When is a screen too big?



I've been looking for a projector screen for my home theater and have been looking at a 16:9 screen. After playing around with the numbers, a 16:9 screen is about the size of the room from ceiling to floor at ~190". So that's the absolute max screen size. With an acoustic screen, I can hide the speakers behind it so then speaker placement isn't a problem.

If I went with a cinemascope screen, it'd be closer to a more-reasonable 5.5' tall for the same width, but then the screen is going to still be about wall-to-wall.

I'm wondering, how large is too large? Is it too large to be going wall-to-wall? If I only have one couch, is floor to ceiling height okay or should I work with a narrower cinemascope screen or a smaller 16:9?

With my UST projector in another room, I've noticed some light-bleed on the ceiling because I have the screen about 3" from the top. In this dedicated space, I could easily put black velvet or curtains around that space to reduce reflections.

How much space should I really give around the screen?


Audioholic Ninja
Too big, to me, is when I have to move my head to see everything. Think about a commercial theater and how close you like sitting to the screen. Needing to tilt your head up and down would not make for a pleasant viewing experience IMO.

190" is enormous, and would cost a fortune for an Acoustically Transparent/perforated screen. Not to mention needing a PJ that can fill that big of a screen from a reasonable throw distance, and not suffer loss of contrast. I have a Stewart Cima perforado and would not hesitate to order it again vs the woven fabric used by the significantly less expensive ID screen companies. I find great value in the ease of installation, and knowing Stewarts products can stand the test of time. But also the appearance of a woven fabric vs Stewart's micro perf vinyl I think is not even a contest.

Unless you own nothing but cinemascope movies, or can afford an automated masking system to adjust for your media, stick with 16:9!

Try taping the lines of the screen on the wall if you can. Or at least try to use something that would show you where the sides would be at a specific size. And sit in ALL of your seats and make sure everyone would be comfortable to view without straining their necks.

I think my Epson PJ's only need about 4-5" of masking to blot out the extra light/ over shoot.


Audioholic Warlord
I have an article on this on Projector Central...

The MOST important take away from this article is to try out the screen size and your viewing distance before you buy a screen. Do this FIRST and you know whatever decision you make will be based upon your actual preferences, not just recommendations of others.

It depends on how far away you are seated, and if your projector really has the light output to fill a screen of that size (unlikely). AT screens rarely actually deliver much positive gain as some of the light ends up passing through the screen. So, that size gets even more difficult.

I run a JVC DLA-X590 on a 161" 1.3 gain tab-tensioned motorized screen. The image is very good, but would benefit from being a bit smaller. Yet, I sit 16' away and find the image to be quite immersive and solid as long as I have all the lights off.


Audioholic Intern
I will admit I am new to the projector/screen game but have a buddy that works in the movie theater maintenance profession so we went huge :D . The house I just bought had a room in the basement already wired for the most part for the 7.1 setup I had at the old house. The room is 25x22 with 9' ceilings except for a beam running across the middle of the room that is down about 10". We went for a screen that is 200" wide x 100" tall It works with my projector placement so I can stretch movies out to the 200 wide and still get 16:9 content to fill it vertically. The room isn't done yet but couldn't resist putting it together use for my Super Bowl party. For reference my daughter in the picture is 4'8" Front row viewing distance is about 14' back row is right about 19' My buddy ordered the screen from a company they use with a standard perf (center channel is behind it) and a 1.3 gain. We built the frame from Unistrut. I also got a deal on some leftover power reclining loveseats that were originally destined for AMC theaters. Carpet some paint and wall coverings are on the agenda as well as French doors to the room to control the lighting better.



Full Audioholic
I ran a 200" diagonal 2.4 AT screen in my last room. The screen cost around $500 (SeymourAV) plus some time, and a little cash to make the screen frame. I had absolutely zero problem with sitting 12' from the screen... I did not have to move my head side to side to see the whole picture at all. What I would do is get the AT screen that will cover the whole wall, and then temporarily mount your projector where you want and play with the size, and see what size image size you prefer. If you decide you want a small size... make up some black AT panels that you can frame the white AT screen with (you will also get a better co trast with a wide black border than a narrow one). Now you can put your speakers wherever you like behind the screen, and you have the size image you are happy with. If down the road you decide you would be comfortable with a larger screen, all you have to do is remove the black panels and reset up your image. IMO it is better to go to big, and mask with black AT material than to go to small and regret it.

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There is the smpte standard based on your distance from the screen and the field of view so you see everything but don't move your head. In my case 13 feet 6 inches from screen yields a 10 foot wide screen for 16:9 aspect ratio screen

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