You probably imagine your pristine white screen proudly showcased as you enter your living room or new boardroom. But have you considered swapping it for a black one? We’re not kidding.
Yes, consumers are mostly used to using white projector screens, but the norm isn’t always best for you. There are reasons why first gray and then black screens started making their appearances. Below you’ll learn about them, so you know which one you should choose.
And if you want to enjoy all the features your new projector has, you can match it with the right screen. Screens determine what happens to the light your projector produces. Are you optimizing your viewing setup yet? What will you use your screen for? Why do different screens exist? Isn’t there a clear winner?
It’s all about matching your requirements with a screen’s capabilities. And projectors are used in so many scenarios that the list of uses is growing. With portable projectors on the market and since most people’s Smartphones can be turned into projectors, screens must keep up with what you need. And that’s why listing the uses of your screen will help you pick the right one. It’s a long-term commitment, so take your time to select wisely.
Find a Color That Works for You
An interesting feature you may want to start with is the décor in the room. Since you don’t have to settle for white you may find a color that is just as effective but seems less obtrusive or clinical in your space.
Let’s look at different colored screens in detail so you know exactly what you’re buying.
You haven’t been living a lie for trusting white screens all your life. White screens are very effective, especially when backed by black linings which help limit light transmission; this can affect clarity. Because white material and screens are more commonly available this is also a budget friendly option that still affords quality viewing.
• Most affordable option
• White screens can be acoustically transparent
• White optimizes viewing angles which is suited for wide rooms
• Lower chance of hot spots
• Less clarity when there is ambient light
• Images look less natural than when viewed on a black screen
• Will cause the room to seem lighter which can be bothersome during a presentation or movie
With white screens fulfilling so many requirements, how did other screens manage to get on the market?
No, gray screens weren’t about turning home entertainment components into fashion statements. They actually gained popularity after 2000 because they met an important need; they allowed for more contrast.
This feature improves the color experience you get from a picture. There is less bleeding of color into dark areas on the screen, so the image is closer to that which the projector actually produces.
This is partly thanks to gray screens absorbing ambient light. In rooms where you can’t control this feature, a gray screen is an enormous asset.
But the drawbacks of these darker screens – it applies to black screens too – include hot spotting. When this happens certain areas of the screen appear to have more clarity than others. This can irritate viewers’ eyes.
• Less color bleeding
• Absorbs some ambient light
• Improved color production
• Hot spotting
• Can’t produce detail in white spectrum
• Negative gain
As technology develops, new gadgets evolve, and projection screens will keep on changing until we all watch perfect images. The black screen is one attempt to counter certain challenges.
Black absorbs light. A black screen therefore works because it doesn’t reflect any ambient light back to your audience. Are you tired of low quality images even after drawing all the curtains? A black screen enables you to view your favorite movie even in broad daylight.
What makes a black screen better also makes it less practical in certain setups. While you want your screen to reduce its scattering of light, this automatically reduces the viewing angle. If you have a wide room with a large crowd the viewing angle can be problematic.
Black screens are part of new technological advances. The manufacturers counter problems such as hot spotting with enabling you to adjust the screen’s brightness. But this is still not negated completely. In future – if these problems are all overcome – it makes sense that black screens will become the most popular and valuable.
• Realistic images
• Ambient light doesn’t decrease picture quality
• Images can shimmer instead of looking matte
• No acoustically transparent black screens are available which makes them less favorable in a movie room setup where you want the visual and sound sources to be in the same place
• Diminished viewing angle
• Hot spotting happens frequently
Important Features You Can’t Ignore
The facts above can’t be considered in isolation. Debates about the best products rage on because so many features determine the eventual quality of your projector’s images. Think about the following as well while you shop for your new screen:
• Gain: You want a gain of 1, which is a balance between the light that’s absorbed and reflected back
• Viewing distance: A high quality screen that’s too wide will ruin your viewers’ experience when they’re sitting too close to it
• Viewing angle: When you know your audience is spread out it won’t help investing in a high quality black screen that half your viewers won’t receive a focused picture from
• Rear projection: To have sound and visuals coming from one direction you must place your projector behind the screen
You can see there’s no clear winner in this. If you’re able to control ambient light in your spaces, you’ll still want a white screen. It allows more control over other features such as hot spots. Therefore, white shouldn’t always be swapped for the newer gray and black screen arrivals.
But if ambient light is not an issue for your screen or you don’t want to wait for darkness before watching your scary movie, a black screen could be what you’ve been waiting for.
What makes all of this important when using a projector? Your screen determines whether your projector can do what it’s meant to. A low quality—or wrong color—screen will ruin high-quality projected images. Now you know why it’s happening. Can you optimize your viewing by simply changing the screen?