What to Look for in a Front Projection Screen
A front projection system consists primarily of a projector and a screen, with sources and supporting home theater equipment in tow. The resolution and other specifications of the projector will define the performance capabilities that can be attained, but the screen is actually the final determining factor in how good your video will look. A similar analogy can be drawn between a sports car and its tires. You can buy a Ferrari but if you equip it with low budget tires, the performance and handling of the vehicle will be compromised.
Front projection screens can be fixed or retractable, either manually or electrically. Whether the room is a dedicated home theater space or a general purpose living room is often the determining factor in the style of screen that is used.
The general tendency is to go BIG – fit the biggest possible screen your wall can tolerate. After all, why would you invest in a true ‘theater’ experience and get anything less, right? Well, there are several variables to consider, namely projector location and viewing distance. For a projector to produce a specific image size, it has to be a specific distance away. This is called ‘throw distance’. Screen size is often dictated by the architecture of the room, wall size, and how far away the projector can be effectively mounted. You might be able to fit a 200” screen on your wall, but if the projector can’t be mounted far enough to produce that image size, the equation is null. Where you sit relative to the screen is another point to review. If the image size exceeds your eye’s subtended viewing angle, that can be problematic. There’s a good reason why no-one sits in the very front row at an IMAX theater.
When selecting the proper material for your screen, there are many things to keep in mind, but we’ll start with ‘color’ for this discussion. Screens are available in several shades, ranging from pure white to gray to silver and black. If you have a perfectly dark room (at least when you’re watching a film), then white works well. However, if any ambient light is present, white will tend to look ‘washed out’, meaning the video black level is not reproduced correctly. Put simply, the darker the screen the more ambient light it rejects, making your picture more resolute and tolerant of environmental illumination.
At Enhanced Home Systems, we are expert in all matters of Front Projection. We can evaluate the location you have chosen for your theater and recommend the solution that will provide optimal performance and years of reliable enjoyment!