200 inch projector screen stand

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  • We still stand by our top pick, but we plan to test some ambient-light-rejecting (ALR) and ultra-short-throw (UST) screens. Check out What to look forward to see some of the models we hope to test.

September 30, 2021

If you own (or plan to buy) a front projector to watch movies on a big screen, we recommend that you add a projector screen to get the best picture quality. You’ll have a tough time finding something better than the Silver Ticket. It’s easy to assemble and available in a variety of sizes, and it has a relatively neutral surface. Some screens are better or cheaper, but none match the Silver Ticket in achieving that perfect balance of better and cheaper.

We spent 90 hours building (and painting) screens, watching content on them, measuring image quality, and comparing them side by side—and we’re confident that the Silver Ticket is the best projector screen for most people. Even though it was the cheapest prebuilt screen we tested, it performed just as well as much more expensive options. It offers sharp image quality with a minimal amount of tint, and we found it easier to assemble than many of the other screens we tested.

If the Silver Ticket is sold out, the Elite Screens SableFrame 2 100″ in CineWhite is a decent runner-up. It’s currently about $150 more and is harder to assemble than our main pick, but performance is comparable.

If you’re okay with a do-it-yourself project and want an even better image, the $300 Goo Systems GooToob tops the Silver Ticket in performance. In fact, this solution measured the best objective performance overall, regardless of price—though it was a small enough margin compared with our premium pick that they’re effectively the same. Whites are more accurate without any tint, and the image has a slightly smoother feel to it. It’s a small difference, but one that you can see without extra equipment when the images are side by side. It’s harder to set up and more expensive, but it looks wonderful.

Why you should trust me

I’ve been reviewing displays and projectors since 2008. I’m ISF certified to get the best out of any display device and have all the NIST-certified equipment to measure any TV, projector, or screen that comes along.

Who this is for

If you have a projector, you should get a screen. Most modern projectors are bright enough to throw a decent image on just about any close-enough-to-white surface, but if you’re still using a white-painted wall, you really should upgrade. A screen has less texture and will show more accurate colors, plus add pop to the image, since paint almost always has less gain than a screen (meaning the image will appear dimmer than is ideal).

But if you ask a home theater expert or aficionado what to choose, more often than not, they’ll recommend something that costs more than the projector itself. Our pick is aimed more at someone looking to put together a casual home theater on a budget or just wanting to upgrade from a living room wall. A good screen can last a long time, so it’s worth investing enough money to get something that’s easy to set up and offers decent performance.

If you’re still using a white-painted wall, you really should upgrade. A screen has less texture and will show more accurate colors, plus add pop to the image.

For most people, it’s not worth paying significantly more than a few hundred dollars since you’d need a high-end, properly calibrated projector to be able to perceive any noticeable performance gains. But if you have a high-end projector and want to get the most out of your setup, the reference screen we used for our testing, the Stewart StudioTek 130, has long been an industry standard and offers better performance than anything cheaper.

Regardless of how much you spend, know that screen technology is not some fast-moving tech sector like smartphones or tablets. The screen you buy today will likely last through multiple projectors before needing replacement. For example, Stewart has made the StudioTek 130 for more than a decade with various incremental upgrades. Many professional reviewers have used the StudioTek 130 since the age of CRT projectors, and it still holds up today.

If you already have a projection screen that isn’t made of blackout cloth1 and uses a real screen material, you’re probably OK and don’t need to go out and buy a screen. But if you want to go larger, as the latest projectors are bright enough to support larger images, it’s worth considering a new screen.

How we picked

Six screens arranged against a wall prepped for testing.

Unlike TVs, projectors are actually one part of a multipart system. The screen, room, and projector all play a role in the final image you see. A projector can be perfectly accurate (more on this below), but the image can still look wrong because of how the screen is affecting it. While testing, the main factors we considered in a projection screen were: gain, color accuracy, viewing angle, and texture.

A projector can be perfectly accurate, but the image can still look wrong because of how the screen is affecting it.

Gain is a measurement of how much light the screen reflects. A gain of 1.0 means it reflects the same amount of light as an industry standard white magnesium-oxide board. Screens can reflect less light and have a gain of less than 1.0, or more light and have a gain higher than 1.0. A lower gain will produce deeper, darker blacks but reduce overall image brightness. In the early days of digital projection, this was useful because projectors had terrible (read: grayish) blacks. But that is less of an issue now with most decent projectors.

A higher gain, made possible by special screen materials, reflects more light back toward the center of the room. This creates a brighter image, but it also reduces viewing angles and can introduce hot spots (areas of the image that are noticeably brighter than other areas). It used to be that a higher gain was necessary, but as projectors have gotten more powerful, today a gain of 1.0 is often sufficient.

close-up view of the Stewart StudioTek 130

A screen that introduces as little color shifting as possible is ideal.

Color accuracy measures how well the screen reflects the colors projected onto it. The makeup of the screen can result in certain colors being absorbed more than others and introduce a tint to the image that isn’t coming from the projector. Many projectors ship with modes that are close to accurate out of the box, but those might no longer be accurate after they hit the screen. A screen that introduces as little color shifting as possible is ideal. The two images below show the same image on two different screen materials. You can easily see the color shifts between the two and the problems a screen can introduce.

side by side close up comparison of Elite Screens Sable and GooToob

The left side is Elite Screens’ Sable; the right is Goo Systems’ GooToob. Photo: Chris Heinonen

side by side comparison left is Goo Systems' ScreenGoo Paint, and at right is Elite Screens' Sable

At left is Goo Systems' Screen Goo paint, and at right is Elite Screens' Sable. Note the warm, red tint to the Screen Goo, while the Elite has a cool, blue tint. Photo: Chris Heinonen

Viewing angles influence how wide you can sit from the center of the screen before the light noticeably drops off. With a gain of 1.0, the viewing angle can be close to 180 degrees, since it reflects everything more or less equally in all directions. With a higher gain, the viewing angle gets smaller, as you are in essence “focusing” the reflected light more toward the center of the room. With a high-gain screen, you’ll want to put seats closer to the center of the screen.

