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Question Screen aspect ratio noob confusion


Established Member
Hi all

I have finally got my projector (epson tw7400). I have a 5 meter square room that has surround sound installed.

The last piece of the puzzle is the size of screen and aspect ratio.

I will be mainly watching movies with occasional bouts of sport and very occasional gaming.

I am commissioning a chippie to fix a sheet of mdf to the wall which will be painted with black widow paint mix.

I am confused as to whether 16:9 or 21:9 is a better ratio for the screen...

thanks for any assistance.


16:9. Most, if not all, discs are framed to be displayed in this setting. Screen ratios may differ from title to title and this will result in the black bars above and below the image to faithfully reproduce the original cinematic release. 16:9 will also be the setting on any player you have connected.

If you are also going to use it for displaying from broadcasters then that is always 16:9.

Gerard Fernand

Established Member
If you have the scope to go with a 21:9 with the same screen height dimension as you are planning for 16:9, I would consider going with that. You can then use the projectors lens position memory to accommodate the different aspect ratios of the content. In the case of 21:9 movies the lens would zoom in and project the top and bottom black bars of the authored content outwith the screen area. For full-screen 16:9 content, the projector would be zoomed back out and project the image into the central area of the screen with blank areas to the left and right of the image.

This type of setup would keep the image height dimension the same for different aspect ratios.

From what I can see, you projector has 10 lens position memories so can be setup for various aspect ratios.
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Established Member
Scope ratio is what I would recommend. Do you really want the Great British Bake Off to be larger and more immersive than the latest hollywood blockbuster. Have it made up in a 2.40:1 ratio as the majority of scope films are framed in that ratio. Then on the epson you can set up the memory 1 and 2 buttons for 2.40 and 1.78 and use the other memory slots for the other ratios that exist such as 1.85, 2.00, 2.20 etc.


Distinguished Member
While I have a scope screen myself, it is only because I realised after I bought my first projector and screen that most of what I watch is in scope aspect.

Have a look through your disc collection (of you have one) and see how many are 2.35/2.40:1 aspect. If you watch a lot of streaming, such as Netflix plenty of content is 2.00:1. Leaving the TV content, which is generally 16:9. Just have a think about your typical viewing habits and how this might affect your choice of screen.

A couple of things to note: Viewing 16:9 content on a scope screen means you have black bars each side of the picture. These black bars are usually much darker than the opposite scenario (2.35:1 on a 16:9 screen/black bars top and bottom) because they aren't lit by the projector. The 'side bars' are out of the projected image area and are only lit up by room reflections (or possibly a poorly designed projector with light spill). The top and bottom black bars when viewing a 2.35:1 film on a 16:9 will tend to be dark grey at best because they are only the projector's 'best' black level while simultaneously displaying a potentially bright image in the 2:35:1 area. Even a JVC with supposedly great black levels will show grey bars in this situation (I know I've had a few ;) ).

So whatever you do, it might be worth making up some kind of manual masking, even if you just shift scope content to the bottom of a 16:9 screen, then you'd only need one double width top mask, which is easier to hang across the top of the screen. Scope screens perhaps easier to mask with side curtains, but I've not yet got round to a permanent solution yet, but tested with pinned up material and it looked better.

On the plus side, if it's a DIY screen then you could always change it later without spending too much.

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Just to add to what has already been said - Scope was created to be the same height and twice as wide as 4:3, as it's supposed to be a wider more immersive format. Other aspects would then be the same height and the width would vary. 16:9 was created as a compromise tv format, so all wider formats have to be reduced in size with added black bars top and bottom so it can fit without cropping - much the same as multiplex cinemas. With a scope screen, the height remains the same and all aspects have varying widths.

It's important that you have your seating where the height becomes the limiting factor for comfortable viewing. If you sit somewhere between 2 to 3 times the screen height you should be fine. What you can do is experiment with screen size and seating distances to see what works best for you. If you have the seating so the 16:9 image is as large as you are comfortable with, then scope is wider and more immersive.

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