Black v/s White Projector Screen – 7 Things You Should Know

White projector screen has become a standard choice. But it is not the only best choice you have for your projector screen. Let me explain in this article.
Black vs White Projector Screen – 7 Things You Should Know

The concept of taking cinema out of the cinema room into your living room has been evolved immensely over the last few years.

Growing technology is taking picture quality by projectors to the next level. It would be best if you used these advancements in technology to make most out of your device.

White screens for a projector are standard since the launch of the projector. But are they only best screen option that you should opt-in?

Loudly screaming a big “NO.”

Do you know that first gray screen named “Grayhawk” was introduced in 2001 by Stewart FilmScreen. So, whether a gray or black, using a dark screen for better picture quality is in practice since very long.

The dark screen became widely popular when Screen Innovations did something remarkable nearly six years ago by launching the Black Diamond projector screen. But this screen was costly. Hence years later one more projector screen was launched, the Slate. It is an affordable version of the Black Diamond.

So from these stats, it is clear that Dark Screens are in the market for very long.

This article will discuss why and how you should choose White or Dark screen depending on your projector and room.

But before we go into the details let we go through,

Dark Projector Screen

Advantages

  1. Improved contrast
  2. Reproduces true blacks
  3. Work in the presence of ambient light

Disadvantages

  1. Costly
  2. Loses details in white spectrum
  3. Low viewing angle
  4. Shimmering and hotspotting

White Projector Screen

Advantages

  1. Wide range of availability
  2. Low cost
  3. Wide viewing angle

Disadvantages

  1. Lots of bright colours get lost

Apart from the above pros and cons, the choice is yours, but our honest answer is a Dark Screen. Read this article till the end, and you will also be convinced that the best screen for a projector is Dark Screen.

Now without any further ado, let’s get started.

Here is the list of things on which we will be discussing in this article,

  1. Contrast levels
  2. Bright Colors on the black screen
  3. True blacks
  4. Picture quality in the presence of ambient light
  5. Reflectiveness
  6. Viewing angle
  7. Price

White v/s Black Projector Screen – Which is Best?

1. Contrast levels

Gray or Dark screen were designed to provide the highest contrast ratio possible. White screens are also good at producing best contrast but with a high lumen projector (which are costly projectors).

Gray screen for the projector was launched to improve the contrast ratio, which was not possible with a white screen.

Following is the video by Screen Innovations demonstrating contrast levels and picture depth of Black Diamond vs White Screen,

The contrast ratio is defined as the difference between the white and dark portion of the image. In contrast to the white screen, a black screen is exceptionally excellent at reproducing true black colours.

2. Bright Colours on Dark Screen

Bright colours like yellow and green can be very prominently visible on a black screen.

This may sound quite illogical, but it is about the screen that has the highest contrast level.

In a white screen, bright colours don’t look as good as on a dark screen. Take yellow chalk and try writing on white and blackboard to find the difference or refer to the image below by Screen Innovations.

Bright colors on Dark Black Screen - Black vs White Projector Screen – 7 Things You Should Know - ULTRAdvice

The green colour on the white screen will look whitish but will look crystal clear on a black screen (named as “SLATE B” in the above image).

3. True Blacks

As I said earlier, a black screen is exceptionally excellent at reproducing true black colours.

This feature of the black screen is credited to their inherent darkness and reflection properties.

The white screen doesn’t produce true blacks until you use high quality and costly projector with high lumens.

4. Picture quality in the presence of the ambient light

With a white screen, you need black walls, ceiling, curtains and closed doors. Yes, that’s the reality.

To get maximum picture quality out of a projector with a white screen, you must make your room as dark as possible. This situation is very similar to that of a cinema hall.

If you don’t have any problems following the above practices, then a white screen is the best choice. But if you are about to use your projector in the presence of ambient light, then a black screen has no competition yet. Go for it!

Black Screen’s property of absorbing incident light makes them perfect in ambient light.

5. Reflectiveness

As we know, white reflects light and black absorbs light. That is the reason we wear white in summer and black in winter.

So accounting to this fact, the white screen reflects lots of light. Even if you try watching movies by maintaining maximum darkness in the room, a white screen will lit up white walls and ceilings.

If you want a perfect cinematic feel in a fully dark room, then opting-in for the black screen would work best.

6. Viewing Angle

White screens have a wide viewing angle because they reflect light. So you can see the screen clearly from any angle.

On the other hand, black screens do not reflect light, so you need to be in exact front of the screen.

In the case of the viewing angle, the white screen dominates the black screen.

7. Price

White screens are in the market over the past few decades, so their availability (options) is vast. Owing to this availability and competition, the price of the white screen is very low.

It starts from $30-$50 and can go as high as $4,000.

In contrast to the white screen, the price of black screen and availability has led them down. This the Dark Screen technology is quite old, yet it has started cracking the market over the last 5-6 years.

You are supposed to get an excellent Black Screen for your projector at the price of $3,500.

So the price of the Dark Screen is high, but we have few reasons to explain buying a Black over White Screen,

Why Choose A Dark Screen

  1. If you want a high-end (natural-looking and HD quality) home theatre
  2. Budget is high (or no budget limit at all)
  3. If you are planning to use a projector in the presence of ambient light
  4. Mostly you are willing to watch dark cinemas.

Final Words

So, at last, you should conclude that Dark (Black) Screens are the best option amongst all types of screens. But due to the price point, they are not affordable to everyone.

  • If you are on a low budget, then go for the white screen without being confused between white and black screen.
  • If you intermediate budget then invest in a high-quality projector and choose white screen.
  • Finally, if you think you have no budget limit and can spend significant money to convert your living room in a cinematic home theatre, don’t bother going for Black Screen. It is worth investing!

Do not think that you won’t get excellent picture quality if you will not opt-in for a black screen. But the fact is white screens are proven for their quality over the past few decades.

They only need to be coupled with a high-quality projector.

So if you cannot buy a black screen then at least try buying a high-quality projector.

Ryan Krock
Ryan is a tech enthusiast working for a Robotics E-commerce Company. He is an engineer and team leader. Loves to read the news, share his expertise and write. By being a technology geek experimenting with the mechanical and electronics stuff around him, he has gained a plethora of knowledge about how things work (and how to make things work!).