The texture of the screen also impacts how much detail you can see. If a screen’s texture is evident from a usual seating distance, it will alter the image quality and possibly your enjoyment. If the screen material is very fine, then you will not see any texture from a normal viewing distance, so the image appears smooth.

Almost all of the screen reviews out there are of expensive screens, so we had to start from scratch. I first went to the AccuCal Projection Screen Material Report. W. Jeff Maier of AccuCal has tested samples of many screen materials using high-end equipment to determine their color accuracy and actual gain. Since he is dealing with only samples of the materials (often 8½- by 11-inch pieces) that he is sent through the mail, the report doesn’t go into construction or installation of the screens themselves.

Next, research turned to the main AVSForum and other resources. Here the screen conversations range from the top-of-the-line Stewart to a DIY option for $3 from Home Depot. There are also many small Internet Direct companies that would otherwise go unnoticed without discussions at AVS and other locations.

We also pored over reviews from Amazon, making sure to carefully read what people actually complained about. I also talked to other reviewers and calibrators to find out what they might have used and seen in their work that impressed them, even if they had not formally reviewed that particular screen.

After all that, we set out to review 100-inch, 16:9 screens, as close to 1.0 gain as possible. We figured this was a good-size, average screen that would work for most people. You can certainly go larger, though the image will be dimmer (by an amount equal to the increase in screen area). Since almost no modern projector will have an issue creating a bright image on a 100-inch screen (and most can even do larger), we didn’t feel anything higher than 1.0 was necessary. Since most content is 16:9, that was also our pick, though many companies make 2.35:1 options as well.

We didn’t test pull-down screens or light-rejecting materials unless we already had a sample around. Those are more specialized cases, and we were looking for the screen that would be best for the greatest number of people in a semi-permanent home setting.

We were looking for a roughly 100-inch, 1.0-gain, 16:9 screen that had very little color shift, no noticeable texture, good viewing angles, and easy installation and setup. And, ideally, was very inexpensive.

So to sum up, we were looking for a roughly 100-inch, 1.0-gain, 16:9 screen that had very little color shift, no noticeable texture, good viewing angles, and easy installation and setup—and, ideally, was very inexpensive. With that in mind, we ended up bringing in the Silver Ticket 100″, the Elite Screens SableFrame 2 100″ in CineWhite, the 100-inch Stewart StudioTek 130 and Cima Neve 1.1 screens, three 120-inch screen materials (blackout cloth, FlexiWhite, and FlexiGray) from Carl’s Place, Wilsonart Designer White laminate in an 8- by 4-foot sheet, Goo Systems' Screen Goo Reference White and GooToob, and Home Depot's Behr Silver Screen. I also included in the testing my personal screen, a 122-inch Screen Innovations SolarHD 4K.

The Stewart and Screen Innovations screens are much more expensive models that are often sold only through custom AV retailers, but we still included them in our tests as references for comparison. Stewart is the best-selling screen brand for custom home theaters, and the StudioTek 130 is the company's best-selling material. It is the reference standard for a home theater screen and the one most reviewers are likely to recommend if you ask for a single suggestion; I use it when testing projectors. In our tests of screens, we wanted to make sure to pit everything against this reference to see how well they performed.

How we tested

To test the contenders, every screen was built and tested in my home theater room. I used an Epson 5020UBe projector combined with a Lumagen Radiance 2021 video processor to make the projected image as close to reference accurate as possible. Using a spectrometer and a colorimeter I measured the images off the lens, then off the screen, to see how much of a color shift each screen introduced, and to calculate the gain. (Most of the screens we found had claimed a 1.1 gain, but these numbers are often embellished by the manufacturer, hence the testing.) A variety of content was viewed on each screen to look for sparkles, hot spots, texture, or other issues.

The most common flaw with the screens we tested is that they introduce a blue tint to the projected image.

The most common flaw with the screens we tested is that they introduce a blue tint to the projected image. A bluish-white looks brighter than a neutral D65 white (the correct white point for home video content). If you see two screens side by side and one looks brighter, you often can’t tell which one is “correct,” but your eye will tend to prefer the brighter one. If you see a screen by itself, your eyes and brain will adjust to the incorrect image and assume it is correct. This blue tint is present in all the cheaper screens, which use similar materials, so one with a minimal amount is what we looked for. Check out What is accurate? below for more info.

Our pick: Silver Ticket 100″

The Silver Ticket screen is the best because it has good image quality that introduces only a small amount of tint, it’s easy to build and very affordable, and just plain looks nice. Unless you want to spend a lot of time on a DIY project, or are willing to spend a ton more money, you simply aren’t going to do better for a basic screen than the Silver Ticket.

At its current price of $200 for a 100-inch 16:9 screen, the Silver Ticket is the cheapest overall option tested for a prebuilt screen, but it performs as well as options that cost up to seven times as much. Moving up to a 120-inch model adds $50, and there are many other sizes available from 92 inches up to 175. It is also available in 2.35:1 aspect ratios for people who want the CinemaScope experience at home.

The image on the Silver Ticket is very good for not only its relatively cheap price, but also any price, period.

The image on the Silver Ticket is very good for not only its relatively cheap price, but also any price, period. With content through the Epson, the screen does a very good job of showing the detail and texture in a 1080p image. The material itself has neither sparkles nor hot spots during viewing, and it has a very wide viewing angle. It does introduce a bit of blue tint to the image, but less than other screens do. To most people it will not be visible. It maintains the contrast ratio of the Epson projector and looks much better than any cheaper material. The Stewart screens are the only ones made of  materials that offer a clear step up from the Silver Ticket line, but they also cost seven to 12 times as much.

Images are sharp and show the texture of a suit or the wrinkles in skin.

In real world use, the Silver Ticket just looks good. While watching Skyfall or Harry Potter or Star Trek on it, I never felt that I was missing anything from the picture. The images consistently appear sharp and show the texture of a suit or the wrinkles in skin. Even while sitting at the edge of the screen, I was still able to see a very good picture void of any additional color shift. The Silver Ticket screen produces an impressive image, and I'd be happy to recommend it to friends and family.

