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If you’re tired of looking at the same four walls, TikTok’s Fake Window Challenge may provide a nice change of scenery.
The Fake Window Challenge is exactly what it sounds like. People project a fake window onto a wall and just enjoy the view.
What is the Fake Window Challenge on TikTok?
Another creation likely born of the lockdown blues, TikTokers have found a new way to cope with staying home.
For the challenge, users project different scenes onto their walls from the perspective of a window. Sometimes it’s a cityscape and other times it’s a sunny day — just anything they wouldn’t ordinarily see.
The #fakewindowchallenge hashtag currently has over 65.8 million views.
How to do the Fake Window Challenge on TikTok
While you won’t need an app or a special filter for this one, you do need a projector. Once you have a projector, just find your favorite video loop of a window on YouTube. Most people use this “10-hour tropical storm” window video.
“Oh my god, it’s raining this look so real,” user @honeybobabear said after unboxing a projector from Amazon and trying out the challenge.
Shop: ELEPHAS Mini Projector, $59.99 (Orig. $99.99)
Some examples of the Fake Window Challenge on TikTok
User @pilarnavva removed her bedroom wall posters to create a rainy bedside view.
Meanwhile, @alicia_abadie used the challenge to provide her cat with a cool mountain view.
But @xnadjah may have been the most creative with her Harry Potter version of the trend.
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If you're a TikTok user, you've probably spied the latest trend: the Fake Window Challenge. It's not a "challenge" in the traditional sense -- there's no need to dump a bucket of ice water over your head, for example -- and not especially original, as people have been doing this for years.
That said, it's a really fun way to use a projector and leverage an empty wall -- maybe one next to your bed, so you can curl up and enjoy the view, or near your dining table to spruce up a romantic evening.
But the reason this is going viral right now is the projector part: TikTokkers claim this can be done with super-cheap models. For as little as $60 or so, you're told, you can turn your wall into a big, beautiful picture window. Outside that window: live images of a rainforest, mountain landscape, tropical beach or the like. (Harry Potter-inspired Hogwarts window, anyone?)
Here's the question: Can you really do this with a low-price projector? Short answer: Yes, but there are things you should know -- and reasons you might want to spend a little more.
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What to look for in a "window" projector
If your primary goal here is fake windows (and maybe some fun effects come Halloween), you definitely don't need an expensive 4K projector. Indeed, while higher resolution is critical for watching movies and TV shows, here it's not the most important factor.
For example, I looked at this Tropical Storm Window at various resolutions ranging from 4K on down to 720p. Could I see a difference? Sure, but it was minimal. That's because the image itself doesn't change much; it's like you're projecting a slightly animated painting. As long as you can see what it is, that's enough. It doesn't need to be razor-sharp.
That said, make sure to get a projector capable of at least 720p. (Also make sure to read my story on the questionable tactics some sellers use when it comes to advertising projector resolution.)
The other key features to look for are brightness and keystone. The former can be challenging, as many inexpensive projectors tout sky-high lumen ratings (3,000! 4,000!) that don't really mean anything. As CNET's Geoff Morrison noted in his collection of six things you need to know about projectors, "There are a lot of problems with this spec. For one, other than the distinct 'ANSI lumens' there's no agreed-upon way to measure lumens. One company's 3,000 might be another's 3,500."
Good news: If you're strictly adhering to the TikTok Fake Window Challenge, you don't need a super-bright model. That's because these windows are generally for nighttime, lights-out viewing. In a dark room, even a cheap projector will probably be bright enough to get the job done.
Ah, but where are you going to place that projector? That can be a challenge as well, which is why keystone is so important: Unless you're able to point the projector straight on, at exactly the right height, the image will appear angled -- and ruin the effect. Keystone controls let you straighten an angled image, to compensate for a projector that's, say, off to one side or down on the floor.
Many cheap projectors offer no such controls, however, and some give you only vertical or horizontal; ideally, you want both. At the very least, figure out where the unit is going to sit so you know exactly what adjustments you'll need.
Where to get your "windows"
In a word: YouTube. A search for "fake windows" will reveal lots of great choices, many of them designed to play for hours at a time. OK, but how do you feed those videos to the projector? Assuming it has no built-in streaming capabilities (most cheap models don't), you may be able to connect your phone or tablet, then mirror the YouTube app. You could also plug in the streaming stick of your choice. Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite, for example, is just $30, but often goes on sale for even less. Similarly, the Roku Express sells for $30, sometimes less.
If you have a YouTube Premium subscription, you can download fake-window videos to a PC, then copy them to a flash drive or memory card. Pop that into the projector and you don't need to worry about streaming.
Read more:Watch full movies for free on YouTube
Three Fake Window Challenge projectors worth considering:
Let me preface this by saying that cheap projectors are exactly that. They won't be especially sharp or bright, and they may severely limit where you can place them (owing to the aforementioned keystone issues). These aren't the models to buy if you're thinking about a home theater.
But for fake windows? Or maybe a kid's-room movie night? Yeah, these will do. Here are my picks for good, better and best.
Good: Aukey BC Master
Native 720p, screen included, $60 with couponAukey
As basic projectors go, this one ticks a decent number of boxes. It offers native 720p resolution, a vertical keystone control (though only 15 degrees, so not a lot of room to play) and an impulse-buy price: $70, minus $10 if you clip the on-page coupon that I'm seeing at the time of this writing.
Cooler still, check out the "special offers" section on the page: You can get a free 100-inch projector screen when you add both products to your cart.
Better: Apeman LC450P
Native 1080p, 50-degree keystone, $120 with couponFangor
Apeman's stylish model offers native 1080p resolution and dual speakers, impressive given the price. Just as impressive: a full 50-degree range of vertical keystone adjustment. That means if you wanted to, say, park this on the floor just under your bed, it would still be able to project up on the wall.
There's no Wi-Fi, though, so you'll need to BYO streaming. And despite the lunchbox handle, the projector isn't truly portable, as it lacks a built-in battery.
The LC450P earned a solid 4.6-star average rating from over 350 buyers. It's currently priced at $160, with a $40-off coupon getting you out the door for $120. That actually makes this one of the best 1080p-projector deals I've seen.
Best: Dbpower RD828
Native 1080p, Wi-Fi, 4-point keystone, $210 with couponDbpower
If your budget allows, this is the one to get. Although it has no onboard apps, it does support Wi-Fi, meaning you can pair your phone or tablet for easy YouTube mirroring.
That's a great benefit, but the real news here is support for "4D" keystone correction. That means you can manually adjust all four corners of the image, giving you a lot more flexibility in terms of placing the projector. It can be up high, down low or off to the side.
This is a fairly new model, hence the small number of user reviews. It's currently priced at $240, with an on-page $30-off coupon. However, it was previously selling for $200, so you might want to wait for that price to return -- or for an even bigger discount.
CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codes, eBay coupons, Samsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.
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Almost Anyone Can Do the Fake Window Challenge on TikTok
When there's a TikTok trend you can get behind that doesn't involve potentially harming yourself, you almost have to try it out, right?
When users started seeing the Fake Window Challenge on TikTok pop up left and right, it became one of those totally approachable trends to hop on.
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This one involves projecting a window on your wall and enjoying the new view outside your "fake window." It's harmless, pretty easy to do yourself, and you won't need to download anything or save any filters on the app. It does require a little work on your end to get the window just right, but when it's all said and done, the Fake Window Challenge is one of the most approachable trends right now.
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What is the Fake Window Challenge on TikTok?
The Fake Window Challenge requires you to project the video of a window on a blank wall in your home. It can be a video of a window with an outside that shows the rainforest, a cityscape, or even a snowy winter wonderland. Then, you literally sit back and enjoy your new view. If this had come about at the start of the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine, it may have been the perfect way to deal with being stuck inside when you would have preferred to go out.
But even now, the Fake Window Challenge is a welcome distraction for many. If you happen to be stuck inside working when everyone else is enjoying a sunny day, or you just want to see something different than your neighbor mowing the lawn in jean shorts and nothing else, you can project a new window on another wall and stare "out" that "window" for inspiration whenever you want.
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All you need is a projector to do the TikTok trend yourself.
