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Projection Screens: How to Choose

Matte white, end of discussion. Let’s move on to something that actually matters, right? Wrong, absolutely wrong. Matte white has long since been a standard in the industry but there are other options that you may not have considered. Different screens are optimized for different environments which is exactly why matte white isn’t perfect for everyone.

Matte white is great, it has become an industry standard for a reason and is far and away the most popular screen choice available. Matte white is such a popular choice because it diffuses projected light in all directions making the projected image viewable to everyone regardless of their viewing angle. While matte white screens perform well in controlled ambient light environments, they are not such high performers in bright rooms. Perhaps this is something you’ve noticed: with the lights off the screen and image look amazing, but when you turn the lights on so that your audience can see the person presenting, the on-screen image gets washed out and faded. This washed out image occurs because of how well the matte white screen diffuses light (which is now coming from both the projector and room lights). In a sense, the matte white screen’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness.

Matte white is not the only white but all white screens maintain the same general rule, they work well in controlled ambient light environments; what about the other end of the spectrum? What about a grey screen? Sounds crazy right? As crazy as it sounds, grey screens not only work, but they actually work quite well. You may have already guessed it but grey screens work best in rooms without ambient light control. Rather than diffusing light the grey screen absorbs projected light and provides enhanced color contrast and black levels in high ambient light conditions. Moderate to high output digital projectors are recommended due to the darkness of the grey screen. Although grey screens perform well in high ambient light conditions they do not do so well in low light environments.

While matte white is and will continue to be the most popular choice in screens you now have a general understanding of why it works so well and an understanding of the environments in which a grey screen is better suited. Hopefully this knowledge will inform your next decision and allow you to make the best choice for your given environment. For more information about projection screens head to our contact page and ask us a question, or visit our partner Draper at their website to learn about their complete line of screens.


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