Assembling the Silver Ticket is also an easy task. The top and bottom rails are in two pieces to make shipping easier, and putting them together is not hard. It took me 30 minutes total to assemble the screen, which is one of the quickest times of any screen tested.

It took me 30 minutes total to assemble the screen, which is one of the quickest times of any screen tested.

I didn’t need help from anyone else to build or hang it, proof that it can be done solo. The rod tension system keeps the screen taut, and you won't be caught cursing and sweating heavily while building it (which cannot be said about every screen project).

Once hung on the wall there is no visible flex in the top or bottom rail, and it looks well made. By comparison, the Elite Screens SableFrame model costs more for the same size and offers similar performance, but I ended up with bruised thumbs after spending almost three times as long to build it. The result was similar, but it took more effort and time to get there.

As far as objective measurements go, we made more than a thousand measurements per screen and have consolidated the data into a table below. We go into further detail in the Lots more data section for those who are interested. While some screens measure better than the Silver Ticket, they are either seven times more expensive or time-intensive DIY projects, which most people aren't up for.

I calculated a gain for the Silver Ticket of around 0.95 compared to our NIST reference measurement, which is all you need for a modern projector. Though, it should be noted that it falls short of its claimed gain of 1.1. It also had exceptional color accuracy.

A graph showing the error measurements for projector screens tested in this review.

Error levels between the projector (reference) and the screens. An ideal screen will produce the exact same numbers as the reference. Any difference means the screen is affecting the color of the reflected image. Numbers use the Delta E 2000 formula, where lower is better.

Measurement data from CalMAN 5.3.6 provided by SpectraCal

Building your own screen with blackout cloth, wood, and felt can easily cost $100 if you already own all the tools you need (staple gun, saw), and it can’t be taken apart later or moved easily. For its price, the Silver Ticket provides little reason to build your own screen instead of buying one that you can assemble yourself and hang in less than an hour. A DIY paint version offers performance that isn’t as good, and requires you to sand a wall to be perfectly flat, a paint sprayer to avoid texture, and it has to be painted over if you move. The small savings aren’t worth it in comparison, especially when the image is still worse overall.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The color of the Silver Ticket is not perfectly neutral. The Goo Systems GooToob is more neutral, as are both Stewart screens. Everything else tested, including my personal $2,700 screen, had a color tint equal to or worse than the Silver Ticket's. The tint it introduces is still low enough that, with most projectors, it won’t be noticeable to the naked eye. I paired it with my calibrated projector and had no color tint issues while watching real world content.

Once hung on the wall, the frame of the Silver Ticket is perfectly flat...

When the screen sits flat on the ground, there is a bit of flex in the top bar of the screen. Companies like Stewart and Screen Innovations use single-piece top and bottom bars, but those are far more expensive to buy and ship, and are almost impossible to get down some staircases. Once hung on the wall, the frame of the Silver Ticket is perfectly flat and this isn’t an issue.

When the lights are up and I look in the lower-right corner, it isn’t perfectly taut. Watching a movie or TV show, I never notice it, but I can with the lights on. Most of the other assembled screens don’t suffer from this, but I never saw it during an actual viewing, so I’m really not concerned about it.

Long-term test notes

I’ve been using our pick since fall 2014, and it has held up just fine. I’ve used multiple projectors with it without an issue, taken it down for a move, and built it back up again with no problems at all.

Runner-up: Elite Screens SableFrame 2 100″ in CineWhite

If the Silver Ticket is sold out, the Elite Screens SableFrame 2 100″ in CineWhite is a suitable replacement. It sells for about $150 more, and the assembly is harder, but the screens' performance levels are very close. The surfaces of the screens are close to identical, the main difference being in how the screens attach to the frames. The Silver Ticket comes together much more easily, and although it doesn't look as taut as Elite Screens' model during use, there is no functional difference.

A DIY option: Goo Systems GooToob

If you are OK with a semi-DIY approach, the prime screen material of any affordable option is Goo Systems' GooToob. For $300 you get a rolled sheet of paper that can make a screen as big as 128 inches in a 16:9 format. If you want something smaller, or even a different aspect ratio, you can trim the screen to a more appropriate size. Everything you need to attach it to the wall is included, along with gloves for handling it and a felt border for the edge.

Once I had it up, the GooToob presented an almost flawless image...[but] for many people it won’t be the best pick because it can't be easily installed alone.

Once I had it up, the GooToob presented an almost flawless image, with practically no color shift, an even gain (0.95 as measured, very close to the 1.0 it’s rated at), and a very pleasing surface overall. It offers up a screen surface that even the most critical viewer would be happy with.

It won’t be the best pick for everyone, however, because you can’t easily install it by yourself. You also have to attach it to the wall, so if you move to another house or even change the location of your projector, it will mean starting all over (and transferring it to a new wall is not easy). It costs the same as the 120-inch version of the Silver Ticket and offers a better image, but it is harder to set up and install.

Lots more data

We pulled out far more data from CalMAN than just the numbers presented earlier. Everything is compared to the light directly from our reference projector, the Epson 5020UBe (last year’s pick for Best Projector), calibrated off the lens using an i1Pro Spectrometer. Calibrating directly from the lens prevents the screen or room from interfering with the measurements and shows what the projector can actually do. The RGB balance of the projector can be seen below. What we want is every bar to be at 100 with as little deviation from that as possible.

color graph showing RGB balance

Charts below show the RGB balance for the StudioTek 130, then our favorite overall screen, the Silver Ticket, and for comparison the Wilsonart Designer White, one of the DIY materials.

color graph showing RGB balance
Stewart Studiotek 130 RGB Balance from CalMAN 5.3.6.
Silver Ticket RGB Balance from CalMAN 5.3.6.
WilsonArt Designer White RGB Balance from CalMAN 5.3.6.

As you can see, the Stewart tracks very close to the Epson projector, while the Silver Ticket adds a blue tint to bright images by absorbing some red and green light, but this isn’t really noticeable to the naked eye unless you have the reference screen next to it for a direct comparison. The Designer White, on the other hand, adds a lot of blue that's easy to see with the naked eye. The screen surfaces are actually changing the image from the projector, so an image that might be accurate out of the projector is no longer accurate once it hits the screen. This is only looking at the grayscale, but similar issues happen with color, as we’ll see.