The kicker for this particular challenge is that you will need a projector to make it work. You don't need to buy some special backlit picture to hang on your wall, or even a specific projector. All you need to do is find the one you want — even if it's an inexpensive one — to connect to your phone, and find a 10-hour loop of a window on YouTube.
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From YouTube, you can choose which kind of window you want to project on an open space on your wall. Many videos also include sound, so if you choose a 10-hour stream of a window that looks out to a tropical thunderstorm, you might also hear sound effects that make you feel like you're really in a tropical locale.
Or, if you choose a YouTube video of a window that shows steady falling snow, you'll hear the faint sounds of wind on a cold snowy day.
Where can you find affordable projectors?
If the idea of investing in a projector makes you a tad anxious, there are actually plenty of affordable ones on the market these days. You can find one at Walmart for less than $55, and on Amazon, there are a ton of options to choose from. The more money you spend, the better quality of a projector you'll get.
But for TikTok's Fake Window Challenge, you really don't need a top of the line machine to enjoy your new scenery.
1. KODAK Luma 350 Portable Smart Projector w/ Luma App
Mini projectors have been trending on TikTok lately, though not for the reasons you might think. Rather than streaming movies right onto their ceilings or on a screen set up outdoors, some clever folks are using them to project window scenes onto their bedroom walls for a change of scenery. Dubbed the “Fake Window Challenge” (although it’s less of a challenge, and more of a movement), the trend first took off in March when user @nam__p posted a video with the caption “How to use your projector the correct way.” He then projects a gorgeous aquarium shot and calming tropical rain seen through a window beside his bed, transforming his room into a destination of sorts.
For those travel-deprived people who’re desperate to be anywhere other than the home they’ve spent all of quarantine inhabiting, this has become a fun method of escape. Even after we begin to travel again, these handy little projectors can be brought along for impromptu screenings or set up in living rooms and on front lawns to bring friends and family together for a super-sized movie night. Below, you’ll find eight of the highest rated portable projectors that will work beautifully, no matter your plans.
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This sleek little projector is just 4.4-inches square and 1 inch thick, making it incredibly easy to slip into a or onto a nightstand or table. It can be connected to your phone, computer or speakers using Bluetooth and WiFi, or with USB or HDMI cables. It is controlled using Kodak’s Luma App and works with both iPhone and Android, although the projector itself runs using Android programs (don’t worry, it will definitely work with your Apple products). Per one reviewer, “Perfect for what I wanted—something user friendly, portable, with a good picture. The projector comes with apps like Netflix, Hulu and Prime pre-downloaded. There are certainly some quirks with the connectivity of the phone remote and different apps, but I really do not mind. My expectations have been exceeded, I love this little gadget!”
$300 at Amazon
This handle-adorned model is the least expensive on our list (as well as one of the best looking), but don’t let the low price tag fool you—the Apeman is still a great device. It can project a 120-inch screen and supports 1080p HD video, but one of our absolute favorite things about it is the fact that it is vertically positioned, meaning you don’t have to worry about trying to get the right angle propping it upward to project on your wall. This is especially awesome if you plan to use yours outdoors where you may not have a table or tree stump available to lift your projector to where it needs to be. “I bought this as a gift for my son and I have to say I'm a little upset I didn't buy myself one lol,” reads one review. “The picture is perfect and it worked great on every surface I tried it on. It comes with a full size remote and it's made of good quality, sturdy material. Picture was bright and you're able to change up the focus as well.”
$50 at Amazon
The Vankyo Leisure 3W is currently one of the best-selling mini projectors on Amazon, with more than 19,000 reviews. It streams 1080p HD videos with a 178-inch screen and works with both iOS and Android devices, but the real all-star feature is the advanced cooling system which limits the sound of fan whirring to an absolute minimum and makes it less likely you’ll want or need to add an external speaker. Most of the top reviews mention buying the Vankyo for use outdoors, and finding it to be a fantastic option, even in suburbs where street lights prevent backyards from ever getting too dark. Per one California.-based shopper, “I live in a suburb of L.A., and we were in the backyard with our lights out and a street light in the distance. And while it doesn’t compare to a TV, the picture brightness was very good for being outdoors. All in all, if you buy this projector, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.”
