What Is The Best ALR Projector Screen Anyway?

The Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen is a type of screen you can use in order to project a movie or a TV show as well as a videogame without shutting off your lights or needing a particularly bright, 3,000-lumen projector to see the image clearly and sharply. In short, it can make even regular projectors that require you to shut the lights in order to see clearly can work with an ALR screen even in the presence of ambient light.

By our estimation, Carl’s DIY ALR Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material is the best ALR projector screen around. Why is this so? Keep on reading to find out what makes Carl’s DIY ALR screen material superior to everything else we’ve tried out, even when the competition doesn’t require you to buy a separate fixed tension frame.

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Understanding What ALR Is All About 

ALR screens selectively reflect light back to the viewer to make the image brighter than it ordinarily would in other screen types. They achieve this effect by proper projector positioning relative to the screen until the light from the device is bounced towards the viewer or audience. Meanwhile, the ambient light is reflected back in some other direction to keep it from impeding or stealing the thunder of the projected image. This allows projector owners to not turn off lights when watching movies.


  • The Specifics of Using an ALR Screen: An ALR screen works best when the ambient light isn’t hitting it from the same direction as the projector, so you need to properly place the light, projector, and screen to maximize its effect. Seeing that most projectors are fixed and mounted on the ceiling while the screen is placed relative to the projector, you can adjust things thusly once and only once then have the ALR do its thing, with projector brightness maximized and the ambient light minimized or redirected elsewhere.


  • What Ambient Light Rejection Is All About: Ambient light makes projector light weaker unless the projector light crosses a certain threshold of brightness in lumens, such as a lamp that’s 2,500 to 3,000 lumens in brightness. Ambient light robs the brightness of your projector light while the lack of light makes projector light relatively stronger and clearer to your eyes in comparison. It’s like when your bright flashlight doesn’t look as bright when used during daytime. ALR, like any good lighting setup, reflects, redirects, and rejects that ambient light while at the same time, through correct viewing angles, the light of the projected image is reflected back to you, the audience.


  • Great for Conference Rooms: Some users might find this the perfect business projector screen, such that even less-than-bright projectors like mini projectors or camping projectors can work in a conference room or classroom setting with the lights on yet still have a bright image or projection on the screen when push comes to shove. After all, these fabrics are constructed to furnish direction acceptance and return light reflectance within the defined constraints for audience convenience even with lesser projectors that aren’t as bright or safeguarded against ambient light.


  • The Goal of the ALR Surface: The goal of the ALR surface is to respond excellently or superbly to light from perpendicular sources or orthogonal angles, like from the light of a projector projecting an image or video. It also limits the re-reflection of light coming from off-axis sources, which is also known as ambient light from your in-room light bulbs, lamps, mood lighting, and even daylight from your open windows. It’s a simple concept that works The Laws of Physics into ensuring that you can scientifically make your projector viewing all the more comfortable and viewable. If you have an ultra-short-throw projector, it can get touch to angle it just right to ensure maximum ALR effectiveness compared to ceiling-mounted standard projectors.


  • Design Considerations: When searching for ALR screens, you should take note of several design considerations. First off, ALR screens work most effectively when the projector’s light and ambient light are coming from different directions. Angle your screen and projector in a way that deflects the ambient light elsewhere while maximizing the reflection of the light from your projector. This is more effective at making projection images brighter than simply upping the lumen count of your projector to fight off the haze-inducing effects of stronger light robbing your weaker light of sharpness.


  • Location, Angle, and Material: ALR screens use special material to maximize projection light and make images brighter. However, they can only work if you have the proper projector location relative to the viewer or audience as well as the lighting fixtures you have in your room. It rejects ambient light an maximizes reflectivity of the projector light to ensure maximum viewing quality and satisfaction. Keep in mind the location of the projector. ALR screens have unique properties that make it critical to position your display device relative to the screen that’s within the proper projection angle.