Here is the chart for color saturation errors for the Epson projector. This measures the six primary and secondary colors at 10 brightness intervals to see how well it displays different shades of those colors. This gives us 62 data points, including black and white, to measure accuracy. With this chart we want every bar to be as low as possible. Any measurements less than 3.0 (indicated by the green line in the charts below) are considered invisible to the naked eye, so if we stay below that it should look perfect.

Epson 5020UBe Saturations dE2000 from CalMAN 5.3.6.

Aside from an issue as it reaches 100%, we are there. Everything coming out of the Epson lens has an error level so low that you cannot see it with your eyes. Colors are not over-saturated; if they were, objects would look flat and like solid blocks of a single color instead of having distinct shades. You need equipment to measure a difference, but if it’s really bad, it’s quite visible. Again, below are the results for the StudioTek, the Silver Ticket, and the Wilsonart. Measurements for the GooToob paper are at the bottom.

Stewart Studiotek 130 Saturations dE2000 from CalMAN 5.3.6.
Silver Ticket Saturations dE2000 from CalMAN 5.3.6.
WilsonArt Designer White Saturations dE2000 from CalMAN 5.3.6.
GooSystems Goo Tube Saturations dE2000 from CalMAN 5.3.6.

Again, the Stewart has no equal when it comes to a regular projection screen for color accuracy. It is the most expensive screen in the testing, but it does measurably and visibly outperform everything else. The Silver Ticket has larger errors, but very few of them get close to the green line that indicates a visible error. On the Designer White there are clearly visible issues in cyan all across the spectrum, and visible errors on the lower percentage saturations in other colors. The GooToob is also effectively perfect here.

The Silver Ticket has larger errors, but very few of them get close to the green line that indicates a visible error.

It is important to keep in mind that our starting point here is a projector calibrated with a $2,500 video processor, $3,000 in equipment, and $1,500 in software. Most projectors start out closer to the 3.0 line—usually past it—than at the low level we did. The errors introduced by the screen are going to compound with inaccuracies in the projector, which will cause more colors to look more incorrect than they did in our testing (which started with a best-case scenario).

Since most people do not calibrate their projector but, hopefully, use the most accurate mode mentioned in reviews of it, having a screen that doesn’t alter that image (i.e., make it worse) is important. A calibrator with tools can fix the projector to account for the tint of a screen, but that’s an extra $300 to $500 expense after you buy the screen.

As far as gain goes, the Elite CineWhite and Stewart Cima Neve come in at 1.1 gain, compared to our NIST reference, while the StudioTek 130 is right at 1.3. The lowest gain is the Behr Silver Screen paint, at 0.48, and the Screen Goo paint, at 0.66. The paint numbers are very low and you’ll need a bright projector for those to look presentable. The other gains are all close enough to 1.0 or beyond that with any current projector they will look very bright.

What does “accurate” actually mean?

When we talk about an accurate projector, we are targeting a specific level of performance. When you think of HDTV or UltraHD, you likely think in terms of pixel count. While this is the most recognizable specification for these technologies, there are many more behind them—color, for example, and others.

The importance here is that you see on your screen what the creators of your content intended you to see. Look at the original Matrix film which has a green tint to the virtual world scenes and a more saturated, natural color scheme to the real world images. With an incorrect image, storytelling cues like this are lost, since you don’t see what the director had intended you to see. Call us video purists, but we prefer accurate images over inaccurate. Since the Silver Ticket is very neutral and costs less than the competition, there’s no trade off. If you want to adjust your projector to look differently from accurate, the Silver Ticket will reflect back to you whatever you want.

HDTV color temperature and color points (explained below) are defined by the Rec. 709 specification. Among the specifications we target with an accurate projector are:

  • White point or “color temperature”: This is literally the color of white that you see on screen. White can range from bluish white to reddish white. The HDTV specification dictates a very exact neutral white. HDTV and UHD use D65 as the color temperature for white, which is based on the midday sun in the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re used to the Cool or Dynamic setting on your TV, D65 will likely seem reddish. It’s actually neutral, and the Cool setting is blue, fooling your eye.
  • Color points: The colors the human eye can see are defined by the CIE 1931 chart, but no TV or projector can display all of those. We don’t have the technology today to show all the shades of red, green, blue, and other colors you see in nature. Because of this, we set a target for what these colors are in movies and TV shows and have display devices use those. Otherwise content would look completely different depending on what you watched it on. If a device can’t show all of these colors, or shows colors past them, the resulting image will look different from what it is supposed to. This chart shows the HDTV color points inside of the CIE 1931 diagram.
  • Gamma: The idea behind gamma is that your eye perceives changes in light levels in a non-linear way. If you have 255 light bulbs in a room, going from one light on to 2 lights is a much larger difference to your eye than going from 235 lights to 236. The gamma curve in a display accounts for this, making it so every incremental step is visible to you. There is no actual gamma standard for HDTV content, and people have different opinions about the correct one, but being able to choose one is important, and having a screen that doesn’t modify the projector’s settings is ideal.

A screen has to enable a projector that is accurate, to remain accurate. If it throws off the gamma, adjusts the white point, or can’t reflect the full color spectrum, then it will be incapable of producing an accurate image no matter what projector you have.

That’s one of the main reasons we like the Silver Ticket and GooToob—they’re inexpensive, but leave the image from the projector alone (at least more than most inexpensive screens).

What to look forward to

The competition

The Stewart Cima line is their most affordable line, and the Neve 1.1 is their closest product to the Silver Ticket. It also measures superbly but costs about seven times more than the Silver Ticket. The StudioTek 130 has the extra gain and pop that make it look better in use, and the GooToob offers almost identical performance at a fraction of the cost. It is a very good screen, but others offer more value or better performance.

The $1,600 Screen Innovations SolarHD 4K material is a direct competitor to the StudioTek 130 and my personal screen. In measurements it comes up short compared with the StudioTek, with a blue tint, while costing almost as much. The measured performance isn’t good enough to recommend it over our choices. If you want a premium screen, you should pay the extra for the StudioTek 130.

