The Best Projector Screen – Buying Guides

The screen is an essential component of your installation. There are many variations: built-in, transportable, fixed screen. Will choose your needs and your budget (prices vary from 60 $ to more than 500 $).

Projector Screen
Types of screens

There are several types of screens, to choose from according to the use you will have of them (home theatre, office automation, travelling) and the configuration of the projection room.

Standard Screen

Attached to the wall or ceiling, this is the most common type of screen, both practical and relatively affordable. The canvas is rolled up in a box (housing), and it is only unwound when the projector is in use. The advantage is, of course, to be able to “tidy up” the canvas to hide the screen in standard times.

Find below a selection of the best manual screens. Two manufacturers stand out: Oray and Lumene.

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Motorized Screen

The screen is equipped with an electric motor for lowering and raising the canvas. Depending on the model, Can control them via an infrared remote control or a wired switch. It is also possible on some models to automate the opening and closing of the screen, by coupling it with the projector (requires specific connections).

Find below the best wall/ceiling mount electric screens, selected from the highest-rated by buyers.

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Fixed Screen on Frame

It is a canvas stretched on a fixed frame. The main advantage of this system is to guarantee a perfectly flat canvas over time (tensioned canvas). The frame that holds the canvas is attached directly to the wall or suspended from the ceiling. It is technically the ideal screen if you have a projection room or a dedicated home theatre room.

Find below a selection of fixed screens.

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Best Projector Screen – Buying Guides

To best choose your projection screen, we have listed the main elements that characterize the different models.


There is no such thing as the “right” screen size. It is mainly a matter of preference and layout of the projection room. From a technical point of view, remember to check the projection ratio of your video projector. It determines the width of the projected image according to the projector’s position.

For more information on choosing the right size, see the screen size section.


The choice of the screen format depends on the use you will have of your projector. There are two main formats: 16: 9 and 4: 3.

The Best Projector Screen - Buying Guides 1
  • For home cinema use, choose 16: 9 without hesitation. (4: 3 has now almost disappeared with the advent of the HD format)
  • For “office” use, 4: 3 is still the most widespread today (but 16: 9 is also becoming widespread, especially for PowerPoint type presentations). There is also the very versatile 1: 1 (square) aspect ratio commonly found on entry-level screens.

For those who would require both formats, there are reversible screens, both 4/3 and 16/9, such as the model Oray Fly Duo.

What are the black edges for?
On roll-up screens, black bands delimit the contours of the useful projection surface. They are thin on the sides and thick at the top or bottom. Also called extra-drop, these bands increase the perceived contrast and, therefore, the projected image’s quality.
This is why it is advisable to choose a screen suited to the primary use format (16: 9 for home theater use). Using a completely white canvas or an unsuitable design, 4: 3 or 16: 9 is entirely possible but will give a less contrasted image.


The quality of the canvas is one element that determines the quality of a screen (and justifies the price differences between the different models). A good canvas will guarantee good color rendering and good flatness over time. That is to say. It will not curl or slightly following multiple winding/unwinding. Anti-yellowing or anti-buckling treatments will also allow better longevity of the canvas.

Its gain mainly characterizes a canvas. The higher it is, the more light the canvas will reflect and vice versa for a low gain. Except in exceptional cases, a matt white canvas with an increase of 1 is the best choice. This is also the type of fabric used on almost all of the projection screens available on the market.

Types of fabrics

For more specific uses, be aware that there are many kinds of projection screens: with a gain less than or greater than 1, micro perforated to let sound pass, etc.

Standard gain (= 1) : globally neutral

This is the gain of the canvas of most screens.

High gain (> 1) : bright image but lower contrast.

Recommended for use in a brightly lit environment (exhibition, trade show, conference, etc.) or with a low-light projector. The danger is creating a halo phenomenon (light concentrated in the center of the image) if the gain is too high. 

In addition, a high gain will also reduce the viewing angle, ie it will have to be close to the projection axis to see the image properly.

Low gain (<1) : less bright image but high contrast.

Recommended for home cinema use in a very dark environment and / or with a very bright projector because the fabric will absorb more light.

Matt white canvas : this is the “classic” canvas, it gives a quality image for home cinema use as a professional (presentations, etc.).

Gray canvas : to increase the contrast but requires a very bright projector (low canvas gain). 

Used for movies only.

Microperforated fabric (or transparent fabric): to let sound pass through the screen. 

Use if you want to place your speakers behind the screen. 

The micro-perforations of the canvas must not be too large at the risk of seeing the image lose sharpness.

Which screen size to choose?

The screen size choice is a very subjective point, with consequences in terms of installation (The position of the video projector will depend on the size of the image, see box below).

Screen size and distance
Image size and projection distance are related. The focal length is not the same for all devices, and the projector’s position will be different depending on the model. Therefore, it is a question of verifying the adequacy between the size of the screen and the projection ratio of the video projector before proceeding with your purchase.

The ideal size depends on several factors (position of the screen about viewers, image resolution, etc.) and all on your preferences. In the cinema example, people indeed like to sit near the screen while others will instead place at the back of the room.

Some recommendations indicate the correct distance or screen size, depending on the image’s resolution for your information. These are only indicative, and it is best to rely on your experience as a spectator.

Examples of recommendations for a full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution (16: 9 format):

  • Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers ( SMPTE )
  • 30 ° Viewing Angle: Multiply screen width by 1.87 to get recommended viewing distance.
  • Example: 2 m widescreen → 3.74 m back
  • THX Company (Movie
  • Theater Certification Agency) 40 ° Viewing Angle: Multiply screen width by 1.37 to get recommended viewer distance.
  • Example: Screen 2 m wide → setback 2.74 m

Again, these are indications only (or even, for THX recommendations, the minimum distance to be observed) for a full HD image. The most important thing is to consider us

Resolution and viewing distance
Resolution maybe the only objective factor that will determine the distance between the viewer and the screen. Indeed, the higher the resolution, the closer you can be to the screen without distinguishing the image’s pixels.
This is one of the reasons why the HD format is so vital in projection. The screens’ size is such that the pixelation will be more easily visible with standard formats such as DVD.