Let's face it, the backyard barbecue - and deck/patio lounging in general - is an essential part of enjoying the warm weather months. But getting a TV out on the deck or patio can be a bit challenging, if not entirely impractical.
That is, of course, unless you have a weatherproof TV permanently installed in your backyard. What's that, you've never heard of an outdoor TV? Oh, they do exist. In fact, several companies make flat-panel TVs designed to withstand the rigors of extreme temperatures, humidity, animals/insects, dirt/dust, rain, salt air, snow and ice.
Think about it for a moment: Outdoor speakers are one thing, but having a nice 55-inch HDTV mounted on your patio/deck elevates backyard entertainment to a whole new level. Barbecues and pool parties take on a sports-bar feel and, if you're lucky enough to have a hot tub, watching TV in the great outdoors could well become a year-round pursuit.
Still have your doubts? Let's take a closer look at these rugged TVs. First of all, there are two types of outdoor TVs: Those specifically made for outdoor use and TVs customized to withstand the elements by a third-party company. We're going to focus on the former - purpose-built outdoor TVs, which are generally high-definition1080p models with screens ranging from 32 to 65 inches.
Typical features include:
- The ability to operate in temperatures as low as -30° F and as high as 140° F (!)
- Enhanced brightness and an anti-reflective screen for watching TV in bright sunlight; some models have an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness
- A tempered-glass screen/cover that is many times stronger than a regular TV screen to protect against damage
- A connection panel housed in a waterproof compartment on the back of the set, with extra space to accommodate cables
- Weatherproof control buttons
- Waterproof remote control
- Multi-fan air-flow system to help keep the TV cool and dry in extreme heat
- Aluminum construction
- Some models are even equipped with detachable weatherproof speakers
When it comes to mounting an outdoor TV, a variety of weatherproof poles and brackets are available, including "articulating" wall mounts that tilt, swivel, roll, and extend a couple feet out from the wall. And wireless signal-transmission kits are available for those who want to enjoy Netflix and other online streaming services without having to worry about running (and concealing) wires from the family room out to the deck or patio.
If you're looking for something a little grander - maybe an outdoor movie projection setup with a huge screen - rest assured there are companies that specialize in "backyard theater" packages featuring inflatable screens as wide as 40 feet and quick set-up AV projection systems. Who said drive-ins were dead?
To learn more about taking AV entertainment outdoors, consult a CEDIA professional. Click here for a list of CEDIA-member home technology professionals in your area.