There is a growing popularity behind the idea of projectors, especially as part of a home entertainment system. They provide film enthusiasts with the ability to watch movies on a large screen all from the comfort of their couch or recliner.
However, if you have limited space available in your house, putting a projector in front of a wall might not be possible. Your next option would be likely to put it in front of a window.
But is it advisable to put a projector screen in front of a window?
You can put a projector screen in front of a window provided that it is made out of material that does not warp when subjected to heat or allow light to penetrate from the back. A warped projector screen or one that allows light to shine through will dim the image and also diminish the quality of the image.
Projector screens and damage from the sun
The sun can damage a projector screen if it is left exposed for extended periods of time. The heat from the sun subjects the screen to thermal expansion, thus damaging the screen material mechanically. On the other hand, prolonged exposure to UV light results in UV degradation which causes features such as cracking and fading.
The amount of damage your projector screen will suffer over time is dependent on the type and quality of material used to build it. It is therefore important that you buy your projector screen from a reputable company that performs thorough tests on the best materials to use.
You can limit the exposure to both light and heat by installing a block-out film that tints the window or leaving some space between the window and screen to hang a blackout curtain.
Using a window shade as a projector screen
You can use a window shade as a DIY projector screen, especially if the window shade is made out of a material that does not wrinkle or fold easily. Roller blinds are especially a good choice if you are looking to have a makeshift projector screen because they can be retracted.
White roller blinds are a good option if you want to view bright, vivid images. But if you’re looking for more contrast, gray blinds will work better.
With that said, since window shade fabric isn’t designed to reflect light or behave the same way that projector screens do, the image quality and viewing experience might not be the best.
Blackout blinds, depending on the material, can fold, warp, and move around (wave) during use, especially if it is windy or there’s an electric fan nearby.
Is it okay to leave a projector screen outside?
It is not okay to leave a projector screen outside because elements such as direct sunlight, water, and dust will damage the screen over time. The only exception is a retractable projector screen which can be rolled back into its casing when it’s not in use to keep it protected from the elements.
If a white projector screen is exposed to water and dust, it will warp, discolor, and get stained over time. The reflective coating on a projector screen is especially sensitive to outside elements. This will affect the quality of the images that are projected onto it.
There are a few select companies that offer retractable projection screens that are specifically designed for outdoor use:
- Elite Screens Yard Master Manual Series
- VIVO 100” Portable Indoor Outdoor Projector Screen
Can I project on glass (is it possible to project on glass)?
You can project on a glass surface as long as you apply a back projection film on the glass surface. If you use transparent glass without the projection film, the light from the projector will pass straight through and you’ll not be able to use the glass surface as a projector screen.
The projection film comes with its own adhesive and is applied in a similar way as window tint film. Projection film makes it possible for you to display all types of digital imagery not only on glass but also on acrylic and plexiglass surfaces for entertainment or business purposes.
Projection films come in different sizes and are mostly available in three main colors; black, gray, and white. The following video explains how projection films work on glass:
Does a projector screen have to be against a wall?
A projector screen does not have to be against a wall for it to work, it can be hung freely even in the middle of a room or in front of a window. However, to avoid image distortion, ensure that the screen does not move around easily during use by introducing some tension at the base or using a tab-tensioned screen.
One example of a tab-tensioned screen is the Elite Cinetension 2. This screen can be mounted in the middle of a room, away from the wall, and the tension eliminates all screen movement. Also, it comes with an RF remote and an IR remote.
Putting speakers behind a projector screen
You can put speakers behind a projector screen, however, if the screen is not acoustically transparent, the sound quality will not be the best because it might be reflected, producing an echo. Acoustically transparent screens have a woven or perforated surface that allows sound to pass through, eliminating echoes.
If your screen isn’t acoustically transparent, common solutions include purchasing smaller horizontal speakers that can be mounted on surrounding walls, ceilings, or floors.
You can put a projector screen in front of a window, it does not have to be hung against a wall. But to maintain high-quality picture images, the screen should be opaque enough so as not to allow light to pass through and create a dimmed image.
Also, the screen should have enough tension so as not to move around easily and distort the image.
In order to project on transparent glass, you need to apply a back projection film, otherwise, the projected light will pass right through.