Best TVs for very bright rooms

Just about any TV is fine for normal rooms, but some people have rooms with multiple windows opposite the screen or other very high ambient-light situations. Here are six TVs that do well under the lights.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
2 min read

Most TVs are perfectly fine for rooms with normal lighting situations, where a brighter TV isn't necessarily better. But if you plan to place the set where its screen can't avoid reflecting a window or other bright light source, you might want to consider one of the TVs below.

Not sure if your room is "normal" or not? Then chances are, you're fine with any TV. If you find your current TV bright enough, or reflections are only an issue during certain times of the day, then one of these TVs probably won't help much. But if you're constantly confounded by reflections or washout regardless of adjustments you make, a different TV might help.

Bright lights and windows can overwhelm any TV, washing out the picture and creating distracting reflections that can make certain programs, especially those with dark scenes, downright unwatchable. If possible, we recommend controlling room lighting and reflections somehow -- by either moving the TV or your seat, using blinds, or turning off the lights. But sometimes you can't do that.

I've listed six TVs here. Five are LED-based LCD TVs with matte screens. A matte finish is the best way to control reflections. Also helpful is turning up the TV's light output (on LCDs, that's the "backlight" control). All things being equal, a bright TV will look better in a bright room than a dimmer TV will. LED LCDs can get brighter than plasma TVs as a rule, but for those of you who also want the picture-quality benefits of plasma (and can afford it), I also included the Samsung PNF8500, an exceptionally bright plasma TV.

My picks are arranged in descending order of overall CNET rating.

Looking for something with great all-around performance? Check out our list of the best TVs on the market.

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Samsung PNF8500 series
Samsung's best-performing TV ever, the PNF8500 series pushes the envelope in plasma picture quality, especially in bright rooms. Read the full review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony KDL-R550/R520A series
The big-screen Sony R520/R550 series offers the best value you'll see from the company this year. Read the full review.

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Vizio E0i-A1 series
The Vizio E series offers picture quality nearing the more expensive M series and is a very good choice if you value its Smart TV features and its styling. Read the full review.

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Samsung UNF6300 series
Although its picture quality falls short of the competition, the Samsung UNF6300's high-end features and design for a midrange price will win plenty of converts. Read the full review.