Let’s say you’re putting together a home theater, and you’ve decided to buy a projector and a screen.
Do you know what the proper home theater screen size is for your room? Did you even know your home theater’s screen size mattered?
George Lucas hired audio scientist Tomlinson Holman right after Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back came out in May of 1982. Lucas did this because he wanted Holman to perfect film and audio quality from set to theater.
What Holman found out is that movie studios made films that looked great on very specific screen sizes, but movie theaters used whatever projectors and screens they could get their hands on.
Holman eventually came up with THX’s standards for home theater screen sizes to help customers learn what screen size is right for them. It’s important to remember however that these standards are just suggestions and later, other audio-visual companies would create their own standards that are different from THX.
Not all rooms are created equal and not all home theater screens will work in all rooms. In this article, we’ll look at some factors to take into consideration when creating your media room and how the more popular home theater screen size standards used by different companies take these factors into consideration. These standards are all actually guidelines, and the best way to determine your screen size is to come see the experts and experience different sizes for yourself.
What do design standards mean when they talk about viewing angles? A viewing angle is the angle united by a straight line from the edges of the screen to the recommended seating position. Simply put, viewing angle is how much of your vision the image occupies. When considering what screen size you want for your home theater screen size usually references the primary seating position.
Viewing angle recommendations are similar from the various home theater standards organizations but they do change some. To complicate matters more, each projector has its own set of limitations on the size of image they can project. For this reason, it’s important that you work with someone who knows the various details of video projection standards as well as which projectors can meet those standards in a given environment.
THX for example, created a set of certifications to make sure that home theaters, private cinemas and other media spaces have the ideal video and audio equipment properly installed to maximize the entertainment experience.
For a home theater and private cinema, THX’s specifications require that the primary seating position in a theater has a minimum viewing angle of 40 degrees, but 20th Century Fox and SMPTE ideal viewing angles 45-50 degree range by comparison.
The equipment THX, CEDIA, and SMPTE consider ideal changes based on the size of the room, screen aspect, display resolution and a lot of other factors. Argenta can help you wade through it all and get you exactly what you need for your media needs.
Projectors need to be a certain distance away from the screen to maximize image quality. If the projector is too far away, the image will not look as good and the image may not fit in the screen size you plan to use.
The distance of the projector and the size of the screen are connected to one another. A projector limited by room size can only project a high quality image at a specific size. Likewise, if you have a larger room where distance isn’t an issue, screen sizes can increase, but only to a point.
Screen size, projector distance, the material the screen is made of and light output of the projector are all important. Keep in mind that changing one factor can alter the others.
It would be great if we could give you a list of standards that were easy to understand. This would help you maximize your home theater screen size, but that’s difficult to do because of all of the different measurements that need to be considered. As technology changes, these standards need to be adjusted to keep up with the improvements. Cedia is currently in the process of updating their standards.
Argenta’s equipment experts are up-to-date on every company’s quality standards and can help walk you through your equipment needs and space limitations to help you get the best screen size for your specific situation.