How to choose the best home theater screen

home theater screen

All of us love watching movies on a big screen. While the cinema theater screen size could be as high as 60 feet and as wide as 85 feet, home theater screen size could be as wide as 168 inches and as high as 94 inches. The Home Theater projector screen along with a High end Home theater projector brings images to life, filling colors to every pixel. So, what makes this home theater projection screen so appealing? Is it the texture of the screen? Or is it the color? Read on to learn how to choose the best screen for your Personal home theater.

Screen Type:

1. Fixed:

For a dedicated home cinema room, a permanently installed, fixed type home theater projection screen will always be the best choice. It Doesn’t matter if you are choosing an eye-let based Fixed screen or an Elite Sable frame type variant. But fixed type is considered as the best home theater screen for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are inexpensive compared to other types of projector screens out there. You can get a high quality, fixed type screen for as low as 25,000 INR. Secondly, the fixed screen unlike motorised variant doesn’t need a power socket making the home cinema owner and Home cinema installer’s life easier. Next advantage is the tensioned, tight surface feature that comes by default with the fixed type screen (i.e. even with fixed type home theater screen size of up to 300”) that is difficult to achieve with the other screen variants. Last but not the least, the two inch odd velvet border that you get along with the fixed screen absorbs projector overshoot and also helps you in differentiating the screen from rest of the front wall.

Fixed Frame Home theater screen

2. Manual Pull down:

These types of screens work best for a living room home theater application wherein you might want to place a TV behind the screen. These are the least expensive screen out of the three variants that we are going to discuss here, and are easy to operate compared to the motorised variant. If you are someone who has apprehensions about children physically damaging your home theater screen, then this variant works superbly by offering the flexibility of screen retraction.

Elite Pull Down Home Theater Screen

3. Motorised Screen:

Motorised Home theater screens, the costliest in the line up is a screen that can be wall mounted or ceiling recessed. These projection screens will have one or two motors depending on the screen size. The Motorised screen needs power connection and can be operated using a remote. Home theater installation Personnel installing the screen will need to have good understating of Home cinema screen installations and in all its probability will also need additional help of an electrician.

Screen Material:

The home theater projector screen should be tightly stretched to get the best picture quality. Wrinkles and creases are a great distraction to viewers when watching a movie or anything else.You might think that all the projection screens under the sun are made of same material. But not really, Vinyl is generally the preferred material of choice for economical screens and as you go up the ladder you will find perforated and woven screens that are more costly.

When you have QSC SC 1150 type of Home cinema speaker package that goes and sits behind the screen you would need to have a Harkness or Lumina micro perforated screen that would let the sound pass through. In the process, you will lose some light with these type of home cinema screens.

Screen Aspect Ratio:

When we talk about screen ratio, there are majorly three kinds namely,

1. Yesteryear 4:3 ratio.

2. The most widely used standard 16:9.

3. Movie buff’s favourite 21:9

The 4:3 Screen ratios are almost obsolete for home cinema viewing and the 16:9 ratios are mostly likely be the preferred choice if you watch a lot of HDTV content. But the 21:9 screen ratios beats them all and is the best choice for intense cinematic effect as the black bars that are generally visible with the 16:9 screen remains invisible in 21:9 and every inch of your screen gets filled with natural quality images full of rich colours.

In order to get the best out of 21:9/ cinemascope screens, you would need to have an anamorphic lens attached to the projector in use.

Screen Gain:

The reflective quality of the home theater projection screen is termed as the gain of the screen. High Gain screens reflect light more and produce better brightness compared to low gain screens.  Projector screens with very high gain value produce hotspots – a phenomenon of an image appearing brighter at center than the edges. For a Home theater with dark interiors and dark furniture a Screen between 1-1.3 should work just fine.

Screen Colour:

Dark colored home theater projection screen must be avoided as they distort colour of the picture. While Grey or Silver colour screens provide the best viewing experience in rooms that are partially dark, White screens suit a darker room. The Grey screen absorbs more ambient light but the white screen will be able to provide high quality images in a dedicated home theater room where light is controlled. With the gain value between 0.7 and 1.1, Grey projector screens maintain a better colour contrast than the white ones.

Screen Coating:

Home theater projector screens with Matte white coating and Pearlescent coating are two types of most used coatings. While Matte white coated projector screens are best placed in low-light rooms, pearlescent screens are ideal for home theaters with higher ambient light levels. Matte white coating has low reflection and when the room gets brighter, the colours get dimmer – giving a bad viewing experience. But in ambient light controlled environment, White screen with a High Contrast home theater projector works incredibly well.

Along with ratio, material, gain, colour, and coating of the screen, you have to consider other factors that impact the viewing experience. The area of the room, quality of the home theater projector, the spot you want to place the screen at, the home theater screen size, and much more.

Picking the best home theater screen in India may seem like a tough job. Symphony 440 Design Group consultants evaluate your home theater needs and help you pick the best home theater screen. If you have any question regarding building a home theater feel free to drop a comment or reach out to us directly.


Image courtesy: Elite screens


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *