Screen Guide

Four Steps to Selecting a Screen

Screen Guide -
Note: for best image quality, we recommend using a screen over a wall surface. Textured surfaces and paint hues can have a noticeable effect on the projected image.
Need a little help finding the perfect screen? Follow our fast and easy guide to selecting a screen. It’s all you need to know in four simple steps.

Step One : Choose Screen Mounting Orientation
Step Two : Selecting a Screen Surface
Step Three : Choosing an Aspect Ratio
Step Four : Determining Screen Size

Step One: Choose Screen Mounting Orientation

Your first decision is to decide how you want to use your screen. Do you want your screen to be portable or do you plan to install your screen in a permanent location? Do you want a screen with bells and whistles? Or do you want something simple and inexpensive? Below are the four screen mounting orientations we currently offer.
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Screen Mounting Options:
There are a wide variety of screens available in each of these mounting orientations. Some screens will include additional features such as designer casing, tab tensioning, adjustable masking borders, and more. For each mounting type, we list the available features in a convenient chart format.

Quick Tip: Projector People’s most popular screen mounting options are portable (for road warriors, hotels, convention halls, and educational facilities) and manual (for boardrooms, classrooms, or home theaters.) We also recommend that you purchase your projector before ordering a screen.

Step Two - Selecting a Screen Surface

The way a screen surface refracts light is what differentiates one screen fabric from another. Manufacturers specify both gain and viewing angle to help you decide which surface is best for you. Take some time to think about the following questions before making your final decision.
Does your viewing area have controlled lighting or ambient light?
Does the space where you plan to use your screen have controlled lighting? Or is there ambient light from windows and office/household lighting? Your screen material can help minimize the effects of ambient light in rooms without controlled lighting. Screen materials can also help to increase the appearance of contrast or brightness of a projected image.

For bright rooms with lots of ambient light, we recommend Screen Innovations Black Diamond screen.

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What is the room configuration?
In rooms that are wider than they are deep, some audience members may find themselves at an angle to the screen where “fall-off” occurs, making it difficult for them to see the image. In these situations, a screen surface with a larger viewing angle is preferred. Longer rooms may require larger screens so that those in the back of the room can clearly see the display’s details.
What type of images do you intend to display?

The content you display on your screen will also play a part in determining which screen is best for you. Gray screen material is popular with home theater enthusiasts because the material adds the appearance of contrast to a video image. This effect is most prominent on projectors with a 2,000:1 or lower contrast ratio. White or matte white screens are more popular in business applications. In situations where accurate color is desired, such as viewing digital photography, a white or matte white surface will provide truer color representation.

Common ApplicationsScreen Surface Suggestions
Video (TV, Blu-ray or DVD sources)gray, white or matte white
Digital photographywhite or matte white
Computer imageswhite or matte white
Detailed spreadsheets or CAD designs (high-res, high detail)white or matte white

Step Three - Choosing an Aspect Ratio

Standard NTSC televisions and older videos display images in a 4:3 aspect ratio . Computers have a variety of sizes including 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10. High-definition television and Blu-ray discs are shown in widescreen (or 16:9) format. Most films shown in a cinema display in an even wider aspect ratio than that. Our most popular screen aspect ratios, as you might expect, are also the 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 formats. But which one is best for you? We have created a handy reference for deciding which aspect ratio is best for you »
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Common ApplicationsAspect RatioWidth:Height
NTSC video (US Standard for TV broadcast)1.334:3
PAL video (European Standard for TV broadcast)1.334:3
HDTV Video and Blu-ray discs1.7816:9
1280×800 computer displays1.916:10
Cinema displays2.35wider than 16:9

Step Four - Determining Screen Size

Your screen size needs to fit your setting. A small screen won’t work in an auditorium, and a large screen will overwhelm a small boardroom or home theater. You should also keep in mind the performance of your projector – what range of sizes can the projector display? Other factors to consider include the room configuration and the size of your typical audience.

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Screen size recommendations from Da-Lite:
Screen height should be approximately equal to 1/6 the distance from the screen to the last row of seats, allowing text to be read and detail to be seen in the projected image. Ideally, the first row of seats should be approximately two screen heights away.
The bottom of the screen should be a minimum of 4 feet above the audience floor, allowing those seated toward the rear of the audience to see the screen. This may require additional screen “drop” for ceiling hung screens.
Quick Tip: Projector People used to recommend that you buy the projector before purchasing a screen. However, with advances like lens shift and zoom lenses , as well as better throw distance calculators you can now (usually) make an informed decision at the time of purchase. For the most part, you will only need to know how large a screen your space can accommodate. Our most common screen sizes for home theater are 92, 106 , and 120-inch diagonal in a 16:9 (HDTV) aspect ratio.
Still have questions? Call a Projector Expert now for the best advice and your best price!