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White projector screen vs black


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Are Black Screens better than White Screens?

In the past 5 or so years we have seen a raft of Black Screens and Grey Screens hit the market.

Grey screens have been around for quite a while in actual fact. “Lunar Grey” as often they are referred to, were introduced over 10 years ago.

The primary reason for such screens was to increase contrast ratio in order to produce better colour levels.

The problem with these Lunar Grey screens in the main are:

  • They could only be negative gain (which mean they threw back less light than hit the screen)
  • Lunar Grey screens gave the whites a “grey” feel to them
  • They had the tendency to loose detail in the white spectrum
So apart from these Lunar Grey screens, pretty much all you could go for alternatively were white screens.


However, white screens do have a couple of issues :

  • Black light onto a white surface means lower black performance. You would think Black levels are easy to produce, but they can be difficult to do correctly. A white screen does not help with this.
  • Scattering of light. A lot of White screens scatter light at all angles off the screen. This means that rather than your room staying nice and dark, your walls and roof are lit up. However it will does give you maximum viewing angles (hence why the commercial cinemas use White screens as they put seating wall to wall to maximise dollar return)
  • You need a light cannon of a projector to make a white screen work ok in an ambient lit room

So why go Black?
The theory behind Black Screens rather than Grey is down to the development of optical technology, led by Screen Innovations.

A Black Screen benefits you by:

  • Improving contrast by up to 900%
  • Enhances colour performance for a more real life image – to reference levels
  • Massive increased performance on black levels and far clearer black gradation levels
  • Has less light scattering issues, so your room stays extremely dark and keeps you immersed in the image
  • Enhances depth of image
  • If you want some ambient light in the room at all, these screens are designed to work with this rejecting or absorbing ambient light
  • No need for expensive and fiddly masking systems (where black light hits a black surface, it stays black)

There are some downsides to Black Screens such as:

  • You can get a slight shimmering effect on the image in bright daylight type scenes in a dark room
  • Hotspotting (which is a point on your screen where brightness is far higher than any other point)
  • Less viewing angle
  • So far no-one has produced an acoustic transparent version (so you cannot place speakers behind the screen)
As a Black Screen does not scatter light as a White screen does, in effect that reduces your viewing angle. So if using a Black Screen in a dedicated Home Cinema you need to ensure that you have planned your seating positions, screen height relative to those positions and projector positioning carefully.

This should be something undertaken in any Home Cinema design anyway and should not be an issue if your designer / installer knows their stuff.

Shimmering and Hotspotting in most cases can be near eliminated by lowering the brightness of your projector. Alternatively choosing the right projector to suit the environment and screen will negate this as well. Some of the newer generation of these Black Screens as well have almost eliminated effects such as shimmering, such as Screen Innovations Black Diamond 3rd Generation screens.

Which way do I go?

Some simple guidelines here to consider.

  • If you are planning for ambient light in your room, go with a Black screen
  • Use a Black Screen if you want your screen in your living room for general use
  • If you want a very dark Home Cinema, go with a Black Screen. This is especially true if you have any other light in the room (maybe from your AV equipment, bar fridge etc)
  • After a more natural, real to life looking image in your Home Cinema? Go with a Black Screen – which can give you reference level images set with the right projector
  • If you want your speakers behind the screen, you need to go with a White Screen (Acoustic Woven is the best)
  • In order to maximise viewing no matter where your seating positions are in a room (wall to wall seating for example) go a high quality White screen
  • If you have limited budget, go with the best White screen you can afford

One more thing…please do not underestimate the value of a good screen regardless of the material. The quality and performance of a projector screen will have a huge impact on the quality of the image.

Buying an $8k projector then sticking it with a $1000 screen is out of whack. The projector’s limiting factor in this equation is the screen.

Also never, ever go just use a white wall as your screen. Ok, so if it is outside as a temporary projection setup – sure go a white wall.

But in a permanent set up, avoid the white wall. It creates too many issues (uneven surface, bad light refracting properties, inconsistencies in uniformity amongst many others). A basic screen will outperform a wall any day, even a wall with “special paint” on it.

Of course, I always suggest talking to an expert or undergoing a Cinema Design Service to ensure that you get the best result for your room. Planning and analysis will always ensure a great outcome.

Are White Screens Bad?

In general, no. It just depends on what grade you go for.

Like with everything, the more you pay, the better the result. The best of the white screens from companies such as Screen Innovations and Stewart FilmScreen, are by far extreme performing products.

They use superior fabric, materials and technology, and perform well in dedicated and completely darkened Home Cinemas.

White screens also come in different options such as standard, high gain, Acoustic Woven and Microperforated (the last two allow you to place your speakers behind the screen – for more on these two technologies please read our article on Audio Transparent Projector Screens).

They also can be quite cheap, although remember about “you pay for what you get”. So the good ones can start around the $1500 mark whereas Black Screens typically start around the $3500 mark.

View 2


Are you on the lookout for what the hype about black projector screens is all about? Even though black projector screens have taken over the market, white screens still remain the common standard.

One reason would be the wide availability of white screens. On a logical ground, when talking about a black projector screen vs white one, which one is better?

Hence, we took into account the basic features like color contrast, reflectiveness, and sharpness of the picture to give our verdict. Read on to find out the ultimate comparison between black projector screen vs white, and choose one according to your need.


What Does A Black Projector Screen Offer?

Apparently black projector screens are good at absorbing light because of their color. This means that they can absorb even the faintest of the light providing a distinct, sharp image. You can use black screens in bright, lit rooms and still get a splendid home theatre experience.

The bright images also provide better results with the dark portions of the display. But it all comes at a high price point. So, are black projector screens worth the money? It all depends on you.

If you have a good budget, then you should definitely invest in one. Otherwise, a smooth, flat wall painted with screen paint works well too. Keep in mind that a good projector screen provides exemplary results that you will not get on a plain wall.

Black Projector Screen vs White: Which One Should You Get?

There is no hard and fast rule as to which one is better. Both the black and white projector screens have their merits and demerits. It comes down to you which one is more suitable for you. Here is a general comparison between the black projector screens and white ones.

Color Contrast

If you get a good quality projector screen, it does not matter if it is black or white. Both of them will give you great results. When you keep both of them side by side, black screens perform better than white ones in terms of color contrast.

When using a black screen, you will notice that the display is remarkably focused. The light and dark colors are balanced well. While on a white screen, the light colors sometimes appear dull. However, the black screen is not completely problem-free. There will be occasional shimmery effects on your display.

Light Absorption

The basic point in the black projector screen vs white is the light absorption and reflection. Black screens absorb all the light, while white screens reflect it. Due to this, you can see the pictures from any angle on a white screen.

When it comes to black, you can only enjoy the best pictures in front of the screen. White screens give good results in a dark room. But with a black projector screen, you can enjoy amazing display quality even in a bright room.


Even though black screens perform better than white ones, many people still prefer white screens. Why is that so? The answer would be the cost difference. With white screens, you can find countless options ranging from below a hundred dollars to above a thousand.

Moreover, there are a lot of options available for it in the market. The black screens start from above a thousand dollars only, which is a lot. Therefore people tend to gravitate towards white screens for their budget-friendliness.


After going through the differences, you can clearly see that none of them is better than the other. The black projector screen vs white does not have any major difference. It all depends on your preference and budget.


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