How to Choose a Projector Screen?

A projector screen is the most important component of a home theater system. A good projector screen will provide you with a beautifully projected image from all sides.

There are many options for projector screens available on the market, but not all projector screens are created equal.

Choosing one that meets your needs and best suits your home theater system can be difficult. Below is a guide that will help you choose a projector screen for your home.

In this article, I am going to show you how you can choose a quality projector screen for you. Before that, do you know why choose a projector screen while you have your wall?

Why Use a Screen Instead of The Wall?

Why Use a Screen Instead of The Wall?

A projector screen is designed to reduce or eliminate any halos or rings that appear when the image is projected on a white wall. Projectors display an image by light passing through a lens (or lenses) to a target or projection surface.

In order for the lens and screen to work well together, the screen must be about twice the size of the projected image. The lens must also have a similar focal length or distance from the screen to the subject being displayed.

Things to Consider before Choosing Projector Screens

Types of Projector Screens

There are two types of screens:

  1. Fixed frame
  2. Rollable

Fixed frame screens

Fixed frame screens

Fixed frame screens are constructed of a metal frame that supports the textile screen material. Fixed frame screens are heavier and more expensive than rollable screens.

But they have an advantage for most environments in that the screen can be permanently mounted to the wall, so you will never have to worry about it being rolled up and stored safely.

Rolling projector screens

Rolling projector screens

Rolling projector screens are made from both stretchy fabrics and fabrics with a tensioned wire. Tensioned fabric systems work by pulling on parts of the fabric when it is stretched over two bar supports and tensioned with screws.

Tensioned fabric screens are less expensive than fixed frame systems, but tend to be bulkier since they must be stored when not in use.

Projector Screen Materials

Before deciding on a projector screen, you will want to know what kind of materials it is made of. The most common material for projector screens is vinyl.

However, there are also other materials available. In order to choose a projector screen material, you will need to decide if you would like a screen that can be used outdoors or one that will be indoors only.

  • Vinyl: A vinyl screen is one of the most popular options because it is durable and affordable. It comes in several different “weights” or thicknesses so that the top surface can be as smooth or as textured as you want. The main disadvantage of vinyl is that it scratches easily, so it is not recommended for outdoor use.
  • Acoustically transparent cloth: This cloth projector screen material is usually made of nylon and can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. It has a matte finish that provides an excellent contrast between the screen and the image projected on it. The main disadvantage of this material is that it blocks a significant amount of light.
    Projector Screen Materials
  • Acoustically transparent fabric: An acoustically transparent fabric is usually similar to acoustic transparency cloth only less opaque. This material provides excellent contrast and clarity while still offering some privacy if required.
  • Acoustically transparent fabric with a gray coating: This material is similar to acoustic transparency fabric only it has a gray coating on the front side that can be washed. This coating allows your screen to reflect light more evenly and in turn, produce an image that is brighter than with white fabric.
  • Blackout Material: If you tend to watch movies in a room with a lot of light, blackout material may be better for you. This material has an opaque surface that is specially designed to block out light. While not as clear as other screen materials, blackout material works very well for providing privacy while still being able to view the image clearly from the correct viewing distance.

Projector Screen Specs

Things to Consider before Choosing Projector Screens Types of Projector Screens

Once you have decided on the material you wish to use for your projector screen, you will want to decide on your screen size and distance from the projector. Size is one of the most important decisions when choosing a projector screen.

The size of your screen will depend upon what kind of room you are putting it in and how far away from the wall or ceiling it will be installed. A screen that is too big will take up too much space in your room, as well as cause an obstruction that will result in not being able to see the image from the sides of the screen.

A smaller screen can be used at a closer distance from the projector, but at a lower resolution and screen size, you are allowing for a softer image and will also require you to increase your contrast settings.

Below are some common sizes of projector screens:

• 16′ x 20′ (1.2m x 3m)

For small rooms or rooms with ceilings higher than 6 ft. (18 in.), this site works best because it is large while still being lightweight for easy installation.

