It is usually the movies, concerts or video games that you want to watch or play that define the format of a projection screen, whether it is a fixed projection screen, a manual projection screen, an electric projection screen, a built-in projection screen or a transportable projection screen.
What are the different formats of projection screens?
Projection screens are available in several versions, with different width/height ratios to provide a projection surface adapted to the format of the projected image. There are therefore square projection screens (1:1 aspect ratio), 4:3 aspect ratio projection screens, 16:9 screens and panoramic screens in 2.35:1 Panavision format (one of the most common cinema formats) on the market.
- See the guide: Cinema image formats
Square projection screens (1:1 aspect ratio)
The square format (1:1) is still used in the education sector or for professional presentations. This is why this format is mainly present in the transportable projection screen field. The 1:1 format has gradually given way to projection screens in 4:3 or even 16:9 format with the generalization of PowerPoint-type presentations made on computers with 4:3 and 16:9 screens.
Note, however, that 1:1 square rollable screens can be adapted to the dimensions of the image by being rolled out more or less. A square screen can therefore be opened in 16:9 or 2.35:1 mode (same for a 4:3 projection screen).
4:3 projection screens
In home cinema, projection screens in 4/3 format are suitable for the projection of old movies, such as black and white classics from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Citizen Kane by Orson Welles or Casablanca by Michael Curtiz in particular, have been the subject of very impressive Blu-ray reissues in 4/3 format.
4:3 is the main portable projection screen aspect ratio. It adapts well to presentations and allows you to enjoy one-off cinema sessions (with fairly large bands above and below the image).
- See the guide: How to choose your projection screen
Why choose a 16:9 aspect ratio projection screen?
If you mainly watch movies and series shot in wide format (1.77:1, 1.85:1 or 2.35:1), whether you prefer Blu-ray home theater sessions or have a subscription to Netflix, Disney+ or Apple TV+, a 16:9 aspect ratio projection screen is preferable. This will avoid disturbances related to unwanted reflections on the lower and upper portions of a 4/3 screen not covered by the image but still illuminated by the projector. A 16:9 aspect ratio projection screen is also ideal for video games, which have been developed in 16:9 for many years.
The majority of movies are shot in a cinema format close to 16:9 which allows them to be projected with almost no black bands on a screen in this format. In addition, almost all series and original programs offered on major streaming platforms are shot in 16:9. With a 16:9 screen, you can view them full frame, without any loss.
- See the guide: How to choose the right audio and VOD streaming service
Which projection screen format for a dedicated home theater room?
In a dedicated home theater room, a fixed projection screen is ideal, like in movie theaters. The 16:9 format is the most versatile for playing video games and watching movies and TV series in most image formats.
If you have a dedicated home theater room equipped with a projector with multiple zoom and aspect ratio settings, a screen with an adjustable size such as the Lumene Movie Palace Premium Multiallows you to easily switch from one aspect ratio to another by sliding the covers. You can therefore view Blu-ray films shot in cinemascope (2.39:1), Panavision (2.35:1) or American standard format (1.85:1), original Netflix, Disney+ or Apple TV+ content (16:9) or classics in Academy format (4:3 or 1.33:1) in full screen, without black bars.
If you are projecting in 4K or even 8K, a projection screen with a canvas specifically designed for Ultra High Definition is an asset to reveal all the details of the movies during the projection.
- See the guide: How far should you look at the screen?