Different Types of Projector Screens

projector screen

projector screen

If looking to buy or replace a projector screen for your home theater system, you’ll find several options and features to choose from.  Below, we have put together a guide with a little on each of the five different options in home theater projection screens.

Manual Projector Screen

This type of screen is more commonly found in older models and is just what it sounds like.  Users must pull it down much like a window shade.  This type of projector screen is also commonly found in many classrooms. Manual projector screens are less expensive and less fancy, but they can keep the same properties as the more expensive screens. Manual projectors are great for watching movies outdoors and they’re more transportable.

Auto Retract/Electrical Projector Screen

This screen drops and retracts using an electric motor and can be operated by switch or remote control.  This feature is more common with newer screens, and there are even a few in which the screen can be dropped and retracted manually or electrically.

Fixed Projector Screen


The fixed projector screen is most like a movie theater screen.  It is simply fixed and attached to your wall without the need to be dropped or retracted by hand or motor.  Another benefit of a fixed projector screen is the mounting keeps it from waving around should anything or anyone bump into it.

Painted Projector Screen

Home improvement types have gone the blank wall route rather than a custom projector screen.  While this is obviously a cheaper option, a blank wall is incapable of picking up all of the details all projectors are capable of producing. If you own a projector, it is highly suggested that you also invest in a screen to go along with it.

Projector Gain

Another important feature to consider when choosing a projector screen is gain.  Gain is a measurement of the reflectivity for light from a projector screen.  For example, a gain of 1.0 means the projector screen will reflect the same amount of light as your average white board. A projector screen with a gain of 1.5 will reflect 50% more light than the previous screen. The gain of a projector can get as high as 6.0 in some cases. 

Aspect Ratio

These different types of projector screens are just some of the options available.  Once you know which projector screen you want, knowing what size comes next.  It is important to consider aspect ratio when picking out a projector screen. Aspect ratio is the ratio of length to width. An aspect ratio of 1:1 would be a perfect square while an aspect ratio of 4:3 or even 16:9 are much wider. If you purchase a screen with a different aspect ratio then the projector, you could have black spaces to the sides or above/below the projector.

What materials, how and where to mount, and other questions can all be answered by our home theater professionals. Click here to see our selection of home theater projector screens.

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