Sunlight and the Outdoor Screen

Posted by: Richard Williams | Posted on: | 0 Comments

Outdoor screens have many uses. Outdoor digital signage, providing information and outdoor entertainment in back yards and outside bars and pubs has seen a dramatic rise in screens used outdoors and out of the home. Using screens in outdoor locations comes with several challenges, though.

The sun's brightness can make a screen unreadable

While obviously weather protection is important for an outdoor screen, keeping the display dry and at the right temperature, one aspect of the weather can pose a particular problem for outdoor displays—sunlight.

Sunlight can cause several problems for outdoor digital signage and other screens used outside.

Sun Glare

A problem most of us will have experienced in our homes, when bright sunlight reflects of the TV causing glare. At home, simply drawing the curtains eliminates sun glare; however, this isn’t possible in an outdoor environment.

Using an anti-reflective coating on the screen face helps illuminate glare, but can also dim the display requiring a screen with extra brightness. Using a shroud or angling the screen away from the direct path of the sun can reduce sun glare without dimming the screen.


One of the biggest problems in using an outdoor display is coping with the sun’s brightness. On very bright days the sun’s brightness can overpower a standard screen making the content on the display look washed out and hard to read. The brighter the sun, the more of a problem it can be. For this reason, most displays used outdoors are high brightness screens. With a candela rating three or four times greater than standard LCD displays, high brightness screens are powerful enough to ensure readability even in the brightest of days.

Overheating and Screen Burn

Another problem caused by excessive sunlight is overheating and screen burn. If the sun’s rays are shining directly on to a screen for a prolonged period, the heat generated can lead to the screen becoming too hot, and even cause permanent scorch marks on the screen face.

Moving the screen from the path of the sun will eliminate the problem, but if this isn’t possible, using measures such as air curtains to transfer the direct hear form the surface of the LCD need considering.

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