There are many different projector screens that you can buy – with each one differing in material, size, thickness, specialization, and shape.
One type of projector screen, in particular, that’s become quite popular recently is the curved projector screen, which has its edges curve towards the viewer, creating a crescent or half-circle type of shape.
But is this unique shape a downside when setting up a budget home theater? Do you need a special projector for a curved projector screen?
We have found that you don’t need a special projector for a curved screen. But you do need a projector that has the right throw ratio, which is either 1.6 and below or 1:1 and below. In general, if your projector comes with a built-in anamorphic lens, a curved screen should also work.
About the Curved Projector Screen
First things first: what is a curved projector screen? And what is it typically used for?
A curved projector screen is simply what it sounds like: a projector screen that is curved. The resulting shape is something like a crescent or half-circle.
Curved projector screens are typically used to bring an image to life over a larger, wider canvas. It also creates a more aesthetic experience, which is part of why it’s so popular with people who want to have a mini theater room.
Due to its curve, the edges of the projector screen are closer to you, which helps increase your field of vision. This can make you feel like there’s more depth to the image and creates a more immersive viewing experience.
You can also use curved projector screens for material that is high-gain. This may help eliminate hot spotting.
Do You Need a Special Projector for Your Curved Screen?
With all of this in mind, do you need a special projector for a curved projector screen?
The answer is: not exactly.
The right projector for a curved projector screen will depend largely on two factors.
First is the throw ratio, which is a ratio of how far the screen is from the projector lens and the screen’s width.
This means that as the throw ratio decreases, the closer your projector can be to the screen. Curved projector screens are best paired with projectors that have medium throw ratios.
The second is the lens on your projector.
In general, curved projector screens are also best used when your projector has an anamorphic lens, which typically shrinks the image in the center and expands it at the sides, causing focus issues.
A curved projector screen can even out everything for an anamorphic lens.
When To Use a Curved Projector Screen?
The best way to know if you should use a curved projector screen is by checking if it has an anamorphic lens or the right throw ratio. This should be indicated on its box or at least it’s manual.
In general, you’ll want to use a curved projector screen if:
- Your throw ratio is 1:1 or below, or
- Your throw ratio is less than 1.6
If your throw ratio is a value between 1.6 and 1.9, then you could use a curved projector screen. However, there isn’t a great advantage to using one, so it’s entirely up to your personal preference.
But if your throw ratio is at least 2.0, then you shouldn’t use a curved projector screen. Not only will it not come with an advantage – it might even result in a worse viewing experience than using a regular, flat projector screen.
Can You Use a Curved Projector Screen with Any Projector?
Technically, you could use a curved projector screen with any projector to have an aesthetic, dramatic look.
However, without a suitable projector, a curved projector screen won’t be able to give you a very good viewing experience.
If your projector has neither the right throw ratio nor an anamorphic lens, then the image will be too tall in the middle of the screen and too short on the sides of the screen. The image will also be blurry across the screen since the focus won’t be uniform.
How To Use a Curved Projector Screen?
To use a curved projector screen with a projector with the right throw ratio and lens, you can simply use it the way you’d use any other projector screen.
In general, we don’t recommend using a curved projector screen with a projector that isn’t the right fit.
But if you’re really set on using a curved projector screen, here are some tips you can follow:
- Minimize the brightness of the room.
- Don’t use an anamorphic lens on a projector with a short-throw ratio.
- Align the size and gain of the screen with the projector.
- Use your projector’s built-in geometric correction to correct the image shape for a curved surface.
A curved projector screen can increase your field of vision and make you feel like the image has more depth, making for a more immersive experience. You can use it with any projector, but the image will be blurry and won’t fit the screen well unless the throw ratio and lens are correct.
You don’t need a special projector for a curved screen. Just a projector with an appropriate throw ratio or a built-in anamorphic lens.
You should use a curved projector screen if your projector comes with an anamorphic lens or if it has a throw ratio of 1.6 and below or 1:1 and below.
To use a curved projector screen with a suitable projector, you can just turn it on and play.
To use a curved projector screen with a less than suitable projector, minimize ambient light, avoid anamorphic lenses for short-throw ratio projectors, match the screen’s size and gain, and use geometric correction.
We hope this article gave you the answers you need!