Picking Out a Projection Screen
Why do you need a Projection Screen
When most people build a home theater, they want the biggest image they can possibly get. What is the point of having a home theater if you can’t feel like you are in a movie theater? Before you start spending tons of money on a projection system, remember that there are design elements to the room that you need to take into account. You also need to learn a little bit more about Projection screens before you buy a projection system.
Do I Really Need A Projection Screen?
Too many home theater novices think that pointing a projection unit at a white wall will do the trick. The truth is that home theater screens are actually marvels of engineering. You cannot point a projector at a white wall or a sheet hanging on the wall and get nearly the same results as you would get with a projection screen.
Your Projection screen has no controls on it, but that does not mean that it is totally passive in its task. The gain on your projection screen will determine how the screen distributes light and creates an image. For example, if you want a really large screen, then you will need a gain of 2.0 or greater to try and compensate for the size of the image. Just remember that the higher the gain, the more light that will filter to the center of the screen. That is why a low gain screen with a rating of around 1.0 is the ideal solution.
A little fact that most people do not realize is that a projector of any kind cannot throw the color black, because black is not a color. Black is a space that occurs when light is absent. When you are creating a home theater, and you are deciding how much ambient light you want to allow, remember that it will affect the quality of your image. The darker your theater, then clearer your projection image will be.
The Ideal Size
Unless you plan on investing in real movie theater projection equipment, then you will not be able to have a real movie theater sized Projection screen. A projected image is just like silly putty; the more you stretch it out, the thinner it will get. The ideal size for a projection screen is anywhere between 78 inches and 85 inches. The exact size will depend on how large your room is and where your projector is placed.
Fixed Versus Retractable
A fixed screen can be put in place in such a way that it is optimized to create the best possible image. A retractable screen will never sit the same way twice, which means that you will never get the same image twice. A fixed screen is cheaper and requires less maintenance. When it comes to a fixed screen versus a retractable, unless you absolutely need a retractable one, go with a fixed screen.
Your home theater projector and screen work together as a team. Just like in baseball, you need a quality catcher to make a pitcher look good. Your screen is the catcher and your projector is the pitcher. When you make the right investment in both, then you will be happy with the results.
We were helped in this post by Steve Okelberry is the owner of Home Theater Gear in Houston, TX.