Projector Vs TV, How does a projector work?

ALR Black screen for projector

Most think that a white screen is the best color screen for projectors, but what if we told you that a black screen for projector is best, that's right, we said that the color for the best projector screen is BLACK. Before we get into ALR (Ambient Light Rejecting) Black Projector Screen Vs White, which is discussed at the bottom of this page complete with a video, let us explain about ALR projector screens and some other basic things we should know about projector screens.

What is ALR Projector Screen? How do ALR screens work?

The 'ALR' in ALR projector screen stands for 'Ambient Light Rejection' and so ALR screen meaning is a projector screen that does not allow the ambient light to interfere with the projection picture light from the projector. ALR screens can be used with lots of ambient light like during the day without the curtains being drawn or with all the lights in the room on. ALR screens work on the principle of either not reflecting ambient light like in a black screen or by having a special microscopic saw tooth shaped surface which allows for selected Angular Reflectivity.

Best ALR screen for UST projector

The best best alr screens for UST or Ultra Short Throw projectors are screens which have a serrated sawtooth shaped surface which are especially effective in reflecting the light from Ultra Short Throw projectors which are placed close to the bottom of the screen and the projection light beam from the UST projector is directed upwards to the projector screen placed almost directly above the UST projector. The special Angular Reflective property of the serrated ALR screen for UST or Ultra Short Throw projector reflects the light from the projector directly to the eyes of the audience watching the projector screen and all other light is scattered away from the eyes of the audience. The UST projector image quality on these special screens are superb, even in daylight with plenty of ambient light, which makes these types of projector screens the best ALR screen for UST projectors. The image below from Elite Screens showing how their StarBright CLR® screen works explains how one of the best ALR screens for UST projector works.

How the best ALR screen for UST projector works
How ALR screen for Ultra Short Throw Projector works

Are ALR screens worth it

Yes ALR screens are worth the money you spend on it because the improvement in picture quality of the projected image is so good that it is really worth it to spend some extra money to get a good ALR projector screen. When going in for an UST projector then you will be better off buying one of the more expensive special ALR screens for UST projector, because of the very sharp angles of the UST projection beam striking the screen. For normal projectors a simple black projector screen will be the cheapest ALR projector screen. Many vendors are selling special black paints for ALR projection screens and this is the cheapest option for an ALR screen. Screen manufacturers like Screen Innovations sell specialised ALR black screens which are quite expensive but very effective for clear projection images with normal projectors during daytime or in high ambient light viewing. More on these black ALR projector screens with videos at the bottom of this page.

Guide to buying Projector Screen

To enjoy the full benefits of a projector you need a good screen for the projector picture to show on. Many different setups for the screen is possible, from just having a smooth painted wall in a light color to walls painted with specially made paint for projector screening.

This may be a convenient choice for those who do not want to spend too much on a projector screen. But a painted wall is not as good as a dedicated projector screen made with special material to give the highest quality projector picture. The best place to have a look at the various options available for projector screens is the Amazon.com web page on projector screens.

Projector Screen basics

Some of the important things to consider when buying a screen for projector are:

Best Aspect Ratio for projector screens

The first thing to consider when buying a projector screen is the Aspect ratio of the screen. The most common projector screen is in the High Definition HD format of 16:9 or 1.78:1.

You should know that most of today’s movies are shot at a wider ‘Cinemascope’ format of 2.35:1 or roughly 21:9, instead of the 16:9 HD format. But this wider screen Cinemascope format is converted into 16:9 formats when TV stations broadcast them and is also the official format of Blu-ray discs.

From the purists audiophiles point of view, it is best to see movies in the original format the movies were shot in, and they may go to extreme lengths to achieve this. There are means of converting the 16:9 HD format back into the original 2.35:1 or 21:9 format by using anamorphic lens. This is a subject beyond the scope of this website, but we mention it just for your info.

What does projector Screen Gain mean

Projector screen gain is a measure of how bright images will appear on a particular screen. The definition for Screen Gain is “the reflection factor measured perpendicular to the center of the screen compared to a pure white Lambertian surface.” A pure White Lambertian surface can be considered as a screen coated with magnesium carbonate, a bright white chalk. This standard screen would therefore have a Gain factor of 1. The standard reference screen with a Gain Factor of 1, scatters light in all directions in front of the screen, and only a portion of the light falling on the screen, is reflected perpendicular to the screen towards the front of the screen where the audience is sitting. There are better screen coating materials that can reflect light more perpendicular to the screen, in the direction of the viewers in front of the screen. Thus if twice the amount of light is reflected towards the viewers, then we say that screen has a gain of 2.

It is very important to understand that a screen gain of 2 does not mean that 2 times the amount of light falling on the screen is reflected. Gain only means that the direction of the reflected light from the screen is more focused towards the audience.

A High Gain screen would be one which has a gain factor of 1 or more. It is not necessary that a high gain brighter screen is always better. Some of the disadvantages of high gain screens are that the contrast ratio of the picture suffers and darker parts of the screen picture will not be as dark as it should be. Another disadvantage of high gain screens is that the image on the screen becomes dimmer as you move away from the perpendicular position of the screen.

Advantages with low gain screens is that you get a picture with much better contrast ratio and the picture view does not too become that much dimmer as you move away from the center of the screen, that is you have a wider angle with good picture view.

High Gain screens are good in locations with higher ambient lighting like for business presentations. Lower gain screens are recommended in situations where the ambient lighting cannot be controlled too much. Screens with gain of more than 1.3 are not recommended for home use.

