Let’s say you’re putting together a home theater, and you’ve decided to buy a projector and a projector 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? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
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 the film and audio quality from the set to the theater.
What Holman found 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. This disconnect between the movie studio intent and actual theater cinemascope intrigued him.
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. We’ll also look at 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 through our showrooms.
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, or how much of the screen a viewer can see at once. When considering what screen size you want for your home theater the important aspect ratio for screen size usually references the primary seating position, like the main couch viewers will sit on. While the viewing angle is based from the primary seating position, that doesn’t mean only the owner’s favorite spot should be considered, supplementary seating should also be taken into account for screen size and location. The viewing angle can be affected by factors like the width and height of the wall where the screen will be housed, the layout of furniture in the room, or the location where the projector is mounted. No matter where the screen will be set up, or what size, you want to ensure your visitors can enjoy their entertainment experience without having to turn or tilt their head throughout the show to get the full image.
Viewing angle recommendations are similar from various home theater standards organizations but they do have differences. 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 have a 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 many other factors. Argenta can help you wade through it all and get you exactly what you want for your media experience needs.
While it’s obvious that the distance from the projector to the screen will change the image size, projectors actually need to be a certain distance away from the screen to maximize image quality as well. If the projector is too far away, the image will not look as good and the image may not fit the screen size you plan to use. The projector distance can also affect the brightness of the image, as a projector can only give off a maximum amount of light at once. If your screen size is bigger than the projector’s light availability, you may get a dimmer view.
The viewing 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, projector screen sizes can increase, but only to a certain point before quality is lost again.
Screen size, projector distance, the material the screen is made from, and light output of the projector are all important. Keep in mind that changing one factor can alter all the others. Achieving the perfect aspect ratio for your room can seem hard, but Argenta is ready with the experience and knowledge needed to make the process a breeze.
Creating a home theater system with the perfect screen size for your space can be tricky, and is very personalized to each home. From the layout of the room, to the types of entertainment that will be shown, or to the preferences of the owner, a home theater screen size is particular to each person. With so many factors to take into account, it’s smart to get a professional opinion before you start spending unnecessary money, or time, on assumptions.
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, standards, and devices that need to be considered. As technology changes, these standards need to be adjusted to keep up with industry improvements. For instance, 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 walk through your equipment needs and space availability with you. We want to help you get the best screen size for your specific situation. So whether it’s the big game or an enjoyable movie night, your home theater screen size will be ready for your needs.