Screen Factors to Consider In Your Home Theater Systems

North Carolina residents considering home theater systems for their family room or for a dedicated home theater have a lot of choices to make. It can be difficult to nail down the best equipment choices without the help of a custom integrator like Synergy Integrated Systems.

Once you’ve settled the choice of a two-piece projection system rather than a smaller LED screen for about the same amount of money, your job isn’t finished. There are a number of factors to consider when you’re choosing a projection screen for your home theater systems. Your Synergy Integrated Systems professional will help you choose the best projection screen for your home theater or family room, but let’s look at the technical considerations that go into the choice.

Horizontal or Vertical Masking

Home theater screens, much like LED screens, are designed to optimally show one media format: 4:3, 16:9, or the panoramic format used on today’s Blu-Rays. Most home theater systems are designed for either 16:9 or 2.35:1 viewing, the format we are accustomed to when we go to the movie theater, watch movies on Blu-Ray, or view on today’s high definition TV screens. (For reference, 4:3 would be the square viewing experience we associate with older television sets and standard definition TV programming.)

With so many formats available, you want home theater systems that can accommodate them all. That’s where masking comes in. When a screen has masking features, fabric will either drop down and rise up from the top and bottom of the screen (called horizontal masking) to change its aspect ratio from 16:9 to 2.35:1. With vertical masking, the fabric closes in from the sides to change the aspect ratio.

Fabric Materials

Home theater screens come in matte white or gray. Your choice of materials will depend, largely, on the room and the rest of your home theater systems. In multipurpose rooms with high ambient light, a gray screen deepens black levels and contrast for a better picture. If your home theater systems reside in a dedicated theater with broad viewing angles and a near-dark environment, a matte white screen provides the best experience.


You’ll want to consider the screen’s gain, or how well it distributes the video projector’s light across its surface. “A high-gain screen allows you to use a projector that may not be as bright, or as expensive, as a high-lumen projector,” Grant Stewart, CEO and President of Stewart Filmscreen, writes in this article on

Choosing a higher gain screen is a cost-effective way to get the best look from your home theater systems without upgrading your projector, especially in conditions with high ambient light or where light sources aren’t easily controllable, such as in a family room.

Screen Size

Screen size is often the most talked-about aspect of choosing a projection screen for your home theater systems. The larger the room, the larger the screen you’ll want, in order to achieve a truly immersive effect. A home theater specialist at Synergy Integrated Systems can help you select the best screen size that best fits your room and your budget.

It’s important to remember that two-piece projection systems offer more “bang-for-your-buck” than LED screens as part of your home theater systems, along with that “wow” factor that’s harder to achieve with a flat screen display. Your projection screen is sure to become the focal point of your home theater systems and a source of family enjoyment for years to come. Let the professionals at Synergy Integrated Systems guide you through the decision-making process, so that your home theater systems provide you with the best possible viewing in your home.