What is the Best Projector for Ambient Lighting (Indoors & Outdoors)?

You might think that as LCD TVs continue to improve in quality and decrease in price, there is no real reason to consider using a projector anymore.

This is not the case.

There is nothing like watching a movie, or a game, on a large projection screen, especially if you invite friends around to join in. It makes for an amazing experience.

The other thing to consider is watching movies outdoors or in your backyard.

Handy Hint: Scroll down the page to see the best projector for ambient lighting!

You can’t haul a large LCD TV outside, so this is where projectors come into their own. But, if you have interference from ambient light sources, it will make the video image not look that good if you are using a projector with a low lumen rating.

One of the biggest issues and complaints about using a projector and screen has always been ambient light. This has presented issues with watching projected content in bright light conditions in the past.

But thankfully, technology has changed over the years, and there are products you can use that help you overcome the issue of ambient light.

You might think that watching movies at night won’t be a problem outdoors, but that’s not always the case.

Ambient light could be any of the following factors:

  • Light coming from rooms inside your house, coming into the backyard
  • Light from neighboring properties
  • Light from fire pits and BBQs
  • Light from outdoor lighting
  • Light from passing traffic

What is the Problem with Ambient Light?

If you project an image onto a screen, its clarity is determined by the type of projector you use and any adjustments you make to the image.

Image clarity can also be affected by the presence of ambient light. Let’s take a look at why this is the case.

A projector has an optimal screen size onto which it can project an image. It also has a number of lumens. These lumens are a measurement of the total amount of visible light which comes from a light source.

If a projector has an optimal screen size of 100 inches and lumens, which total 3,000, it projects light at 30 lumens per inch.

This situation produces high clarity images until you add ambient light to the mix. The ambient light produces additional lumens, which you may think is a good thing but can cause images to become blurred.

To deal with ambient light, you need to think about various considerations.

Step 1: Think About the Type of Projector You Use

There are different solutions for choosing a projector to use in ambient light conditions.

Generally, it would help to use a projector that offers 3,000 lumens of white light and 3,000 lumens of color. But there are other options to consider.

  • Dual lamp or stackable projection solutions can be useful in situations where you are able to control the light. They enable you to easily switch between lamp settings.
  • Laser projectors have a longer life span than lamp projectors and tend to produce more consistent lumen output.
  • Short throw or ultra-short throw projectors can be of help. They may not seem to be exceptionally bright. But, they are intended to project large images onto a screen from very short distances. It’s this fact that makes the projected image brighter.

All of these solutions can be considered when trying to find the best projector for ambient lighting.

Step 2 – Choose the Right Projection Screen

Making sure that you get good quality images projected in conditions where ambient light is present is not just about the type of projector you use.

You also need to think about the surface you are projecting onto.

Screens such as the Black Diamond from Screen Innovations and the Elite Screens ezFrame Series are designed to enhance the home projection experience and are great for the indoors.

But, if you are going to be watching movies outdoors, then take a look at these recommended screens that will work perfectly.

The Best Projectors for Ambient Light

You have seen what you need to think about when choosing the best projector for ambient lighting. Now, let’s look at two projectors that could fit the bill.

BenQ TH671ST Short Throw Projector

This projector helps to enable home and outdoor projection where ambient light is an issue. With 3,000 lumens, you could even start watching backyard movies before the sun has set.

Modern movie projectors such as this have been developed to be brighter in order to compensate for the fact that the light was dimmed with the advent of 3D functionality.

The BenQ TH671ST Short Throw Projector (view on Amazon) is 3D-ready, resulting in big-screen movie magic in the home in ambient light conditions or when used outdoors.

It’s also worth saying that this is an excellent cross-over projector that can be used when making presentations, just as easily as it can be used to screen the Super Bowl.

Optoma GT1080HDR Projector

This projector comes from one of the top manufacturers in the industry. It has a resolution of 1080p and makes use of HDR10 technology.

These factors combine to create impressive image quality and resolution. The GT1080HDR (view on Amazon) is a flexible device as it’s 3D-ready and has two HDMI ports. One of the ports is MHL ready, so the projector can be connected to iPhones and iPads, using an MHL cable. The 3,800 lumens output makes this projector a good choice for use in ambient light and even better for outdoor use.

These are two of the best projectors for ambient light that are on the market right now. But, there are others you may want to consider. Use the information we have provided to help you make your decision.