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Reflections of 2014 TVs: Matte and Glossy

Updated May 02, 2014 By Cedric Demers

If your television is in your living room, reflections can really become a curse during day time. Which television has the least amount of reflections and glare? Is a matte screen better than a glossy one?

For reference, here are pictures of the reflections and glare on the 2014 TVs that we tested so far, in a room with a few lights and another in a very bright room with windows, as well as whether it has a matte or glossy screen.

Average Room

Our average room setup simulates a typical room with a few lights on at night or without windows. We set the luminosity of the TV to a white of 100 cd/m2.

The reflection number that we measured is the ratio of the luminance of the light reflected compared to the original light. For example, a 2% reflection means the amount of light reflected is 2% of its original strength.

2014 LED TVs

9.5
Samsung HU8550 Average Room
Reflection: 0.7 %
Surface Type: Glossy
9.5
Samsung H7150 Average Room
Reflection: 0.7 %
Surface Type: Glossy
9.5
Samsung H8000 Average Room
Reflection: 0.9 %
Surface Type: Glossy
9.0
Toshiba L3400U Average Room
Reflection: 1.7 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
9.0
Vizio E Series Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
9.0
Vizio M Series Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
9.0
Sony W850B Average Room
Reflection: 1.7 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
9.0
Sony W800B Average Room
Reflection: 1.7 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
9.0
Toshiba L1400U Average Room
Reflection: 1.7 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
Vizio P Series Average Room
Reflection: 2.0 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
Samsung H6203 Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
Sony W600B Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
Sony W950B Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Glossy
8.5
Samsung H6400 Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
Samsung H6350 Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
LG LB5900 Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
Samsung H5500 Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
8.5
Samsung H5203 Average Room
Reflection: 1.8 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
7.5
Sony R420B Average Room
Reflection: 1.9 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
7.0
LG LB6300 Average Room
Reflection: 2.6 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
7.0
LG LB5800 Average Room
Reflection: 2.5 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss
7.0
LG LB5600 Average Room
Reflection: 2.5 %
Surface Type: Semi-gloss

Bright Room

Our bright room test is equivalent to a room with windows during the day. For this test, we set the luminosity of the TV to the maximum possible, and we measure the resulting white color brightness.

2014 LED TVs

9.5
Vizio P Series Bright Room
Max white: 400.2 cd/m2
9.5
Samsung H8000 Bright Room
Max white: 345.5 cd/m2
9.0
Samsung HU8550 Bright Room
Max white: 340.4 cd/m2
9.0
Samsung H7150 Bright Room
Max white: 299.2 cd/m2
9.0
Samsung H6350 Bright Room
Max white: 329.1 cd/m2
9.0
Sony W950B Bright Room
Max white: 362.1 cd/m2
9.0
Sony W850B Bright Room
Max white: 305.7 cd/m2
9.0
Samsung H6400 Bright Room
Max white: 304.7 cd/m2
9.0
Vizio M Series Bright Room
Max white: 352.5 cd/m2
9.0
Vizio E Series Bright Room
Max white: 282.9 cd/m2
8.5
Toshiba L3400U Bright Room
Max white: 244.2 cd/m2
8.5
Sony W600B Bright Room
Max white: 233.1 cd/m2
8.5
Samsung H5203 Bright Room
Max white: 243.4 cd/m2
8.5
Sony W800B Bright Room
Max white: 256.2 cd/m2
8.5
Samsung H6203 Bright Room
Max white: 235.4 cd/m2
8.5
Samsung H5500 Bright Room
Max white: 227.8 cd/m2
8.0
Toshiba L1400U Bright Room
Max white: 156 cd/m2
7.5
LG LB5900 Bright Room
Max white: 176.3 cd/m2
7.0
LG LB6300 Bright Room
Max white: 267.1 cd/m2
7.0
Sony R420B Bright Room
Max white: 138 cd/m2
7.0
LG LB5800 Bright Room
Max white: 328 cd/m2
7.0
LG LB5600 Bright Room
Max white: 237.8 cd/m2

2013 TVs Reflections

See our results for 2013 TVs.

