More and more people no longer see televisions as the only way to enjoy watching a good movie. The habit of buying 40, 50, or even 60-inch models is becoming less common. Nowadays, a quality projector allows you to have a fantastic viewing experience. But there’s another product you need for that: a projector screen.
The film and entertainment industry has realized that projectors and projection screens were a very handy medium to use. This is because they can offer the same sound and audio quality as modern televisions. If you’re not familiar with this technology, we’ll teach you all there is to know about it in the following shopping guide.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best projector screens on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about projector screens
- 3.1 What is a projector screen exactly?
- 3.2 Can I use a white wall instead of a projector screen?
- 3.3 What aspects of the screen’s material should be prioritized?
- 3.4 What is the aspect ratio of a projector screen?
- 3.5 What types of projector screens are there?
- 3.6 Should my projector screen be flat or curved?
- 3.7 How tense should my projector screen be?
- 3.8 Does the size of the screen really matter?
- 3.9 Are projector screens for home use only?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Projector screens are a piece of equipment you can have in your home to set up a cinema room, allowing you to project any multimedia content you want. Unlike televisions, which broadcast their own signal, these screens need a projector in order to display content.
- These installations are designed in such a way that light does not bounce off of them, maintaining image quality as it is. They come in different shapes, sizes, and trick modes, with each screen offering a specific display standard or format.
- You can set up your projector screen in various rooms of your home; this will all depend on the space you have available. Other accessories such as supports, tripods, hangers or audio equipment can improve your overall experience.
Ranking: The best projector screens on the U.S. market
Are you tired of keeping up with those increasingly expensive and sophisticated TVs? Well, you can set up your own home cinema with the right projector screen. There is an incredibly wide array of products on the American market, and you might have some difficulties making your decision. We’ve prepared a selection of the very best models out there to help you in this endeavor.
No. 1: Mdbebbr PSJY-001
This projector screen by Mdbebbr offers incredible value for money, and this is the main reason why it has become Amazon’s Choice in the category. Hundreds of past customers will vouch for it, too, also stating that its setup is very straightforward. With a size of 120 inches, this projector screen has a 16:9 ratio and supports 1080P Full HD videos.
One of its great advantages is that the PSJY-001 is compatible with both front and rear projectors. Made from natural polyester, you can fold it any way you want and it won’t crease. This screen is also super lightweight and easy to carry around. It comes with a bunch of hooks and two ropes to help you set up this compact projector screen anywhere you like.
No. 2: VIVO Portable Screen
Chinese company VIVO specializes in image and sound tech products, and its portable projector screen is a versatile and affordable model that will surely satisfy your needs. It comes with a sturdy tripod that is very easy to set up, allowing you to install this screen anywhere you need it. Its 1.1 gain is ideal for home use, offering a great viewing angle for everyone.
The screen measures 100 inches and comes with a frame that can be black or white, the former providing greater image contrast. You can easily clean the screen with water and mild soap to keep it in optimal conditions. Past customers have praised the quality and value for money of this VIVO screen, some having used it successfully in professional environments.
No. 3: Silver Ticket STR-169135
Silver Ticket Products is an American brand of home theater products and accessories, and this less affordable projector screen will be worth every penny. First of all, it measures an incredible 135 inches and will provide you with a truly immersive experience. The company even offers screens that go up to 200 inches if you really want to go big.
This product has a ratio of 16:9 and 1.1 gain value, offering a fantastic viewing angle. Once you’ve set this fixed-frame screen in your home, we’re ready to bet you’ll forget about your TV. Note that mounting the structure will require some time, from 30 to 45 minutes according to past users. However, they have also stated that this process was very straightforward.
No. 4: Elite Screens M100H
California-based company Elite Screens is very popular in the projector screen industry, and the brand’s products are some of the best selling on Amazon. The M100H has received great reviews from hundreds of buyers, who have particularly praised its quality for backyard theater setups. This product also comes with a 2-year warranty.
This 100-inch projector screen works via an easy-to-use manual roll-down system that also features a slow-retract mechanism to protect your product when you’re storing it away. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a gain of 1.0, offering a viewing angle of 180 degrees. The M100H model is compatible with 8K, HDR and 3D technologies, which means you can display just about anything you like on it.
