Home Theater – Your Personal Silver Screen

Home Theater Projector Screens and Surfaces

The recent increased popularity of home video projectors and the large, clear images they can produce has led many new arrivals to the Home Theater real to choose a video projector as their display device of choice. Video projector images look best when directed onto a properly matched screen surface. Although some anxiously new owners may premierely start by aiming their new projector on a white wall – they soon will want to get a projection screen for best results. Video projection screens come in many varieties – from the simple Do-It-Yourself (DIY) homemade screen to the most elaborate, manufactured remote control electric models and those various models in between. Video projector screens also come in a variety of surface finishes and reflectivity ratios. All of these factors should be considered when selecting a screen for your Home Theater.

Screen Surface Types

Home Theater projector screens come in a multitude of surface finishes. The variety of surface finish you will need depends upon your projector model. Screen surfaces vary from matte white, slightly silver or gray-ish, to reflective glass beaded models. Glass beaded models increase the effective brightness of your projector's image similar to the way a highway sign reflects car headlights. Lower lumen-level (lumens = light output) projectors such as CRT models benefit most from higher reflectivity (or gain) of a screen's surface. Higher gain surfaces increase the perceived brightness of the projected image. Conversely – a brighter projector looks best with a matte white or even a silver / gray surface. That is because the glass beads on higher gain screens have a tendency to "splatter" the brighter light waves produced by a high lumen output projector. A silver / gray surface will also enhance the perceived contrast level of LCD projectors which do not have the best contrast / black levels. So first you must decide the type and lumen output of the projector you are purchasing and that will help help determine the surface type of the video projector screen you will need.

Model Types

Projection screens come in three basic styles – manual pull-down, electric and fixed variacies. Manual pull-down models are operated much like a window shade. Electric models have a motorized mechanism that does the work for you and fixed screens are motionless and stay right where you place them. Fixed screens also provide the flattest of all screen surfaces. Pull-down and electric screens can be suspect to a slight waves on their surface. Although not obtrusive if properly cared for, some may prefer the absolute flat surface of a fixed screen model. The drawback to fixed screens is that you must live with them in place whereas retractable models can be deployed for viewing and afterwards be hidden from sight until next use.

Aspect Ratio

There is another very important factor to consider when shopping for a screen – that of the screen's aspect ratio. The aspect ratio of a projection screen refers to the shape of the available screen surface. Screens come in two basic aspect ratios — 4×3 which is your normal television aspect ratio and 16×9 which is the normal widescreen or HDTV aspect ratio. The aspect ratio of your screen is an important decision to make prior to its purchase. That's because of the fact that once you buy it there's no way to change the aspect ratio – other than masking portions of the screen. You can mask the surface with material or curtains if you want to get creative and that can temporarily change the aspect ratio of your fixed screen.

You will save a lot of time and trouble by thoroughly researching your screen choice prior to its purchase. Whatever your application and needs — rest assured there is a projection screen surface and model available to fit your particular situation. For further and more detailed information on video projector screen applications for home theaters please refer to the section on projector screens which can also be accessed from the navigation bar at http://www.Home-Theater-Systems-Advice.com .