When establishing a home theatre, one important decision involves selecting the appropriate projector screen. Given the multitude of options including screen size, aspect ratio, features, and purpose, this process can seem overwhelming. However, to simplify matters, let’s concentrate on some of the fundamental aspects that will guide you through the selection process.

Source: www.screentechnics.com.au

First and foremost, understanding the significance of projector screens is vital. Those who recall the days of home projectors displaying holiday photos and videos to long-suffering relatives, might also recall the picture quality was not great. Projectors set up in living rooms, casting images directly onto plain walls, resulted in washed-out colours, muted contrast, and various visual artifacts. A bare wall is unsuitable for reflecting images due to physics like light absorption, refraction, or reflection caused by bumpy or warped surfaces and light-absorbing paint.

Projectors use light (photons) to project images, and the surface on which the image is cast must be suitable. A quality projector screen is engineered to capture and reflect the projected light without compromising image quality, brightness, or sharpness. To enhance the viewing experience, it is also recommended to optimize the theatre room by minimizing reflective or ambient light through strategies like using darker, less reflective wall colours and block-out blinds or curtains on windows.

Home cinema screen sizes typically range from 100” to 140”, catering to average room dimensions. Other sizes are available for larger rooms, usually as custom orders. When determining the screen size, factors such as room dimensions, projector location, projector throw distance, and viewer comfort must be considered. Room dimensions play a crucial role, following the general rule that larger rooms necessitate larger screens. Long-throw projectors have specific throw distances, for instance, requiring a minimum of 3.8m and a maximum of 6m from lens to screen to create a 120” size image. By comparison, short-throw and ultra-short throw projectors are less dependent on room dimensions, as they are designed to sit up close to the screen.

Some screens come with built-in gain, which is expressed as a factor of 1. A gain of 1.0 is neutral, indicating no change in light reflectivity. A gain of 1.5 reflects an image at 150% of the original brightness, beneficial for low light output projectors and countering ambient light. A gain of 0.8 means the image is 20% less bright, helping to drastically improve dynamic contrast levels. White is the standard and most popular colour for projector screens. Other screen types include high-contrast grey screens, motorized screens, ceiling light rejecting (CLR) screens, and ambient light rejecting (ALR) screens which will be discussed in a future blog.

Investing in a home theatre setup without including a high-quality projector screen is like buying a sports car and putting cheap, stock tyres on it. Ensure your financial and personal investment aligns with an optimal viewing experience by choosing the right projector screen for your home cinema. Come see us today!