No. 5: Elite Screens Yard Master 2
The last product of our selection is another Elite Screens model, and it offers the same high quality as the M100H with some additional perks. First of all, the Yard Master 2 measures 120 inches for an even more powerful viewing experience. It is compatible with front projectors and the set includes an easy-to-install stand so you can use it anywhere.
Its aspect ratio is 16:9 and its gain 1.1, providing a great 160-degree viewing angle. Its black frame features snap-buttons to ensure that your projector screen is nice and flat at all times. Delivered with a carrying bag and all accessories required to set it up, this model is great for improvised movie nights. This product is also protected by the manufacturer’s 2-year warranty.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about projector screens
Replacing 4K televisions with projector screens is becoming increasingly popular in American homes — and rightly so! These installations offer many advantages, and the price difference with TVs is huge. However, this phenomenon is fairly recent and many still have questions about projector screens, which is why we’ve answered the most frequently asked in the following section.
What is a projector screen exactly?
This smooth surface is generally made from fabric or fabric by-products and is used to reflect an image or video to an audience. You will also need a projector that broadcasts these images or videos. These screens can either be a permanent installation (like in the cinema) or detachable and portable products.
The projection on screens is generally frontal, although certain models also support rear projection. The vast majority come in white and grey in order to avoid discoloration of the images. While most screens are flat surfaces, others are curved to better match the optics of projectors.
Can I use a white wall instead of a projector screen?
No, using a plain wall to project your images or videos doesn’t offer the same advantages as a screen. And it doesn’t matter which kind: even a very white, smooth wall won’t be ideal to use your projector. White sheets aren’t good either, no matter how fine the silk they are made of is.
The materials used in the manufacturing of projectors screens are specifically designed to prevent the light from bouncing back. This means you won’t have any annoying reflection, and your sharpness (or image definition) is fully preserved. You can always use white walls or sheets if you have no other option, but know that this will significantly affect the quality.
What aspects of the screen’s material should be prioritized?
At first glance, all projector screens look like they’re made from the same material. While it is true that most are white and manufactured with natural polyester, various aspects differ from one model to another. These include gain, brightness, and acoustic transparency. We briefly explain these factors in the table below:
|Fabric characteristic||What it means|
|Gain||This value defines the performance of the projector screen. Less gain equals to a greater viewing angle, which means that it doesn’t matter where you sit. More gain, however, means that the brightness is concentrated in the center of the screen. The quality will therefore be better for people sitting right in front.|
|Brightness||Measured in LUX, it gives you the contrast ratio of the image projected on the screen. The greater the contrast between the screen and the background behind it is, the better the image quality will be.|
|Acoustic transparency||This refers to the ability for sound to go through the screen without bouncing off. Many fabrics are microperforated for greater transparency, hence improving sound quality.|
What is the aspect ratio of a projector screen?
The aspect ratio of your projector screen is the relationship between its width and its height. This value is obtained by dividing these two factors and is expressed in the formula x:y. For example, the 1:1 ratio is a perfect square, used for instance in CRT-based TVs. Nowadays, the standard for high definition screens is 16:9.
Since projectors screens usually mimic cinema screens, you are also advised to pick a model with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This wide format is ideal to truly enjoy your movies at home: since it is more rectangular (with the horizontality being prioritized), it generates more dynamism and is more similar to human vision.
What types of projector screens are there?
This type of screen is designed to be simple and comfortable to use. That being said, not all systems work exactly the same. Knowing how you plan on using the projector screen is essential in order for you to choose the right type of installation. We’ve compared the features of the three main projector screens in the table below:
|Type of projector screen||How it works|
|Fixed-frame||Anchored to the wall and fixed, the screen naturally cannot be moved from one place to another. It is generally rolled up for storage.|
|Retractable (manual)||It can be rolled up or folded in a case for storage. These models usually come with a tripod for support. The projector must also be portable.|
|Motorized||This fixed-frame subtype has a built-in electric motor and a remote control to raise and lower the screen. It is used in cinemas and in working environments, such as in meeting rooms.|
Should my projector screen be flat or curved?
