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  Screen Fabric Types


The majority of "off the shelf" projector screens available come with a standard matt white fabric. But there are other choices to match your specific requirements.

When selecting fabric, you need to consider a few main factors such as gain, contrast and viewing angle for example.

Main fabric types

Different fabric types can be classified in the following categories:

Different screen manufacturers will offer different variations of fabrics within these categories, some offering more or less gain, or a different viewing angle etc.
If you have a very specific application, it is worth talking to professional dealers or even directly to the manufacturers for advice on which fabric to choose.

Standard matt white

Matt white is the most common fabric for screens.
It usually offers a gain of around 1.0:1. This means the fabric reflects the same amount of light as a standard white board.
It also diffuses light in all direction so the image looks uniform from any angle.

High contrast

High contrast fabrics, as the name suggest, help improve the contrast of the projected image. This is achieved by using grey fabric.

On a standard matt white screen, black can look grey because you are projecting light onto a white surface.
A high contrast grey screen will reflect less light (both ambient light as well as the projector light) but this will enhance colour contrast and also black levels.

High gain

High gain surfaces are used when there is a high amount of ambient light and/or when the projector has a low brightness. A fabric is usually considered high gain when it reflects over 30% more light than a standard white board: gain higher than 1.3:1.

They offer higher reflectivity than a standard matt white surface but usually this is accompanied by a smaller viewing cone. This means that the further off centre the viewer is, the darker the image appears and the greater the loss of image uniformity.
This makes high gain fabric less than ideal for large audiences as you need to in front of the screen to get the best results.

Viewing angle   Viewing angle

Examples of different viewing cones - Viewers furthest from the center line may experience a lower image quality

Rear projection

Rear projection screens are used when the projector is placed behind the screen.

Rear projection screen

They are often used on a stage or in digital signage solution where people can walk or stand in front of the screen without casting a shadow on the projected image.

They are available as flexible fabrics for use in electric screens, fast fold or fixed frame screens for example, or as a rigid acrylic often used in shop windows for digital signage.

Specialist surfaces

While the types of surfaces described above are the most common types, there are more specialist surfaces available to match various requirements.

  • Acoustic projection fabric: these fabrics are manufactured with micro perforations to allow sound to travel through them without any loss. This allows for audio systems to be installed behind the screen.
  • 3D polarised fabric: passive 3D projection systems require screens that maintain the light polarisation. You will often see them being called silver screens because of the fabric colour being grey.
  • Window or glass film: these are translucent films that can be installed on glass partitions or windows to provide image retention. They are used where transparency is required as they offer an uninterrupted view through the screen when not in use, and when in use the image appears to be floating on the glass or similar to a hologram.