Manual Screens for Home Theater Projectors

Manual Screens
Manual, pull-down video screens are usually the least expensive of the manufactured screens. Equipped with a mechanism much like a window shade - manual home theater projector screens pull-down to display a movie and retract to be relatively unobtrusive when not in use. They come in a variety of sizes and of course gains/screen surface finishes. I own a manual pull-down model manufactured by Draper. It is a Draper V-Screen with a matte-white surface and it serves our needs quite well. I got it factory direct for merely $79 plus shipping. It is admittedly an entry-level type screen, however coupled with my BenQ DLP HDTV video projector it looks like a million bucks.

If you decide to purchase a screen I highly recommend you stick with a brand name of which the "big three" are Da-Lite, Draper and Stewart. They do not skimp on materials or workmanship. Each has a full line of screen models that include economy versions however Draper has some lower priced models than the other two with Stewart's pricing at the upper end of the scale. A relative newcomer to the marketplace is Elite and they have a fine line of projection surfaces - you may want to check them out as they offer great value for the price.

There are some drawbacks to pull down screens -- they may develop a slightly wavy surface. Don't worry -- except for the most extreme cases (usually created by mis-use) the minor waves do not detract from your viewing pleasure. Another drawback is that you must (of course) manually deploy and retract the screen -- not quite as convenient as an electric motorized model but that is no bother for the "non-couch-potatoes" amongst us.

Manual video projector screens usually come in unformatted full width format without a border. They are also available with a masked border area configured to either 4x3 or 16x9 ratios. I would suggest that if you get a pull-down screen that you get it without a border and use curtains to mask the surface. Then if you move either to a different house with a different sized room -- or move your theater to a different sized room in the same house - you will not obsolete your manual screen due to the throw restrictions or characteristics of your video projector.

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