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Matte White FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

What is matte white screen material?

Matte white screen material is the ideal material for viewing movies, games, sports, presentations and more.  Matte white material reflects true colors at extremely wide viewing angles and is compatible with high frame rates.  Matte white screens are going to have the widest viewing angle for noticing a visible dip in brightness.  This means it has an extremely wide viewing cone and the material works great for rooms with large audiences that may be sitting on the sides of the screen and not only in front of the screen.  This works vertically as well as horizontally.  People may also be above the screen and below the screen and still have a good image.  Matte white screen materials are the most universal screen materials.  Matte white projection screen film works with UST Ultra short throw projectors, Short throw projectors, Standard throw projectors and Long throw projectors.  As you can see matte white is pretty universal.  Because projectors cannot project black, it is recommended that matte white screen materials be used in darker rooms with darker walls.  A perfect environment for using a projector is dark walls and a dark room.  In most cases the matte white material will be best for a dark room.  If the projector has poor contrast then a light grey material is also a great choice for a dark room.  Because matte white screens have proved to be the most universal material, the life span is expected to be the longest.  Matte white will most likely be compatible with your future projector purchases.  Matte white screens are the typical screen for most installations.  

Is matte white screen material the best? Is a white screen good? What is the best color or shade for a projector screen?

Matte white screen material will reflect the truest colors, uniform brightness and the widest viewing angles.  This would make it the best choice for dark rooms with dark walls, but personal preference can't convince everyone that this is the best material.   Projector companies and screen companies both recommend a matte white material for dark rooms and dark walls, but a small percentage of people do like other material options.  Because of personal preference, it is good to test samples before moving forward with a screen purchase - Samples.  If your theater room or living room does not have dark walls and will not be dark during viewing, then it is recommended to find a different screen material that is right for your application.  Projector companies recommend a light material for dark rooms and a darker shade material for lighter rooms.  Usually the screen material gets darker as the room gets brighter since projectors cannot project blacks.  

Is a silver screen better than a white screen?

This depends on the application.  Silver screens are made for direct viewing - meaning the material does not have wide viewing angles like a matte white material.  Silver screen materials are also compatible with passive 3D projectors while matte white is only compatible with active 3D projectors.  Silver screen materials help maintain black levels if there is ambient light in the room, while white material will wash out quicker.  It depends on the needs of your application for what screen will be the best screen.  Really no screen material is better than another one, it just depends on what your application is.

Why are matte white screens cheaper than other screens?  Does this mean that matte white screens are lower quality?

You may think the price of the screen material makes it a better screen material than a cheaper screen, this is not always the case.  Matte white screen materials are the most universal.  Most projector screens are used in the dark and matte white works great in the dark.  Because most screens are used this way, matte white screen materials are mass produced.  If a matte white screen material does not work for your application then you will need another material.  Other materials are not heavily produced like matte white screen and will have much higher costs because of the low production runs.  Materials like UST Ultra Short Throw or ALR Ambient Light Rejecting screens have special filters and are very difficult to manufacture.  This will make UST & ALR materials much more expensive.  

Is matte white what most movie theaters use?

Most movie theaters use white screens that are perforated for speakers to be placed behind the screen.  Theaters will use matte white screens and higher gain white screens depending on the size of the screen or the value that the higher gain white screen can bring.  For polarized passive 3D most theaters will use a silver 3D screen material for IMAX, RealD or DepthQ.  Dolby and others will use a high gain white screen for their 3D systems.  Theaters will use different gain white screens to help with costs.  It is very expensive to use a bright projector and high quality lamp on matte white screen to hit brightness levels.  Theaters will use higher gain screens to send more light back to the audience resulting in a brighter images.  This is a huge cost savings over many years since they may buy smaller projectors or less bright replacement lamps.  For home theater use, most projectors are so bright that a matte what screen is all that is needed.  There is not a cost savings to add a higher gain screen to a home theater screen.  If your projector lumens are very low, then it may help you to use a projector and screen calculator to find out what gain is best for your application.  

Can I just use a sheet or paint my white?  What is the best color to paint my wall for a projector screen?

Yes, you can do this.  We would recommend a white sheet with the highest thread count or paint your wall with matte white paint.  This issue will be with the quality you expect.  A sheet will not produce a high end image, and painting a wall may not be as easy as it sounds.  If you are not looking for a quality image then painting your wall may be an option.  Issues with painting a wall can be unevenness in the paint surface, roller marks, texture unevenness, incorrect gain, and difficult to make a flat uniform surface across the viewing area.  Using a sheet or finishing a wall can be great for a novice user or someone who will rarely use the projection system.  Be careful and calculate costs.  Finishing a wall can be costly and results may not be worth it in the end.  Many times it is cheaper to buy a projection screen over finishing a wall properly.  

Which is better white or grey projection screens?

This depends on the application.  Grey screens are made to help maintain black levels in brighter rooms, or help black levels with low contrast projectors. Grey screen materials help maintain black levels if there is ambient light in the room, while white material will wash out quicker.  Grey screens can also be used if a projectors is too bright and will light up the room.  The grey screen can help reduce reflective light to keep the room darker.  It depends on the needs of your application for what screen will be the best screen.  Really no screen material is better than another one, it just depends on what your application is.  Projector and Screen manufacturers recommend white material in rooms that are very dark with projectors that have great contrast ratios.  Light grey screen materials work in rooms that have little light or are dark with projectors that have low contrast ratios.  As the room gets lighter, it is recommended to use a darker shade screen materials.  

Why are matte white screens good for many screen applications?

Matte white screens do work well if you do not have a wall to project on.  If you wall is a different color or not even enough to project on.  Matte white screens are also great because they provide the proper gain for a dark room to project on.  Matte white screens do not work for every application, especially in movie room applications where there is a lot of light.  Matte white screens do work well for classrooms, presentation rooms, dark home theater rooms, worship services, government applications and more.  Matte white screens do work well for folded screens like the STO series because of the uniform even gain.  With the white even gain across the screen, fold lines are more difficult to see ones a projected image is on the screen.