These two types might be different from an aesthetic point of view, but they’re otherwise quite similar in every other aspect. Curved screens are the more recent models, and the arc they form prevents the image of the projector from being distorted since it is equidistant to each point of the screen.
Curved screen enthusiasts claim that each point of these models is at the same distance from the eyes of the viewer. Caused by the surrounding effect of the curvature, this generates a more immersive experience. The detractors, on the other hand, argue that the curves cause a strange perception as if watching 3D effects without glasses.
How tense should my projector screen be?
Ideally, your projector screen should be as tense as possible — in particular if you opted for a fixed-frame system. This tension provides many benefits, the most important of which is that the image will be perfectly adjusted, offering greater detail. This is essential if you have a short or ultra-short throw projector.
Does the size of the screen really matter?
This is probably one of the very first questions you’ll ask yourself. As we mentioned earlier, the aspect ratio is more important than the actual size of the screen. Most projectors on the market allow you to have an image that can reach 300 inches. However, that doesn’t mean that you should get the biggest screen possible.
If you want to set up a projector screen in your own home, the ideal height shouldn’t exceed one-sixth of the distance between the installation and where you sit. If you sit 9 feet away from the device, for instance, you can easily have a 100-inch screen.
Are projector screens for home use only?
Of course not! While home use has become the most frequent one in recent years, projector screens are also extremely common in educational settings — where they replace traditional blackboards — and in the workplace. In that regard, they are often found in meeting rooms to display presentations and talks.
Getting a projector screen is the first step to revolutionizing your cinematic experience. Its benefits and comfort will make you forget about standard TVs in a heartbeat. While each different product is tailored to the needs of specific users, you should evaluate various key factors before making your decision. We’ve detailed these criteria in the following section to help you.
- Brightness and contrast
- Format and ratio
You simply cannot overlook the gain If you’re paying attention to the quality of the image or video on your projector screen. A lower value will guarantee a wider viewing angle, which is ideal when there are multiple viewers. Everyone will enjoy the same quality regardless of where they’re sitting. A gain between 1.0 and 1.8 is ideal for home use.
Brightness and contrast
The brightness and contrast offered by a projector screen are essential aspects to consider. This will prevent you from seeing the typical whitish image that is displayed in low-quality presentations or projections on walls. You are advised to have a brightness between 100 and 400 LUX in normal lighting conditions. Reaching 100 LUX in your home is easy simply by controlling the light.
Format and ratio
As we mentioned earlier, the projection format and aspect ratio are more important than the actual size of the screen. The 16:9 widescreen format is the most common and recommended, as it is the standard for HD resolution. A screen with a black frame will also help you properly define the area for the projected image.
Projector screens can offer you the very best experience in terms of image and sound. However, you’ll get tired of it and store your screen away for good if it is hard to install and use. This is why we encourage you to read the installation manual or to check in the product description how the screen is set up and for which spaces its use is intended.
The fabric of the screen is like the canvas on which your multimedia content will be projected. For this reason, you should ensure that it is made from materials that allow optimal light and sound transmission. Natural polyester generally meets these requirements and guarantees that there are no reflections. The product will be even better if it is also micro-perforated for higher sound quality.
Projector screens are generally smooth, white fabrics that allow you to view images or videos almost as if you were in a cinema. They are becoming increasingly popular in homes (and in working environments) as a replacement for televisions. All they need is a projector to display the multimedia content.
These screens are designed so that the brightness doesn’t rebound, allowing the image definition to be as good as with any television set. These devices can be fixed, manual, or motorized, depending on the intended use. They naturally come in different sizes and formats. The majority are compatible with front projection and are suitable for outdoor use.
If you liked our guide on projector screens, feel free to share this article on your social media so that others can learn more about these wonderful installations. We’re sure many can make the most of all the information we’ve provided in this guide — just like you. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be happy to get back to you as soon as possible!
(Source of featured image: ANdreas Schindl: 27146999/ 123rf.com)