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Projection Screens

Jul 30, 2012 9:44 AM, By Mark Johnson

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AV Stumpfl FullWhite

AV Stumpfl FullWhite

The days of the 4:3-aspect-ratio glass-beaded projection screen on a wobbly tripod are fast going the way of the rotary dial telephone or the audiocassette. Technology advancements abound for projection surfaces, starting with the aspect ratio. While there are still plenty of 4:3 images being projected around the world, there are also high-definition widescreen 16:9 and 16:10 pictures, and as a result of projection mapping technology, warping and edge-blending technologies and images of any size or shape are fair game now.

The advancements in screen technologies can create a double-edged sword. The potential to get big, sharp, bright images under practically any viewing circumstance has increased, so have the options from which to choose. While some manufacturers specialize on a particular type of screen technology, many offer a wide range of screen types, making doing the research on what option is the best solution for a specific situation even more important. It’s advisable to check the manufacturers websites for additional information on their specific product offerings. Many of the manufacturers websites also provide in-depth info on screen technologies and applications as well as calculators to help you choose the right product for your application.


As noted, most of the manufacturers provide different types of screen compositions combined with multiple options of mounting or stand systems, so you are almost guaranteed to get whatever your needs dictate. Projection surface options include white matte and gray surfaces and optical, lenticular, flat, and curved. White matte is still the most popular with about 80 percent of the screens sold incorporating that surface. Screen types are available for front or rear projection, fixed installation or portable, manual or electric operation, and commercial or residential applications. Many of the choices for the type of screen you need will be prescribed by the application.

Specifications such as screen gain, contrast, and viewing angle are important considerations when selecting a screen. High gain? Low gain? What does it all mean? Given all the scenarios in which projection systems can (and will) be applied, at first glance you might think that it would be best to just go for as much gain as possible and you’ll be good to go. Like most other aspects of system design, there are often other things at play that will help to drive the decision, and projection systems are certainly no exception. For instance, a low gain screen may offer better contrast or a wider viewing angle, which may be required if the facility you are outfitting is particularly wide.

Basically, screen gain is measured at the front and center of the screen, and the resulting number represents a ratio of light reflected from the screen in comparison to light reflected from a standard white magnesium oxide board. The half-gain viewing angle is where the gain measurement is at 50 percent of the peak value. This angle represents an image that is half as bright as the image front and center. This specification is also important when determining the coverage area of the screen. This technology showcase provides a cross section of some of the types of projection screens available. The FullWhite borderless projection screen from AV Stumpfl is designed for fixed or portable applications. The projection surface is attached to the frame with either a hook-and-loop tape system or hooks. The plug-in frame system provides the ability to construct a frame of practically any aspect ratio. Multiple mounting options allow for wall, ceiling, or stand mounting.

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