I'm looking for help with the purchase of my first screen for projection. 70 to 80 inches. Suggestions please in the $300 - $500 range. Thanks in advance.

A fixed screen:

Carada is a good choice if a fixed screen is what you're seeking. But there are DIY options at a fraction of your budget. ALOT depends on your projector's brightness and the light control in your room.

Go to In the screen section you can then do some reading or start a thread about your situation. They are extremely helpful over there and possess a wealth of knowledge.

I am a new PJ owner and have a very nice 90" screen that is painted on my wall with a mix from Home Depot and topped with a clear matte poly then framed 3" with a flat black border. All for about $75.

I would suggest that you spend some time on that forum before you spend any money on a screen.

Take a look at Screen Goop. check out there web site. My friend did a 100" screen. They make 2 different colors depending on your projector. Whole process took 2 hrs to complete. The company actually states you should actually try to be a little sloppy and let the pait settle on its own to get the desired effect. The picture is amazing. $150 left him with $1500 he ended up putting towards his projector!
First thing you need to do is find a projection calculator and enter your model projector into it along with screen size and throw distance. This will tell you what "gain" screen you need. I have a 1200 lumen 720p lcd projector and a 133" dia screen. I needed to go to a 2.8 gain screen to get the pop I like. Go to AVS like mentioned above and do a little research there. It will pay big dividends.
I have a totally dark room with a floor to ceiling curtain backing/covering what will be the screen wall. I don't have a PJ yet, so suggestions would be great also. I like the DIY stuff I'll check out the aforementioned website. The Home depot product, can it be mounted onto an MDF board to creat your own screen?

thanks all.

I made my own screen using screen (ie canvas) material purchased on ebay (many vendors offer it there). I bought it a couple of years ago and think it cost about $20 or so. It's a hi-quality material that is stretched on a frame constructed of 1x2's with 1/4" masonite corner reinforcement. The screen is 92"x52" and cost me about $30 total and an hour of my time to construct. It works great.

Looking at the "paint on" options above, I can see advantages to them, in my case since my home theater has been a work in progress during the last 2 years, it's been handy being able to move the screen whenever I rearanged things.

The other recommendation I'd offer is given your budget should buy you a good quality screen (unless you're after motorized), do your research. When I bought mine I was experimenting with home theater/projection, and specifically wanted to keep the $ to a minimum. If you're not experimenting, do your research as suggested above by others. While mine is a very good screen and I'm happy with the results, I'm at a point now that I'm looking for something more SOA.

As for projectors, not sure what your budget is, but make sure it's native resolution is 720P minimum, AND that it's super quiet. I have a Optoma HD70 which is both and I'm extremely happy with it, and impressed given it cost <$900.
Go to Home Depot and buy a 4'x8' plastic panel used in bathroooms etc. It has a diamond like shiny surface on one side. Cut the panel to what ever size you want up to 97" diagnal. You are going to use the back side which has some shiny mold marks on the panel. Use a scotch brite pad and scuff up the entire surface to a uniform surface. Mount on the wall with adhesive or what ever. Will cost you about $17.00. I just installed a Stewart Grayhawk motorized in it's place and there is not much difference.
Look on videogon! Good quality screen is important. You don't specify format or type, so hard to advise. I have a used stewart 84" diag. fixed frame 4:3 format "grayhawk" screen for sale in your pricerange. (grayhawk is a off white/gray, contrast enhancing surface)
I expect to buy a Sony Pearl and the Stewart SST FireHawk developed with Sony for that projector. It would be my first projection system. Might I be better off trying a DIY screen and something like the Opima HD70, to get a better understanding of FP in my application before spending the money?

I would suggest the DIY route first if you have the room for a permanent screen. The link below is to a current AudioGon member that did one and he likes the results. I think you'll be surprised how good the picture will bee on a homemade screen.

I currently throw a 9ft x 12ft image on a blank wall and I get excellent results. The wall isn't even white, it is butterscotch colored and I'm so surprised at how good it is. I am able to get my room pitch black dark to where you can't even see your hand in front of your face.

I have just ordered a roll-up screen from the Da-Lite company so I won't have to take the pictures down from the wall every time I want to look at a movie. I have looked at movies on a blank wall for three years now and have enjoyed it immensely. My guests that come to watch movies are very impressed with it also.

If you get your projector before you get the screen, I suggest you throw the picture against one of your bare walls just for a test of what the picture will look like. If your walls are white or very light colored, you'll be surprised as to how good it will look. That will help you to see that you don't need really big bucks for a good screen.