Why are there very few matte screen TV nowadays?

A pure matte screen has a very big disadvantage compared to a glossy screen: it considerably reduce the picture quality and clearness. To reduce the amount of reflection, a matte screen diffuses the light coming into the screen to all directions. The problem is that it also diffuse the light coming out of the screen, which creates a little blurriness to the picture. Also, a matte screen reflects more ambient lights. In a bright room, this reduces the perceived contrast ratio of the television.

It is hard to classify a TV as matte or glossy. Most TVs nowadays are more semi-gloss.

For these reasons, manufacturers are going away from matte TV screens. We didn't test any pure matte screen this year, out of the 20+ TVs that we tested.

Does a plasma TV with a matte screen exist?

No. Plasma TVs need a glass panel to contain the gas cell. To compensate for this, higher end plasma models have an anti-glare filter applied on top of the glass.

You can find more information about anti glare filters here.

Questions

Nov 29, 2013
Thanks for the comparison! The TV Reflections guide top choice is a plasma TV (ST60). My understanding is that for a bright room with windows like mine, this model be the best choice, better than any LED?
Not really. Yes, it has the least amount of reflections. However, there are 2 things to consider in a bright room: reflections and brightness. Plasmas (with the exception of the Samsung F8500) don't get very bright (82 cd/m2 for the ST60, compared to 300 cd /m2 for some LEDs). In a medium bright room like the ones in our pictures, they are bright enough. However, if you have a lot of windows, you will need a TV which can get at least 150 cd / m2.
15
Dec 11, 2013
We bought a Samsung LED, or LCD instead of a plasma. It is a 60 in screen. Problem is I can't see the picture from the side in the lighted room. Only when we sit right in front. We bought it because we didn't want glare, but now we can't see picture across the room. What do we do?
Samsung LEDs all have a very narrow viewing angle. If you haven't already, check out our viewing angle videos. If you need a wide viewing angle and want an LED, you are better off with an LG TV. Of course, plasma will have an even higher viewing angle, but entry level models have a lot of reflections.
8
Jul 07, 2014
Is it worth investing in an anti-glare screen?
Check out our pictures of last year 2013 plasma TVs to see what an anti glare filter does. It works well, but it reduces the vertical viewing angle.
8
Aug 23, 2014
I have a Sony SXRD kds-50a 2000 (green screen, therefore looking for a new tv) that does very well in my room facing 4 large windows and 3 more on the side. The only Sony tv I can find that seems to be a matte screen is the KDL60W850B. Do you think this will work in our 20x20 room? Seems like all the 4k models are glossy screens. Am I on the right track? I have been researching this for approximately 2 months and I must say you have the BEST info that I can find (that applies to me) on the web. Thank you for this great site!
The KDL60W850B is semi-gloss, not matte. They don't produce pure matte TVs anymore. Glossier TVs have less ambient reflections, but in your scenario, the more defined reflections will be more of an issue. So go for the KDL60W850B. It is a great TV.
7
Nov 18, 2013
I find your site to be very informative, so thank you for that. I'm wondering why you don't have a section on vertical/horizontal banding, or the so-called "DSE"? It would be useful to know which sets suffer more from this, and which less (or possibly even none, if such a set exists).
Thanks for the feedback. We will consider it when we update our test bench for next year, if we can come up with a good way of exposing it consistently for all TVs. Let us know if you have other suggestions!
Update: We added this test in 2014. Thanks again for that great suggestion!
5
Jan 15, 2014
My LED TV is placed very near a window and exposed to direct sunlight every day. I was recommended by a friend to always pull down the curtains but it gets tiring to do that every day. Does it really matter? What happens with the screen if it's exposed to the sun?
It doesn't really matter (except for the reflections when you are watching it of course). The direct sunlight will not damage your TV. The TV will likely break by itself long before the sun makes some visible damage to it.
5
Dec 26, 2013
I find your site very informative as well but was wondering if you would be able to put a section where you ask to buy the size you are looking for instead of getting all the sizes priced out that you don't want.
