Projector Screen Vs Wall – Comparison, How To Setup


People have different preferences, and in this case, most are divided between using a screen or a projector.  Even though both have distinct advantages and shortcomings, they all look enticing and practical.

Most people prefer screens because of the image quality. This has been the main challenge with projectors. You cannot compare the quality you get from a big screen such as a Television to what a projector offers.

Producing a 4K image from a projector is not an easy task, which is a significant disadvantage since it is the industry standard. On the other hand, 4K TVs are everywhere, albeit costing an arm and a leg. It is much simpler to enjoy 4k from a TV than a projector.

However, those who love projectors also have valid reasons. These devices cannot hang as compared to screens, making them convenient for gaming. Also, you are not limited to a given inch of the display as this is variable.

Every projector has a given supported image range. Lastly, projectors are highly portable, with most of them supporting both rear and front projection. This cannot be said for screens such as flat-panel televisions.

In case you love projectors or considering getting one, this is the best article for you. I will help you set up your projector and decide on a screen or personal wall. Let’s get started.

Projector Screen vs Wall – What’s The Difference?

Even after spending several dollars on a good projector, most people are still torn between using a wall for projection or using a screen. Well, the truth is that one presents an extra cost, which many people want to avoid.

You must have seen people projecting on the wall during presentations or when watching movies. Even though these two means seem to get the work done, there exist notable differences. What then is the difference between a projector screen and a wall?

Texture

Your blank wall may offer an illusion of flatness when in the real sense, it is not as flat as it looks. You may notice this after projecting an image on it. In case you are still in doubt, carefully run your hands along the surface, and you will notice several bumps, crevices, and unevenness.

The main problem comes when these bumps create a tiny surface on the surface of your picture, which has a significant impact on the final image’s brightness and crispness. This is heavily limiting, especially when projecting a high-quality image.

However, projector screens are tensioned to offer users the smoothest surfaces. Therefore, you will avoid unnecessary surface noise, giving you a sharper focus that allows you to enjoy the full range of your projector.

Frame

The brain is an incredible organ. It can be influenced by the littlest of things. The frame has more to do with you than the projector. Having a structure around an image increases focus, and the brain follows suit. You will not have a defined frame when projecting on a wall, whereas screens have physical boundaries.

 A frame offers you a fixed reference point and can be tailored to meet the projector’s specs. Therefore, you can focus your eyes and contain the image, which helps one avoid distractions from stray reflections and abstract background lights.

A wall has no frame, and even if you were to use the entire wall, it would not enclose your image in a border.

Light and Color

This is related to the first point, albeit slightly. Most people think that they can better their walls, making them similar to the projection screen, which is not possible. Even if you were to succeed at evening out the wall surface, you wouldn’t experience the same feeling when directing the light back to your eyes.

This may be due to the paint on your wall, which may not be the best reflector of light. Remember that even if you painted your wall white, it is still not designed to remove all abstract and natural light.

On the other hand, the screen projector does this easily thanks to a special coating not found in the regular paint. Projector screens cancel outside interference that may be brought by natural light.

Quality

There is a notable difference in quality when using a projector screen and a wall. Projector screens produce the best quality of images with the highest possible definition. We have highlighted this phenomenon in our previous points.

Light reflection plays an important part in image quality; the key reason why the screen differs from the wall. The screen has an ultra-smooth surface, which reflects light best, giving you better quality instead of the wall, which has cracks, bumps, and different flaws.

Which One Is Better?

You can easily establish a better alternative between the two reading from the fundamental differences we have covered. A projector screen beats a bare wall. It has a smooth surface, which offers the best right reflection avoiding shadows created by unevenness.

The screen also has a special coating, which offers the best bounce-back surface for light. Therefore, you should consider spending a few more dollars on a projector screen after getting your projector. If you can afford a high-quality projector, getting the right screen should not be a problem.

However, if you prefer using a wall, go ahead. I am here to help you come up with a means that you deem comfortable.

Guide for Setting Up Your Wall (Without a Projector Screen)

While experimenting, I decided to project on a wall instead of a screen. While there was a notable difference, I enjoyed the naturalness and rawness. I also learned some of the ways to better that experience if one has not yet obtained a projector screen.

The following information should help you better your experience as you save up or wait for your projector screen.

Selecting The Right Wall

This is the most fundamental step if you need a near-screen experience in your projection. It would be best if you settled on an even wall with minimal bumps and crevices. We discussed how these affect the overall image quality, a scenario you want to avoid.

To enhance your vision, the wall should be situated in an area with adequate light reflection. If possible, it should be a well-lit wall that is free from natural light interference. You do not want lots of flares hitting your eyes, making you strain.

Preparing The Wall

Your wall needs preparation. Walls are not perfect, which makes screens tower over them. Therefore, you must strive to even out all the irregularities, including notches or tiny bumps, to help preserve your image quality.

You may also have to paint your wall afresh, which we will look at as we discuss further.  Once you have prepared the wall, it will be ready for projection. However, note that not all projectors will work correctly on a wall.

Therefore, you have to choose the right projector. There are specific specs that must be present if you need to lessen the image distortions and enjoy your projections. Let’s take a look.

What Type of Projector Should I Use?

You need to be wary of your projector’s specs if you intend to use it for your home theatre.

Resolution

This is usually one of the most important specs when getting any projector. Which resolution do you want? Given that you will be projecting on a wall, which may not be perfect, you need a device that projects in FHD.

This is a resolution of 1080p. However, if possible, get the 4K projectors, just that they cost an arm and a leg. They are not also common compared to televisions since projectors have tiny pixels on their chips.

Therefore, for projecting on your wall, settle for a quality 1080 p projector or a 4K projector.