The Monoprice Fixed Frame Projection Screen looks very similar to the Silver Ticket. It uses a similar tension pole system to mount the screen, but has single-piece top and bottom frame sections that are higher quality. It also requires more tension to mount the screen, which can keep it free of wrinkles. It tends to cause far more cursing and sweating during assembly as well.

The Monoprice’s wall-mounting system is a bit nicer than the one that comes with the Silver Ticket. But the screen material itself is different, and the Monoprice has a heavy blue tint compared to the Silver Ticket. The single-piece top and bottom frame sections are nice, but offer no benefit in real life. They also make it a much larger, and more expensive, box to ship. Since the Monoprice costs more, is harder to assemble, and offers worse performance, it isn’t a good option compared to the Silver Ticket.

Screen Materials from Carl’s Place are the top sellers at Amazon, but there are better options. The blackout cloth looks very poor when compared with a real screen material, and has a low gain and a noticeable texture to it. The FlexiGray material adds too much of a blue tint, even more than the white surfaces we tested, but does improve black levels. The darker base color makes the blacks from our Epson projector inkier and closer to a model like the Sony HW40ES but dims whites and adds that blue tint. The FlexiWhite has similar measurements to our pick, but isn’t as easy to setup. You need to build your own frame, using hardware from Home Depot, and it doesn’t look nearly as nice and professional as the Silver Ticket does. You get a larger screen, and it will work well outside as it’s easy to break apart and move, but I wouldn’t put it in my home theater room.

Goo Systems made their name with their paint for walls, and their Screen Goo comes in many varieties. While testing the Reference White, I found it has a blue tint compared with the GooToob,  and it’s harder to install than a screen. Painting a screen means sanding a wall to be perfectly flat and free of any texture, and then spraying multiple coats of paint. If you don’t own a paint sprayer it’s another piece of hardware to buy (or rent), and one you might not use again. If you ever move you have to paint the wall again. Hanging a screen leaves just two holes in the wall that are relatively easy to patch. If the performance offered a huge benefit over that of a screen it might be worth the effort, but we don’t think it is.

Behr Silver Screen is a paint you can pick up from Home Depot for only $3 for an 8-ounce sample. For $6 you get enough to paint a 100- to 120-inch screen, making it by far the cheapest option. Painting this onto a 2-foot-square section of drywall I found it to be very low gain, offering 40% less brightness than our picks. Unlike some of the other low-gain options, it didn’t do much to improve blacks either. It makes everything darker, which might have made it good with cheap projectors a few years ago, but today that isn’t as important. The image has a very bad color tint, and it just doesn’t impress.

Wilsonart Designer White is a laminate meant for putting on furniture and other uses, but it has found a niche in the home theater world. It offers more gain and pop than the GooToob but has the worst measurements of everything we tested. If your local Home Depot or other store stocks it you can build a 94- to 96-inch screen for $90 without a border. You add a border and some hardware to attach it to the wall, hassle with everything involved ... and wish you had just picked the easier, higher quality Silver Ticket in the first place.

Some people are using spandex materials for a screen as it is something you can take down easily and is supposedly acoustically transparent for placing speakers behind it. Since we are looking at permanent screens neither of these benefits applied here, so we didn’t test it out.

Da-Lite makes screens and is second to Stewart when it comes to top screens for custom installers. Their most affordable 100-inch 16:9 screen with material is close to $500, making it too expensive to compete with our picks, and their high-end materials rival Stewart in price.


  1. W. Jeff Meier, Projection Screen Material Report, AccuCal, June 4, 2014

  2. Projector Screen Discussions, AVS Forum

  3. Thomas J. Norton, Screen Innovations Slate Projection Screen, Sound & Vision, September 25, 2014

About your guide

Chris Heinonen

Chris Heinonen is a senior staff writer reporting on TVs, projectors, and sometimes audio gear at Wirecutter. He has been covering AV since 2008 for a number of online publications and is an ISF-certified video calibrator. He used to write computer software and hopes to never do that again, and he also loves to run and test gear for running guides.

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-projector-screen/

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The 10 Best Outdoor Projector Screens for Your Backyard Movie Night

Whether you’re planning a family staycation or a special outdoor movie night with your friends and neighbors, it’s easier than you might think to turn your back yard into an outdoor movie theater. All you need is a movie projector (you can get a great one for under $200), an outdoor movie screen for a projected image, and lots of buttery popcorn to create a movie night experience everyone will enjoy. 

Your options aren’t limited to the back yard, either. The best outdoor projector screens are also great for camping, picnics, birthdays, and pool parties. And many of the top outdoor movie screens pack up and store easily, so they’re a cinch to bring on vacation if you’re staying at a rental property.

The Best Outdoor Movie Screens and Projector Screens

We’ve selected the following projector screens based on positive customer reviews, price points, setup options, screen sizes, and the most useful features for different outdoor theater scenarios.

  • Pro tip: Want to make your own projector screen? Keep scrolling for instructions on how to build an easy do-it-yourself outdoor movie screen with a wood frame or PVC pipe frame, or jump right to our DIY movie screen directions.

1. VIVOHOME 14- or 20-Foot Inflatable Projector Screen

VIVOHOME Indoor-Outdoor Inflatable Blow-up Mega Movie Projector Screen

There’s something about inflatable movie screens that scream fun, just like an inflatable bounce house or holiday decoration. And when it comes to inflatable projector screens, the VIVOHOME line of outdoor projector screens are some of the best available. Unlike other inflatable movie screens that sit low to the ground, the VIVOHOME screen is elevated off the ground so that even the littlest viewer will get a good view. The slight elevation also makes them a great choice for an outdoor projector screen positioned near an in-ground swimming pool. This line of inflatable outdoor movie screens comes in different sizes ranging from 14 to 20 feet.

Reviewers rate this VIVOHOME inflatable movie screen 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on more than 1,100 reviews, noting that it’s “easy for just one person to set up,” and calling it “a great screen that inflates quickly” and has “excellent picture quality.”

