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How To Choose The Right Size For Your Home Theater Projection Screen

One of the most important aspects of selecting the correct projection screen for your home theater is making sure you select the correct screen size. This step is often overlooked, and some common misconceptions often take place. The idea that “bigger is better,” is not always the case with this particular step of the process. In fact, there are cases in which “bigger” is worse, and we'll tell you why. Here are some of the most important things to consider when selecting the correct size screen for your home theater:


  1. There is a actually a standard for helping you choose the right size for your home theater projection screen (which makes things a lot easier).

That’s right, there is already a standard to help us answer this question for you. SMPTE, The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, recommends that the standard viewing angle of your projection screen be 30 degrees, ensuring an immersive viewing experience. Although this standard was created for commercial theaters, it has since been adopted by home theater enthusiasts.

 

Attaining a 30 degree viewing angle depends on the distance between the screen and where you will be sitting. When you find out the distance from where you will be sitting to where the screen will be mounted, you can refer to the chart we have provided below.

  1. We decided to make this chart for you to make things a whole lot easier.

If you choose to go with a 16:9 aspect ratio screen (which a lot of people do), then you can use this chart as an easy reference. Remember, screen size is measured in viewable diagonal inches.




Just to be sure this makes perfect sense, we will give you an example: If your couch is 12 feet away from the wall from which your projector screen will be mounted, to attain the 30 degree viewing angle, you will need to purchase a 110" screen. This will give the cinematic effect found in commercial theaters. 
  1. Make sure your projector has the right light output and throw distance.

Although you may have enough wall space for the screen you want, and enough room from your seating to the screen to attain the 30 degree viewing angle, you must make sure your projector can handle this distance. An easy way to be sure of this, is to contact the manufacturer of the projector you intend to use for your home theater setup. Be sure to tell them the size of your screen, the distance the projector will be mounted from the screen, and the amount of ambient light in the room. These factors are imperative in attaining the best possible image for your projection screen. To better address this question, it is important to understand two terms, Ansi Lumens and Throw Distance. Ansi Lumens refers to the amount of light your projector is designed to put out. Depending on the size of your screen and the amount of ambient light, you may need a projector with higher or lower ansi lumens. The other term that is important to understand is throw distance. Throw distance refers to distance the projector needs to be mounted from the screen in order to give the best image possible. Although there is more to know about ansi lumens and throw distance, we will save that for another blog article. For now, I want you to focus on how these two concepts affect the image projected onto your screen, and why it is important to pick a screen that will meet these requirements.


So, we covered three different concepts that are important to choosing to correct screen size for your home theater. First, be sure that the distance from your screen and seating makes for a 30 degree viewing angle. Second, when you have the measurements of the distance from screen to seating, refer back to the chart we provided in the beginning of the article to make things a lot easier on yourself. And lastly, when you have the screen and screen size all picked out, make sure your projector has the capabilities, namely ansi lumens and throw distance, to provide the best image onto your screen as possible. The last thing you want, is to buy an awesome projection screen and a cheap projector. This will not do the screen justice, and is a waste of money! The the opposite is true with a projector; if you buy an awesome projector, make sure you have the correct screen and screen size for it! 


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