Everyone who lives in the city knows space is expensive and hard to find. Often there is not much choice in placing your television when your living area is small. If space limitations have found you placing your TV in front of your window, you might be wondering if it may be a bad option.
A TV in front of a window is a bad idea for LCD, LED, and OLED screens. Heat and UV damage cause reduced luminosity, weaken color contrasts, create glare or damage your screen. However, you may use protective screen filters, window films, drapes, or a full-motion mount to prevent damaging effects.
If you are deciding where to place your television, you should consider the potential hazards you might face from placing it in front of a window. If you wish to know why windows may be bad for televisions and how to solve these problems, please read on.
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The Glare Factor
The main challenge of a television placed in front of a window is that the glare may often affect viewing. Nobody wants to squint at their favorite sports show with a hand over their eyes. Modern flat-panel TVs tend to reflect light in the room, which is amplified by direct light from a window.
Most modern TVs have glossy screens that act like a mirror to reflect any light source in a room. Even matte screen LCDs or LEDs still suffer from ambient light reflection to some degree. Even though they might not bounce the light directly back at you, the diffusion of light across the screen may cause your black levels to go up and lighten your viewing plane.
Direct Sunlight and LCD/LED Screens
LEDs are a specific type of LCD TV and could be called LED-lit LCD television. LEDs use an LCD or liquid crystal display panel to control the light displayed on your screen. The crystal solution is sandwiched between two polarising sheets, which tend, and electricity causes the crystals to align. This alignment is somewhat like a shutter allowing light to pass through or blocking the light.
The main difference is that LCDs use cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs), while LEDs use a more efficient system of light-emitting diodes to light the screen. LCD screens may be damaged by direct sunlight in two main ways:
Extreme or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may cause damage to your LCD screen. Although modern glass effectively reduces up to 100% UV-B and UV-C radiation, some UV-A radiation still enters your home and may potentially affect your LCD screen. The International Ultraviolet Association claims that standard window glass will allow radiation of a wavelength of 330nm (UV-A) to pass through unimpeded.
Liquid crystal displays use organic components that may be damaged by UV radiation of (<400 nm) and IR (>750 nm). UV-rays may cause the chains of molecules in the liquid crystals to break down and no longer be completely transparent when they should. The light then bleeds through when it should be shut out or is filtered when it should pass through clearly.
The effects of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may lead to a color shift and cause images to appear ‘washed out’ due to loss of definition, brightness, and contrast. Other effects of UV damage on an LED screen include:
- Contrast degradation
- Color degradation
- Damage to coatings
- Loss of tensile strength
- Brightness yellowing
High temperatures caused by your LED screen’s position in a direct light source may damage your display screen. When the working temperature exceeds the chip’s maximum load temperature, the luminous rate declines quickly and results in light decay. Your screen frame may become warped, and hotspots on your screen may affect your picture quality.
The reason why excessive heat is damaging for liquid crystal displays is that the concentration of holes and electrons increases while electron mobility decreases. With the increase in temperature, phosphor’s quantum efficiency decreases and causes the LCD to dim.
Effects of UV Light and Heat Damage on OLED Televisions
OLED or organic light-emitting diode displays differ from LED displays because OLED is made with organic compounds that light up when fed electricity. In OLEDs, each pixel is self-illuminated, whereas an LED backlight lits the LCD pixels.
Environmental factors have been a challenge in OLED or organic light-emitting diode displays. Among factors such as humidity, material degradation, and limitation of display lifespan, the effects of UV light and direct sunlight have been at the forefront.
Exposure to sunlight considerably decreases electroluminescence and damages organic light-emitting diodes due to exposure to near-ultraviolet light.
Exposure to direct sunlight and UV damage results in:
- Loss of luminance
- Shortened lifespan
- Pixel shrinkage
- Dark spots
- Permanent damage
- Malfunction of the panel
- A rapid increase in operating voltage over time
What to Do When You Can’t Avoid a Window
There have been marked advances in screen protection technologies, and there are specialized screens on the market to operate indirect light safely. When buying a TV in a space with no alternative but direct sunlight from a window, you should seek televisions with a more rugged design to cope with heat or sun damage.
However, placing your TV in front of a window is generally a bad idea, both for your comfort and your television screen’s longevity. Wherever possible, you should avoid placing your television in front of a window to cut down on the glare and light shining on your screen.
If you have a bright room with multiple windows, placing your TV may pose a challenge.
There are many ways to alleviate the TV placement’s potential challenges when you cannot avoid a window. Here are a few options you might try:
Place Your TV on a Full Motion Mount
Pivoting wall mounts for televisions are relatively easy to install and allow you to deflect the direct light received from a window. The range of a full-motion mount will enable you to swivel side to side or tilt the TV up or down to eliminate unwanted glare or reflected light.
Use Anti-Glare Window Films
There are window films on the market that can cut your glare factor up to 90% without the cost of awnings, blinds, or shutters. The films allow in natural light, so your room remains light yet eliminates reflective light on your television screen. They are relatively cost-effective and easy to install and blend seamlessly with your decor.
Some great window film options to reduce glare in your TV room are the Gila Heat Control Platinum Adhesive Window Film and the Coavas 35.6 x 78.7 inches Solar Film One Way Mirror Film.
Use an Anti-Glare Screen Protector
There are some great anti-glare films that you can place over your TV to protect your screen from heat and UV damage and reduce glare. They are relatively simple to install and have a matte finish that helps absorb and disperse reflected light.
Two effective protective film options are the Antogoo Blue Light TV Screen Protector – Anti Blue Light & Glare Filter and the Jay-Long 55 Inch Frosted Anti-Glare TV Screen Protector.
Install Drapes, Curtains, Shutter, or Awnings
You can eradicate your glare issues by installing the correct drapes or blinds to block the direct light. This alternative is a more costly option than proactive films, but they can be opened to let in natural light when not in use. If you don’t have drapes or blinds, you can buy specialized room darkening drapes to reduce glare.
A well-priced option of blackout curtains for your TV area is the PONY DANCE Gray Blackout Curtains.
A television in front of a window is a bad idea for several reasons stated above; however, if you have no choice in the matter, you do still have alternatives. There are many ways to work around an awkward TV placement by eliminating the direct light on your screen. The inherent weaknesses in OLED and LCD based screens are improving by leaps and bounds as technology advances, but it’s best to take the safe route instead and protect your television.