Selecting the best projection screen size | Insight Systems
As part of the installation and consideration for your projector, you’re probably considering the most suitable projector screen size for your specific needs.Despite what some people think, you’ll need more than just any old flat surface to get the best image quality from your projector – especially when you’ve invested so much in the right projector for your home cinema, meeting room or school hall.
Here’s our helpful projector screen size guide to help you get started.
projector screen size and distance
The most popular screen sizes are between 100-120 inches (2.5m-3m) diagonally, but this largely depends on the size of the room. this is around 2.2m-2.65m wide (based on a 16:9 widescreen projector) and makes it worth choosing a projector over a professional screen.
Sometimes people make the mistake of choosing the largest projector screen size they can find in hopes of maximizing their viewing experience. however, this can be problematic for a number of reasons.
First of all, a screen that is too large for your setup will actually be difficult for viewers to see in its entirety. if they are placed too close to the image, for example, they may be forced to strain their eyes or literally move their head from side to side to see the full image.
Second, bigger doesn’t mean lighter.
If you enlarge an image over a larger space, you may lose some of the clarity of your images depending on the resolution of your projector. for example, a larger screen will stretch pixels to a greater distance, meaning objects will appear less detailed than if projected onto a smaller screen that will concentrate pixels more densely.
A screen size that is too small can also be frustrating, rarely can this be fully rectified by moving seats closer to the screen. however, planning ahead for the best viewing distance for your projector size will help you avoid both of these mistakes.
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distance from screen
The absolute “best” distance between the projector screen and the seats in the room is difficult to calculate.
instead, a general rule of thumb is that seats should be spaced no less than twice the width of the projected image, and no more than five times the width of the image (the seat furthest from the screen) .
width of projector screen x 2 = minimum comfortable distance
width of projector screen x 5 = maximum distance
Just keep in mind that no one wants to sit in the front row of the theater. The above calculation may seem quite generous in terms of minimum distance, but being only 2m away from a 2m wide screen, in our opinion, just doesn’t “feel” comfortable and often can’t be. view the projected image in its entirety.
And it’s often just as frustrating if you’re stuck in the back of a movie theater. so try to give everyone in your meeting room or event space a decent view of the projector screen.
the 4/6/8 rule
Another useful rule of thumb to follow when calculating the best distance from the screen is the 4/6/8 rule.
This has much more to do with the content being presented and the types of meetings you have.
While this is just another general framework, here are some helpful principles you can follow:
images with fine details and analytical work
projector screen height x4 = maximum distance from screen
images with large text
projector screen height x6 = max distance from screen
images designed for passive viewing (images/movies)
projector screen height x8 = maximum distance from screen
horizontal viewing angle
Another important factor is the horizontal viewing angle, or field of view, which refers to the angle from each corner of the screen to the center of the seating position. Basically, you don’t want the image to exceed what your eyes can take in when you’re positioned in front of the screen.
There isn’t one right answer here, but 40-50 degrees (20-25 degrees from centre left and right) is a good angle to aim for with 60-70 degrees (30-35 degrees from centre left and right) being your maximum angle.
closer to the screen than this and you’ll force eyestrain and headaches on your viewers.
what format do I need for my projector screen?
When it comes to choosing the best format for your projector screen, we recommend choosing a screen that has the same format/native resolution as your projector. There are three common aspect ratio options to be aware of:
- 16:10 widescreen format: Primarily used with native 16:10 widescreen office projectors or educational projectors.
- format 16:9 Widescreen – Primarily used with native 16:9 widescreen home theater projectors.
- 4:3 video format – Primarily for office, education or church projectors when projecting from a laptop or pc.
what about the projection distance?
The position of your projector and the size of the projected images will depend on your room configuration. and this is where the term ‘shot distance’ becomes really important. Basically, the projection distance of a projector is the distance between the projector and the image on the screen.
If you’re looking to achieve a specific image size from a specific distance (since installation is tricky), let us know and we can help decode the throw ratio calculations and provide you with all the options that may work for you.
you can see the launch distances categorized like this:
long throw projectors (or interchangeable lenses)
creates large images that are ideal for hallways, conference rooms, event spaces, or large home theaters. these projectors can be placed a considerable distance from the screen and are often mounted on ceilings or walls.
short throw projectors:
also creates large images, but the projector can be placed closer to a screen. In general, a distance of 1 to 2.5m can be used for short throw projectors.
ultra short throw:
perfect for smaller spaces and portable projector setups. we often find customers use them in offices where a projector sits on a table near the screen rather than being mounted on a wall at the back of the room. this usually implies a distance of between 0 and 1.5 m from the projector to the screen.
A great projector will give you flexibility when it comes to projection distances and should offer some solutions when it comes to setting up your machine in your office or home. you should definitely consider projection distances before determining the best screen size for your environment.
Looking for more information?
We have tried to make this projector screen size guide clear and comprehensive, but if you have any further questions or are confused about any of the considerations above, please feel free to fill out the form below or get in touch. with us in person.
Any member of our friendly staff will be happy to recommend the best projector screen size for your office setup.