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How to Choose a Projector Screen

There's nothing quite like enjoying a true cinematic experience at home. A good home theatre setup can replicate the excitement of the theatres with the added comfort of being home, but there's one element of this setup that is often overlooked: The projector screen size.

The right screen goes a long way to make the most out of your projector, and while the material and colour matter a lot that doesn't mean we should ignore the size either.

What ratio is your projector? What is its recommended display size? How is your room arranged?

All of these factors are important when choosing the right screen size for your projector.

Choose the Right Projector Screen Size

To make the most out of your projection you'll need a screen that first has both its aspect ratio and its intended use.

In other words, while there might not be a perfect screen for all situations, there definitely are some that are the best for their intended usage.

So, let's take a look at how to choose the best possible screen height based on your projector's ratio and main function.

Screen Height by Ratio

A 4:3 ratio screen is almost as tall as it is wide, and this allows it to great at displaying information, for example in an outdoor event. To make the most of this setup in wide areas you should opt for a screen height of at least 1/6th of the distance from the screen to the farthest audience member.

4:3 Video in Boardroom or Classroom

While the ratio remains the same the context changes considerably due to the reduced space, in these cases, you'll most likely be presenting slides with important visual information so you'll want everything to be as clear as possible. As such we recommend you increase the screen height to 1/4th the distance from the farthest attendant.

HDTV (16:9)

This is the format most people pick to watch TV at home as most programs nowadays are designed for it. The ideal height in this case should roughly be a third of the distance from the screen to the main seating area, but feel free to tinker with it based on your personal preferences.

Widescreen (16:10)

Widescreen was traditionally used for movies, but modern TV shows have blurred the line between both formats. As such you can use the same rule and go for a height of roughly 1/3rd.

Cinema (2.35:1)

The main cinematic ratio, and the configuration you'll be using the most if you are aiming for the genuine home theatre experience. Using a 1/3rd height measurement also works here, but most people agree that the sweet spot is using a 1/4th height instead.

How can you measure projector screen size for home theatre?

Projector screen size for Home Theatre

Now that you have calculated the height it's time to look at how to define what screen size is just right for your current setup. There are a few factors you'll need to consider before you find the perfect home theatre projector screen size, but there's no need to worry as we'll go one at a time.

Content Aspect Ratio

The first thing you need to do is understand the native aspect ratio of the content you want to project. As we touched briefly before most content is on 16:9 nowadays so you should aim for a screen in that ratio and then choose based on your personal preference for display as well as the max size your projector offers.

A 16:9 screen can fit a 4:3 display, so that's more value for you.

Viewing Distance

How far away do you need your guests to watch the screen from? The further a person is from the screen the more their viewing angle is reduced, and this can impact their enjoyment of the experience. In general, you'll want the distance from the seats to be around 1 the width of the screen, which should give you an exact number on how to proceed.

Your last seats shouldn't be at a distance of more than 5 times the width of the screen, so you can calculate from a further distance as well.

Visual Acuity

Not all people perceive images the same, and pre-existing visual conditions only compound this fact. Large screens work better for people with standard eyesight, but people with myopia might prefer smaller screens that are closer to their seats.

Even for people with myopia there's a limit to how well they can distinguish contrast from close distances, so don't get the screen too close.

Room Size

Of course, the size of your room will affect just how much you can display on it. If your room is compact there will be no way to get a 150-inch projector screen size on it. So always keep in mind the actual dimensions of the room.

An empty wall can be the perfect place to set up a larger screen.

Ambient Light

Ambient light can play a large role in how an image is perceived. If it's too bright and your projector falls short or is on too wide a surface the image quality will suffer. So if the area is too bright you might not want to go for a large screen.

A screen's gain can increase the overall brightness of your projection.

What is a 16:9 Projector Screen?

The 16:9 ratio is one of the most common ratios in screens due to how adaptable they are. They are perfect for TV and almost identical to the built-in movie ratio while also being able to contain 4:3 projections as well. In short, a 16:9 projector screen has a width-to-height ratio that makes it apt for almost any display, and that's why the ratio is so widely supported.


If you want to make the most out of your projector and your movie experiences, you'll need the right screen to go with them. The size of your screen will completely change the way the image is perceived and which ratios you can properly screen, so keep in mind to pick a screen that is just perfect for you.

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