Grey projector screen Vs white

The pros and cons of projector screens white Vs gray is a highly debatable subject. We will try to shed some light on this.

Grey Screens first appeared in the market in 2001 and the ‘Grayhawk’ Screen from Stewart Filmscreen was the first Grey screen. They were marketed as high contrast screens and the product was very successful. How grey screens work is that they absorb ambient light and at the same time prevents bleeding of light into dark areas of the screen from the bright areas of the screen. All this makes the contrast ratio to improve and makes for a much better picture on a grey screen.

Grey screens work best with bright projectors and rooms where the ambient light cannot be fully controlled. The reflections from the screen picture can increase the ambient light by reflecting light back on to the screen from the walls, ceiling, floor and furniture in the room. Thus Ambient light is not controlled just by turning off the lights, you must also have a projector room with dark walls, ceiling and floor, plus the furniture and fittings in the room should not have bright metal parts which can reflect light. If you cannot have such a setup, where the ambient light cannot be totally controlled, then a grey screen works best in such an environment. A white screen is best in a projection room with ambient light totally controlled and a projector with a high contrast ratio.

Different types of projector screens for home theater

There are many different kinds of screens for projectors, from motorized projector screens which can be hidden out of the way when not in use to DIY screens made with special screen material or fabric. The cost of projector screens can be from less than a hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. The best way to have an idea of the different types of projector screens available and to compare screen prices is to visit the projector screens web-page on Amazon.com

Projector screen or painted wall

The easiest way to make a projector screen is to project directly on to a light color wall, preferably white or off white, which is smooth and has no markings. Latest findings suggest that the best color for projector screen is Grey or even Black, as discussed in the section below. The projector picture on a wall can be just as good as on a good projector screen. The wall area, which you want to make into a projector screen, can be made smoother and painted over with special projector screen paints to make it into a real good projector screen. There are special paints especially made for making a wall into a projector screen. It is possible to buy these special projector wall paints specifying the Gain Ratio required. You can find a good selection of best paint for projector screen on Amazon.com. As discussed below, Black projection screens are very good to improve the contrast ratio and for daylight or ambient light viewing. It is possible to buy black projector screen paint and have a black projection screen in the house.

White or Black screen for projector

The latest trend in projector screens is to have black screens, yes, that is right, a completely BLACK screen for best projector pictures. How a black screen works is explained in detail below, but the short answer is that a black screen does not reflect any of the ambient light, but only the light falling on the screen from the projector in the perpendicular direction. This means that you can use black screen for projector in a well lit room and there is no need to darken the room. It also means that a black screen is the best projector screen for daylight viewing. With a darkened room a black projector screens performance is outstanding. The following videos should convince you about the advantages of a projector black screen.

Demo: Black screen for projector is better

What you see in the above video is a demo of projector pictures on a white screen in front of a black screen. The white screen is a motorized screen, and is slowly drawn up, while the picture from the projector is being continuously projected. So as the white motorized screen is being slowly drawn up you will see part of the picture falling on the black screen below. This allows you to compare how a projecter picture will look on a black screen and white screen at the same time.

How does a black projector screen work

Many are surprised at the thought of having a black projector screen and wonder how can a black screen be better than a white screen for projector viewing. So, are black or white projector screens better? Here is our explanation as to how the black projector screen works and the reason why a black projector screen is better than a white screen.

To produce a black image on a white screen is a difficult task. The only way human eyes can see a black image on a white surface in a dark room is by shining light on neighbouring areas with no light falling on the area which is to be black. But this is a very difficult task. Even in a totally dark room light from adjacent bright areas will bleed into the dark areas of the picture. Also the light falling on the white screen gets reflected on to the ceiling and walls of the room creating ambient light which falls on the area to be black on the screen.Thus it is almost impossible for a projector to produce a perfectly black image on a white screen. So, Contrast Ratio with a white screen can never be good, even with expensive Projectors with high contrast ratios.

In a black screen ambient light falling on it still produces a black surface. So a black projector screen is able to produce deep black images. Therefore, in a black projector screen, how good the picture will look will depend on its ability to produce white colour image on it. We use white chalk to write on blackboards and it is very clear. Why this is so, is because of the high contrast between white and black. Similarly white light falling on a black screen produces a very high contrast white image, and the human eye perceives the white color as very bright, even though the brightness of the white image from a black screen is less than the white image from a white screen. So for us to enjoy any image, whether it be from a magazine or a TV or a projector, Contrast Ratio of the image is most important. A black screen is able to produce very high Contrast Ratios and we are able to see good projector images even in high ambient light situations - meaning we can use a black projector screen as an Ambient Light Rejecting ALR screen during day time without closing the curtains.

Where to buy Home Theater Projectors and Projector Screens online

The best place to buy Projectors and Projector screens is the Amazon online store in your country. Amazon is best to buy online Projectors and Screens because not only are they very competitively priced, but you also have the assurance of service, and in the worst case, even return for a refund in case you are not satisfied.

Links for Home Theater Projectors

This is the Link for Home Theater Projectors from Amazon AUSTRALIA

This is the Link for Home Theater Projectors from Amazon CANADA

This is the Link for Home Theater Projectors from Amazon INDIA

This is the Link for Home Theater Projectors from Amazon UK

This is the Link for Home Theater Projectors from Amazon USA

Links for Projector Screens

This is the Link for Projector Screens from Amazon AUSTRALIA

This is the Link for Projector Screens from Amazon CANADA

This is the Link for Projector Screens from Amazon India

This is the Link for Projector Screens from Amazon UK

This is the Link for Projector Screens from Amazon USA

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