2. Sewinfla 20- to 33-Foot Inflatable Mega Movie Screen

Sewinfla Inflatable Movie Screen with Blower for Front and Rear Projection

If you want your backyard to feel like a drive-in movie theater, behold the Sewinfla inflatable mega outdoor movie screen. This projector screen is one of the largest outdoor movie screens on the market. It’s available in 20-, 22-, 24-, and 33-foot inflatable projector screen display sizes. Just don’t be surprised if the neighbors start watching from their patio, too. 

Reviewers call this screen “huge,” “much bigger than I imagined,” “great for movie nights out on the lawn,” and made from “strong and durable materials,” though some note you may want to buy ropes and stakes to keep it from blowing around on a breezy night.

3. Gemmy Inflatable Projector Screen

Gemmy Airblown Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen

Big outdoor movie screens can get pricey, but Gemmy’s inflatable outdoor projector screen is one of the most affordable around, and it’s backed by more than 500 five-star ratings on Amazon. While the screen isn’t as large as some of the more expensive models, even the smallest option offers enough outdoor movie screen display area to satisfy most people. And the nice thing with an inflatable movie screen this size is you can even inflate it in your living room or basement for an ultimate indoor movie night.  

4. PropVue Projector Screen with Stand

Projector Screen with Tripod Stand for Indoor and Outdoor Movies

Most outdoor projector screens have a pretty chunky design, especially the inflatable projector screens. But PropVue’s screen has a sleek tripod base that’s incredibly versatile. You can just as easily use it for a kid’s birthday party as for a big presentation at work. This universal outdoor screen is also great for weddings, family reunions, or any big get-together.  It comes in two 16:9 aspect ratio sizes: 84 inches (seven feet) and 100 inches (8.3 feet); there’s also a 4:3 aspect ratio projector screen with stand that’s 120 inches (10 feet).

Reviewers praise its picture quality and durability, while also calling it “easy to assemble” and “very light.” Some suggest adding extra weights to the tripod base for outdoor use.

5. SCREENPRO Projection Screen with Adjustable Legs

SCREENPRO Portable Outdoor Movie Screen

Take your backyard cookout or family picnic to a whole new level of fun with SCREENPRO’s fast-folding, adjustable-height outdoor projector screen, which reviewers describe as “totally worth every cent,” “nice and bright with good contrast,” and “easy to set up.” This is one of the best portable projector screens because it’s super lightweight. If you’re already pulling a heavy cooler and toting overflowing bags of food, you won’t feel that bad giving this lightweight outdoor movie screen to your kids to carry. 

6. P-JING Foldable Anti-Crease Projector Screen

P-JING Foldable Anti-Crease Portable Projector-Screen

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on more than 3,700 user reviews, this is a great inexpensive option for a “foldable and wrinkle-free outdoor movie screen” if you have a convenient place to hang a projector screen and don’t need a stand. (Scroll to the end of this article for DIY movie screen tips and instructions.)

Just hang the screen on the side of your garage or home for an instant outdoor movie night. And if your family loves to hike and backcountry camp, you can also hang the screen from two trees by your campfire for a movie night under the stars. When you’re ready to hit the trail, it easily folds into a pouch that’s perfect for cramming into a backpack. P-JING makes this foldable outdoor movie screen in 120- and 150-inch 16:9 aspect ratio sizes.

7. Elite Screens Yard Master 2, 100-inch Indoor Outdoor Portable Fast Folding Projector Screen

Elite Screens Yard Master Indoor and Outdoor Portable Folding Projector Screen with Stand

Nothing is cooler than watching a movie while swimming. One of the best themed parties I ever went to was a JAWS pool party with the movie playing on a huge outdoor screen and shark floats in the water. That exact theme probably isn’t the best for the little ones, but something aquatic such as Finding Nemo or Moana would be super cute. And if someone decides to do an impromptu cannon ball, it’s okay because the Yard Master is made from an outdoor dyna bright material that is “durable 24/7, rain or shine.”

8. Elite Screens Pull-Down Manual Projector Screen

Elite Screens Manual Series Projector Screen

If you have a place to hang it against a wall outside, this pull-down projector screen from Elite Screens is a great low-profile choice. Hailed as a “great bang for your buck” and scoring a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon based on more than 5,000 reviews, this projector screen comes in a variety of sizes and both 4:3 and 16:9 aspects. You can also adjust and lock the screen at a custom height with the auto-lock feature that allows you to control the viewing area of your outdoor movie screen.

9. VIVOHOME 100-Inch 2-in-1 Portable Video Projector Screen with Triangle Stand

VIVOHOME Portable Video Projector Screen with Triangle Stand

If you don’t have a big backyard or a dedicated wall outside to project on, this triangle projector screen from VIVOHOME is a great alternative. The corner design and 16:9 ratio are perfect for a patio or a screened-in porch. It’s big enough to impress your outdoor movie night audience, but just the right size for easy storage and out-of-the-way placement in a corner. Rated 4.3 out of 5 based on more than 100 reviews, people say it “holds up well even in wind” and is “pretty simple to put together.”

10. DR. J Professional Outdoor Movie Projector with 100-Inch Projector Screen Bundle

DR-J Mini Projector and Outdoor Movie Screen Combo

If the world of outdoor movie screens, inflatable projector screens, and movie projectors seems too expensive or just too complicated, it’s time to step back and simplify. This super-affordable bundle and very highly rated (4.5 out of 5 based on a whopping 25,000 reviews) comes with a basic 100-inch projector screen you can hang anywhere and a pretty good movie projector to show your movies with.

It may not be the fanciest state-of-the-art outdoor movie screen experience, but it is a great starter kit with everything you need to host a successful backyard movie night. A newer (and slightly pricier) version of this portable projector screen and outdoor screen bundle is now being sold as well.

How to Make Your Own Outdoor Movie Screen

Even after considering the best pre-made projector screens available, you may still want to make a DIY outdoor movie screen. Maybe you have a very specific vision of what it should look like, or you’re faced with a unique yard space that requires something a little more customized than the inflatable projector screens you can buy. The good news is that making your own theater-quality outdoor movie screen and frame is not difficult, even for a novice.

