Residential Systems / Outdoor Living / Outdoor TV

Choosing the right TV for your outdoor space by Brad Parsley

Indoor TV's outdoors...

Let's cut to the chase. Outdoor rated TV's are perceived as expensive. So, most folks want to know if they can use a regular TV outside. The answer is yes and no. Sony states that their warranty will be voided if the TV has "outdoor exposure" or comes in "contact with liquid, heat, humidity, or perspiration, sand, smoke, or foreign materials".  Samsung warrants their product in areas between 50 and 104 degrees F. So, clearly these TV's are not intended to be outdoors. These TV's are not sealed and need to breathe. Dirt, dust, smoke, and moisture are killers. Even if they don't get direct weather, they still will experience drastic temperature swings and condensation will be an issue. With that said, you can put a TV outside and roll the dice. I can't officially recommend it of course but I have plenty of customers that do with varying results.

Is it worth it?

Outdoor TV's are made for outdoors. So if the price were the same I would guess everyone would just do an outdoor TV. But, outdoor TV's are expensive. Or are they? Outdoor TV's aren't just weatherproof, they also deliver much higher nits of brightness which is useful outdoors. They incorporate anti-glare coatings that are necessary in partial or full sun applications. They are powder coated, sealed, and can operate in temperatures from -40 to 122 degrees F. Some even incorporate BaseT video technology that allows video sources like the Comcast box or AppleTV to run directly to the TV from indoors via a single CAT5 cable. No doubt this is the right product for the job.

Let's break down the numbers....

While most of my customers buy decent TV's for the inside of their home, they buy the cheapest thing they can find for outdoors. Why? Because they expect to replace it soon. Needless to say, this won't be the best looking TV in the world. So, let's start our comparison with a TV on par with the performance of a nice Sunbrite Veranda series 55" model at $1999. In a Samsung, $800 gets a 7000 series which sits right in the middle of the line. $1200 difference. But that's before you have a cabinet built to go around it. And in the end you still don't a TV built to go the long haul outdoors. The biggest issue I see is TV's outdoors don't totally break. Rather, they develop; sometimes quickly, artifacts such as lines in the picture that are super annoying. The owner doesn't want to get rid of it because it's not broke yet. Is this really worth what ends up being maybe a few hundred dollars in savings?

Put it where you want it.

The biggest advantage outdoor TV's have is that you can put them precisely where you want them. There are 3 levels of  outdoor rated TV's. First, is the Veranda series we talked about above. This is perfect on the covered porch or pergola where it will get full shade. Next, is the Signature series. This is our most popular outdoor TV and is available up to 75 inches. These are up to three times brighter than standard TV's and are designed for partially covered areas. A 55" will run you $4499 in this series but this TV will go the long haul and look good doing it. No bulky wood cabinet is needed for it as water is not a problem. Last but not least is the Pro series ($5750 for a 55") which features a protective tempered glass shield and resistance to full time sun exposure.

Get things under control.

Cable boxes and other sources aren't weatherproof either. So, we typically will place these units inside the home. We have endless choices in how to control these sources as if they are sitting right in front of you. These include phone and tablet interfaces as well as handheld RF remotes. Some, like the Universal Remote Control MXW-920 are waterproof. At $499, this remote is a perfect choice for changing the channel or volume without getting out of the pool! Remotes such as the MXW-920 place everything on one control and we custom program each one so that operation is very simple.

Your Outdoor Experts.

Audio Video Artistry is the company to call for outdoor entertainment. With 20 years in business and a staff of dedicated and knowledgeable technicians, we know all the tricks to getting it right. Call us today at 373-2444 for an on-site evaluation.

Above: Sunbrite Veranda Series

Above: Sunbrite Signature Series

Above: Sunbrite Pro Series