Selecting an outdoor television

Posted May 2, 2019 in General

While outdoor audio-visual entertainment did exist years ago, we can attest that the industry has come a long way regarding its features, functionality and quality in just a short amount of time.  Today, outdoor-rated televisions and sound systems are at the top of their game, offering plenty of options to homeowners seeking to enhance their outdoor living experiences.

Now, before you say your indoor flat screen television will do the job just fine, let us say, yes that is sort of true, but this is hardly a long-term outdoor living entertainment solution.  Indoor televisions are no match for the great outdoors and are not built to withstand temperature fluctuations, precipitation, humidity, wind, dust or snow for that matter.  In fact, using a standard tv outdoors will almost always void the manufacturer’s warranty.

The elements are not the only adversary to regular televisions, you will also need to think about picture quality, dependability and safety!  Indoor units are not designed to handle the brightness associated with the outdoors, leaving the picture looking very dull.  Brightness is measured in “nits”, with indoor televisions produce peak brightness up to 450 nits, outdoor units are prepared to be much brighter ranging up to 2,500 nits, giving the outdoor audience increased quality and visibility.

Concerning dependability, outdoor-rated televisions are designed to be weatherproof and have an internal multi-fan airflow system to keep the interior cool and dry in hot/humid temperatures in the summer and thermostatically controlled internal heaters that protects the tv when the temperatures plummet.  Indoor televisions are only designed to be used in climate-controlled spaces, leaving them utterly unprotected outside, which leads us to our last point we would like to make about indoor vs. outdoor televisions…safety.  We shouldn’t need to explain the electrical risk of an indoor tv outside when it’s raining, but they do actually put those labels on the units for a reason.  Outdoor units, however, are powder-coated with a rust-proof aluminum exterior that protects the internal components from the weather.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s chat about outdoor-rated televisions in your outdoor living space!  Poolside? Sure! By the grilling station? You bet! In the designated lounge section on the deck?  Absolutely.  With the proper outdoor tv, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.  When discussing location with your outdoor living design professional, be sure to discuss when and where you think the feature will be used the most.  Perhaps the television will be most useful to watch sports, then you may want to place it in a comfortable spot with ample room to stretch out or give high-fives.  If above the outdoor fireplace mantle is your dream, dream no more because that idea can be your reality!  The location you select will ultimately influence the type of outdoor television you should select for your space.

Several factors should be considered when selecting an outdoor tv.

  • Location. Light and element exposure will be key factors in your selection.  If the tv will be under a roof structure or in a predominately shaded area, the brightness requirements will be different than areas of direct sunlight or constant exposure.  If placing over a fireplace or grilling station, minimum locations from the heat source are necessary.
  • Size.  Ranging from a modest 32” up to a sideline feel 75+”, you will need to take the location in consideration to select the right size.  Rule of thumb: the smaller the space the smaller the tv, the larger the space the larger the tv!  If you oversize your television “just because” you may end up making the space uncomfortable for your family and guests, as they will have to sit farther away for comfortable viewing.  Size will also dictate how the unit can be mounted.
  • Sound.  Outdoor televisions have better sound than most indoor units, as they typically need to project sound further while having to remain clear.  However, most homeowners opt to integrate audio speakers in their AV package to boost quality and to interject the sound around their outdoor living space for maximum enjoyment.  Outdoor speakers are also perfect for listening to music, so be sure to talk to your outdoor living professional about all your AV options!
  • Connectivity. Installation is more involved than plugging in the tv and the cable box; even outdoor televisions have smart features!  Be sure to consult with or employ a professional for proper installation, you will need to make sure the cables, outlets, wireless routers, accessory speakers and all other components are compatible and are installed with a nice hidden finish since your dry components will still need to live indoors.

It is also important to know your mounting options!  While indoor televisions are typically mounted to the wall or sit on a stand, outdoor location options can get really creative!  Recently, MasterPLAN Outdoor Living created a design where the tv lives hidden in the overhead roof of a deck and with the press of a button, the tv folds out and down for the family’s viewing pleasure.  When the tv is not in use, they press the button again and right back into the ceiling it goes…beautifully hidden as if it weren’t even there!  We have also created a feature where an outdoor television lives under a client’s deck and lifts out of the floor with the press of the button!  When not in use, it recesses and leaves a flush livable space.  Your outdoor living professional can come up with some really cool design features, you just need to let them know you would like to see something really innovative!

Last, we should probably talk about cost; you will find that an outdoor tv is more of an investment than the tv you have in your livingroom, well, because it has to handle the elements! You truly do get what you pay for and we highly recommend that you invest wisely when it comes to outdoor features that need to be weatherproof without sacrificing quality.  Durability, longevity, connectivity, visibility, weather resistance, audio and picture quality and aesthetic all need to be taken into consideration when evaluating the price points.  Severely depending on size, style, quality and characteristics needed for the television, the average range of costs can be anywhere from $1,500-$25,000.  Yes, that is a big stretch, but you are certain to find the right outdoor tv for your outdoor living space somewhere in that range!

With so many outdoor living options available today, it is hard for homeowners to know with certainty which features are right for their space and for their family!  MasterPLAN Outdoor Living would love to partner with you to create an outdoor living space that is custom fit to you and your lifestyle, ensuring that you live your best life outdoors while making educated decisions along the way!  Working closely with our clients through the custom outdoor living design and installation process, we believe in full transparency and honest communication throughout the entire journey.  When you are ready to open the conversation about the true potential of your property, reach out to MasterPLAN, we would love to welcome you into the family!

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