Building the big outdoor movie screen where you can project films will be the bulk of the project. First, you’ll need to determine how you want the screen to function and how much you want to spend. From there, your DIY outdoor movie screen will start to take shape. Here are a few questions to consider before you begin.

  • Do you want to build a movie screen you can move easily, or do you want it attached to a wall or garage?  
  • Do you want to use inexpensive wood or spend a bit more on PVC pipe for your frame?
  • Do you want to use a simple sheet or splurge for authentic movie screen material?

Easy DIY Movie Screen Instructions

The easiest way to build an outdoor movie screen is to stretch a rope between two trees. Attach hooks to the trees and tie one end of the rope to each. Make sure it’s taut. Next, throw a white or light-colored sheet or drop cloth over the rope. Secure it at the top with clothespins and at the bottom with weights or stakes. Now all you need is a movie projector, HDMI cable, DVD player or streaming device (like an Amazon Fire stick), and a sound system. A Bluetooth speaker is great for outdoor use. 

Freestanding Outdoor Movie Screen Instructions

If your family movie night calls for a sturdier solution, build a freestanding frame for your outdoor movie theater. The best way to make a frame is either with wood 2x4s or PVC pipes. This project doesn’t require specialized lumber, so you can use boards that you have hanging around your shop or garage, or buy inexpensive 2x4s at the hardware store.

  • Pro tip: Using PVC lets you take the frame apart for easier transport and storage.

Regardless of which material you choose, you’ll build a frame and attach it to foot pieces for stability. The goal is to basically make a rectangle with (ideally) a 16×9 ratio, though it makes sense to build your frame to match the dimensions of whatever material you’ve selected for your outdoor movie screen.

First, you’ll need two vertical pieces of wood or PVC. A footer of some sort will allow the frame to stand up on its own. Some ideas include:

  • A footer made from PVC pipes and PVC connectors
  • Two planters or buckets filled with concrete or soil
  • Thin, flat boards affixed to the vertical pieces using corner brackets.

Once you have your vertical pieces secured, run horizontal pieces between the two. If using PVC, secure the assembly with connectors; if you’re using wood, screws or nail will work best. Glue won’t be strong enough to hold the outdoor screen. 

The next step is to step add a screen. You can use many things, such as: 

Attaching the material can be as simple as using a staple gun or running bungee cords through grommets on a tarp. If you plan to use projection screen material, you might consider making a slightly smaller wooden frame. Attach the screen material directly to the smaller frame, then hang it from hooks drilled into the larger frame.

The beauty of a freestanding design is it’s easy to take down when your family is done watching your favorite films outdoors.

Wall-Mounted Outdoor Screen Instructions

If you have lots of outdoor space, a large screen hung from a wall can be a good option. By having a dedicated place for an outdoor screen, family movie nights will be easier than ever. 

It’s really simple to create this style of outdoor theater. One way to do it is to simply screw sturdy hooks into an eave (the area that extends out from the house and sits directly behind the gutter). Next, make a screen using a large piece of the canvas by sewing a casing along the top edge of the fabric. Insert a long dowel rod or piece of PVC pipe through the casing, then attach cinch straps to the rod and thread a D-ring through the strap. Hang the D-ring from the hooks you placed in the eave. And voilà! You have a place to watch movies outside!

You could also make a rectangular frame using PVC pipes and connectors, attach your movie screen material to the frame (bungee balls are perfect for this), and then hang your screen from the hooks mentioned above. Now all that’s left to do is run an extension cord to a projector and decide if you want to watch a DVD or something on your favorite platform using a streaming stick. Don’t forget the popcorn and comfy lounge chairs!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of projector do I need to watch movies outside?

While it’s possible to use any projector to watch movies outside, your primary consideration should be the projector’s lumens. Lumens are a measure of the brightness of the projector. You’ll need a projector that puts out at least 800 and preferably 2,000 or more lumens.

Because you’ll need a movie projector that puts out a good deal of light, pocket-sized models and some of the more lightweight portable projectors aren’t the best options for showing movies outside. Some projectors can cost thousands of dollars, but models like the GooDee G500 movie projector offer all the right features at a far more affordable price point.

You should also consider how the projector will be powered and connected to your devices. If you want to limit the number of cords required, consider something like the LG PF50KA Portable Full HD LED Smart Home Theater CineBeam Projector that’s truly portable. 

Can all projectors be used outside?

Technically, yes. Any movie projector can be used outside during good weather. When the film is over, you’ll need to bring the projector inside to protect it from the elements. Even if your screen is weatherproof, it’s probably a good idea to bring the screen inside during the winter or severe weather, too. If you want to create a permanent outdoor movie theater, you’ll have to weatherproof your equipment. A professional A/V installer can guide you in this process. 

How much does an outdoor movie screen cost?

Outdoor movie screens vary in cost depending on the size and material they’re made. A very good inflatable movie screen will cost you under $200. A high-quality flat projector screen with a stand costs around $120. A basic projector screen that you can attach to a wall costs just $30.

How big should an outdoor movie screen be?

The most important thing to consider about the size of an outdoor movie screens is where the audience will be sitting. Seating should be within an area that’s no more than four times the screen height. Once you know the height, consider the aspect ratio to determine the width.

The aspect ratio is the ratio of the screen’s height to its width. Today’s most common aspect ratio is 16:9, which means the picture is 16 units wide for every 9 units in height. So, if your screen is 10 feet high, multiply 10 by 16 and divide it by 9 to find the ideal width.

What is the best material for an outdoor movie screen?

A sheet, a drop cloth, or even the side of your house or a garage door are all good options for an outdoor movie screen. However, the best material for watching movies outside is a dedicated projector screen. That’s because projector screens reflect light equally in all directions. The screen’s gain, or measure of reflectively, makes the image you’re seeing appear brighter for a better viewing experience. A 1.2-gain screen is 20 percent brighter than a 1.0-gain screen and so forth.  

What can I use if I don’t have a projector screen?

That’s perfectly OK! You can DIY a screen or even use the side of your house to project movies. Build a frame using PVC pipe or wood and stretch a piece of canvas or a white bedsheet across the frame. It’s really that simple to make your own projector screen that will bring your family hours of entertainment.  

