How Well Can You Control Ambient Daylight In Your Home Theater? - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: How Well Can You Control Ambient Daylight In Your Home Theater?
I have total control; I can make it pitch black by day 130 42.76%
I have partial control, but I can't make it completely dark 155 50.99%
I have no control of daylight in the room 19 6.25%
Voters: 304. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 56 Old 06-26-2014, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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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 flat-panel TV with a shiny screen. And a front-projection system absolutely requires a dark room to look good unless you have an ambient light-rejecting screen, and even then, a dark room is generally 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 problem for you. 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?

If you haven't participated in our previous home-theater system polls, I encourage you to do so:

What is your main video display?
What AV electronics do you use?
What is your main speaker configuration?
What source devices do you use in your main HT?
Where do you get your movies?
How many separate subwoofers in your main home theater?
Where do you place your subwoofer(s)
What device(s) do you use to stream video?
What is your next home-theater purchase?

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post #2 of 56 Old 06-26-2014, 08:23 PM
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I use these black out curtains-

http://www.amazon.com/Absolute-Zero-.../dp/B008FPMWHG

84" chocolate. They work very well during the day if I feel like watching a movie. The afternoon sun shines directly at my windows and those curtains make the room very dark.

And they work well for absorption for better SQ since they're thick and heavy.

home theater addict

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post #3 of 56 Old 06-26-2014, 08:26 PM
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Aside from using Hunter Douglas blackout shades in chocolate color for the front wall and back wall windows, I added a door at the back of the room and a bi-fold door at the entrance to block out daylight and moonlight. An added bonus of adding the doors is keeping the room pressurized - for the audio.

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post #4 of 56 Old 06-26-2014, 08:37 PM
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My bedroom is in a basement, all the windows are covered with insulation so it's always dark. I need to insulate the ceiling though because I can't crank my system.

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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post #5 of 56 Old 06-26-2014, 08:56 PM
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Ivory colored block out drapes (that are never opened) with an additional gauzy black material behind them. If the drapes were black, it might resemble a morgue and be depressing, hence the lighter color to liven up the room.
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post #6 of 56 Old 06-26-2014, 10:40 PM
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My window in the theater room is blocked by treatment materials, the patio window in the next room has black out drape. Light still comes in from two rooms away...thus why I mentioned my next HT upgrade in the next upgrade thread might be doors for the HT room. Or maybe I should just wait and get a new house...after I win the lottery...which I don't play...maybe I'll find a wining ticket on the ground. Would my chances really increase that much by buying a ticket?

Cheers
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post #7 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 04:09 AM
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I had the cinema room specially built , so with this in mind i kept the two recessed windows small , i have cut two pieces of 5mm matt black foam PVC and just prop the foam up against the glass ...



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post #8 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 04:12 AM
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No issues here I have full control. Without my pronto I wouldn't be able to see anything.
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post #9 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 04:47 AM
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I have had one plasma and since then it has been LCD!
I guess I am a show off and love to have my TV on, so people can watch it during a party.
Sports on in the background always help!
My doctor has recommended the caveman diet to me,but not with my TV!
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post #10 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 05:14 AM
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I've got incoming daylight under full control. Cheap but effective blackout roller blinds from IKEA (plus some pieces of duct tape if I am watching in full sun during the day, which I almost never do).

My room itself, however, has white/light colors, meaning that I do get some reflected light from the screen bouncing on walls and ceiling back onto the screen. Planning to add black curtains (plus some kind of ceiling treatment) to reduce this.

Combo living-room/home theater in old wooden house in Sweden. Pics: http://www.minhembio.com/jobeve Proj.: JVC DLA-X35 - Screen Elite PowerMax Tension 106" - TV: 65" Samsung UE65ES8005 - 7.1 Speakers: B&W 685 S2, HTM61 S2, Cambridge Audio Minx Min11, Sub: SVS SB-2000 - AVR: Denon AVR-X4000 - Player: Mede8er MED600X3D - NAS: Synology DS209 - Gaming: PS4

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post #11 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 05:15 AM
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The corner of the basement in which I chose to build my home theater has two 9' X 2' windows, one on each of the outside walls. I built recessed top and bottom tracks to hold two bypass sliding panels for each window. There is enough overlap in the middle that I have 100% control of daylight. Together with flat black paint, black area rugs and black velvet on the ceiling my room is a pit. Perfect for my front projection setup.

Unfortunately, the panels can be a source of vibration. When I upgrade my sub-woofer setup the sliders will have to go, or I will move the theater to another of corner of the basement with a single small window (where I should have built in the first place).

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post #12 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 05:22 AM
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I have some very heavy weight 100 year old curtains that are pretty thick. With them drawn, and the lights out, the only light I get is from my TV and my equipment lights.

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum .
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post #13 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 06:34 AM
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Mine can be 100% dark except for the led lights at the back of the subwoofers which can be covered but they don't bother me.
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post #14 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 07:02 AM
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Light in my room really sucks during the day. I can get it dark enough to watch my plaz pretty much anytime but it's far from black out conditions. It's especially bad though from about 3:00 to sundown. The worst culprits are the 3 small windows that run across the top of my front door that project a big bar of sun on the wall directly behind me. Drives me insane. I need a new door and black out curtains.
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post #15 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 07:13 AM
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I just wait until the sun goes down..
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post #16 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 09:31 AM
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I have zero control, which doesn't help since I went with a Panny plasma. Two small windows on either side of my 60" (though I do have black out curtains here), with another small window, and a half window on my back door, which sit behind my couch and TV. Suck sometimes during the day (especially late afternoon/evening because the sun sets in that direction), but we make due with what we have.


Hopefully will have complete control of lighting in the near future. I miss my TV back lights I was able to use at my previous place!

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post #17 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 09:46 AM
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My HT is a dedicated space in the basement I built. The only small window has a removable cover that resembles a small wall then extends beyond the window in all directions and blocks light completely.
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post #18 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


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 flat-panel TV with a shiny screen. And a front-projection system absolutely requires a dark room to look good unless you have an ambient light-rejecting screen, and even then, a dark room is generally 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 problem for you. 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?

If you haven't participated in our previous home-theater system polls, I encourage you to do so:

What is your main video display?
What AV electronics do you use?
What is your main speaker configuration?
What source devices do you use in your main HT?
Where do you get your movies?
How many separate subwoofers in your main home theater?
Where do you place your subwoofer(s)
What device(s) do you use to stream video?
What is your next home-theater purchase?

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I have no windows but a sliding glass door on the rear wall that takes up all but about 20" on either side. My curtains block out most of the light, but there is some seepage during the day. However, I can't watch anything critical until after my kids are asleep anyway, so by the time I'm ready to consume media, it's pitch black.

Now all I have to worry about are those pesky light reflections bounding off my white media cabinets.....
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post #19 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 11:51 AM
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My ambient light is terrible.

3 full size windows behind the TV. A door to the left of that which is 90% window. My front door has a big oval window and light flows in from the back of the room. An opening to the left of the windows and door into the kitchen which features 3 more full size windows.

To top it off... a skylight directly above the seating area........

My solution looks pretty bad, but it works. I hang a dark beach towel over the 90% window-door by opening it and shoving it in the top. Then attach another towel to that one with chip clips. The windows behind the TV has nice blinds and curtains that block out most of the light. I hang a sheet over the opening with small pins. I put a towel on the front door too. Skylight always has a blanket over it so it's not too bad.
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post #20 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 12:10 PM
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I have two existing windows (for now), which I have two 4 inch sound proof foam panels that I stuff into the window frame covered by black out blinds (more visually appealing). But, in a couple months, I have a remodeler coming out to do some work, including walling up those two windows.

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post #21 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 12:19 PM
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I've sealed up my theater's 3 windows and sliding glass door so well, if someone sleeps in there on the La Z Boy pull out bed, and I don't open the curtains and blinds, they can't tell that the suns up and its 11 am the next day !!

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post #22 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 12:58 PM
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I don't watch movies in the dark, ever.
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post #23 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 01:53 PM
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Little to no control

Unfortunately my home was built when the Great Room was thought to be a great idea. I have a dozen windows to deal with. The ones nearest the TV are light blocking, but those in the kitchen and dinning area are not. The frosted windows in and around the front door have no light control at all. We'll fix the problem when we add-on to the house... someday.
The newer LED/LCD panel handles the problem a lot better then our old RPTV.
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post #24 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morbidcorpse View Post
I don't watch movies in the dark, ever.
Wow, so you have never been to a movie theater. That's amazing.

Smart enough to know better, to old to care
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post #25 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rekbones View Post
Wow, so you have never been to a movie theater. That's amazing.
I meant at home. Perhaps you're reading comprehension is accurate as your assumptions? In case you missed it, the article in question is about keeping out ambient light in your HOME THEATER, not commercial movie theater.
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post #26 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morbidcorpse View Post
I don't watch movies in the dark, ever.

You must not have a projector then.

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post #27 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 02:47 PM
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I have an LED-LCD, and my room is nearly 100% light controlled, with a tiny window in an adjancent room, but that's under a deck, so it's really not even a factor.

However, I can't watch TV in the dark, since I have terrible glare from my glasses. Eventually, when I have my own HT room, I want to have dimmable LED lighting in the ceiling that I can drop down to a uniform low level with a front projection display, but for now, I leave one 13W CFL light on in the back half of the room, and one in an adjacent hall/stair area so that it's dim but not dark up front. That and I'm usually eating or something while I'm watching a movie.
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post #28 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 03:43 PM
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I've watched movies in the dark as far back as the 80's. Even when I bought my plasma in 2001 I viewed movies in the dark, for the immersion and for the picture quality (no glare).

My projection-based home theater continued that theme. It's on the main floor of our house, used to be our living room, so it couldn't look like a cave during the day. My solution was to create decor that was very non-reflective for the most part - the ceiling is built down using a dark brown felt material stretched over a bulk-head. This provides both acoustic and light absorption:

http://www.whisperwalls.com/products...isperCeiling-2

I did a dark non-reflective chocolate shag rug (deep pile keeps it non-reflective), and a dark brown sofa. I kept the walls light so that by day they would reflect sun from the bay windows and keep things bright and cheery. But when when the system is turned on to watch a movie, the black-out blinds automatically drop to seal off light from the windows. I then have black velvet curtains that I can pull around the room, sealing it as a "black, non-reflective box."

That in itself was enough to make sure I was getting all the great contrast I paid for with the JVC projectors I use. But I found the more of the room I could remove from my vision, the more immersive and dimensional the image looked. So I had black velvet covers made for my L/C/R speakers, making them disappear from view with the lights out. I also have a black velvet "blanket" I can throw on the dark rug in front of the screen, when I want the ground to totally disappear. Recently, I even added another black velvet curtain, when I want to go "all out" and make the room disappear. Even though the dark brown felt ceiling is very dark, compared to the truly pitch black Fidelio velvet used for my masking system, speakers etc, it is more visible during movies. So I added yet another black velvet curtain a while back. The curtain stacks to one side of my screen and is on a rail over the screen. I pull it across the screen wall, then it has loops sewn into both sides which are hooked on to hooks on the drop down ceiling, so the ceiling becomes covered in pitch black velvet.
This really makes virtually everything disappear but the movie, even in bright scenes, and when you remove other visual cues, leaving only those from the projected image, the sense of depth into scenes can be amazing.
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post #29 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 03:57 PM
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I voted partial control at least until I can buy some better full wall black out curtains.

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post #30 of 56 Old 06-27-2014, 04:09 PM
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Anybody can do front projection... with some caveats

I have partial control, with a front projector. It's in an open concept living room attached to the kitchen (separated by a pony wall and archway), along with an area behind a smaller archway that houses the foyer area and my man cave. It has just about every negative you can have... 2 3'x5' windows behind the projector, a large window along with a slider on the left wall that takes up nearly the entire 22' of the wall (to the left of the screenwall). I had custom black out curtains made, very expensive for curtains but solved the main problem which was direct AZ scorching glare for half the day. It would be literally impossible to watch anything with those being open, even LCD TV's are a hard watch. Now just the tiniest amount of light seeps in under the curtain by the slider but nothing else.

Old picture but shows the curtains:

This is with the flash on, while movie watching it's just darkness:


I also blacked out the windows behind the projector, 100% light block. Eventually I would like to make window plugs for audio improvements and containment. Every other window in the house has either blinds or shutters along with glare reducing window film. All of this combined allows me to watch nearly anything I want during any time of the day with the bulb on low even with a big screen (16:9 159"), my Da-Lite HP probably helps here quite a bit as well. The only other real problem I need to solve is a doggie door located behind and to the left of where this picture was taken from. Light comes through that for a couple hours a day and while it's still very much watchable, it adds more light than I would like.

I think my situation proves that anybody can do a front projector if they make some sacrifices and has an understanding wife. I had a lot of reservations about using a front projector, but in the end decided the reward would be worth the work and other trade offs. I'm very glad I did, every time I fire up a movie I get a big smile on my face. I went to CES 2014 and saw the huge 4K TV's, even the 100"+ models. I'm now jaded and that seems very small, though 4K on the bigger sizes was nice... and when that technology becomes more prolific, with content, and is cheaper, I'll be a buyer.
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