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How Well Can You Control Ambient Daylight In Your Home Theater?

As you probably know, controlling ambient light is one of the most critical factors in creating a high-quality home-theater experience. The darker you can make the room, the more you will be drawn into the story on the screen. Also, a dark room prevents any distracting reflections from a plasma or LCD TV with a shiny screen. And a front-projection system absolutely requires a dark room to look good unless you have a special ambient-light-rejecting screen, and even then, a dark room is better.

Of course, any room can be made dark at night simply by turning off the lights. But if you watch during the day in a room with windows, sliding glass doors, skylights, or other transparent/translucent openings to the outside world, you need black-out shades or other coverings to darken the room, which might or might not be practical for one reason or another.

I'm curious to know if this is a big problem among our readers. How well can you control the ambient daylight in the room you use as a home theater? I'd also love to know how you control ambient daylight. Blackout shades? A windowless room? If you have a front projector, do you use an ambient-light-rejecting screen?

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

How Well Can You Control Ambient Daylight In Your Home Theater?
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samuels's picture

I use blackout curtains over the windows as well as open doorways leading to the main room. Doing the day time they get me about 75% of the room darkness when compared to night time movie watching. I also use them to cut out glare doing day time tv watching. It has worked greatly to my advantage. Issues with day light glare is the main reason I got a 50 inch plasma tv a few months ago to replace a 40 inch rp tv monitor. Using both I got an increase of 100% movie watching pleasure.

javanp's picture

for my main windows, which reside directly behind my couch so I'd get a nasty reflection off my plasma if they weren't there, not to mention the excess light in the room. The only light that will enter the room is from the adjacent dining room. I'm contemplating putting up a curtain here so that I can totally black-out the room, but haven't been too compelled to do that yet.

uavmatthewweflen's picture

This picture makes my neck hurt.

I've got an LCD (Sony KDL-52EX700) with a matte-ish screen. It will still show some ambient light, but not as bad as a glossy screen (like my dad's Samsung 55UNB8000). I have beige curtains that keep out about 60% of ambient daylight. This, plus bumping up the backlight to 2 or 3 (out of 10) generally does the trick. I watch at minimum backlight at night.

Matte screens work wonders. I can keep my backlight at much lower settings than my dad, which also diminishes any edge-LED flashlighting, which tends to be pretty apparent at his ~50% backlight settings.

Jarod's picture

My dedicated basement home theater is completely light controlled with no windows. You cannot see your hand in front of your face and that was my goal. Now my living room is a different story. I have two large windows on either side of the living room with wooden venetion blinds over the windows and daytime viewing can be a pain during bright days on my 50in Panasonic plasma. I would like to add curtains to the blinds to knock down more light but the wife likes them the way they are. I'm ok with that since my home theater is a black hole.

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