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The Best Projector Screen for most people is the $200 Silver Ticket 100”, which I found after spending 90 hours building (or painting) screens, watching movies and TV, taking measurements, and comparing them side-by-side. The Silver Ticket is easy to assemble, available in a variety of sizes, and has a surface that is relatively neutral. There are screens that are better, or cheaper, but none offer the balance and value the Silver Ticket does.
How We Decided
We set out to review 100-inch, 16:9 screens, with as close to 1.0 gain as possible (reflecting the same amount of light that hits the screen). This is a good-sized, “average” screen that works for most people. You can go larger, though the image will be dimmer. As almost any modern projector can create a bright image on a 100-inch screen, a gain of 1.0 is fine.
To test the contenders, every screen was built and tested in my home theater room. I used an Epson 5020UBe projector combined with a Lumagen Radiance 2021 video processor to make the projector as accurate as possible. Using a spectrometer and a colorimeter I measured the images off the lens, then off the screen, to see how much of a color shift each screen introduced and calculate the actual gain. I watched a variety of things on each screen to look for sparkles, hotspots, texture, or other issues.
The Silver Ticket screen is the best because it has good image quality that introduces only a small tint, it’s easy to build, very affordable, and just plain looks good. Unless you want to spend a lot of time on a DIY project, or are willing to spend a ton more money, you simply aren’t going to do better for a basic screen than the Silver Ticket.
At $200 for a 100” 16:9 screen, the Silver Ticket is the cheapest overall option tested for a pre-built screen, but it performs as well as options that cost up to 7x as much. Moving up to a 120” model adds $50, and there are many other sizes available from 92” up to 175”.
In real-world use, the Silver Ticket just looks good. Watching Skyfall or Harry Potter on it, I never felt that I was missing anything. Images are sharp and let me see the texture of a suit or the wrinkles in skin. Sitting at the edge of the screen still produces an image that is very good with no additional color shift. The Silver Ticket screen produces an image that makes me happy to recommend it to friends or family.
Flaws but not Dealbreakers
The color of the Silver Ticket is not perfectly neutral. The Goo Systems GooTube is more neutral as are both Stewart screens. Everything else tested, including my personal $2,700 screen, has the same color tint or worse than the Silver Ticket. The tint is low enough that it won’t be noticeable to the naked eye with most projectors. With my calibrated projector I had no issues while watching anything.
When the lights are up and I look in the lower-right corner, it isn’t perfectly taut. Watching a movie or TV show, I never notice it. Most of the other assembled screens don’t suffer from this, but I never saw it in actual viewing so I’m really not concerned about it.
A Great DIY Option
If you are OK with a semi-DIY approach, the best affordable screen material is the Goo Systems GooTube. For $300 you get a rolled sheet of paper that can make a screen up to 128” in a 16:9 format. If you want something smaller, you can trim the screen down to a more appropriate size. Everything you need to attach it to the wall is included, along with gloves for handling, and a felt border.
Once up, the image on the GooTube was almost flawless: Virtually no color shift, an even gain, and a very good surface overall. It offers a screen surface that even the most critical viewer would be happy with.
The Premium Pick
If you want the absolute best screen, the Stewart Studiotek 130 had no equal in our tests. It’s the most expensive screen by far, at $2,415, but it offers a clear advantage. The color measurements are totally neutral, it adds a good amount of gain with virtually no drawbacks, and the construction of the screen and frame itself are top notch. It is expensive but it does outperform everything we tested.
If you want a really good screen for your projector, you don’t need to spend any more than $200 to get one. The Silver Ticket 100” 16:9 screen is easy to assemble, reflects a great image, and comes in a wide variety of sizes.
This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Wirecutter.com