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What is an Ambient Light Rejecting Screen?


Choosing the right projection screen is the first step to getting the most enjoyment from your home entertainment system. Even basic entry-level projectors require a flat surface to produce the best images. Currently the range of available projection screen aspect ratios includes 4:3, 16:9, 16:10, and 2.35:1. Widescreen 16:9 and 2.35:1 formats are the most popular size/ratios for homes. This article will explain light rejecting screens and the two types of light rejecting screens, the ALR and CLR.

What is an Ambient Light Rejecting Screen?

A light rejecting screen features special optical technology comprised of embedded lenticular screen with black-grid structure, whose black portions absorb ambient light while white elements reflect projected light directly to the viewer. This optical technology enables light rejecting screens to be used in fully lit indoor settings, creating the clearest and most faithful images of the highest quality.

*Light rejecting screens currently allow image width up to 100" (16:9 screen ratio) using projectors with a throw ratio of 0.25 or below. To ensure the effectiveness of light rejecting technology, the projector must be installed below the screen.

Black and White Linear Fresnel Lens Structure

Advantages of Light Rejecting Screens

Traditional projection screens rely on specular reflection, which causes problems with glare and the so-called spotlight effect. To counteract these issues, light rejecting screens feature enhanced anti-glare (AG) properties which diffuse reflection to eliminate spotlighting.

Screens without anti-glare properties exhibit spotlight effects

Screens with anti-glare properties do not suffer spotlight effects

Regular projection screens also typically use flat screens or repeating optical structures, which contain major defects. Flat screens reflect much of the main projected light up towards the ceiling, causing diminished brightness and inadequate image quality, while screens with repeating optical structures result in brightness uniformity regions.

Flat Screens - main light reflected toward the ceiling

Repeating optical structures - with centrally-focused design, light from the top and bottom is uneven

With varying projection angles compounding the problems described above, a single design solution is incapable of addressing the problems of uneven brightness uniformity. Only an adaptive design can effectively deliver light to the viewer, and only light rejecting screens which employ a gradient optical structure can assure superior image quality.

Gradient Optical Structures - because the angle of incoming light varies, only an adaptive design can effectively deliver light to the viewer, which requires gradient optical structures

Differences Between ALR and CLR Screens

Ambient Light Rejection screens (ALR) reflect light back to viewers in a controlled fashion, unlike regular screens that reflect less light and do so in all directions. Remember, the more light a screen absorbs, the worse the image quality. ALR screens bounce more light back to viewers, resulting in a brighter and bolder image while more effectively redirecting ambient lighting so that it doesn’t interfere as much with image quality. However, positioning of projectors and room lights still matters, and if both face the screen from the same angle, ALR doesn’t work as well.

CLR or Ceiling Light Rejecting® material is a patented technology from Elite Screens that aims to improve on regular ALR. The material used absorbs up to 95% of incoming light from projectors while negating washout from ambient lighting, especially big ceiling lights. Contrast reaches up to a 100 times that of plain non-reflecting white or grey screens. We recommend matching BenQ laser projectors with the Elite Screen Aeon CLR® 3 Series.

Do You Need an ALR/CLR Screen?

Certainly there are many types of screens you can choose from and it can get confusing. That’s why we have an overall guide that introduces the projection screen varieties, and you can learn a lot by taking a look.


However, to provide a quick answer to the question at the top of this paragraph, then yes, in many cases you should invest in an ALR or CLR screen to improve viewing experiences. Traditional or basic screens don’t do a good job of rejecting or bouncing ambient light. And while this is fine in a dark room, if you do have more light coming in then your image will appear washed out and faded on regular screens. If you know you’ll be watching content in a room that may be bright at times, we recommend going for an ALR or CLR screen. But proof is in the actual experience. With regular screens being very affordable, you can give one a try and if it works to your satisfaction, stay with that. You can always get an ALR or CLR screen later to improve viewing if needed. 

Lights on

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Buying Tips: What are the Best Projection Screens?

• Choose projection screens made of materials that use PET and UV plastics. Compared to PC and TPU materials, they have better hardness, firmness, and scratch resistance.
• Choose screens whose designs feature gradient optical structures. Compared to the average fixed frame projection screen, screens with gradient optical structures require more complex craftwork but better resist light interference.
• Pitch structures can support 4K ultra short throw laser projectors, which significantly improve color saturation, sharpness, color restoration, and other image properties.


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