What Makes a Good Projector Screen?

What Makes a Good Projector Screen
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Few things in life allow you to use the rule of “one size fits all.” It’s no different when you’re shopping for a projector screen. That’s why you’ll find so many products on the market. How do you pick the right one?

Many good projector screens exist, but you want the perfect one for you. If this is the first time that you’re in the market for a projector screen (or if the last one you bought didn’t work out for you) this primer will help you avoid common mistakes.

How do You Choose the Perfect Screen for You?

To source this ideal screen you must decide what you will use the screen for then find one with the features which will meet your requirements.

• Will you do business presentations where neatness and a quick setup is vital?
• Will you play video games where your first requirement is to view quality HD images?
• Do you want to enjoy movie nights with as many friends as possible where everyone has an excellent viewing angle?

The source of your images plays a vital role in your viewing pleasure. If you want 3D images, the projector must be able to produce them, and your screen must be compatible too.

You can already see certain screen features are designed to provide adequately for consumers in certain scenarios. Think about what you’ll use yours for the most. Now you’re ready to match those preferences to the features listed below.

Features You Should Research

When you start browsing through details of many screens, the knowledge set out below will help you make informed decisions. Which of these are most important and will help you reach your ultimate goal?

Style and Setup

No, consumers don’t choose a screen’s style simply because of the price tag. There’s a reason all these styles are popular:

• Fixed screens are ideal for rooms where you’ll use them every day, otherwise they take up valuable wall space
• Retractable screens are rolled up or down when needed. This allows for more flexibility in the use of the room and the screen stays clean when rolled up
• Painted screens turn a wall into a projection surface. The quality won’t match a screen’s but is an affordable option that allows you to spend more on other items such as the projector
• Portable screens are placed on stands or hung from the ceiling – or a wall – by using eyelets. These create freedom to use them outdoors or on occasion in any location you require a screen.

Choose one that won’t be in the way if you’re not planning on using it every day. But setup features are important. If you don’t have space for a stand, you might opt for a hanging screen. But make sure the wrinkles caused by storage can be taken out before the movie must start.

Can you see how many factors determine your satisfaction?


The different screens can be manufactured from different materials such as:

• Cotton
• Polyester
• Spandex
• Tarpaulin

Most important is that the screen has a matte white surface. This performs the best in terms of reflecting light back to the viewer.

Acoustic Transparency

For the critical movie watcher your material must also allow for ideal acoustics.

How do these features relate to each other? In a state-of-the-art movie theater, the sound usually comes from the front. It must travel through the screen to give you a realistic experience where sound and visuals’ come from the same directions. That’s how your senses are tricked, and you say, ‘That felt so real!’

And this is possible in your garden or living room.

Look for fabric with acoustic transparency. Now you can place speakers behind the screen and the sound won’t be muffled.

If you’re getting a screen for movies or games this is a vital feature.

Viewing Distance

How large is the area you’ll view your movies or presentations in? You don’t want the audience straining their necks, right?

This happens when the screen is so big – and impressive – that viewers’ eyes can’t take in the whole image. The audience must move back to allow for comfortable viewing without moving their heads. Will your room allow for this if you decide on purchasing a huge screen?


A screen’s gain will be stated as a number such as 1.1.

You don’t want a negative gain, because this means a lot of light is absorbed instead of reflected back. But it doesn’t help to go for high numbers either. They could result in hotspotting. Hotspotting is when the edges of an image appear darker than its center. This is typically seen by viewers directly facing the middle of the screen.

In most cases your ideal gain is 1.1.

Viewing Angle

How many people will have to watch the screen? Do you have space for everyone to sit right in front of it?

This is where a wide viewing angle – such as 120° or 160°- comes in handy. You can spread out your audience and everyone will still enjoy optimal viewing.


You’re probably looking for a white screen, right?

What about black? Or even gray. Yes, these colors can be beneficial too:

• Gray allows for an increased contrast ratio which can enhance colors
• Black is even better at this task and can enable more depth in images

But both these options can result in hotspots or diminish the viewing angle. Your requirements determine what is best.


As mentioned above you won’t enjoy 3D images if your screen doesn’t support the feature. But there are other types you should also consider:

• Will your space require you to project from behind? Many screens have black back linings to improve light reflection. These prevent rear projection. Search until you find what you need
• Is the screen washable? Some can be maintained with water and soap while others are more fragile. Where you use your screen determines if this is a deal breaker


Have you identified what you’ll find most important? Now you’re ready to compare different screens and gauge which one is best for you. Your projector’s performance is determined by which screen you pick. To get the best viewing experience pick the best screen you can afford that meets your requirements.

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