Updated: May 9, 2015
Projector Screen Reviews:After doing a recent review on the top home theater projectors, I decided to look into projector screens to see which models are the best. There are more and more theater rooms popping up in houses across America and many people are choosing to go the route of projector screens instead of plasma, LED or LCD screens. With a projector screen you can watch your favorite movies on a 90 inch area or larger screen and enjoy the film as it was meant to be. Depending on the room you wish to put the home projector into, you should have plenty of options in terms of the type of projector screen you can buy. There are portable screens, manual wall screens, electric or motorized screens, and fixed-frame screens to name just a few. The room setup will dictate part of the solution for you, but many variables are left up to you. Which projector screen is best for your house? We have put together a brief buying guide down below followed by reviews of the best selling screens in various categories.
The first thing to consider is what style of projector screen you will want - manual, electric, permanently tensioned, portable or rear-projection. An inexpensive choice is to go with a manual projection screen. A manual screen functions alot like a windowshade, you pull it down with your hand to get it out and then let it release back up into it's case for storage. Even with proper care, a manual projection screen can have it's downfalls which include rippling, wearing out, and the issue of it rolled back into it's case way too fast. Some manufacturers have found ways around these problems like having a Contolled Screen Return feature which allows for a smooth rollback into the storage case. Other things like tension rods help keep the screen stretched so that the surface stays flat and smooth. Look for a manual screen with steel bearings which will prolong it's lifespan versus the less durable nylon rollers found on many models. Electric projection screens are easy to operate with a simple remote control although they are pricier than manual screens. With an electric projector screen you get convenience and the ability to mount them externally to the ceiling using brackets. Tensioned electric projector screens give you a "wrinkle-free" viewing surface and are better for the screen than non-tension styles. There are ceiling recessed cases available for electric screens, but the installation is much trickier (especially if the ceiling has already been finished). Permanent tension projector screens are made by using a screen frame and then wrapping the fabric around the frame (tightly) to get a nice mounted appearance. Experts say you should use a black matte finish on the frame to keep glare to a minimum. Portable projector screens are great if you plan on taking your projector on a business trip, to a friends house, or just move it from room to room in your house. Tripod projector screens are a particular type of portable screen which are easy to transport and are cheap. Pop-up screens are really convenient as well since they are self-contained and travel easy. There big drawback is size limitations which can be solved by using a folding screen which will give you the biggest possible portable screen size. The rear projection screens are a little different in that the images are actually projected from behind the screen using a mirror system or by having plenty of dark space behind the screen. The other issues with the screen are terms called 'gain' and 'viewing angle'. Gain is how you measure how much reflectivity comes from the screen's surface (higher is better). Viewing angle is an important feature to have on a screen since you want the best quality image displayed even for people who are not sitting directly in front of the screen. The big problem is that the 2 work in an inverse relationship meaning that the higher the gain goes the less viewing angle you will have. New LCD projectors are slowly relegating the inverse relationship, but it will still exist. The actual screen fabric will usually be white or gray. Dark rooms call for white screens and those with more natural light work best with gray screens. How about screen size? You will find screens come in different formats like HDTV, video format and square. If you are going to watch television or fullscreen movies, go with the video format screens which carry a 4:3 ratio (width to height). For widescreen movies and HD tv, the HDTV screens are perfect in home theaters. They have a width to height ratio of 16:9, great for widescreen DVD's. Screen sizes will vary from small to large and you will need to measure your room to determine which size is best. The biggest screen that will fit is not always the best. You want to take into consideration the viewing angle of the people watching. Take the overall dimensions of the room to your local projector screen showroom and the salesperson can walk you through the process of figuring the best screen size. Believe it or not, you can paint on a projector screen to a wall in your theater room. Sounds a bit crazy, but actually you will find that the results are similar to having a regular screen. Screen paint is sold at most audio/video stores that carry projectors and projector screens. A DIY projector screen made with paint is doable and again you will choose between white or gray for the best results. Enough of the technical talk, you can find some great consumer and expert reviews online at Audioholics.com, Projectorcentral.com, Projectorreviews.com, and AVforums.com. Get feedback on your thoughs in the online user forums and find out what other consumers are saying about their purchases. You can browse the top selling home projector screens online here.