I’m guessing you’ve come across both curved and flat projector screens and aren’t sure which one is the better option. Truth be told, they both deliver an immersive experience that is comparable to a theater. But they differ in terms of setup and use, cost, and appearance as we’ll discuss in this article.
Read on to find out the differences between curved and flat projector screens and which one is the right fit for you.
Curved projector screen vs flat
In this section, we’ll compare curved and flat projector screens based on ease of setup and use, appearance, and cost.
Ease of setup and use
Flat projector screens are more popular compared to their curved counterpart. Their design is simple and installing them is straightforward. You can install them on a tripod stand, or wall or even get the retractable type. What’s more, flat projector screens are widely available, and finding them shouldn’t be a struggle if you decide to get one.
On the other hand, curved projector screens don’t have as large a following as flat screens. You rarely see them in stores and online marketplaces and setting them up requires a bit of skill. They require a short-throw projector paired with an anamorphic lens.
If you choose to ignore getting an anamorphic lens, you’ll get an image effect known as barrel distortion. Barrel distortion is an effect where the image appears bulged outwards at the center resembling a sphere. It’s as though someone wrapped the picture around a curved surface.
But even with an anamorphic lens, you’re not guaranteed a clear and vibrant image. You have to set up the screen correctly to avoid experiencing the pincushion effect. Now, this is the opposite of barrel distortion. Instead of an outward bulge, you’ll get an inward one that appears as though a pin is pinching the screen in the middle.
An upside of curved screens is that they are insensitive to ambient light. They are unaffected by natural light streaming in through the windows or artificial lights, unlike flat screens that reflect lots of side light. The downside to this feature is that the seating area is limited. You’ll get more light from the screen but at the expense of a smaller viewing area.
If a large viewing area is your focus, then a flat screen suits you.
Another benefit of curved projector screens is the warping feature. Warping comes in handy when it comes to adjusting the edges of the projected images to fit the curved screen. Beware though that this feature works best with very large screens.
Something else to keep in mind is that the widest curved screens will require multiple projectors. One projector won’t cut it when it comes to lighting and warping effects. For such a setup, you will need synchronizing software like MadMapper and an HDMI hub for connecting the projectors to a single source. Now, while this may sound inconvenient, the images you’ll get will be well worth it.
Finally, curved screens are comfortable for the eyes. They allow the viewer to take in everything at once without strain. Flat screens, on the contrary, can strain your eyes when their size exceeds your natural field of view.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to go for flat projector screens. There are plenty of options in the current marketplace which keeps the costs low. Curved screens, however, are a bit rare, which in turn increases demand as well as the price.
It’s a no-brainer that curved projector screens have a more aesthetic appeal compared to flat projector screens. When paired with creatively-designed cabinets or theater-like curtains, curved screens can uplift the décor of your space by a large amount. But as you would expect, such modifications are only practical in dedicated rooms.
How to make a curved projector screen
As we’ve already mentioned, curved projector screens aren’t as many as their flat counterparts in the current marketplace. And finding the sizes and aspect ratios that suit you may be a daunting task. The good news is that you can make one on the cheap at home with flexible plywood and paint.
The goal here is to make a screen that is similar to a painted wall. Here’s how to make a DIY curved projector screen at home:
- Cut flexible plywood to your desired size
- Coat one side of the plywood with a primer as you would a wall
- Apply a few coats of projector screen paint over the primer and allow it to dry
The popularity of curved projector screens has been on the rise for years but it hasn’t caught up to that of flat screens just yet. But after reading this article, I think you would agree that they are a good contender for home theaters, living, and game rooms.
Now, both have their strengths and weaknesses and the right fit for you comes down to what you consider a priority. We hope this article has been useful in helping you make an informed decision.