An electric screen, when talking about projection systems, is a screen that is capable of being raised and lowered on demand, without having to manually touch the screen. The screen includes a small motor, usually housed in the storage canister, for this purpose. This offers a benefit when a screen must be put up to such a height that reaching it would be impractical. While some manual screens, in such cases, have a line hanging down to a reachable height, the electric screen offers some aesthetic, as well as functional, benefits.
While most screens in movie theaters are stationary because the theater's primary purpose is to show films, there are many situations where electric screens would be needed. When not in use, the electric screen can roll up into its own unassuming canister. This effectively puts the screen out of sight, except for the storage container, which is usually very small and hardly noticed. As with most roll-up screens, they are usually made of flexible vinyl or some other soft material so that they are easy to store in a compact manner.
The electric screen is usually controlled one of two ways. There may be switch on the wall, similar to a light switch, that will operate it. In some cases, an infrared remote control may also be used to lower the screen. Both have certain advantages.
An electric screen operated by a remote control will usually have the ability to be lowered and stopped at any point until it is fully extended. This can be especially helpful when the full height of the screen is not required. Further, during a presentation, the screen can be controlled by the presenter without having to worry about having someone else operate it, which may help with presentation preparation because there is no need to involve an additional person.
A switch, on the other hand, may not have the ability to lower the electric screen to a certain point but it may be most reliable because it does not have to rely on battery power or line of sight. While the switch is becoming a less popular option, it still may have a role in some electric projection screens. Further, for those who are rent out a room with an electric screen, a switch means there is no need to worry about who last had the remote control.
The most common place to see an electric projector screen is in a large presentation hall. These may have higher ceilings, but the screen may not always be required. Therefore, the electric screen is a very useful tool. These types of halls are commonly found in community meeting areas, such as civic centers, and large lecture halls at universities.