Buy it ($100)
If you’re really worried about surrounding light, the Dr. J Professional HI-04 mini is 30 percent brighter than your average projector, making it better for use during the day or in larger cities where turning off surround lights isn’t really an option. You can also opt to include a screen you can set up either indoors or out, and there is a tripod mount on the bottom to make it easier to use no matter where you are. Like most of the models listed here, you can connect the projector to your other devices (both Apple and Anroid) using USB or HDMI cables.
$68 at Amazon
For those willing to invest a little more, this top-of-the-line projector is currently on sale down from $530 to just $290, and based on reviews, it absolutely worth the splurge. The image is incredibly sharp and it can connect with your devices using Bluetooth and WiFi so you don’t have to worry about extraneous wires. The main feature touted by Yaber, however, is an innovative 4-Point Keystone Correction Function, which basically allows you to adjust all four corners of the projected image independently for better control over all. Out of more than 1,700 reviews, almost 1,400 give this project the full five stars, so if you’re interested, we say act now before the price goes back up.
$290 at Amazon
We love the adorable look of the two-tone PVO Mini, but more than that we love that it comes with an optional AC adaptor that can increase the brightness and battery length, when the need arises. It can project up to a 150-inch screen and has multiple port options, including a microSD slot, for handy connecting. Reviewers rave about how easy it is to connect with a Roku or Amazon Fire stick, or outside speakers for better sound quality. But again, the main draw (outside of aesthetics and price tag) is the wall adaptor, with many reviewers saying it makes a very impressive difference in image quality.
$70 at Amazon
This is by far the smallest projector on this list. It’s roughly a 2.8-inch cube and yet packs a ton of high-tech power into such a tiny frame. Like most of the other models here, there are multiple ways to connect it to your other devices—USB port, HDMI cable, Bluetooth, microSD slot—although the battery only lasts about two and a half hours, which is still long enough to watch a movie. And while it runs on an Android operating system, it should work just fine with Apple products, too. As you might expect, reviewers say using external speakers is pretty much a must, but otherwise this handy little device is incredibly impressive given its petite size.
Buy it ($209)
This highly-rated model produces a high-quality image and is easy to pack up and take with you, but we do want to note it doesn’t come with a battery, meaning it has to be plugged in to function. That said, it really hits that sweet spot in terms of quality and price for a home projector. It can project up to 200 inches and is incredibly bright, even when using in rooms or spaces with ambient light (like a suburban backyard). Almost every review mentions how easy the Vamvo is to set up and use, and many talk about how the fan is surprisingly quiet. “The quality of the picture is really nice,” raves one shopper. “The color is projected really well. It's vivid and life-like and unlike other ones I've used in the past you don't get any color bleeding. The brightness is great also. I use it for my children to watch some YouTube videos even during the day and it comes out quite clear.”
$110 at Amazon
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PureWow may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from PureWow's editorial and sales departments.
Projector dr window j fake
TikTok 'Fake Window Challenge': 5 affordable projectors
First, TikTok showed us how to bring a golden-hour glow into our rooms with the viral sunset projection lamps. Now, users on the app are at it again, delivering a new way to transform your space into a dreamy escape — with a fake window.
The "Fake Window Challenge," as it's known on TikTok, is not so much a challenge as it is a viral movement of people projecting window-like videos onto their walls. It started in March when user @nam__p posted a video demonstrating, "How to use your projector the correct way." In it, he used his to project videos of an aquarium, a clock and a tropical window scene onto his bedroom wall. In the video, which has since gotten more than 9 million views, people couldn't help but notice just how realistic the window looked, inspiring plenty of users to try it for themselves.
Considering that we've been looking out at the same window views for over a year now, the trend can be a nice way to mix things up. And for anyone who has been yearning for an escape, but isn't ready to travel just yet, you can create a "window" that looks out on practically any destination, switching between a city or beach view to satisfy your wanderlust.
To try it, set up a projector facing a blank wall, and hook it up to your phone or laptop to stream YouTube videos. What your "window" looks like is up to you. If you search "window view" on YouTube, you'll find a wide variety of videos. This tropical storm scene was featured in the original video and seems to be one of the most popular choices on the app, but you could also look out on the beach and listen to waves crash or watch the aurora borealis, all from the comfort of your bedroom.