What Carl’s DIY ALR Projector Screen Material Brings to The Table

We believe in Carl’s DIY ALR Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material because it’s shaped the right way, it’s made for the 16:9 aspect ratio, it’s 135 inches diagonally, it’s presented to you in a rolled tube, and it’s 4K Ultra HD resolution ready to boot. Just keep in mind that it only works with front projection and not rear projection. Also, it offers 1.5 contrast gain, it works great with Active 3D features, and it has high contrast properties.

Regardless, an ALR screen material is most useful in settings where you can’t avoid the ambient light of open windows in daylight or light fixtures, such as the classroom where students have to take notes during the teacher’s lecture and whatnot. With that said, here are the properties that made us decide to support Carl’s Place and its DIY ALR projection screen material as your best ALR projection screen solution.

  • A Front Projection ALR Screen Material with High Gain: Carl’s Place isn’t the Internet’s leading DIY resource for screen material for nothing. This particular product of theirs offers an extra high gain of 1.5 to ensure you of a vivid color across all viewing angles, as though you have an extra-large HDTV hanging on your wall instead of an extra-reflective screen with a projector projecting the action on it. What’s more, this product is three times better than Carl’s FlexiWhite screen material and four times the contrast of Carl’s Blackout Cloth because of its use of ALR technology. It’s one of the best screen types you can avail from Carl’s Place for sure. It’s mainly limited by the fact that it’s a one-way screen that doesn’t support rear projection.


  • Multiple Sizes at Affordable Prices: One of the appeals of getting cloth or material for screens instead of a ready-made screen is that if you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can customize it in every which way. Besides which, the Carl’s DIY ALR Projector Screen Material is pre-cut material anyway. You can make the screen as big or as small as you need. You can stretch it out, making it roll down like blinds, or stretch it over like canvas material. You can also make use of enough of the material to make multiple screens at a much lower price than a regular ALR screen. Affordability is the main driving force to why we even considered reviewing screen material versus a ready-made screen.


  • The Best Solution Against Ambient Light Concerns: If you can’t control ambient light when viewing a projected movie or TV series like in the case of a school, a conference room, a convention, or outdoor backyard movie viewing, then the ALR screen will become your best friend. This material beautifully handles moderately lit, low, or dark environments. At the very least, when used with a particularly bright projector in daylight, you can possibly add contrast and gain to your picture even though the display device you’ve chosen is already bright enough to cut through the bright lights of your nighttime backyard or the sun itself during daytime.


  • Understanding Viewing Angles: The brightest part of any projection screen is the center point of viewing. As you move to either side or at an off-axis position, the brightness of the projection becomes reduced. When availing of true optical ALR like the one found in Carl’s DIY Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material, the light is rejected from the screen’s center line then continues diminishing in intensity all the way to the half gain screen angle. This then causes it to have a surface designed to offer more clear viewing angles while maintaining a high percentage of rejected ambient light. When used properly, the screen can appear as bright and clear as an LCD Panel TV or HDTV, which have screens that have their own light coming through them.


  • Many Options with Parallax Viewing Angles: We also favor Carl’s DIY ALR Projector Screen Material because it offers a wider range of viewing angles with optimal image quality similar to those available from parallax ALR screen options. You can be anywhere in the couch or in a mini theater filled with chairs and you’d get a clear view of the screen like you’re looking at an HDTV with a self-lit monitor. Regardless of seat location, the ALR screen should give you the best view of whatever you’re watching as long as it’s placed in a way that maximizes ALR properties and fully reflects the projector light back to the audience. Some screens offer parallax viewing angles and high gain that maintain image brightness even at off-axis or off-center positions.


  • Parallax Screens versus Carl’s DIY Screen: Parallax screens range from 2.3 standard throw gain and 0.45 ultra sort throw gain. As the gain rises along with the resulting brightness, there’s a fall or decrease in the viewing angle as well. The Carl’s DIY Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material product is more of a standard type of screen that provides 4K Ultra HD, 3D image, vibrant color, and high contrast properties for home cinema and conference room needs. Because of its more universal nature, you’ll need more DIY adjustment of viewing angles when dealing with a short throw projector with it when compared to how it handles the more common standard throw ones.