How many lumens do you need for an outdoor projector?

Even though it’s dark outside, it’s not pitch black. There’s ambient light from other homes, the moon, streetlights, and other sources. That’s why you’ll need a projector with the power to shine brighter than those other light sources. For the best quality image, you should look for an outdoor projector with at least 800 lumens. Those with at least 2,000 lumens (and more is always better) will provide a high-quality viewing experience.

More from FamilyVacationist:

This article about outdoor movie screens was originally posted in June 2020. It has been updated to reflect the most current information and product availability.

As parents and travel experts, we select every product, destination, and attraction we recommend based on independent research, strong reviews, and product testing. Some products are sent to us for free and some visits are hosted, with no incentive to offer a favorable review. If you buy an item through a link on our website, we may earn a commission.

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Choosing The Right Sized Projection Screen

200 Inch Large Projector Screen 3D Portable Folding Frame Projection Screen HD Movie Screens for Outdoor Indoor Home Theater

Transportable Folding Frame Projector Screen Features:

  • Screen Size: 200 inch
  • Aspect Ratio: HDTV Format (16:9 Aspect Ratio)
  • Viewable Screen Area: 98" x 174" (H x W)
  • Wide viewing angle that is perfect for social events
  • Screen Material: Cinema Matte White 1.1 Gain, 4K Ultra HD, 2D and 3D Projection Ready
  • Standard 4-sides Black Masking Borders that Enhance Picture Contrast
  • Fold-up projector screens with Wheeled Carry Case for transport
  • Features a fully tensioned, snap button frame that ensures a flat projection
  • Lightweight aluminum square tube construction easily transports with included padded carrying bag
  • 1.2 gain HD PVC material projection surface is textured to avoid hot-spotting while providing color neutrality
  • Soft white PVC material that has exquisite vein, good tensile strength and without any deformation
  • Folding frame projector screen is quick to set up and take down, assembling in just minutes with out any tools.
  • Outdoor Movie Screen is a professionally engineered yet cost-effective solution
  • The frame makes the screen in a perfect flat one to produce super clear images with vivid colours
  • 14 Month Warranty and Lifetime Product Support by Cynthia Screens; a ISO9001 manufacturer


Folding Frame Projector Screens are generally used in auditoriums, stages, trade shows and outdoor venues. Folding Frame Screen are the best portable solution for large venues, strong and durable, often coming with a hard travel case for transport. Easy assembled by snapping or screwing together multiple aluminum frame pieces to a tensioned screen surface. Typically, a more expensive portable solution than a tripod screens or floor pull up screens, due to their prefessional use and durability.

Specification of Folding Frames Projector Screens:

  • Portable folding frame projection screen ideal for any outdoor activities, such as camping, parks or movies in the backyard.
  • Fast fold screen with a heavy-duty frame construction, the set up and take down is simple and quick with a portable carrying bag.
  • Simple push buttons allow for easy height adjustment of the entire screen surface for larger applications
  • Fold-up projector screen is very easy to carry and transport, as well as set up and disassemble
  • Durable design to be used as indoor or outdoor portable projection system
  • Portable Folding Frame Screen makes the outdoor movie screen a treasured asset for many seasonal events to come
  • Gain: 1.2 (Front Projection) 2.5 (Rear Projection); Viewing Angle:160 (Front Projection) 140 (Rear Projection)

Fast Fold Projection Screens Detail Information:

Type:Fast Fold Projector Screen
Diagonal Size:100", 120", 150", 200", 250", 300" or any size you need.
Aspect Ratio:1:1, 4:3, 16:9, 16:10
Screen Material:White/Grey fabric, Rear PVC material, 3D metal film, Acoustic transparent material
Frame:High quality square aluminum tubing making the frame stable and light
Selling Points:Durable, Flatness,Portable, Antiflaming, Light, Foldable, Can be cleaned by water
Warranty Period:14 Month Warranty

Payment Terms:

  1. We accept PayPal, Telegraphic Transfer and Western Union Payment.
  2. If you are paying through Paypal, please note that Checking clearly your address and contact information in Paypal.
  3. We can ship the item to your PayPal address for fast and accurate shipment. If you want to change the address, please contact with us by Email 

Shipping Terms:

By Sea, By Air, International Express etc.


1. Q: How can I pay for the order?

A: Our payment terms: T/T, Western Union, PayPal, 

  • For sample order: 100% T/T or Western Union in advance, Paypal is also acceptable.
  • For bulk order: 30% deposit T/T in advance, pay the balance before shipment.

2.  Q: How about your factory Supply Ability per month?

A: Our factory has more than 20 production lines with 500 staffs.

  • Our supply ability is 30000 pieces per month
  • OEM/ODM orders are available.

3. Q: What about your Delivery Time?

  • The sample goods will be delivered within 1-3 days after receiving your payment.
  • Bulk order goods delivery time is about 7- 15 days.

4. Q: What’s your guarantee period?

A: We provides 14 months warranty period for the products from your purchase date, except human damage and force majeure factor.

  • For a better maintenance, be sure that projectors are being used under normal circumstances.
  • Beyond the guarantee period, Cynthia Screen will provide maintenance service and technical support.

5. Q: What is your MOQ?

A: Any quantity.

6. Q: Do you offer OEM service?

A: it is available.

  • All demands will be confirmed to you before you pace the order, and we also have professional team to help you to design what you want.
  • All related cost will be confirmed to you together.

7. Q: How to contact us?

 A: If have any questions, please email us by [email protected]  

  • We are very glad to help you, we will reply you within 24 hours. Please contact us before leave any feedback.
  • If you don't get response within 1-2 business days, please check your email, If still no receiving our message in Email. Please add us in your contact and email us again.

8. Q: How can customers know whether we have sent goods to them or not?

 A: We would offer you tracking number when goods sent out.

Any other questions, please feel free to contact us at any time:

Email: [email protected]

Mob/Fax: +86 0373 5892908

Skype: Aimee668

Website: www.cynthiacn.com  |   www.cynthiascreen.com   |  www.cynthiascreens.com

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Screen 200 inch stand projector

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