Recommended Projection Screens by Type
When shopping around for projection screens, there are a lot of different brands out there. But before you think about which brand of projection screen you want, you need to decide what type you need. Are you projecting on a flat wall? Do you want something that will retract? Maybe acoustically transparent so you can place your speakers behind it? Do you have light control? If not, you definitely want ambient light rejecting. And Ultra Short Throw projectors require their own special screens. So, what do we recommend? Read on!
Author’s Note: As we’ve said before, we think that 16:9 is the best projection screen aspect ratio but most of these screens come in many different sizes. Choose the one that works best for your seated position and preferred usage.
Recommended Fixed Frame Projection Screens
A fixed frame screen is one that hangs on the wall like a picture. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t do anything fancy, it just sits there. Fixed frame projection screens benefit from being the least expensive of all the options. Of course, you need to dedicate a wall to them as they generally can’t be removed or stored between uses.
Our Favorite Fixed Frame Projection Screens: Silver Ticket
Silver Ticket over at Amazon has been the value leader for projection screens for some time. We prefer (and suggest most people buy) the white material. It has a little bit of gain but provides a great image in a dark room. They have many sizes and aspect ratios available and they are all extremely affordable. We have one in our home theater and we love it
Secondary Option: Elite Screens Aeon Series
Can’t find what you want from Silver Ticket? We like the Elite Screens Aeon series. We find the Silver Ticket screens a little easier to put together and the screen material to be a little smoother, but the Elite offerings are very good. If you are sitting farther than 10 feet from the screen, we wouldn’t worry about the screen material.
Fixed Frame Screen with Masking: Seymour AV
If you want masking on your fixed frame screen, Seymour AV has your back. They have fancy (and super expensive) motorized models but we prefer the much more affordable manual masking systems. These screens ship with panels that stick magnetically to the projection screen frame. These change the aspect ratio from 16:9 to 2.35:1 to 4:3 as needed. And if you have a voice-controlled remote system (i.e. kids), the masks add themselves!
Recommended Roll Down Projection Screens
When we look at roll down projection screens, we only consider tab-tensioned. Screens that aren’t tab-tensioned are too susceptible to moving from AC or other air sources. The tensioning keeps the screen flat and provides a much better surface to project on.
Our Favorite Roll Down Projection Screens: Seymour AV
In general, Seymour AV makes our favorite projection screens. The problem is that, for most applications, the Seymour AV offerings are considerably more expensive. When we pick our favorites, price factors in heavily. We would rather recommend something that is less expensive as long as the performance is not too much different. In this case, Seymour AV is tops in tab-tensioned and their prices are pretty competitive as well! They hide the majority of the tension wire behind the masking. Check them out!
Secondary Option: Elite Screens Tab-Tension 2
Elite Screens have been moving more toward outdoor screens recently, but they still have their Tab-Tension 2 series. These aren’t inexpensive, but they have all the bells and whistles. Motorized, tab-tensioned, and white or black options for case colors, you can likely find what you want at Elite.
Recommended Acoustically Transparent Projection Screens
For those that want that “clean” look, the acoustically transparent screen is the way to go. It allows you to buy three, identical front speakers for a seamless soundstage. It also gives you that “movie theater” feel for your home theater. But your screen must let the sound through without attenuating it in any way.
Our Favorite Acoustically Transparent Projection Screens: Elite Screen Aeon AcousticPro UHD
For the price, it is hard to beat the Elite Screens AcousticPro UHD offerings. They have a fairly tight weave and great performance. The screen can be a bit hard to put together but you only have to do it once. The only downside is that there are limited size options. The only aspect ratio is 16:9 (which is fine by us, but not everyone agrees). If you want something other than their limited offerings, you’ll want to look at our secondary options.
Secondary Options for AT Screens: EluneVision, Seymour AV
In the US, the prices for the EluneVision and Seymour AV options are about the same. But if you are in Canada, EluneVision is local and would be our top recommendation. The Seymour AV option has the best material out of the bunch and is the clear performance leader. It, unfortunately, is the most expensive. But if you have to have the best, Seymour AV is for you.
Recommended Ambient Light Rejection Projection Screens
If you do not have full light control, or you do most of your watching during the day, you’ll want an ambient light rejection (ALR) screen. ALR screens are designed to reflect light coming from a specific direction and not in the others. Most ALR screens are designed for a front projection setup. This means that they accept the light hitting them from directly in front, but reject the light from the sides.
Our Favorite ALR Screen: Elite Screens CineGrey 3D
If you are looking for a grey screen, we would point you to Elite over other screens. Their CineGrey 3d is a great choice for ambient light rejecting. With prices under a grand for most sizes, they represent a good performing product at a serious discount. Again, as we’ve seen with Elite, the size options are limited and the aspect ratio is limited to 16:9. If you want something other than those options, look to Seymour AV or EluneVision. If you want a roll down ALR screen, EluneVision is pretty much the only game in town.
Recommend Ultra Short Throw Projection Screens
Wait a minute, you think. Didn’t we just do this one? Aren’t screens built for ultra short throw (UST) projectors the same as ALR screens? Yes and no. Yes, they have to reject light, but they have to accept light from a very steep angle. That means you can’t just pair any ambient light rejecting screen with a UST projector. If you do, the light coming from below will be rejected! Luckily there are a few options out there for you.
Our Favorite UST Screens: EluneVision Aurora UST
The offerings from EluneVision for UST are hands down the best. Unfortunately, they are very expensive here in the states. When you can find them, they will cost in the thousands. But their technology is, by far, superior to the competition. They have what amounts to ridges on their screen material. The angle that faces the screen reflects, the other is black. Total light rejection. If we had an ultra short throw projector, this is the screen we’d want.
Secondary UST Screen Options: Elite Screens Aeon CLR 2
When budget becomes more of a concern, our choice would be the Elite Screens Aeon CLR 2. Now, CLR stands for Ceiling Light Rejecting but the screen doesn’t care where you put the projector. You’ll just have to flip the “top” of the screen so that it faces the projector.
No matter your needs, one of the above screens will fit the bill. Once you identify the screen type you need, it should be easy to match one of our suggestions to your budget.