Carl's Rear Projection Screens Comparison Chart

Key Deciding Factors

Screen materials where the projector can be hidden behind the screen

Comparison Chart White Rear Projection Gray Rear Projection
Why buy this projector screen material? Best for rear or front projection versatility, a dark viewing environment and/or if pairing with a short throw projector. Works best for a tension-mounted, wooden fixed frame, or portable kit. Best for rear projection in a low light environment and standard throw projector. Works best for a tension-mounted, wooden fixed frame, or portable kit.
Installation Type 1 Tension-Mount Tension-Mount
Mount Type DIY Fixed-Frame DIY Fixed-Frame
Portable Kit DIY Truss Style Hanging Kits DIY Truss Style Hanging Kits
Environment 2 Dark Like a Movie Theater Low Ambient Light
Color and Opacity 3 Semi-translucent white– any object or person between the projector and the screen will appear as a shadow Translucent gray– anything directly behind the screen will show through the material
Audience Seating Wider viewing angle– audience may be seated in front of the screen or off to the side Narrow viewing angle– audience should be seated in front of the screen, as you may lose some brightness if seated off to the side
4K, HD, 3D 4 4K Ultra HD and HDR Ready. 3D is possible, however, in our opinion white front-projection materials will provide a lot more pop. 4K Ultra HD and HDR Ready. In our opinion, it is not the best option for 3D.
Max Height 126-inches 86-inches
Packaging 5 Folded in a Box or
Rolled on a Tube
Folded in a Box or
Rolled on a Tube
Projector Information White Rear Projection Gray Rear Projection
Minimum Lumens Recommended 1800 Lumens 2000-3200 Lumens
Standard Throw Projector Yes Yes
Short Throw Projector Fewer chances for hot spots Likely to cause hot spots
Placement (project onto the shiny side) Rear-projection, with front-projection versatility Rear-projection, some brightness may be lost if the projector is placed in front of the screen
Position 6 Off-Axis Off-Axis

1 Tension-Mounting:  When a screen is pulled tight (or bungeed) evenly all the way around the screen we call this tensioned. Tensioning provides a flat screen for even light distribution. Securing tension-mounted screens at the top and bottom, just the sides or only in the corners will not provide a flat surface for even light distribution. If you choose not to tension-mount applicable materials, you are likely to see waves or ripples in your image. Think of tension mounting like a giant artist canvas or drum.

2 Environment:  Ambient light is any light that exists in your viewing environment that competes with your projector. It may be indoor lighting or streetlights, etc. If you have a dark room where the lights can be turned off, we call this controlled light versus dealing with a street lamp, for example, which you may not have control over. An example of a dark viewing environment is a movie theater, low light might be a small light coming from the next room and high ambient light might be a small light on in the same room as your screen.

If you wish to begin a movie at dusk/sunset and your only ambient light concern is 20 minutes of viewing time at dusk, go with a white material. If you will experience ambient light throughout the entire movie, even after the sun goes down, go with a gray material. Unfortunately, none of our materials are meant for full sunlight.

Generally speaking, the darker you can get your viewing environment the better the results. We recommend using white projector screen materials for dark environments and gray projector screen materials for environments with low ambient light concerns. You will not need gray if you have a dark viewing environment. Gray only provides additional contrast if you have ambient light concerns. For best results the ambient light should NOT come from the same direction as your projector.

Always choose the material that will be best for the majority of your viewing.

3 Gain:  is the measure of reflectivity of the projector screen. In our opinion, rear projection film does not have a gain since the light passes through the material. Rear projection screens are not clear, transparent or opaque. These materials do not have an adhesive backing.

4 4K:  All of our projector screen materials are compatible for 4K projection, though your projector, of course, will need to be capable of projecting a native HD resolution. That said, materials with little to no texture can provide the sharpest possible picture for your high-definition and 4K projected images.

5 Packaging:  In the DIY market there is a wide range of comfort levels, skill sets and abilities. If you are at all concerned about folds and wrinkles you may want to consider ordering your raw material rolled on a tube, if available.

6 Off-Axis Positioning:  Position your projector so the bulb is off-axis to avoid hot spots or seeing the bulb through the translucent gray/semi-translucent white materials. Then use the keystone correction on your projector to center the image.