How to reduce the glare on your outdoor TV, according to tech experts

Stop reflections from ruining your outdoor entertaining space with these pro tips for reducing glare

outdoor living room with tv
(Image credit: Getty images / PC Photography)

We would rather not watch TV at all than have to deal with the distraction of glare and reflections. 

Outdoor TVs have the power to transform a patio or deck into a cozy outdoor living room ideal for movie nights and watching a big game with friends and family.

And despite the fact many models are designed to be anti-glare, sometimes the sun's rays steal the show.

How to reduce glare on an outdoor TV

No one wants to spend a whole evening squinting and adjusting the angle to get a good view, so we asked the professionals for the very best ways to reduce glare on an outdoor TV so you can hit play without anyone complaining that they can't see.

backyard with outdoor tv

(Image credit: Backyard in Austin, Texas designed by Yardzen / Photo by Nicole Mlakar)

1. Use a shade

The fastest solution if you need to reduce glare now is to use an awning or umbrella. 'Utilizing a good old-fashioned shade is often an effective method,' says tech expert and product tester Andhi Ermawan from MyProsAndCons.

'Installing an awning or umbrella can significantly reduce the direct sunlight hitting the screen. I remember a time when I was doing product testing for an outdoor TV, and I found that simply putting up a large umbrella did wonders for reducing glare, even during the brightest part of the day,' he recalls.

A patio sun sail shade, at Target, will reduce the glare and provide shade, making viewing more comfortable without compromising on aesthetics. It's also bound to come in handy for outdoor dining in hot weather.

Andhi Ermawan
Andhi Ermawan

Andhi Ermawan is a tech expert and professional product tester with a unique blend of expertise in online shopping, online saving, and product comparison. Having spent years working in tech in product development he now puts his experience to use with product testing to help people make the best decisions when comparison shopping.

2. Adjust the TV's position

outdoor living area with tv and chairs

(Image credit: Getty images / TimAbramowitz)

Is the TV definitely in the best location for avoiding direct sunrays and reflections from windows or patio doors? It's worth experimenting with different positions and angles, and of course, you'll want to avoid having the screen facing the sun at a time when you are most likely to watch it.

Software developer Kelly Indah at Increditoolscompares positioning your outdoor TV to setting up your tent when camping –  'you wouldn't pitch it in direct sunlight if you didn't want to wake up in a sauna, right? Similarly, avoid placing your TV in front of reflective surfaces or direct sunlight. 

'You can significantly reduce glare by simply adjusting your TV stand's angle. It's all about playing with the light and not against it,' she says.

Kelly Indah

Kelly Indah is editor-in-chief at Increditools and has worked in the tech industry for over a decade, primarily as a software developer and security analyst. She has a Master's degree in Computer Science.

3. Use anti-glare film

Anti glare TV screen protectors, at Amazon cannot eliminate glare entirely but they will prevent the sunlight from reflecting off the screen as they have a slightly frosted texture which absorbs light, while still allowing you to see the screen. 'Now, not all anti-glare films are created equal,' comments Andhi Ermawan, 'and they can range from mildly helpful to game-changing, depending on the quality.'

So, make sure you choose a high-quality one, even if it costs a little more. A good anti-glare film will diffuse the light, improving visibility, but can impact how vibrant the colors are – not such a problem if you're watching soccer, but potentially an issue for movie buffs.

4. Adjust the screen's brightness

outdoor tv with fireplace

(Image credit: Getty images / TerryJ)

It sounds obvious, but double check your TV's brightness settings are not working against you. Brightness levels are measured in nits, and a minimum of 700 nits is recommended for outdoor use.

'I have tested TVs with brightness levels far lower than this, and they struggle in direct sunlight. But, if you've got a good shade in place, you can get away with a lower nit level,' says Andhi.

5. Use an outdoor TV enclosure

It's also a good idea to think about the area surrounding your outdoor TV. 'Outdoor TV enclosures not only protect your TV from weather elements but can also help to combat glare,' says Lance Markham from outdoor living and grilling website Ranked and Reviewed. 'Some enclosure have anti-reflective safety glass that reduces glare and enhances contrast.'

Placing a light behind the TV can also help to reduce glare.


How can I improve the picture on my outdoor TV?

As well as using an anti-glare film, awnings, adjusting brightness settings, and paying attention to orientation, keeping your outdoor TV low can help with visibility. When purchasing an outdoor TV in future, look for models with a matte screen.

Even if you have a TV designed with anti-glare technology, this may not hold up against the full glare of a sunny day. Consider it a 'nice-to-have' feature and try extra solutions so you can enjoy your outdoor cinema with zero distractions.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.