Outdoor TVs can be a welcome addition to anyone’s outdoor patio or living space. Watching that night game under the stars is a tough feeling to beat. Selecting the right TV though can be intimidating.
What are the pros and cons of owning an outdoor TV? Can’t you just pop any old TV outside? What are things you should watch out for and more importantly what makes a great outdoor TV great?
This outdoor TV buying guide is going to break all of that down for you and more. After you are done reading this you shall be well equipped with the knowledge you’ll need to set up that fantastic outdoor space. We’ll even give you our recommendations for the top outdoor TVs to buy.
Read on below to become the outdoor TV expert you were meant to be.
Pros and Cons of Owning an Outdoor TV?
If you are interested in all the details of owning an outdoor TV then first let’s look at all of the pros and cons.
|A bold neighborhood statement.||Could be expensive.|
|Convenient viewing for outdoor guests/BBQs.||Installation can be complicated.|
|Outdoor sports enjoyment.||It will take up some space.|
|Never miss your shows even while working.||Ownership anxiety (breaking, theft, etc).|
|Next-level family movie nights.||Will your climate allow it?|
Now that you have a brief glimpse of the pros and cons let’s dive a bit further into each one.
The Pros Breakdown
In this first part we’ll break down all the reasons you SHOULD buy that beautiful outdoor TV, so let’s take a look.
They make a Bold Statement
Outdoor TVs can be a bold statement for anyone’s backyard, deck, or patio. Adding one will certainly turn plenty of your neighbors’ and guests’ heads. You’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.
They Make Entertaining Guest Much More Fun
Now is anything better than watching that big game with your pals, cracking open some cold ones, and the smell of grilled food? Very little if done right.
Having one hang outside as you and your buddies, or maybe just your spouse watch the game, movies, or anything you all happen to fancy will make plenty of unique memorable memories.
They Can Add a Romantic Ambiance
Not only could you watch those big games and movies, but you really could add a romantic element to it as well.
Play your Spotify playlist while you serve a beautifully prepared outdoor meal to your sweetheart, or simply find one of those “fireplace movies” and enjoy it just the same.
Being Outside Can be Healthier and More Comfortable
Whether it is a super hot day or a chilly fall afternoon nothing quite beats kicking back and appreciating the outdoor air and watching your team go the distance or watching your favorite movie.
Provides a Get-Away
Perhaps your main TV is tied up and no one really likes how loud you get when your team isn’t doing so well. Owning an outdoor TV eliminates this problem, constant viewing not only for you but for anyone else too. Plus you have the added benefit of being outside where if you get a little bit heated it’s not so bad.
It Keeps you Company
As you garden, tend your weeds, mow, weed, eat, or whatever else that needs to be done you are able to still keep up with whatever is important to you. You never have to worry about missing breaking news, the weather, or that brand new episode to your favorite show.
Next-Level Family Nights
If you and your family enjoy movies and/or shows together then your family nights can be made that much better by doing it together outdoors.
Watching together, outside under the stars is sure to add some lasting memories for both you and your family for years and years.
Now that we broke down the pros let’s check out the cons.
The Cons Breakdown
The fact you already have the idea for an outdoor TV in your head could mean you are ready to get one of these bad boys. But there are some things to watch out for. We have them broken down below so you can make a well-rounded decision.
They can be Expensive
Now don’t let this scare you too bad. Indoor TVs can be expensive. The fact that they are built stronger than regular TVs adds to the cost.
In addition to the TV, there will be other expenses involved such as your setup, mounting, electrical needs, weather and damage protection, and any other special upgrades or renovations to set up your viewing area.
Installation can be Difficult
Unless you are a handy DIYer, you may need a contractor or handyman to install your TV. Here are some things that commonly need to be addressed when installing an outdoor TV.
- Do you have Power? Consider additional wiring to provide power.
- Is the Exterior wall sturdy enough to mount a TV?
- Do you have a good WIFI signal outside (for Smart TVs)?
- Will You need a Cable box or a Cable line installed?
- Will you need a DVD player or some other Video Source?
- How will you manage all the cables and wires running to the TV?
If you are handy enough these things may not be a deal-breaker. Depending on your situation, installing an outdoor may be more involved than you first thought.
Do You Have the Space?
Your outdoor space could be limited and with your goals does installing a TV really make sense? Perhaps instead of that giant 72” TV selecting a smaller one may not only be more economical for your situation but also for your space.
An outdoor living space can certainly be livened up by a TV but it can quickly become a cluttered mess all the same. Take an objective look at the space you’re working with so you can make the best choice.
Will Owning an Outdoor TV Cause Anxiety?
After the TV is installed there are things that may come up after the fact.
Worried about the Weather
Will your heart sink if you’re at work and the area you live in goes into a storm warning? Knowing your TV is outside exposed to whatever may be coming your way may give you unnecessary anxiety. After all that hard work to put one up just to have it destroyed by mother nature would leave a sorry taste on anyone’s tongue.
Will someone Steal your TV?
Another potential outcome could be theft too. Having an outdoor TV can be a glaring advertisement to those who are dishonest and prey on people’s dreams. It could be highly unlikely but if there is a chance then it is also worth considering.
Worried about Mother Nature?
Finally, if your area is prone to things in the air like dust, pollen, debris, and the like all of these things could eventually cause significant damage to your investment.
If any of these things worry you, you may want to consider your mental health before buying one.
Have You Considered the Climate?
If you live in a place that is beautiful and is the perfect temperature (like San Diego – 72 and Sunny) then you don’t really need to worry about this part.
For some, it is worth considering their climate as well as how temperatures will go throughout the year. It is doubtful anyone would be interested in watching TV outside on a sub-freezing day. The same could be said for a day that is so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.
When considering adding your TV try to be aware of your area’s temperatures and weather patterns like frequent rainstorms, misty mornings, and mountain snowfalls. Weather will not only affect the condition and lifespan of your TV but also your own potential enjoyment if you’re never able to use it.
Have You Considered Everything or Almost Everything?
So those are the Pros and Cons. Many of them could save you money and your well-earned time as well. They could also make or break your decision. But just in case you need more convincing, or more evidence to convince your spouse there are some more reasons to follow.
Layout and Design Ideas for Outdoor TVs
You have considered all the pros and cons. I’m sure the Pros won, right? Now you have decided to go ahead and add that TV, but how do you do that exactly?
The best way to figure out how to incorporate your outdoor TV is by seeing examples of others.
Ideas for Adding a TV Into Your Outdoor Space
Take a look at some of our favorite outdoor TV design ideas and how you could imagine them in your space. Let’s start dreaming!
Mounted above your Outdoor Fireplace
How about this view? Your guests are swimming, enjoying the fireplace, and some quality entertainment.
Nothing quite compares to a perfect setup and a perfect day like this picture. You can also take a look at our ideas for Living Rooms with a TV and Fireplace for even more inspiration.
A Built-in Outdoor TV in your Outdoor Kitchen
Imagine this. You and your family enjoy a movie on a beautiful sunny day enjoying a cool breeze cutting through your kitchen. Need more ideas for backyard kitchens?
A Custom Enclosure in Your Yard
In this one can you see yourself and a good buddy enjoying that super important game on a chilly fall day? The only missing here is the tailgating food!
As you can see by these few examples the ideas really are endless. What you can do will only be limited by what you can afford and how much work you want to do. Now with all that said let’s move on to how you select that perfect TV.
What kind of TV do you need for outside?
You will need a TV that is rated and designed to be outdoors. There are quite a few companies that make and sell TVs that can stand up to a number of harsh outdoor conditions.
Two of your biggest threats to your outdoor TV will always be moisture and dust. Both of these elements do not play well with any electronics in general so it is best to keep a thought on them from the beginning. These TVs are designed to withstand outside elements keeping moisture and debris out.
There are different types of outdoor TVs available depending on your environment. It is important to select the right TV model for the job. Just as you would select the appropriate clothing for the weather, each TV may have additional protections and features in place to accommodate your needs.
Types of Outdoor TVs
Check out this Amazon search for outdoor TVs. Scroll through all of the available options and you’ll see the various options, protections, and features.
Some are for full sun, partial, and shade. Some will have more powerful light technology so your screen isn’t affected by the light of day.
The type of TV you need outdoors will integrate all of these elements, both protection and viewing capabilities seamlessly. Whereas an indoor TV won’t be able to do those things.
Why Can’t You Use Regular TVs Outside?
After looking at those outdoor TVs and seeing their prices you may think to yourself “well those are expensive, why can’t I just use a regular TV?”
The reason is because of their design. A regular TV is not properly sealed and built to withstand the weather, insects, and numerous other outdoor hazards. There are plenty of little cracks and crevices that all of these things can find their way into.
At their cheap price point, it may seem appealing to go ahead and just use a regular TV as opposed to an outdoor one and just replace them as they go bad. Perhaps the area you are putting it in won’t be exposed to anything bad like a screened-in porch.
We would still caution you against doing that. Over the years and numerous replacements you could end up with would far outweigh the initial costs of buying the right product the first time. You may be able to get away with it at first but one day using a product that is designed for this purpose is the best choice.
The Difference Between an Indoor and Outdoor TV?
A regular or indoor TV may be appealing based on cost and what you could be familiar with but to help force the difference home let’s look at the differences between the two.
