You have got your Blu-ray or DVD player all set up, a multi-speaker surround system in place, and one of the latest 1080p home theater projectors capable of an amazing picture that can fill your entire home theater wall. You think you are all set to a great home movie experience but… you are still using the wall of your home entertainment room as a projection screen!
Well, that is a big mistake. It is true that a good quality full-size home theater screen may turn out to be expensive. Unfortunately, many try to save on the screen expense, but this is false economy.
If you are after a great home theater experience, you need a great image projection, yet you cannot enjoy the best image quality your expensive video setup can deliver without a suitable projection screen that matches your home theater projector and your room ambient light conditions.
Often, many new to the world of home theater would often opt to buy the cheapest home theater screen. Some may even put up a white sheet as a DIY projector screen while others may settle for a smooth white wall as their front projection screen.
Surely going for the cheapest home theater projector screen setup is better than nothing but you would not get the best out of your system. However, you cannot get the best out of your video projector without a suitably matched projection screen.
And there is even more!
To get the best out of your video projector, you need a good quality projection screen.
The truth is that opting for the right projection screen is the secret behind a great image projection and eventually to an enjoyable cinematic experience.
A powerful projector is not a pre-requisite for the best cinema experience, but a suitable projector screen is definitely an essential requirement for the best results. With little care during your projection screen selection process and a relatively minimal expense in comparison to the cost of your video projector and home theater audio setup, you can transform the projected video image into something really worth watching for hours on end.
Still not sure if it is worth investing in a good quality projection screen?
Just think for a moment about these few facts…
The end-quality of your projected image is highly dependent on the quality of your projection screen.
The cost of a good quality projector screen is minimal in comparison to the overall cost of your home theater set-up.
You will surely be upgrading your home theater equipment every few years; developments in technology will simply force you to do so.
These upgrades will eventually include also your most expensive audio and video gear – including your latest high-tech home theater projector.
BUT you won’t upgrade a good quality projection screen; a high quality projection screen will last a lifetime!
Projection Screen Guides and Product Reviews:
We have prepared a set of three Home Theater Screen Selection Guides that will show you through a step-by-step process, how to choose the right screen setup for your home theater. In the process, we also explain the criteria to take into account when selecting a home theater projector screen surface.
We are also reviewing of some of the most popular Projector Screen Surfaces & Materials for home theater screens―sorted by brand. These reviews cover both off-the shelf products, as well as projection screen fabrics and projector screen paints for the DIY home theater enthusiast.
Home theater projector screens cover all forms of presentation media applications, from home theater to business presentations on-the-move, and vary not only in size, aspect ratio and screen setup, but also in the screen material and projection screen surface used.
Selecting the right screen setup and screen surface that is best for your application depends on a number of factors; these include projector output, desired supported viewing angle for your home theater audience, projection screen size, home theater environment―in particular the level of ambient light present in the room, and the targeted projection screen gain.
Arriving at the right combination of screen array and projection surface is essential for optimum results. Yet, for the uninformed, selecting a suitable screen for a front projection setup can turn out to be a rather complicated process.
We therefore hope that the following projection screen guides will help make your selection a bit easier:
Selecting a Home Theater Projector Screen
A step-by-step guide to selecting the right projection screen setup for your home theater.
Home Theater Projector Screen Fabrics
We present the different types of projection screen fabrics while listing the criteria to take into account when selecting a projection screen surface.
Understanding Projector Screens: Matching the screen gain, ambient light and projector output
Today’s powerful video projectors may easily lead to a too bright an image, one that may not be easy on your eyes. We show you how to best match the projector output with your projection screen.
The vast selection of projection screens is such that whatever your requirements and constraints are―ambient light conditions, limited room configuration, budget restrictions, etc., you can rest assured there is always a quality projection screen that represents an optimum solution to your needs.
At the same time, it is important to realize that there is no magic home theater projector screen that performs well under all conditions. In other words, your first step should be to decide on the type of projection screen surface that best matches your video projector configuration and output.
Once you identify the optimum screen surface, it should not be difficult to find a suitable home theater projector screen. In general, all screen surfaces are available in various screen sizes and in different screen arrays e.g. fixed wall screens, pull-down screens, electric screens, portable screens, etc.
Major suppliers in the area of home theater screens include DA-LITE, Stewart, and Draper, but there are others as well.
For example, Elite Screens are one of the major yet relatively ‘new’ entrants in the field that offers a vast range of highly affordable home theater screens.
While these suppliers provide a complete home theater screen solution suitable for immediate use, it is also possible to find suppliers that specialize in the supply of projection screen material.
For example, DRH also provide special optically coated screen fabric straight off the roll. On the other hand, Goo Systems and DIY Theatre.com provide specially formulated acrylic paints with various screen contrast options and screen gain characteristics; these paints can be applied by roller or spray to transform any smooth surface into a high performance projection screen.
While these specially prepared paint products do not come cheap―expect to spend around $200 on a suitable projection screen paint to cover an average 100-inch diagonal screen surface costs―yet they may still represent a cheaper alternative and a suitable solution for the home theater on a budget.
Please Take Note:
Care should be taken when comparing projection screen solutions from different brands. In particular take special care with respect to the quoted screen optical gain and viewing angle.
Some manufacturers quote the peak gain while specifying the maximum permissible viewing cone for half-gain i.e. the viewing angle at which the image brightness falls to half that at the center. This is often referred to as half-gain angle. Instead, other manufactures refer to what is referred to as viewing cone; this is equal to twice the half-gain angle and refers to the total angle of view from either extreme end within which the image brightness is at least 50% the maximum image brightness at the center of the screen.
This half-gain angle/viewing cone issue may at times turn to be somewhat misleading. It is therefore extremely important to consult the manufacturer specifications, in particular the gain-performance chart for the screen fabric you are interested in before taking a final decision.
To help you in your search for a suitable projection screen surface, we have reviewed some of the most popular home theater screen fabrics and materials available from major suppliers.