The Different Projector Screens Fabric
After you've decided on the type and mechanism of your ideal screen, you'll need to select the best
projector screen fabric for the job. Different screen fabrics handle different applications and environments, their effectiveness depending on several factors, including the resolution of the media used, the lighting and acoustic conditions and the viewing angle of the audience. While this may seem like a complicated topic, understanding the purpose of screen fabric and the types available makes it easier to choose the optimal fabric for your application.
The most important place to start when selecting a screen fabric, are with the Gain(Screen Brightness) and Viewing Angle of the fabric. There is a lot to know about each and how they affect each other (as gain increases viewing angle usually decreases). Having a basic understanding of these features prior to making your choice of a projector screen fabric, is the only way to ensure that you will make the most out of your equipment within the constraints of your environment.
Gain: is a measurement describing the light reflectivity of a fabric, when the measurement is taken for light targeted and reflected perpendicular to the screen. For example a screen gain of 1.0 means all the light directed at the screen reflects back with the same brightness. A gain greater than 1.0 means the projection screen fabric increases the brightness of the projected image, while a gain less than 1.0 means the image produced is not as bright.
Numerous factors affect the quality of the reflected image. One of the most prominent factors is the amount of ambient light in the immediate environment of the projected image. The brighter the room, the more the reflected light will dissipate, resulting in a washed-out image. This is common for larger auditoriums, convention centers and office buildings with numerous windows, where the light cannot be adequately dimmed or controlled. In such environments, a high gain screen fabric can make up the difference by increasing the brightness and clarity of the projected image.
The strength of the Projector (see Projector Buying Guide for more info) is also a factor in the final image quality. Cheaper projectors or older projectors may not be powerful to create a bright image in every environment, especially ones with a great deal of ambient light. To make up for this, a high gain projection screen can increase the brightness of the image reflected back at the audience.
Gain is not a fix-all solution, however. Unnecessarily high gain can result in an effect called "hot spotting". This occurs when a fabric has such a high gain that it begins to exhibit mirror-like properties. The result is a bright "hot spot" in the screen, which is effectively an enlarged and blurred reflection of the projector's lens.
Viewing angle: is a measurement describing the maximum angle from the center of the screen at which you can still see a quality image. Some projection screens reflect most of the light perpendicularly to the screen, sending much less to the sides. This makes the screen appear much darker and more distorted if the viewers are not in the optimal viewing angle of the screen. Unfortunately, high-gain fabrics tend to have a lower viewing angle.
These two features are the most important to consider when looking at projection screen fabric options. For most screens, finding the appropriate balance of these two factors is your primary concern. However, these are not the only factors to consider for your screen fabric. Other aspects you may wish to look at include: