It’s that time of year and many are wondering how to watch TV outside this summer. With summer here – at least in the northern hemisphere – with the weather heating up, you might be wondering if it’s safe to watch TV outside on a conventional indoor 4K TV. No, it’s not acceptable. Please allow me to explain why.
Brightness is important
Let’s pretend you’ve taken a standard TV outside. Plug it in with an extension cord, connect it to Wi-Fi, and start streaming Netflix. There’s also the issue of the sun — even the latest models capable of producing high screen brightness can’t compete with sunshine, which is a fairly powerful illumination source for a TV to contend with.
Glare is another issue that connects to this. Most televisions have a reflective screen coating that reflects light to some extent, which might obstruct image quality. Even indoors, when overhead lights aren’t dimmed and windows aren’t covered, screen reflections can make a TV’s picture virtually impossible to view; outdoors, they can make a TV’s picture nearly impossible to watch.
The weather is your adversary.
And those are only the most fundamental concerns. Condensation caused by temperature variations, as well as moisture of any kind, can kill electronic components like televisions. Extreme hot and freezing temperatures can also be dangerous. TV manufacturers typically list an operating temperature range in their spec sheets. Typically between -4 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 and 60 degrees Celsius) – mostly for storage considerations. And if the set is outdoors, that spec clearly states that problems will develop if the weather drops below freezing. Damaged electronics are a fire hazard. So in addition to wrecking your TV, there’s a chance that damage will spread to your yard and home.
Let’s talk about insects now. Bugs can burrow into the most unexpected places, as any car owner knows: I once had to have my car’s air conditioning serviced because a spider had nested in a pipe utilized by the system. Consider where that spider would go if the TV was outside! Dust and pollen are also an issue, and if you live near the sea, the salt air will surely harm the cabinet and screen of your television.
In case you were wondering, your set’s warranty will not cover any of the above-mentioned damage caused by placing an indoor TV outside.
Outdoor televisions: all you need to know
Now that we’ve discussed why you shouldn’t put your TV outside, let’s look at some options for viewing TV outside. Special models are purpose-built for year-round outdoor installation by companies like Samsung, SunBrite, Furrion, and others. Powder-coated, moisture-sealed cabinets and glare-resistant screens are used in these. And, as you might expect, they’re more expensive than conventional indoor TVs — up to twice as much in certain circumstances.
Outdoor TVs are typically incredibly bright, providing upwards of 2,000 nits in some cases. This is because they’re designed to be used for watching in daylight. Many additionally offer a high dynamic range, and some, such as Samsung’s The Terrace models, are quantum dot-enhanced LED displays. Full Shade and Partial Sun are the two types of outdoor televisions. With Partial Sun models being more expensive due to their higher brightness capability.
Outdoor TVs, of course, are built to work in extreme situations, so you can keep them outside in the cold or in the heat – the latter of which many who live in the southern United States are all too familiar with. You won’t have to worry about weather damage because an outdoor TV’s guarantee will cover it completely.
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Outdoor projectors are a low-cost alternative.
Looking for a less expensive and more temporary outdoor viewing option? A portable outdoor projector, which can beam images on a garage wall or couple with a portable screen, is great for a neighborhood movie night. These devices are usually affordable, and many of them come with a rechargeable battery, so you won’t have to bother about power cords. While 4K portable projectors are available, the picture quality disadvantage of any portable device is that brightness is much reduced when running on battery power, so you’ll have to take that movie night concept seriously.
Outdoor televisions that are recommended
Samsung 75-inch The Terrace outdoor QLED 4K smart TV – partial sun