The different types of projection screens by how they work

There are many different types of projection screens.

Here’s a quick overview that’s based on how the screens are operated:

1. No hands needed: fixed frame screens

Fixed frame screens are made of 4 to 6 bars that together form a rectangular shape. On the back of the frame, the screen fabric is attached. Once assembled the screen is hung on the wall.

That means it’s always in sight and you don’t have to do anything to get it working.

Because it’s always in sight, it finds its place mainly in dedicated home theater rooms.

2. Manual labour involved: Pull down projection screens

Manual projection screens are operated by a spring mechanism. When you pull the screen fabric down, it locks into position when you stop it.

When you are finished watching your movie, you pull the screen down a little bit and the tension of the screen will pull the fabric back into its housing.

Manual screens are often the projection screen that people start out with, because of their relatively low price.

3. One finger operation: electric projection screens

Electric projection screens are the next step up from manual projection screens. Electric screens are retractable – just like the manual ones – but there’s a motor inside of the tube.

The electric motor can be operated by a switch, remote control, 12V trigger or even a whole-house control system.

This makes your life a little bit easier.

Despite the higher price, an electric projection screen does not necessarily have a better projection screen fabric.

4. Coming through: portable projection screens

When you want to move your screen out of the way when you don;t use it – or you do presentations on site, you need a portable projection screen.

They are not always as portable as you’d think, because some come in a metal casing. After some time of carrying one of these, your arms feel like they’ve gone through a serious work-out.

Some might call that an extra feature, but I would look at how safe you want your screen to be in transportation vs the convenience of something lightweight.

Also, the old-skool portable screens are tripods. Notoriously difficult to set up, but relatively inexpensive. The more up-to-date versions of the portable projection screen are a lot easier to set up, but a little bit more pricey too.

Conclusion:

There you have it: a simple breakdown of the most common types of projection screens according to the way they work. What you have read here is a short intro with the most striking characteristics of each screen.

For more detailed information, there will be dedicated posts for each type.

If you have any questions or comments, do let me know!

Otto

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