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Choosing the right screen for you

Your projection image is only as good as the surface it’s been projected on to. So it is important to pick the right screen to suit the room, projector and audience. The ideal screen needs to take a number of variables into account.  These include: the projector; the viewing angle; the amount of ambient light in the room; and the distance of the projector from the screen.

This article describes what you need to know before purchasing a video projection screen.

Characteristics of the Room

Before making a purchase, familiarise yourself with the room you will be placing the video projector in. How high is the ceiling? This will have a bearing on the correct projection screen viewing area width for comfortable viewing ( allow approx. 80cm to 100cm from the floor to the bottom of the Viewing Area ). For example, in a room with a 240cm high ceiling using a native (16:10) projector, the max width of screen would be 240cm less approx. 100cm leaving 140cm height including screen case and black borders or frame size so a max height of 125cm so the viewing area would be approx. 200cm x 125cm (16:10). Are you using the screen in daylight or in the evening or both? Excess ambient light could prevent the room from being dark enough for video projection use. Ambient Light Rejecting  (ALR) projection surfaces can assist in high ambient light rooms.

Screen Size

As per above the ceiling height and the native aspect ratio of the projector are the main factor’s in ensuring the screen is correct for comfortable viewing. The distance between the projector and the screen determines how large an image can be projected on the screen.  The greater the distance is the larger the image can be.  The size of the screen is also determined by the projector used as each has a unique throw ratio. The throw ratio can be considered to determine how large an image can be projected from a given distance. Bigger does not always mean better as you will need to take into consideration the seating position for the viewer. As a rule of thumb 1.5 x the viewing area height should be the closest the audience will sit with a max distance of 6 x the viewing area height for the audience ( based on level seating)

Screen Aspect Ratio – 16:10 – 16:9 or 4:3

The popularity of widescreen DVD and HDTV has driven the trend in video projection screens towards the 16:9 aspect ratio. However. with newer generation laptops having native resolution of 16:10, there has been a surge of demand in the 16:10 screens in the recent months.  Note that it always advisable to use the same screen aspect ratio as the projector’s native resolution to optimise picture quality as the black borders on the projection screen surface not only create the correct aspect ratio but also draw the human eye into experiencing a perceived clarity of image.

Custom Screen sizes

We are often asked to provide screens in non standard sizes.  A customised screen can maximise your projection space and fully utilise your various AV equipment.  Screen International specialises in producing screens with a wide range of measurements from standard to custom sizes in order to satisfy any requirement.  For more information contact our Screen Specialists.

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