What is a light blocking projection screen?
A light-blocking projection screen features a special optical technology consisting of an integrated lenticular screen with a black grid structure, the black parts of which absorb ambient light while the white elements reflect the projected light directly towards the viewer. This optical technology allows light shields to be used in fully lit indoor environments, creating the clearest, most faithful images of the highest quality.
The material used absorbs up to 95% of incoming light from projectors while canceling out washout from ambient lighting, especially large ceiling lights. The contrast is up to 100 times greater than that of a simple non-reflective white or gray screen.
Advantages of light shields
Traditional projection screens rely on specular reflection, which leads to glare and spot-effect issues. To counteract these issues, light shields feature enhanced anti-glare properties that diffuse reflection to eliminate the spot effect.
Screens without anti-glare properties exhibit spotlight effects.
Screens with anti-glare properties are immune to the effects of spotlights.
Ordinary projection screens also typically use flat screens or repetitive optical structures, which have major flaws. Flat screens reflect much of the main light projected towards the ceiling, which leads to reduced brightness and inadequate image quality, while screens with repetitive optical structures lead to regions of brightness uniformity.
Flat screens - main light reflected towards the ceiling
Repeating optical structures - with a center-focus design, the light from above and below is uneven.
Since varying projection angles compound the problems described above, a single design solution is unable to solve the problems of uneven brightness uniformity. Only an adaptive design can effectively deliver light to the viewer, and only light-rejecting displays that use a gradient optical structure can ensure superior image quality.
Gradient optical structures - as the angle of incoming light varies, only an adaptive design can effectively deliver light to the viewer, which requires gradient optical structures.
Ambient Light Blocking (ALR) screens reflect light back to viewers in a controlled manner, unlike regular screens which reflect less light and do so in all directions. Remember that the more light a screen absorbs, the poorer the image quality. ALR screens reflect more light back to viewers, resulting in a brighter, bolder image, while redirecting ambient light more effectively so it doesn't interfere with image quality as much.
However, the positioning of the spotlights and room lights is still important, and if both are facing the screen from the same angle, the ALR system won't work as well.
Do you need an ALR screen?
There are certainly many screen types to choose from and it can be confusing.
However, to quickly answer the question posed at the beginning of this paragraph, yes, in many cases you should invest in an ALR screen to improve your viewing experience. Traditional or basic screens fail to reject or bounce ambient light. And while that's no problem in a dark room, if you have more light coming in, your image will appear washed out and discolored on regular screens. If you know you'll be watching content in a room that can be bright at times, we recommend going with an ALR screen. But the proof is real experience. Regular screens are very affordable so you can try one out and if you're happy with it, leave it at that. You can always get an ALR screen later to improve the display if needed.