In case you don't have a projector readily available, we found some bestselling and TikTok-approved options to shop, so you can get in on the viral trend.
Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector
Currently the No. 1 bestselling projector on Amazon, this small projector delivers high-quality video and sounds, so your window will feel as close to the real thing as possible. It also has an innovative cooling system and noise reduction technology, to keep bothersome fan noises to a minimum.
PVO Portable Projector
Whether you're planning on using your projector for the Fake Window Challenge or for movie nights, this affordable option is a great choice. It's equipped with multiple ports, including HDMI, USB and Micro SD, so it's compatible with most devices. The adjustable projection size, color and brightness ensure that you'll get the best picture quality for your space.
Yaber V6 Wifi Bluetooth Projector
Thanks to its Bluetooth capabilities, you can wirelessly connect your phone to this projector to stream YouTube videos, movies or games. The best part? It's on sale for more than 40% off right now.
DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector
User @honeybobabear used this projector to try out the trend. "I won’t be opening my real window ever again," she captioned her video, which now has more than 9 million views. It's 30 percent brighter than your average projector, so it will work with the lights on or off (though, you'll get a clearer picture in a dark room). Plus, it comes with a screen, in case you don't have any completely blank walls.
Apeman HD Portable Movie Projector
This projector may be small, but it's pretty powerful. The portable option can project a 120-inch screen and supports 1080p HD video. The handle makes it easy to move around your house, so you can set up your "window" in the dining room to add a fun element to meals or in your living room to complete a cozy night in.
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Emma Stessman is Shop TODAY's Editorial Assistant.
Where to buy a TikTok window projector: Join the fake light trend!
People on TikTok are going crazy for a new trend called the Fake Window Challenge, which involves users creating fake windows on their bedroom walls using a projector.
The trend began when user @nam__p showed their followers how you can create a fake window with any view you want on your wall.
People all over TikTok have been giving the trend a go, using projectors to make it appear they are in the rainforest, or in a snow storm with a whole new world outside their window.
For more information on how to join in with the challenge, and where to buy a projector, read on!
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Where to buy the TikTok window projectors
Any projector will work for this challenge, and there are plenty online for you to choose from.
If you are looking for a more affordable projector, you could go for the Mini Projector 5500 Portable LCD Projector which retails for £49.99 on Amazon. You can find it here.
If you unsure about investing in a digital projector, you could buy a smart phone projector instead which are made from cardboard. You can find one on the Urban Outfitters website here.
The projector used in one of the most popular Fake Window videos is called the Mini Movie Projector and you can purchase it for $84.99 here.
How to use the TikTok window projector
Once you have a projector, to join in with the challenge, you need to clear a black space on your wall in order to have a blank canvas for the projector to work on.
To find the perfect window you want to project onto your wall, search for ‘Outside window 10 hours’ on YouTube.
There will be a selection of videos to choose from such as a window with a rainforest view, a landscape full of falling snow, or even thunder and rain.
The videos are on a ten hour loop, which means the window will appear on your wall for ten hours until the video ends.
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People on TikTok Are Projecting Fake Windows Onto Their Bedroom Walls, and It's So Soothing
Apologies to all the real windows out there — no disrespect, love your work — but fake windows are having a real moment over on TikTok.
Earlier in March, @nam__p shared a video that read, "How to use your projector the correct way." In it, he set up the projector against a blank wall and displayed various aesthetically pleasing visuals, like fish swimming, a clock, and a tropical rain shower from the other side of a window. The last one in particular got quite the response in the comments, so the TikTok user improved upon the trend exclusively using window visuals. From there, the Fake Window Challenge commenced.
Much like that, uh, nature cereal recipe, this TikTok trend is pretty easy to re-create. Simply procure a projector (one user recommended this especially compact option), set it up against a blank wall, turn off the lights, and sync up the projector to the YouTube video of your choosing. There's that popular 10-hour tropical storm video, as well as a mountain view video and, of course, a Hogwarts option.
Enjoy the TikToks ahead to see several different takes on the Fake Window Challenge.