Thanks for the feedback. We have this tool to navigate by size, but as you mention it isn't very good. We will create something better.
Update: We decided to manually recommend TVs for each size group, for example.
4
Nov 10, 2014
How many hertz is a Samsung TV with a clear motion rate of 8oo?
You can convert the CMR number into the refresh rate using this table.
2
Nov 25, 2014
We have a sunroof in the room and get direct sunlight during afternoon on the wall where we want to place the TV. We are looking for a 55 - 65 inch TV. What do you recommend?
Sunlight directly on the TV will always cause problem, so you can't expect a perfect visibility. Check out the Samsung H6350.
2
Sep 15, 2014
We purchased an LED TV, unfortunately as it faced a large window the screen acted like a mirror and we couldn't see the picture. We took it back and got a full refund, our old TV is a matt finish so much better. Is there anyway around this as we want to purchase a new TV?
Not really. TVs are now only semi-gloss or glossy. Depending on the model though, some are better than others (as you can see in the pictures above).
1
Sep 18, 2014
I am interested in the 2014 Samsung pn64f5000 plasma. Have you had a chance to see this model? By the way, your site is #1 in my book. Better than CNET. Great reviews. Unbiased and no fluff. Just great unbiased info. Thank You!
Don't you mean the PN64H5000 instead? If so, we haven't. It looks just like the 2013 F5300/F5500 though. Which are great (except for the reflection problems).
1
Nov 10, 2014
On your bright room reflections test, I don't see any coorelation between the numbers and the bright white reflections (max white numbers). Some have lower numbers and big white blotches. Others have similar blotches and have high numbers. Smaller white blotches have the same thing happening...high or low numbers. I know YOU know what you have tested, but the idea is not coming across. (I hate being the dumbest kid in the class, uhrrr...but I gotta ask to learn, sensei!) Are the high numbers good or bad?
You are right, this isn't clear. On the 'Average room' test, it is pretty straight forward because the number we show is the amount of reflections. The lower, the better. On the 'Bright room' test, the number is the maximum luminance (brightness). Bigger is better. However, the score of the 'Bright room' test is based on the combination of the reflection + brightness. We will think of a better way to represent this (any ideas are welcomed).
1
Nov 18, 2014
Most TVs seem to have lousy built in speakers. I am looking at 48-50 inch sets with clear loud speakers built in. I am trying to avoid buying the all-in-one speaker box you can set the tv on for around $300.
Unfortunately, we didn't test the sound quality on our TVs this year. We wanted to simplify our testing process and focus on the picture quality. You are right that TVs have very poor sound in general. They optimize for the thinness of the TV, which is a problem for the sound. Manufacturers don't really care though, because not only it helps bring the cost of the TV down, but they can also sell another thing...
0
Nov 20, 2014
If reflection is a problem, wouldn't it be better to buy a second hand "old technology" non-LED LCD TV. My 7 year old LG has virtually no reflections even though there is an entire wall of windows behind my sitting area. There is nothing I would give it up for.
If you really want a matte screen, your best option is to apply a matte film on it. For example, this company makes some. Keep in mind that a matte screen reduces the apparent contrast ratio (thus picture quality).
0
Nov 25, 2014
I have a 2 month old Samsung curved TV that has dead pixels. Samsung is sending a repairman out to replace the panel. Should I insist on a new TV?
Not really. If they replace the panel, it would be like a new one anyway.
0
Nov 25, 2014
I saw a recommendation that now is not the time to buy a new UHD Smart TV because current models have 8 bit chip technology and 10 bit chips will be introduced very soon. I don't want to invest in an immediately obsolete device. Your advice?
There will always be something next. If you use that logic, you will never buy a new gadget, because it will be even better next year. The 10 bit adoption will be an even longer one than 4k in term of content, so I wouldn't wait for that one.
0
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Due to the high volume of questions received, we no longer accept questions outside the United States. Thank you for your understanding. Also, before asking for a recommendation, make sure you read our recommendations by size or our recommendations by price range as well as use the search function of our website.