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How to choose the best TV for a bright room

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Which TV is best for a bright room?

Plenty of TVs excel in tightly controlled home theater setups, often in closed-off rooms free from bright lights. It takes a little extra attention to detail, though, to find a TV for bright room watching.

A few factors contribute to how good a TV looks when there are lots of lights around. Peak reflection handling and peak brightness matter the most. Other specs, such as panel type, contrast ratio and viewing angle make a small difference as well.

Shop this article: Samsung QN85BHisense U6G and Samsung’s The Terrace

Peak brightness

Peak brightness is the most crucial consideration when selecting a TV for a well-lit room. The brightest TVs use LCD panels and are typically situated at or near the top of each manufacturer’s lineup.

When researching a TV’s brightness, you might run into two different measurements. High dynamic range brightness is generally measured in relation to lit and unlit screen areas and only applies when watching certain content. Standard dynamic range brightness is the more straightforward of the two measurements. It gives a better idea of a display panel’s inherent brightness capabilities.

Reflection handling

Reflection handling varies from model to model and has more to do with what the screen is covered in than the TV’s actual hardware. Many TVs, especially those intended for home theater purposes, use glossy finishes that make the screen as clear as possible. For bright rooms, give extra consideration to models with semi-glossy finishes. While a semi-glossy finish isn’t quite as clear as a glossy finish in the dark, it greatly limits reflections when lights shine directly on it.

Some TVs have special layers meant to further absorb reflections and, in some cases, enhance viewing angles. Samsung is one manufacturer that goes to great lengths to engineer such a layer. To get your hands on a Samsung TV with a reflection-reducing coating, though, you’ll have to look to the top of its lineup, which can be expensive.

Panel types

Vertical alignment

Most modern TVs use VA panels. They have superior native contrast ratios to other LCD types, which gives them deeper blacks and a bolder image. When it comes to well-lit rooms, those things make a small difference, but not a huge one.

The drawback to VA panels is that they have poor viewing angles. Colors tend to shift and wash out when viewed from an angle. Poor viewing angles are exacerbated when lights are shining directly on the screen. For the most part, though, VA panels are capable of performing well in bright rooms.

In-plane switching

More common on PC monitors than TVs, IPS panels have advantages over other LED types in certain situations. Their colors are more accurate and more consistent from edge to edge, especially when it comes to black and gray uniformity. IPS panels also offer significantly wider viewing angles compared to VA panels. This can come into play when there are noticeable reflections.

While there aren’t a ton of TVs built with IPS panels, the ones that do exist are usually good for viewing in well-lit rooms. The downsides of IPS panels include relatively low static contrast ratios and subpar pixel response times. Low static contrast is barely noticeable under bright lights, while a slow pixel response only matters with fast-moving content, such as high-intensity gaming.


The only nonLCD technology common among modern TVs, OLED panels typically perform poorly in bright rooms. This is because most of them simply don’t get bright enough to combat intense lighting and the reflections that come with it.

OLED panels do offer impressive benefits, including input lag, color volume, edge-to-edge consistency and perfect black levels. Although most OLED panels aren’t great in well-lit rooms, some of the newest models are engineered for a higher peak brightness than older and less premium releases. Such models will set you back quite a bit of money, though.

How to minimize light in your TV room

There aren’t a ton of ways to darken the room your TV’s in, but a little bit of effort can go a long way. Even if you can’t make the room significantly darker, filtering or reducing direct light can minimize distracting reflections on your TV.

Blackout curtains

As long as you don’t have many windows to cover, it might be worth it to invest in some blackout curtains. They come in just about all sizes and colors and usually aren’t expensive.

Dimmer switches

If you’re willing to do a little minor construction, consider reconfiguring the lighting in your TV room. In-wall smart dimmers can not only help your TV perform better but also add a touch of class and convenience to any room. Note that you also need appropriately dimmable light bulbs to go along with dimmer switches.

Best TV for bright rooms

Samsung QN85B

High peak brightness and above-average reflection handling make this one stand out, even among comparable Samsung models. It’s also one of the few built with an IPS panel, so it won’t have to fight poor viewing angles in addition to direct light.

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Samsung QN90B

Samsung’s flagship LCD TV boasts the company’s highly effective anti-glare coating, which also serves to improve viewing angles compared to other VA panel TVs. If you can afford it, it’s one of the best TVs money can buy.

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Hisense U6G

Despite its reasonable cost, this Hisense TV produces a bold and lively image. It does so regardless of how bright its surroundings are, as long as it’s not in direct sunlight. It uses the versatile Android TV interface and displays HDR content better than anything else in its price range.

Sold by Amazon


Samsung’s The Terrace

Rated at over 1,500 nits, this is one of the brightest TVs ever. It’s also a rare example of a model designed specifically for outdoor use, which you can tell due to the IP55 rating for dust and water resistance. There are versions developed for use in direct or indirect light. However, it’s prohibitively expensive for most consumers.

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LG UP8000

If you need a TV with a powerful backlight but don’t want to spend a fortune, this entry-level LG model is worth a look. It lacks the most advanced features, but you can see it even during the height of the midday sun.

Sold by Amazon

TVs for bright rooms FAQ

Q. Do projectors work in bright rooms?

A. Brightness is the number one enemy when it comes to projector usage. Only the most high-end laser projectors look good in well-lit rooms, and those usually cost several thousand dollars.

Q. How do I find a good outdoor TV?

A. Only the truly brightest TVs produce a quality image outdoors during the daytime. In other words, OLED models are out of the question. It’s also worth considering dust resistance if you’re in a dry season or region, and water resistance for when it’s wet outside. To make matters difficult, it’s extremely rare for a TV to receive an ingress protection rating. Most aren’t designed for outdoor use, and the ones that are tend to cost a lot.

Q. Are there any TV accessories that reduce glare?

A. Some screen protectors enable TV glare reduction and mitigate UV damage. Some cabinets offer significant protection against dust and moisture while also minimizing reflections. Bear in mind, however, that stick-on screen protectors tend to wash out the image. Also, water-resistant cabinets for outdoor TV use are quite pricey.

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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