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Front Projector System and Too Much Ambient Sunlight: A solution? (1 Viewer)

Alex Duran

Jul 24, 2002
I am in the process of planning my HT and would like some advice from those that are more experienced. I will be finishing my basement, and the space I will be using is about 20 X 22 X 8.5H. One of the longer walls is full of windows-even a French door. The French doors open onto a patio which is covered by a deck on the main floor. One of the short walls opens up to another large room. The other two walls are solid, no doors or windows.

The room will be used as a theater at night, but during the day there will be a lot of traffic when it's in use and the windows will not be covered, French doors constantly opening and closing. Because of the deck and the direction the windows face, I would categorize the amount of sunlight entering the space as light to moderate.

I am considering a front projection system with an 80 X 60 in screen located along the short solid wall that is perpendicular to the windowed wall, i.e they share the same corner.

That's the situation, and here's what I think might help provide the solution:

The front projectors designated specifically for "home theater" use seem to have lower ANSI Lumen ratings. I thought that picking a projector with a higher ANSI lumen rating, in combination with the proper screen, would allow for a "watchable" picture during daylight hours. Further, if I were to choose a projector that has an "economy mode" setting as an option, I might be able to adjust the light output. This way the picture during night time hours would not be too bright.

I'm far less concerned over picture quality during the day, but really want a good quality picture in the evening when I'm watching movies. That being said, I still want to be able to view the picture during the day, even if it's lower quality.

Here are my concerns:
Can this be done? Can you compensate for the ambient sunlight with a brighter projector and appropriate screen choice?
Will I see a significant reduction in the picture quality by using a presentation type projector instead of a HT projector?
Plan B is the 65 in RPTV, overall is that a better choice and if so which model?
Plan C-anything you could come up with.

Please excuse the long message, but I would really appreciate your help. This is going to be a big investment and I want to make sure it gets done right.

Thanks in advance,


Jan Strnad

Jan 1, 1999
A front projector really needs a dark room. I can't imagine your getting a watchable picture during the daylight hours with any front projector. They wash out fast.

I'd recommend a direct view set for daytime watching in your situation, and only firing up the projector at night for those movies.

You don't say what you're watching during the day, but if it's broadcast/cable/satellite TV, it'll look like crap on the big screen anyway. I think you'd be happier with two sets, each chosen for its particular purpose.

And I'd go for an HT projector designed for movies rather than a presentation projector.

Good luck!

Jun 24, 2002
Try getting some duvtyne for window treatment. This and a combination of plantation blinds might get you dark enough to watch but you will still probably have a real dim picture

Mike Matheson

Second Unit
Jul 15, 2000

The degree to which a FP image gets wiped out given ambient light is hard to imagine--it happens much more quickly than one might think. If you are serious about going ahead with a projector then I'd urge you to do whatever leg work might be necessary to have a system demoed to which ambient light could be added.



Allan Jayne

Senior HTF Member
Nov 1, 1998
The calibrations will be very different for the picture under ideal dark viewing conditions versus viewing in a somewhat lighted room let alone with daylight streaming in.
If the FPTV is CRT based, getting a decent picture in a lighted room will require driving the CRT's so hard and bright that burn in will be quick to occur.
Presentation grade projectors on average give more brightness but the colors are less accurate. You may be able to open up the projector and substitute better red and green cellophanes (or theater stage lighting "gels").
Video hints:


Jul 27, 2002
On any front projection system (regardless of technology used), you obtain the colour BLACK (the darkest colour possible) by simply not projecting any light.

So here's a simple test you can try to see how things will look with varying amounts of ambient light:

1. Tape a piece of white paper to the wall. This is your screen. If your walls are already more or less white, they'll do.

2. Look at this 'screen' during the day when you have sunlight coming into the room.

3. What you're see is your projector's ability to project the colour black. This is as dark a colour you'll be able to get during the day. Yikes!

There are certain ways to get around this a bit such as using a low gain grey screen and a high lumen bulb projector, but you're best putting your effort into reducing light input into the room instead of trying to compensate for it.

Just my 2 cents...


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