and a half metre long screen into a car this can be a problem.

As a rough guide for a group of up to 6 you can use the micro portable screens that are like a pull up style but sit on a desk and are about the size of a plasma at 40inches when extended. For 15-20 people we would go for something around 60-80inches diagonal. And for larger groups of 30-80 people the larger tripods between 80-120inches. This is a rough guide though and screen size is always a bit a matter of personal preference, especially since transportation is a major issue.

What is an ‘Aspect Ratio’ what what type should I use

The HDTV (16:9) format will in due course be our standard TV format.  Most DVDs currently available are HDTV (16:9) format, more and more “free to air” and cable/satelite TV will be broadcast in this format.  If regular TV or video is projected onto this screen, the sides of the screen will not be utilised.

The Video Format (4:3) is used for projecting regular TV and Video.  If HDTV or DVD is projected onto this screen, the top and bottom of the screen will not be utilised.

Does size matter

With projection screens, definitely.  However, bigger is not necessarily better.  Ever wondered why the last seats to fill in a cinema are the ones at the front?  This is because the screen is too big for the viewing distance.  When determining the correct screen size, we must consider the minimum viewing distance and the maximum viewing distance .  In other words, what is the best screen size for your room?

The minimum viewing distance is the closest distance to the screen one can sit before losing the ability to see the picture as a whole.  Once a person is closer than this, the human eye cannot capture the whole picture – the eye can only focus on a part and will have to continuously scan the screen to read the entire image. The minimum viewing distance is 2 x the width of the screen .

The maximum viewing distance is the farthest distance one can be from the screen to be able to comfortably capture the image. The maximum viewing distance is 6 x the width of the screen .

Remember, the biggest screen won’t necessarily give you the best result. Most customers will not require a screen size more than 2m wide. The last thing you want with your new home theatre set up is to feel sea sick or have a headache when trying to watch a movie.

Are there different screen materials, Which one is best

Front projection screens have been offered in a variety of materials.  In the past, screens were offered with glass beaded, pearlescent and silver or silver lenticular screen materials.  All of these have been shown to have their limitations.  Matte white screen material is currently the best choice for modern LCD and DLP Projectors.

In fact, we strongly recommend you use nothing but matte white.  Only matte white guarantees the best all round performance-

  •     True colour reproduction.
  •     Highest possible resolution capacity.
  •     Widest possible horizontal/vertical viewing angle.
  •     No glare and no hot spotting.
  •     Can be washed if soiled.

The performance of both LCD and DLP projectors are optimised by matte white projection surfaces.

Other screen materials will compromise image quality in one way or another to increase the screen’s gain.  A high gain material is simply unnecessary with today’s projectors and is not worth the image quality loss.

Grey screens – There has recently been a lot of marketing hype about grey front projection screen materials which improve contrast.  Unfortunately, with front projection, this results in a colour shift to the blue spectrum – not a problem with black and white projectors but ghastly with colour.  Your whites will also be slightly off-white.
Glass beaded screens have a higher gain however you will experience a dramatic loss of viewing angle and a loss of resolution.  Glass beaded screens are retro reflective, that is their preferred direction of reflection is to the light source.  With a ceiling mounted projector, the brightest image is under the ceiling…….. hardly the place to watch your DVD or videos.  They are also
mechanically unstable in that the beads can move or fall off entirely, creating very distinctive dark spots.
Pearlescent screens have a higher gain, however colour shift to red occurs and there is a tendency to hot spot.  They also have a narrow viewing angle, are not readily available and expensive.
Silver/Silver lenticular screens also provide a higher gain, however these screens will cause a colour shift to blue, have a smaller viewing angle and can hot spot.  These screens are great for old black and white, low power projectors but not suitable for contemporary projectors.  However, this material is still the best medium for 3D projection.

RS-232 for whole home automation integration.

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