Update: Projection Screens
Some projector manufacturers have gone back to specifying curved screens to apply a patch to the poor lenses they are using for an anamorphic stretch to a 2.35:1 image. The industry has once again sold the consumer a bill of goods, hiding the fact that they messed up. The irony is that if you either buy a better lens so the curved screen isn't necessary or drop the stretch idea altogether, you'll end up with a better image.
Before going into our current discovery of better resolution, there is another perspective on the history of screen technology we find fascinating. When you get into the science of what it takes to properly reflect light, we are often surprised that in 100-plus years of manufacturing screens we are still learning what it takes to make them better. Who would have thought in this age the screen could be a limiting factor in image quality?
It's sometimes difficult to take an objective look at any individual product when we seem to place a priority on form over function. In the case of the screen, we are often asking it to compensate for poorly designed rooms and/or faults in projectors. Form is sold without ever explaining the many consequences of using the screen as a patch for something else going wrong in the system. "We'll just fix the system problems in the screen"...without ever understanding the compromises being made by not fixing it at the source of the problem.
As TV set manufacturers have always sold their products by promoting how different they are, we've drifted far enough away from the requirements of the video communications system that the idea of making it function properly has all but been lost on manufacturers and consumers alike. (We illustrate this point in our introduction to high-definition video in DVE HD Basics.)