• 9′ x 11′ (3m x 3.5m)

This is a popular size for large rooms because it can be placed closer to the projector without compromising the image quality due to its short throw distance.

• 16′ x 10′ (4.9m x 3.2m)

This site is an ideal choice for a room with ceilings that are lower than 8 ft. (24 in.), but still large enough that you do not wish to fill the entire wall with your screen.

Projector Screen Specs

• 12′ x 17′ (3.6m x 5.2m)

If you are short on space this is a great choice of screen size. It can be placed closer to the screen for a larger image or farther away for an image that fills up your whole wall.

Distance from the screen to the projector is also important. This distance will depend upon the size of your room and what you want to accomplish by installing a projector screen in it. A common distance from projector to screen is 8 ft. (2.4 m). This distance can provide you with a full-size image in a room with a 12′ x 15′ (3.7 m x 4.6 m) ceiling.

• 2′ (0.6 m)

This is a perfect distance for a small room or for a smaller screen that would be installed in your living room or den.

• 1.5′ (0.4 m)

If you do not want to fill the entire wall with your image but still want a large image in the living room or den, this is an ideal distance between projector and screen that will provide you with a beautiful image without taking up too much space on the walls.

Your screen’s size and dimensions will depend upon the model of your projector, so it might take some time to find the right one for you. Before you go out and purchase your screen, be sure to check the user manual of your projector as well as the size of the image.

Projector Mounts

Projector Mounts

One last thing you will want to consider before purchasing a projector screen is what kind of mount or stand you will use with it. This can be a very tricky decision when choosing a projector screen because most mounts are not compatible with all types of screens.

Some mounts are made especially for screens that have a beveled edge, while others are made specifically for flat screens. Make sure to read all the directions for your mount before purchasing it to ensure compatibility between your screen and your mount.

When purchasing a mount or stand, it is essential to keep in mind the weight of your screen. If you have a very large screen, you will want to make sure that the mount can handle its weight and size.

Some mounts are made to hold smaller screens but will not go up to a certain weight limit. Some mounts are extremely easy to install, while others may be more complicated and require brackets or bolts that must be drilled into the walls.

When choosing a mount, make sure all parts of your screen are supported by it, including the edges and corners. Most mounts are designed to be flush to the wall with no room between the mount back and the wall.

If you have your mount too far away from the screen, it could cause ripples and creases in your image.

Rules of Thumb When Choosing a Screen

  • If you have a home theater, choose an acoustically transparent screen instead of a plain white one, so that you can hear the best sound quality.
  • If your projector is on the floor and your seating area is high above it, choose a low-gain projection screen so viewers are not looking up at it.
  • Choose a projection screen that is at least 68 inches across if you want to play HDTV and DVD movies. If your screen is less than 60 inches, you may need to increase the brightness of your projector and/or the size of the projection image. Also, check to see if your projector has lens shift capabilities. Lens shift allows you to adjust the focus of your projector without having to move it away from where it is currently located.
  • Make sure that your screen is strong enough for standing high-impact activities such as cleaning with a vacuum cleaner or hauling large items (like furniture) across it.
  • If you plan to use your screen for more than just viewing movies, you will also want to choose one that is easy to clean. You should also consider how easy it would be to store the screen when not in use.
  • Choose a clear screen material if you are using your projector in a room with skylights or other windows with lots of light coming through them.

Rules of Thumb When Choosing a Screen


Projector screens are a great way to bring movie-quality viewing into your home. When choosing a projector screen, you will want to take into consideration size, image type, and room lighting.

Consider whether you would be more comfortable with a fixed frame or rollable screen. Once you have made your decision about what kind of screen you want and what its dimensions should be, installing the screen in your room will be a breeze.

Before buying your projector screen, make sure that it works well with your mount. Remember that if you are looking for the best image quality for watching movies or playing video games on the big screen, choose an acoustically transparent screen instead of one with a white surface.

We hope this guide will help you to choose a good projector screen. If you still have any problems, let us know by commenting below.

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