  • Install Large Projection Screens in All Types of Environments: The other advantage of having a DIY screen like Carl’s DIY ALR Projector Screen Material is the fact that you can adjust, cut out, crop, or fix the screen itself so that it can serve multi-tiered audiences or classroom students as well as homeowners and business workers in all types of environments. You can install projection screens as large as you need or as small and space-saving as required. You can also further control light levels depending on how your screen is made or designed as well as positioned, when that’s not always an option for ready-made ALR screens. High levels of ambient light can make the image of your projector downright ghostly, after all.


  • Save Costs on Buying High-Brightness Projectors and Ready-Made Screens: ALR screens tend to be quite expensive, so much so that we’ve even bought the Carl’s DIY Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material to see if making our own screen would be the more cost-saving option. It was. Additionally, the expensiveness in investing in an ALR screen is supposed to make up for the even greater expenses of shopping for a $3,000 and above business projector that’s approaching 4K in resolution in light of the requirements of modern computers. A DIY ALR screen basically kills two birds with one stone while addressing the issue of unavoidable ambient light. It can even maximize the projection brightness of portables or pocket projectors to boot.


  • Setting The Standard in Projection Screen Technology: Who knew that Carl’s DIY Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material with its high-contrast screen material has ended up helping set the standard in projection screen technology that parallax screens claim to do instead? In light of the exorbitant prices of an ALR screen, it’s encouraging to know that there’s an even more affordable method of rejecting the highest percentage of ambient light in the industry that’s pond-for-pound and inch-per-inch the most cost-effective solution of the bunch. Of course, if you’re not too handy with DIY projects or find the cost of getting someone to setup this screen for you too expensive, then the ready-made ALR screen is available to you.


  • All About The Gain and Audience Satisfaction: Make sure to select an ALR screen or screen material that ensures all-around viewing consistency by gain properties and topnotch reflective fabric production because viewing at a position located at a greater than the half gain angle will render a less-than-perfect image for you. Carl’s DIY Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material is made while taking into consideration the viewing audience, whether it’s just you and your family on the couch or a whole boardroom of VIPs inside a conference or meeting room. The ALR screen should be positioned in a way that takes into consideration auditorium or tiered seating by having vertical half gain to boot.


  • Available for Indoor Use on a Tension-Mounted Fixed Frame: When buying the Carl’s DIY Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material, keep in mind that the tension-mounted fixed frame is sold separately. Check the maximum image size or image size range of your projector and thusly buy a fixed frame that falls within that range or maximum size. From there, you can either install the screen material on the frame yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, which more often than not will allow you to get even bigger frame sizes for a fraction of the price of the ALR screens that already come with the frame. If that’s not the case, then just buy the ready-made frame. It typically involves pulling the material over the frame like a tight artist canvas.

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The Nitty-Gritty 

Carl’s DIY Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material is basically a gray cut cloth though, so you still need to set it up to turn it into a screen. It’s good for enhancing existing screens or replacing screen material with better, more reflective ALR material. It’s not a ready-made ALR screen though, but it’s worth every buck since it’s easy enough to setup into becoming a screen for your home cinema. We had this installed then scoped out, comparing it to a whole line-up of ALR screens. This DIY screen blew the competition out the water with size and quality.

Sure, it has its limitations like being limited for front projection or the fact that you have to buy a separate fixed frame or rolling device for what’s essentially screen material, but it still offers you a lot more size and customization options. What’s more, the extra cost of having it installed doesn’t break the bank as much as buying a much smaller ALR screen, funnily enough. You can also use the Carl’s DIY ALR Projector Screen Material for sports bars, conference rooms, media rooms, and home theaters. Sure, home theaters or cinemas are ideally made to turn the lights off when the projector is on because even the weakest projectors can make their weak light brighter in darkness, especially in pitch-blackness.


  1. Selecting the Best Projection Screen for High Ambient Light Areas“, LegrandAV.com, Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  2. Carl’s DIY ALR Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen Material“, Amazon.com, Retrieved March 24, 2020
  3. What is ALR?“, Stewart Filmscreen, Retrieved March 26, 2020
  4. Projector Lamp Life and Brightness“, Projector Reviews, February 26, 2015


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James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

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