Home Theater Upgrade: Taller Screen

With more and more “blockbuster” movies being released in tall aspect ratios (apparently optimizing for IMAX screens) or even frequently switching aspect ratios midstream (Christopher Nolan!!), my existing, 12-foot wide 2.4:1 aspect ratio screen hasn’t been so useful as it used to be.  These taller aspect ratios meant that the image ends up quite constrained, not using much of the screen real estate to the left and right.

So I finally decided to go through the trouble of buying and installing a new screen.  It’s the same width as before (12 feet) but now in a 16:9 aspect ratio.  So now I’ll have “Constant Image Width” (CIW) rather than “Constant Image Height” (CIH).

It’s another retractable screen (Luxus) from Stewart Filmscreen using the same screen material (Ultramatte 130 and still 30% gain) but this new unit was quite a bit heavier than the old one.  It weighs somewhere between 125-150 lbs depending on which documentation you believe.  I installed another set of mounting blocks with 2×6’s on the wall to clear the window sill but there was no way just two of us could lift it in place.  Four of us were able to do it though! Many thanks to Tim, Geof, Jennifer, Richard and Nacho for volunteering to help Darlene and me:

Old vs New (2.4:1 vs 16:9)

The new taller screen is filled out wonderfully with the likes of all those tall aspect ratio movies – making these films feel much more immersive again.  And so far, the upper and lower “black bars” with 2.4:1 material haven’t been distracting.

Some movies (like Tron: Legacy) like to switch aspect ratios.
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