ALR screens, what they are and when they should be used

Schermi ALR

Choosing the right screen for your home theater is one of the key steps to achieving the visual quality and optical comfort you have always wanted. Also because, any projector (entry-level or very high-end that is) needs a flat surface of appropriate color and materials, to reproduce images. Then, if short-range projector is the choice, then ALR is even a must. Here is what ALR screens are, how they work, and why to get them.

What is an ALR Screen?

ALR stands for Ambient Light Rejection; this is an innovative projection technology that rejects ambient light. By reflecting only light coming from below, these screens allow for an incredible level of brightness and vibrant images, even in very bright environments.

It is a type of screen that can be used at any time of the day, even if the room is brightly lit or windows are present; its special projection surface is designed to absorb ambient light, especially light sources from the ceiling and sides, so as to ensure high contrast and color saturation at all times.

This feature is achieved by a special optical technology that combines the properties of a white lenticular structure with those of a black grid structure: the former reflects the projector’s image toward the viewer’s eyes, while the latter absorbs ambient light. Therefore it can also be used in places such as home theaters, home cinemas, classrooms, conference rooms. And without having to turn off the light.

It is important to make sure that the ALR screen is appropriate for the throw ratio of the projector, which is the projection ratio between the projector-to-screen distance and the width of the projected image. In fact, every video projector is equipped with an optics that can make a larger or smaller image from a certain distance, but always within a well-defined range.

Benefits of ALR Screens

The advantages of an ALR screen over traditional screens are many:

  • Superior Anti-Glare: The anti-glare properties make the illumination more homogeneous over the entire sheet, avoiding areas that are more exposed than others (especially in the central regions). This feature is achieved by making the projection surface more irregular and grainy.
  • More Brightness and Quality: Flat projection screens create defects and lead to lower overall visual quality because they send most of the light toward the ceiling. Screens with cyclic optical structures, on the other hand, create more uniformity in brightness.
  • Sharpness and Contrast: The special physical structure of the surface of ALR screens practically eliminates the “washed-out, milky colors” effect experienced with conventional screens under ambient light conditions.
  • For All Environments: You can install ALR screens of any size, in any environment, even those with mixed use such as a living room. Brightness levels can be further controlled by changing the position, materials, and design of the curtain.

Types of ALR Screen

Depending on need, there are ALR screens for all needs and all aspect ratios: 4:3, 16:9, 16:10 and 2.35:1 as well as 16:9 and 2.35:1 widescreens. One can choose from:

  • Manual ALR Screen: Type of ALR screen that requires user intervention to be unfolded downward or upward. They are the least used because, although cheaper, they require constant adjustments; with each use, in fact, the position of the screen changes, plus creases or wrinkles can form over time.
  • Motorized ALR Screen: This type of screen has a motor that very precisely raises (or lowers from above) the curtain. It is very convenient to use and can be controlled via app or wireless remote control; plus it requires no installation or masonry work, but it takes up more space and can be less aesthetically appealing than other solutions. Therefore, rather than at home, it finds use mostly outdoors or in offices. There are tensioned versions that reduce the problem of folding, but unfortunately they are also much more expensive.
  • Fixed ALR Screens: Fixed screens are hung on the wall like a picture, and because they have no moving parts, they offer the best possible quality and also last much longer. Today there are frames and mounting mechanisms that make them suitable for any environment, among other things, with rather aesthetically pleasing results.

ALR Screens: Practical Tips for Choosing.

Choosing the right ALR sheet should be done on the basis of many technical aspects, which is why it is always advisable to consult a specialist such as Ultra Experience, to avoid problems in the future. In general, however, it is important:

  • Always prefer PET and UV plastics because they give the sheet more rigidity, stability and scratch resistance than PC and TPU.
  • Always prefer designs with gradient optical structures. Installation requires specialized technical personnel, but allows for a significantly superior solution in terms of visual quality and resistance to light interference.
  • Choose appropriate models for your ultra-short projector; in addition to the throw ratio factor, you also need to make sure of advanced features, such as 4K support.

For whom are ALR screens suitable? Especially for mixed environments and where, in general, there is little or no control over ambient/incidental light such as Home Cinemas, Conference Rooms, Classrooms. With short-range projectors they are simply a must.


What is the best ALR sheet?

A good ALR curtain repels at least 80 percent of ambient light while maintaining wide viewing angles, which means that the quality remains consistent even for audiences sitting to the sides or back of the room. The farther a viewer is from optimal positioning, in fact, the more the brightness decreases; that’s why it’s important to always check the properties of the ALR curtain before purchasing, so that you can choose the model best suited for your home theater.

Is it worth taking an ALR?

In general, yes, but as long as you make the right considerations and especially keep an eye toward the future. A good ALR canvas is not only suitable for the current setup, but can perform best with future innovations as well. More and more content is now available in High Dynamic Range (HDR), with Wider Color and 4K, so it is crucial to keep in mind the direction in which the entire market evolves.

How long does an ALR Sheet last?

It depends on the manufacturer, but quality ALR sheets are usually guaranteed for at least 5 years; with proper maintenance, however, they can last much longer. For cleaning, always follow the dealer’s directions; often, a soft, lint-free cloth dampened with cold water or glass cleaner is more than fine.

An ALR Cloth Will Get Ruined If Used Too Long?

Absolutely not!

ALR Screens: They Really Work?

Absolutely, and they are a real treat for the eyes. However, as long as only one condition is met, and that is that the ambient light should NOT impact the screen in the same direction as the projector. To avoid this problem just have a simple caution: avoid installing light sources near the projector and directed toward the screen.

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