It’s half the projection system and one hundred percent of the visual focus, so why do people think they don’t need one? Thomas Bartlett explains why your projector investment must be partnered to a screen, not a plain white wall.

At the moment there really is only one way of enjoying the full cinematic experience in your own home, and that is by delivering the picture the same way that they do at the cinema. That is, by using a front projector.

Only by using a home theatre projector will you get a picture large enough. And front projectors are turning out to be surprisingly affordable, with high quality full high definition models now available for less than $5,000.

But the front projector is itself not the whole story. The picture it projects must land on something. It needs a screen.

It’s tempting to think that the lounge room wall will serve this purpose nicely. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Like projectors, modern screens for projectors are themselves marvels of technology.

What a screen does

A projection screen does several things. If it fails to do any of them properly, you won’t be getting the full benefits of your projector. It intercepts the light from the projector. It reflects the light back into your room. It does this evenly, so that the light is reflected equally in all directions. It does this, also, without changing the ‘colour balance’ of the light it is reflecting. It cannot tint the light from the projector blue or yellow, because that means the picture will end up the wrong colour.

All this sounds easy, but that isn’t quite the case.