Display Technology

It would help if you had in mind that projectors display information either in digital light processing or liquid crystal display technology. Each of these has its fair share of advantages that should guide your purchase.

However, for projecting on your wall, LCD technology will serve you best. Such projectors have brighter output in well-lit rooms. Users also enjoy impressive color brightness and sharper images. Most of them even come with a 3-chip LCD technology, which further increases the image quality.

Contrast Ratio

This usually refers to the difference between the darkest and brightest areas of the image. Your home theatre projector should have a high contrast ratio since vast amounts of light in the room can interfere with the contrast between different projectors.

Keystone Correction

Using a wall can be quite tricky. Therefore, you need a projector with a keystone correction feature to digitally adjust the image so that it squarely fits the wall. This is also required if you cannot fit the projector perpendicularly to the wall.

Luckily, this is available in almost all the projectors.

What Color Is Better?

Once you have the right projector, you need to travel back and identify the best color for your wall. Keep in mind that this will significantly affect the image quality and viewer experience. The best projector paint should have a smooth finish, reflect very little light and maintain a bright, cheery look.

However, when choosing the right color, you have to note the projector’s brightness, ambient lighting, personal preferences, and different requirements. Let’s take an in-depth look at these.

Brightness

A white screen will reflect more light than a black screen. You cannot use a black or grey screen if your projector cannot produce enough light. Therefore, you will need to paint your wall white to reflect enough light and prevent your image from looking dull. 

However, if your projector can produce lots of light (more than 3000 lumens), you can either choose a gray or white color based on your personal preferences.

Lighting

The lighting in your room also influences the color of the wall by a large ratio. If your room has lots of ambient light coming in through the windows or doors, you can use reflective paint to ensure that enough light is reflected on the wall.

However, if your room is relatively dark, you can settle on gray since it is less reflective. Such a surface has fewer light reflections emanating from the ceiling or wall, giving you a cinematic experience while watching your movie or projecting images.

Personal Preference

What do you prefer? You need to understand that the image on a white-painted wall has a more outstanding color reproduction and vibrance. However, you will not be able to see the dark areas well. On the other hand, grey supports a more excellent contrast ratio even though the image’s colors and vibrance are relatively lower.

Therefore, if you are heavy on vibrance, settle for white. If you love seeing deeper blacks, settle for grey and immerse yourself in the cinematic world. Also, you have to understand that 3D viewing makes the pictures dimmer due to the glass’s tint.

If you love lots of 3D movies, settle for white. However, keep in mind that these are not the only colors that you can pick. You can also settle on silver. You must have noticed that we did not mention black.

A black wall is not usually recommended when it comes to a projection wall. Black absorbs light instead of reflecting it and will significantly impair your image quality. You will result in dark or dull images, which beats the reason for projecting.

You can also consider white-grey or light-grey paint for your wall.

Steps to Setup My Own Wall Screen

Do you know that you can also create your wall screen instead of spending hundreds of dollars on one? Well, this follows a conscious choice of color and paint brand. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can have the best wall screen in a relatively shorter duration.

1. Prepare the wall

You must prep the wall. You will find that the paint on the wall differs from that of your intended projector screen paint, which calls for a primer. After the primer is up, it is time to check for unevenness.

An uneven wall will distort the image quality, a scenario that you should avoid. The best way of overcoming extreme unevenness is applying putty over the screen wall that you prefer. Remember, we are looking for a near-screen experience. You have to go all out.

2. Determining the projector screen area

You need to mark the area where you intend to project the given image. Keep in mind that you will not be using the whole wall but a given defined area. For the best experience, consider switching off all the lights in the room and starting your projector.

Once your projector is on, focus the image on your wall and adjust the size. The next step is simple; take out a pencil and mark the edges of the projected area.

3. Marking the borders

You should mark the screen area’s borders, which one can quickly do by applying masking tape. You can also use painter’s tape, provided that they cover the edges. The results will be a near-perfect rectangle that covers the intended area.

You cannot skip this step since the future ones heavily rely on it.

4. Apply paint

This step requires lots of care. You have to ensure that the paint does not create lumps. Remember, we need an even surface for projecting. If you are not sure about your painting skills, I would highly advise that you seek professional painter’s services.

Use a spy gun instead of a roller for evenness. While painting, start with gradual application in between the marked areas. Two to three coats should be enough.

5. Remove the Painter’s Tape

By now, the tape’s role is finished. The final step is to take it down and apply a screen border. You can either make a frame out of wood or any given medium or use the Velvet Projection Border Tape.

Whatever you decide, make sure that the frame sticks directly on the wall creating a projector screen border.

Top 3 Recommended Projectors for Your Home Theatre

1. Optoma HD65

With a maximum resolution of 1080p and a brightness of 1600 Lumens, this projector gives you the best theater-like experience. It has light and color processing technologies for fantastic picture quality.

2. YABER Y31 Native 1920x Projector

This projector has a remarkable 7200L brightness, making it one of the best options. It has the latest advanced cooling system and a stereo sound for the best home theatre feeling.

3. Optoma HZ39HDR Laser Home Theatre

This is a high-end theatre projector with a dependable LASER light source. It supports a 4K resolution and lights-on viewing thanks to its 400 Lumens of brightness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use black paint?

No. Do not apply black on your wall since it absorbs light instead of reflecting. Therefore, your images will appear dull.

2. What is the best material to use on a projector screen?

There are different options that you can use. However, use a blackout cloth if you need the best results.

3. Can I use a white Tarp on my projector screen?

Yes. Most people use an off-white tarpaulin as a projector screen. However, the fibers are not often thick, and the surfaces are uneven, limiting high-definition pictures.

Conclusion

You can easily make your wall screen and enjoy a home theatre experience like never before.  However, keep in mind that you will need more than the right projector. Our article has laid the best foundation.

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