How to Choose a Projector Screen

How to Navigate the Huge Array of Projector Screen Options!

We have a huge range of Projector Screen options available for home cinema designs and we thought an article laying out the differences and explaining why we choose certain models over others might be handy for prospective clients and also people looking to DIY (which is often the first experience people have of a proper home cinema system).

Fixed screen or retractable?

This is always the first question we ask ourselves and is crucial to delivering a good cinema room. The thought process is laid out below.

Fixed Projector Screen

Benefits of fixed:

  • The screen is always in the right place – no delays waiting for it to drop and it is always in a millimeter perfect location.
  • Can go bigger than a normal retractable screen
Retractable Screen

Benefits of Retractable:

  • Can be easier to integrate in to a multi-use room as invisible when not in use.
  • Does not need to be close to a wall.

Once this decision is made then the next stage is to decide on size. This varies wildly but retractable screens can be anywhere from 80″ through to 160″ and fixed can be anywhere between 70″ and 280″ (That equates to a huge 7m+ width)!! We have a dedicated article on choosing the right side screen so we wont go in to more detail here.

HD or Widescreen?

This is a big question and one which is often overlooked. Widescreen images are much wider and less tall than their HD versions – HD resembles a normal TV picture but there is in fact a much wider option available. Again we have a dedicated article on Movie Aspect ratios to help you decide. Often the size of the room will dictate screen choice – a large room with low head height might require a widescreen version if a big screen is required – sometimes it just isnt possible to fit a HD screen! We took the picture below during commissioning a clients home cinema room and this screen is about as large as the room would take – in HD format. This screen is 4m+!

Home Cinema Room

Masking or non Masking?

Masking Screen

First of all masking screens use black velvet panels to hide elements of the screen which are not in use. For instance watching a film meant for widescreen on an HD screen can introduce bars at the top and bottom of the screen – masking covers these bars with black velvet which ensures any light bleed from the main image doesn’t distract and also provides a very black area which aids contrast of the main image. Masking is available for the top and bottom, both sides of the screen – even all four sides at once – for both fixed and retractable screens.

Curved or Flat?

Curved TVs were a bit of a gimic and didn’t really take off due to the compromises they introduced. In a projector screen they make lots more sense – making the visual elements of a home cinema be more immersive by wrapping the screen around you and ensuring the head and eyes have less distance to move when viewing the big screen. Curved spaces also perform better acoustically so we tend to mirror the curve of the projector screen on the back wall – which looks good and sounds amazing! Our fabric walling contractors can easily install a smooth finish on to curved walls which also allows us to hide speakers and acoustic treatments. This home cinema in Megeve, France is a great example of this in practice.


There is a lot to choosing a home cinema projector screen but the options ensure a great result no matter the style of home cinema required. Contact Us to see how we can incorporate a home cinema in to your home.