Projector Screen Materials: Things To Keep In Mind

After you have compared various models and finally selected a projector that ticks all the right boxes, it is time to figure out what sort of screen you want. The projector screen you choose plays a major role in determining what your overall visual experience is going to be like. If the screen isn’t made of a suitable material, the image will look bad no matter how expensive and feature-rich the projector is.

Screens come in a variety of forms: they may be permanently installed (like in a movie hall) or portable (like in conference rooms). Inflatable screens are also available and are great for impromptu movie screenings outside. Depending on your needs, they may be flat or curved as well.

What color should the projector screen material be?

It important that the material you choose is of a light color, which allows light to be reflected perpendicularly off the screen, thus improving visibility. This is why white is the preferred color of choice for a projector screen. White does not interfere with the colors in the image that is being projected and helps maintain visual integrity. However, dark areas may look brighter than intended with a white screen.

Another popular color is light grey. Light grey screens are slightly darker than white ones, which makes the image look slightly dim as well. But, even though this color may make bright areas look dusky, black and dark colored portions look much closer to the intended shade. Many manufacturers refer to such screens as “high contrast” models.

What is screen gain?

Screen gain is one of the most important characteristics of a projector screen and is a measure of the material’s reflectivity when compared to a screen coated with titanium dioxide – which is a bright white substance. Normal gain values range from 0.8 (grey screens) to 2.5 (glass-bead screen). Screens with a higher gain value reflect more light and are brighter. If the material has extremely high gain (attained using a mirror surface), you may end up just seeing a reflection of the projector.

Even though grey screens typically have lower reflectivity than white ones, they can still have screen gain values of 1 or greater because of differences in the way light bounces of the material’s surface.

Does the screen material affect image quality?

The brightness of the projected image depends largely on the ambient light, luminosity of the projector and size of the image. Large screens tend to look less-bright when ambient light is high – which leads to lower image quality. Manufacturers have attempted to resolve this issue by making material which reflects light back to the light source, improving visibility.

If the screen is highly reflective, it may develop “hot spots” – areas where the image is much brighter than the rest. But, these screens tend to perform better in well-lit areas while a matt finish is better for darker rooms.