Can All Projectors Do Rear Projection

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Updated December 6, 2022

If you’ve been wondering, “Can all projectors do rear projection?” then you’re in the right place. There are a few things you need to understand about rear projectors before we can answer the question. A rear projection setup isn’t the same as it is in front-projection systems. Some of the best projectors out there is a part of an all-in-one rear-projection system.


  • Rear projection requires quite a bit of floor space and is best used for places like houses of worship or in boardroom setups.
  • To use a rear projector, you must buy a special screen explicitly made for rear projection films, presentations, or any other purpose.
  • There are a few differences between the rear and front projection, such as the black levels desired, ambient light situations expected, and more.

Explaining Which Projectors Can Rear Project

When wondering, “Can all projectors do rear projection?” it’s a good idea to start with what rear projection entails. Most people think of the classic type of projector used in schools when thinking about projection. Those projectors were often prone to overheating. However, there is a multitude of different methods. You’re probably most familiar with lamp-based projection. If you end up purchasing a lamp projector, your next question will probably be, “How long do projector lamps last?” so that you can be ready to perform routine maintenance.

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Explaining Rear Projection

If you’re looking into the best type of projector for your event, “Can all projectors do rear projection?” is probably a question you’ve had. There are technical aspects to rear projectors, such as screen gain and lumen ratings, but we can quickly simplify most information you need. A good rule of thumb is that if you have a large venue and need a clean, professional look with crisp black levels, go with the rear. If you decide to go with a front-facing system, your next question should be, “How high should you mount a projector?

Screen Material Used for Rear Projection Image

Instead of solid white screens, rear projectors use a translucent screen that diffuses a crisp image. This means that their image quality remains high even when ambient light levels are high. However, the rear projection screens lose brightness in lumens because light diffuses through them. Front-facing systems don’t have this problem. Picture quality won’t suffer because of this, especially since you’ll likely have an ALR (Ambient Light-Rejecting) screen.

Differences between Rear and Front-Projection Systems

There are a few differences between the two types of projector setups. With front projection, you place the projector in front of the screen. This means having to clear valuable space to keep the angle of projection clear. With rear projection projectors, all of the equipment hides behind the screen surfaces. Both systems are available for reasonable prices. The choice comes down to how big your average audience will be. The reflective screen of a rear-facing system is best suited to a large audience.


You’ll have a subpar movie-watching experience if you fail to provide proper shade for your outdoor projector screens.


How does ambient light affect the front and rear projection screens?

Ambient light will always pose a problem if you’re looking for a brighter image. Ambient light refers to any light source in the area, such as lamps or windows.

Do I need a special projector/screen for a rear projection?

Rear-projection systems require a few extra elements, including a special screen and a projector capable of producing a rear-projection image.

Why do screen size and throw distance matter?

There is a simple equation to determine the throw ratio: the relationship between screen size and the throw lens. For every foot of width, the throw must be one and a half feet. Throw type matters, and there are ultra-short-throw projectors available. The throw ratio also affects the viewing angle.

Can you use a rear-projection screen for the front projection?

Rear projection screen applications are limited. You’ll be limited to a reflective screen that can reflect and diffuse light.

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