Fixed Screens - The Absolute Flat-Screen Solution
If you are planning a dedicated Home Theater Room or have ample space on your wall to devote to a home theater video projector screen you will want a fixed projection screen. Fixed-frame, wall-mounted video projector screens offer the flattest and most true surface for your projected image. Manufactured home theater screens normally consist of a square-tubular frame with screen material tightly stretched over the frame. They are also easy to construct from scratch by building a frame of wood and stretching screen material over it. The stretching of the screen surface eliminates any irregularities and provides for a perfectly flat video screen. Fixed home theater projection screens also come in a variety of surface finishes/gain ratios, sizes and another big consideration is - ASPECT RATIOS.
The aspect ratio of your screen is an important decision to make prior to its purchase. The most common ratios are either 4x3 or 16x9 and even 2.35:1. 4x3 being the normal Standard definition TV ratio, 16x9 is the normal HDTV aspect ratio and 2.35:1 is the widescreen "Cinemascope" aspect ratio. Your choice of aspect ratio is as important of a consideration as your choice of screen size. That is because since it is fixed and stationary - the aspect ratio and size cannot be changed.
If in doubt (and you have the available space) I suggest going larger rather than smaller than you think you may need. You can always mask the unneeded screen area with curtains - and you will indeed want curtains to add to the theater-esque experience of your Home Theater. For instance in my living room setup - my pull down screen is mounted over our picture window. On either side of the window maroon colored heavy velour drapes can be pulled inward to mask the sides of the image frame. After the movie we retract the screen, pull the drapes aside and it's a normal living room once again. The curtain masking routine for masking a fixed screen indeed works best in a dedicated room as curtains surrounding a projection screen on the wall in your living room is bound to look just plain weird and obtrusive.
The recommended manufacturers for fixed-frame screens are the same as other types of screens. Stewart, Da-Lite, Carada and Draper offer excellent models of fixed screens and some folks even favor Elite screens. I recommend you, of course, assess your lighting conditions and that should determine which surface and gain you will need and then shop for the best price and performance before making your purchase.