When buying a projector screen for the first time, there’s a lot to think about. The most daunting decision is choosing between a fixed screen and a motorized projector screen. How do you decide which one is the best option for you?
For a home theater, go with a fixed screen. They’re easier to install, cheaper, and lightweight. Go with a motorized screen for a classroom or work setting where you might need to roll the screen up. They’re more expensive and require professional installation, but the flexibility is worth it.
Read on to learn more about different projector screens, their pros and cons, and which one will give you the best user experience.
Are Fixed or Motorized Projector Screens Better?
There are pros and cons to both, depending on what your needs are. First, assess your needs and your space. This will allow you to pick the best projector screen for your situation. And note that, if you want to hide your projector screen, we have a separate post detailing that.
Fixed Projector Screens
These are lighter in weight and easy to install. After you mount these to the wall space, they’ll look like a flat panel and be stationary.
Usually found in cinema halls, fixed projector screens come with a perforated surface. This blocks light from the other side, which creates a great cinematic experience.
In addition, they’re acoustically transparent. This means that these screens allow sound to pass through them. You can actually place speakers behind the screen without impacting the sound quality to save space.
Fixed projector screens are also simple to install.
Motorized Projector Screens
Unlike fixed projector screens, motorized screens can roll up and down as needed. Typically installed above a drop ceiling, these screens are controlled using a remote or a wall switch. Some are even compatible with room automation systems.
Alternatively, you can also choose to connect the screen to a low-voltage trigger port on a projector. With this method, you can control the screen from the projector itself.
Also, there’s a trap door installed at the bottom of the screen’s enclosure to store and hide it away when it’s rolled up.
There are two types of motorized projector screens:
- Tab-Tensioned: Using a system of tabs, tab-tensioned screens remain flat against the wind and outdoor weather elements. You still can roll them up when not in use. This is because of the stored potential energy in the tab-tensioned screen which converts to kinetic energy when you roll it up.
- Non-Tensioned: These are stiff screens with a flat surface that rolls up and down using a motor. The stability comes from the screen’s own weight. However, these can be easily disturbed when used in an open space, and they’re vulnerable to wind and other natural forces.
What Is The Difference Between Fixed and Motorized Projector Screens?
A fixed projector screen is always ready to have an image projected on it but can’t be rolled up. Motorized screens can roll up or down when you need them to. Motorized screens also have additional set-up requirements.
As mentioned, a fixed screen can’t be rolled up when not in use. Once installed, it’ll remain on the wall like a blank canvas. On the contrary, motorized screens can go up and down. When not in use, you can easily roll them up using a remote control.
Fixed Projector screens are way cheaper than motorized ones. Prices will also vary based on the size, brand, and features of the screen.
You can install a fixed projector screen on virtually any wall as long as you have the space for it. They’re easy to mount because they’re so light.
On the contrary, motorized projector screens are quite heavy. They also require professional help for installation.
Moreover, motorized projector screens can only be installed on high or recessed ceilings. If you don’t have a high ceiling, you might need to consider renovating your home to use one of these screens.
You could also use a screen that extends up from the floor. However, these also require professional installation.
Among both these choices, fixed projector screens are easy to maintain. While you can take care of these screens yourself, the motorized screens may often need professionals to help you with any glitches that arise at times.
Considering the consistent movement of the electronic parts and the screen that folds up and down often, the chances of wear and tear also increase in motorized screens.
On the other hand, fixed screens with permanent frames stay up and running for long.
What’s The Best Type of Fixed Screen and Best Type of Motorized Screen?
Silver Ticket Products have the best type of motorized projection screen, and Elite Screen Aeon Series are the best for fixed screens. Affiliate link here.
What Type of Projection Screen is Best?
For a home theater room dedicated to watching TV or movies, Fixed is the way to go because it’s cheaper, easier, and lightweight.
For an office, classroom, or any space that may need the screen rolled up from time to time, you should go with motorized, but it’s heavier and more expensive.
In short, if you can allot a dedicated space for installing a projector screen, choosing fixed over motorized will allow you to save a few bucks. In addition, with low maintenance costs and longer service life, fixed screens would be easy to manage.
Best suited for home theaters, churches for projecting verses, lyrics, and videos during sermons and similar applications.
However, if you like to watch movies on a big screen without needing to engage a complete room for the same, you will love the flexibility that these hidden screens have to offer.
Mostly used in classrooms and board meetings, these can be lowered when in use and tucked away when needing space for other work.
Does The Quality Of Your Projection Screen Matter?
Whether you decide to go with fixed or motorized, you should look for a high-quality screen that lacks imperfections that will show up on projections and a good color that will display your picture and not cause glares. Though you can go without it and use a wall for a projector, a screen does make a significant difference.
Consider buying a screen that can absorb ambient light to offer clear projection. The ones with a black border surrounding the screen from all sides enable users to get the perfect placement of the picture.
Plus, the black border will highlight picture quality and make the image pop, offering a great theatrical experience.