Q: What are the main aspects (ie. cost and features) that I should use in comparing the various projection screen brands?
A: Although there are many manufacturers that cover a variety of retail and integrator sales channels, product quality, features and pricing are still the driving critera for increased projection screen sales. The general pricing matrix that most follow is that a good projection screen equates to roughly 1/3 to ½ of the cost of a projector. Comparative features include the screen’s ability to provide clear color reproduction, contrast and a level of brightness that is suitable to the environment in which it will be used. Equally important is the product’s overall flawless quality and reliablility as well as included features such as IR/RF and Ethernet controls along with other accessories.
Q: What size of screen should I get for my room?
A: The best way to do it is to make sure the screen's diagonal size matches the distance to you first row of seating. There is not set standard size for a room, just consider the seating location of you and your guests. Your material should allow everyone to comfortably sit and watch without craning their necks back or shifting their eyes from side to side. Generally, 84" - 106" diagonal sizes are appropriate for your typical residential setup.
Q: Should I get a 1:1, 4:3, 16:9, 16:10 or 2.35:1 format screen?
A: It depends entirely what your intentions are but here are the general format uses to help you out.
Q: What would be a good screen for my home theater room if I was planning on using it for regular TV and not just movies?
A: Although the sky's the limit when it comes to getting a home theater projector, there are 3 basic qualities that define the typical mainstream consumer product.
Matte White is the most widely used material because of its superior versatility and it is recommended over high gain or contrast gray surfaces. It has a wide diffusion uniformity for maximum visibility and will get satisfactory results with virtually any front projection array. It is recommended over high gain material because high gain concentrates the diffusion into a narrow viewing cone with sharp color enhancement which is great for a dedicated home theater environment but not preferred for a multi-purpose room due to its limited visibility angle. Contrast gray material enhances black level contrast for older DLP and entry level LCD projectors but also does this at the expense of diminished light return which means it should be used only with high output projectors.
Front projection should generally be used in a setting with controlled lighting or no ambient light at all.
Elite Screens suggests the following Projection Screen types
Q: What is the best projection screen option for a ultra/short-throw projector?
A: Ultra/Short-throw projectors require a flat projection surface since the projector’s light is closer to the material. Non-tensioned screen materials may exhibit minor wave or curls which may be more pronounced if using an ultra/short-throw projector.
We recommend using a Fixed Frame Screen or a Tab-Tension screen with PVC such as our CineWhite® flexible material which will provide adequate tension throughout the entire projection surface. Please click here to learn more about the CineWhite® screen material.
Our Aeon CLR®, EDGE FREE® Fixed Frame is recommended for table-top ultra-short throw projectors in an ambient light room environment. Please click here to learn more about the Aeon CLR®.
Q: I have a 16:9 (HDTV) home theater projector but I'd like to have a presentation that has a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) aspect ratio on a 2.35:1 projection screen. Do I need an anamorphic lens for this?
A: For the best possible results, an anamorphic lens is recommended. However, it is possible to get a 2.35:1 screen format as long as you can live with the "black bars" created when a mismatched 16:9 native aspect ratio projecto is set up to fit a wider projection screen format. It is simply a matter of personal preference.
Q: I just got a good deal on a SVGA Projector with a contrast ratio 2500:1. It gets good quality in a 100" image on a white wall so I am planning to get a screen without spending too much. What should I buy?
A: Many people are using SVGA Projectors for videos and gaming with good results. Here are some ideas for selecting your Projection Screen.
Q: How high should I hang the projector screen?
A: As a rule, it is recommended to ensure that the center of the screen is in alignment with the eye level of those seated in the first row of a graduated Home Theater seating layout. This will provide the best levels of ergonomic stability, and will not negatively affect the vantage point of the following rows as their increased distance from the screen will provide a comfortable viewing position as well.
Q: I have a native 16:9 4K projector and a 2.35:1 cinemascope projection screen; so, do I need an anamorphic lens to view full size 16:9 content on that 2.35 screen?
A : Yes, if you are going for optimal performance and “no” if your projector has lens memory and you cannot reconcile with the cost of the anamorphic lens. Here is the difference for each.
Projecting onto a 2.35:1 screen (lens zooming): On a native 16:9 4K projector, lens memory is a pre-set feature that allows you to letterbox zoom and fit the 2.35:1 screen’s footprint. To many, this looks good enough. The bad news is that you are losing 25% (over 2,000,000) pixels. They are not gone; they just appear black to give the illusion of no longer being there. Because 25% of your pixels are out of the game and your projector is trying to stretch what is left to fill your screen, you lose 1/3 of your resolution and 25-30% of your brightness depending on the settings you choose. It is also worth mentioning that when your projector blacks out 25% of your pixels, it absorbs the light energy which manifests itself as excess heat inside of your projector. Over time, this excess heat will shorten your projector’s operational lifespan. Some projectors have lens memory so you can switch them at the click of a button but should the projector not have this capability, you’d have to perform this manually through your remote.
Projecting onto a 2.35:1 screen (Anamorphic lens): In order to take full advantage of all of the pixels from your projector (maximize brightness and resolution) you will need an anamorphic lens and avoid the extra light from over spilling beyond the limits of your 2.35 screen. In other words, your projector needs an anamorphic lens to maximize your video performance. A memory lens horizontally stretches your image while electronically upscaling your 16:9 projector’s vertical resolution. This means you get the 2.35:1 performance without losing brightness or resolution. Because you are not running black content in letterbox mode for hours on end, this puts less wear and tear on your projector.
Other options, projecting 16:9 content onto a 2.35:1 Screen: You can still project a 16:9 image onto a 2.35 screen but the image will be smaller and you will have empty space on the sides. No anamorphic lens is needed in this case but you would have to manually adjust for both aspect ratios when viewing 16:9 and 2.35:1 content.