How Can I Watch My Projector in Daylight?

How can I watch my projector in daylight? There are many ways to watch a projector in daylight, chief among them is to use a 3,000 to 5,000-lumen super-bright projector, blackout curtains, ALR screens, and so forth.

One of the “flaws” of projectors that makes HDTVs or even old-timey CRT TVs better than them is how they handle ambient light or daylight. TVs are backlit and can technically be viewed outdoors if you have a long enough extension cord. Projectors are robbed of brightness by the presence of daylight.

Drive-in theaters typically require super-bright projectors or do their screenings at night for the longest time due to how projectors react to ambient light. 

How Can I Watch My Projector in Daylight?

There is a multitude of ways to watch your projector’s projected movie, TV show, streaming service, or videogame in daylight outdoors or indoors with the daylight peering inside your living room. With that said, a dark room like in a cinema remains the most ideal environment for projection.

Sometimes, the best way to win the game is to never play. To watch your projector in daylight, it’s best to avoid daylight. Use blackout curtains on your windows to block out the daylight or watch your videos at night.

How Can I Watch My Projector in Daylight?
How Can I Watch My Projector in Daylight?

High Lumen Count Projectors is Your Best Bet

The first method is getting a sufficiently bright projector. Projectors ranging from 1,000 lumens to 3,000 lumens require more ambient light control. You need to be able to shut your windows with blackout curtains and turn off your lights to get the best results with these projectors.

A projector with above 3,000 lumens to 5,000 lumens or even 8,000 lumens (and beyond) is so intensely bright that ambient light becomes a concern of the past. However, the more lumens your projector has the more expensive it gets (ditto with resolution reaching 4K UHD and above).

ALR Screens Can Be Used in Daylight Settings

An Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to daylight viewing of your favorite movie franchise, whether it’s the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Matrix trilogy, the Terminator franchise, or the Fast and Furious film collection.

See more: What Is The Best ALR Projector Screen Anyway?

There are several types of ALR screen to watch out for. First is the screen that uses angular reflectivity to deflect ambient light so it won’t rob your projector image of its shine by angling the screen the right way. There’s also lenticular structure that isolates lens light and rejects ambient light.

Whichever ALR screen method you use, keep in mind that it can’t deflect daylight or ambient light moving in the same direction and angle as your projector light and image.

Gaming Projectors is a Shorthand for Excellence and Daylight Resistance

Weirdly enough, gaming projectors tend to have high specs the same way a gaming laptop can serve as your best bet when getting the best laptop possible with the highest grade features currently available at present. They include high lumen count and ambient-light resistance as a result.

Samsung’s newest line of 4K Ultra HD gaming projectors is among the most anticipated projectors for home entertainment and gaming console use. They’ve received rave reviews and have been tested on the newest Sony hardware.

As a “bonus”, they cover other concerns aside from your ability to project your movie or videogame in daylight, like low latency/lag when you’re gaming and high resolutions (4K Ultra HD or even 8K) that match the high projector brightness. 

How Does Ambient Light Affect Projector Brightness?

Ambient light like daylight or sunlight, light from nearby lamps, or even the reflected light from your projector bouncing off of the nearby whitewall can affect the brightness of your projector by making it fade away like a Hollywood ghost.

Your resulting projector image will look muddier, transparent, faint, and onion thin when brighter lights are around, such as an overhead light fixture or the freaking sun and its visible light. This is why theaters usually screen their movies in a dark room instead of out in the open.

You’ll also notice that outdoor projections or drive-in theaters tend to have pictures that are less vivid than their cinema counterparts unless they’re using ALR screens that make the projection look like it’s coming from a gigantic HDTV instead.

How Can I Watch My Projector Outdoors When It’s Sunny Outside?

In the end, the lumens of your projector are the most important feature to take note of when checking if it’s suitable for outdoors projection, like when you’re screening a backyard movie or you’re using the projector to project on a billboard or something.

Projector brightness measured by lumens is also an important factor when buying a projector overall, even when daylight or outdoor viewing isn’t as much of a concern. Lumen is the unit of measurement to gauge how bright a light is.

A lit candle is about 14 lumens in brightness while daylight can go as bright as 100,000 lumens, which is a thousand times brighter than the average projector. Watts used to be the preferred bulb brightness measurement but this has fallen in the wayside due to energy-efficient light bulbs.

How Bright Should Your Projector Be to Resist Daylight?

No projector can ever be brighter than daylight at 100,000 lumens. You wouldn’t even be able to look at a projection at 100,000 lumens anyway. That’s blindingly bright. However, a projector that’s about 3,000 to 5,000 lumens or even 1,000 lumens can be viewable outdoors.

1,000 lumens is a bit iffy and 3,000 lumens requires a bit of finagling when it comes to projector placement. However, usually, 5,000 lumens is bright enough to resist a noontime live viewing of, say, the Super Bowl or something.

Long story short, you don’t necessarily need 100,000 lumens to resist daylight viewing. 5,000 lumens is enough and a good rule of thumb for screening a movie or playing a game outdoors.

Things of Note

You have multiple avenues to approach projector screening in daylight. The best approach is to not allow daylight to enter your dark or dim home theater when watching films, TV shows, and so forth. Light-controlled environments are where the projector thrives.

If you can’t control the brightness of your area or you wish to do your screenings outdoors then you can use a super-bright 5K lumen projector to get the job done. You can also get the same effect with an ALR screen, but you’ll have to deal with projector and screen angling/placement for the best results.


  1. How to Use a Projector Outside During the Day“, Home Theater Academy, Retrieved July 7, 2021
  2. Ambient Light Rejecting Screens Explained“, Blog, January 22, 2016

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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