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  3. Choosing the right Projector Screen

Choosing the right Projector Screen...

Cinemascope, high contrast screen, recessed screen


Which projection screen should I choose?


Choosing a screen for your projector is tricky, and there are lots of things to consider to make sure you make the right choice. Since the screen is often a permanent addition to your home, it's worth taking the time and choosing wisely.


This article goes through the steps:

  • What's the perfect size of your room?
  • What type of screen is ideal for your room?(Fixed, motorised, recessed etc.)
  • Which screen material is best?
  • Which format is most appropriate? (16:9, 2.35:1 etc )
  • How to match with the perfect projector.

If it get's to be a bit much, feel free to ask us for help. We deal with these problems day in, day out and should be able to help with any troubles you may be having. We have a number of experienced installers who can help with physically installing the screen too.


What's the perfect size for my room?



Finding the perfect screen for your room should be easy. The first step to get a feel for the sizes would be to have a look at some screens in real life. The best option is to pop into a specialist dealer with demonstration rooms. If there is no one local you can always use some masking tape on your wall with the correct dimensions to see what it would look like in your room. 


By far the most common sizes for home use range between 92" and 120". Very large home cinema's may dictate an even larger room, but by and large most people are very happy with screens in this size range.

Cinemascope, high contrast screen, recessed screenA well proportioned projection screen



Wat type of screen is right for the room?


There are many different options for how the screen fits into your room. The options include fixed screens, motorised screens, chain drive screens, recessed motorised screens, tab tensioned screens and the list goes on...Each of these options has their place.


Fixed Screens:

Fixed screens are the most cost effective option, which means you can get the best quality within your budget. They are also the most difficult to hide. They are perfect for media rooms or rooms where you can draw curtains in front of them. They last forever and the masking on side allows you to get the best image.


Motorised Screens

Cinemascope, high contrast screen, recessed screen

A Listening Post Installation of a motorised screen

Motorised Screens allow you to retract the screen when it's not in use. This is perfect for rooms where there just isn't space for the screen to be there all of the time. However they still do leave a casing exposed in the room. This is great for a space where a cost effective disappearing screen is perfect. They are not quite as good value as fixed screens but they are less expensive than the more discreet recessed electric screens.


When you purchase an electric screen, you also need to run power and control cabling so that you can get it to come down when you want it to. If you need help with what cabling you should be running, talk to us


Recessed Motorised Screens

These are the most discrete option, but can get expensive, particularly with nicer screen materials. The boxes sit flush with your ceiling and can almost disappear completely. The tricky part with recessed screens is installing them solidly into your ceiling. It's easy enough to plan for in the building / renovation stage, but can quickly get difficult in the retro-fit stage.


We have heaps of experience fitting projection screens, so again if you would like to perfect installation of a discrete projection system pop into one of our stores and have a chat.


Other types of screens...

Other types of screens that are available include tab tensioned screens, pull-down screens, curved screens and chain drive screens. If you want to know more about any of these, then call and have a chat.


Tab tensioned screens mean that the screen is far less likely to develop wrinkles, and are perfect for higher end installations. Pull down screens can quickly develop wrinkles over time, but are an extremely cost effective way to add a screen. Curved Screens are ideal for rooms where you are likely to have a large number of viewers and a very large screen, and can look stunning in higher end installations.


Which screen material is best?


The screen material can have a massive impact on the picture quality. The ideal material largely depends on the ambient light of the room and the budget that is available. These can affect the contrast and light levels of the image, how ambient light changes the image and change the available viewing area.


Standard Screen Materials:

Even standard screen materials can vary quite wildly in the image they produce. We always recommend physically having a look at the screen before you buy if you have the opportunity.


High Contrast Materials:

High Contrast screens decrease the white levels of the image. When you combine this with a bright projector, you have an image that is much less affected by the ambient light of the room. This doesn't mean it will be usable in broad daylight, but means the image can look great, even in areas without perfectly controlled light. The "gain" is a specification used to specifically how much light is actually reflected.


Controlled Directivity Materials

There are a wide range of screen materials designed to solve problems with the lighting in the room. These can be quite specific to situations but examples include materials which reflect mostly light that is coming from the direction of the projector, this can be amazingly useful for areas with high levels of ambient light.


Cinemascope, high contrast screen, recessed screen


Which screen format is best?

You will notice many projection screens specifying the format of the display. Common options are 4:3, 16:9 (Widescreen)  and 2.35:1 (Cinema-Scope).


For home use, by far the most common is 16:9. This is the same format as your flat screen TV and means good compatibility with Sky / Cable boxes. 4:3 is and older format typically used in education, boardrooms and data display projectors.


A 2.35:1 or Cinema-Scope screen is what the majority of Blu-Ray movies will be recorded in. A projection screen with this format will display most movies with no black bars along the top or bottom and is generally only recommended for use in a dedicated home media room or home cinema. Bear in mind, almost all projectors will need the addition of an anamorphic lens to work properly with this format.


Matching the perfect projector...

Finding the perfect projector is the second half of the equation. We have another helpful article describing the process or alternatively you can give us a call or pop in and have a chat. You can view our Projection Article Here






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