The centerpiece of any home theater system is the screen itself. This vital piece of equipment should be given some careful thought and planning. There are many options out there and choosing the right screen is extremely important in enjoying your home theater experience.
The three basic options are using a plasma screen television, a rear projection television or a front projector. They each have their merits and disadvantages and with a little research you can discover the right option for your home theater.
A plasma screen television offers higher resolution and, therefore, better picture quality than conventional television screens. High-end plasma television screens are capable of displaying 16.77 million colors that enhances the realism of the film being watched. The relationship between the width and height of plasma screen televisions make them ideal to watch wide-screen formatted films. Plasma screen televisions also make a beautiful display with their picture frame appearance and super thin bodies.
Another feature of the plasma screen television is that they offer a viewing angle of 160 degrees. This is much wider than the viewing angle on rear projection televisions. This essentially allows more people to enjoy the proper image reproduction from more places in the room.
The limitations for plasma screen televisions are the size of the screen. With a rear projector or front projector system, you are only limited by wall space. The largest plasma screens available on the market are 61". The price of plasma screen televisions can also be prohibitive to many buyers.
A less costly option is the rear projection television that offers excellent quality for a lower price than a plasma screen. The television gets its name from the process used to display the image. The image is projected and reflected from behind the screen, unlike traditional projection, which comes from in front of the screen. One of the drawbacks to a rear projection television system is that there are a wide variety of technology options that go into the components of the system. The choices in these options can make huge differences in your picture quality and it can take some time to wade through the options that are best for you.
With rear projection television technology, it is essential that you have enough brightness in your home theater room. Without sufficient light the image from a rear projection television will look muddy. It is also important to pay close attention to the contrast ratio that you are trying to achieve when constructing your system. Pixel density is another consideration and this can be affected by the method of projection technology that you choose. Pixel density affects the resolution of the image achieved on the screen.
Finally, it is important to realize that all projection televisions have problems with side viewing. Optimum viewing for rear projection television systems is best from the center of the screen. This can be a drawback if you have planned a larger home theater room with a variety of seating areas.
Front projection systems are similar in technology to rear projection television systems, with the main difference being the method of projection. One advantage to front projection over rear projection is that the former doesn’t require a box or unit to store the components. To set up your home theater system with a front projection screen, the front projector unit can be mounted to the ceiling or placed in an area that has a direct view to your screen. The screen for a front projection system is also a big consideration. It is possible to use a front projection system on a blank wall or old sheet. However, to get the best film watching experience it is advisable to invest in a higher quality screen.
With screens for projection systems, a little time and extra effort should be spent in researching the options. One of the main differences between screens is the color of the screen. There is the standard white screen, but there are also light gray screens available. Gray screens are ideal for home theater rooms that do not have dark walls and dark accessories. The gray screen helps to keep too much light from being reflected back off of the screen in "non-ideal" viewing situations. Since many people set up their projection systems in living rooms and other non-dedicated home theater areas, the gray screen could help maintain the contrast of the film’s image
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