Normal everyday indoor TVs have no outdoor protection. No matter what environment you are in there will always be some level of elements that are harmful to a normal TV. The other snag is picture quality. Indoor TVs don’t have the lighted screens to withstand sunlight.
Will Sunlight Affect My Outdoor TV?
If you have ever tried to watch a normal TV with the sun blaring on its screen then you know all too well how bothersome this already is. Sunlight will make normal TVs hard to see. Outdoor TVs have much brighter screens so they are easier to watch with sunlight around.
Overall, Outdoor TVs are more expensive but they are worth it. Their design protects them and also shields them from the many things that could harm it. They come in a few different configurations so you are able to select an option that is right for you and the spot where you will be putting your TV.
What Can Outdoor TVs Handle, and What Can They Not?
When you first start shopping for your outdoor TV it could be a tad intimidating. Even with everything we have covered there are still some categories that may seem overwhelming or confusing.
Chances are the biggest challenge is going to be understanding protection. By now you should have your environment and the risks mapped out in your area. Now it is time to figure out the level of protection your TV will need.
In this section, we are going to discuss what outdoor TVs can and cannot handle. How do you figure this out though? Well, it all boils down to one thing, understanding the IP rating.
What is the IP Rating?
IP Rating stands for “Ingress Protection Rating”. It is how companies measure the degree of weatherproofing for electronic enclosures and is typically a standard practice.
IP ratings should look something like two numbers following the main letters “IP”. For example “IP57”.
To understand this rating you’re really only want to care about the numbers. The first tells you what the item can handle versus solids. The second is liquids.
Each rating has a slightly different system so here is a reference for you and how to figure it out.
What Does the Solid IP Rating Mean?
The first number rates resistance to “solid objects” from hand-sized objects to small particles (like dust), going from 1-6. In the best outdoor TVs and enclosures, that first number should be a “5” or a “6”.
A 5 means dust-resistant which is how the TV is protected against an amount of dust that could interfere with the normal operation but is not fully dust-tight. A 6 means dust-proof which would make it completely dust-tight.
If you’re not worried too much about wind and dust, or salt and sand, a 5 should be a high enough rating. Otherwise, you’ll want it to be a 6.
What Does the Liquid IP Rating Mean?
The second number rates resistance to “liquid” and goes from 1-8. For the best outdoor TVs, look for that second number to be anywhere from a “4” to an “8”.
Broken down from 4 to 8 this is what they mean. Looking at numbers 4, 5, and 6 these all fall under water-resistant. The higher the number goes the better the TV is protected against splashes, hard rains, and even torrential downpours.
Numbers 7 and 8 are where your waterproof levels are. At a rating of 7 you could submerge it up to 3 ft of water and a rating of 8 will go to 10 ft of water.
What IP Rating Should I Look For?
If your TV is going to be mostly uncovered and directly exposed to the rain, look for higher numbers like 7 or 8. If it will be in a covered area, and only exposed to humidity and possibly a light misting, lower numbers at 4 or 5 should be fine.
Can Outdoor TVs Get Wet?
Most Outdoor TVs can get wet. The IP rating will tell you how wet your outdoor TV can get. IPs of 4, 5, and 6 can handle general rain and moisture. IPs over 7 basically let you watch TV under water. Based on the IP rating or the numbers above that will be the best way for you to tell if it can get wet or not.
If your outdoor TV will really be exposed to the elements then the higher the IP Rating number the better.
Another route you can go should you choose is considering building or buying an enclosure.
Do I Need an Enclosure for My Outdoor TV?
If you buy an outdoor TV then there should be no need for an enclosure. Outdoor TVs are designed to be outside and are typically weatherproof or at the very least weather resistant.
Now if you are trying to save some money and go with a TV that does not have outdoor protection, then you will need an enclosure. Keep in mind that enclosures may not keep out everything 100%.
While you may not need an enclosure, having a custom built enclosure will add to the aesthetic of your viewing area. They can all add a bit more protection against the elements and add to the longevity of your TV.
If you’re worried about the protection of your TV, then a great alternative to an enclosure is weatherproof cover.
How Do I Weatherproof My TV?
Even though we have touched on enclosures already it may have brought to mind other routes you could go to protect your TV. These routes are especially good because they are a more budget-friendly option and may allow you to use TVs you already own rather than buying new ones.
Here are five options you can do to weatherproof your TV:
Buy a TV Cover.
TV covers are probably the cheapest way to go in attempting to weatherproof your TV. They can be available in a variety of materials, styles, and protection levels.
Going this route may save you money upfront but could ultimately cost more in the end. Especially if the cover you end up with is cheaply made and mass-produced. Think of a buddy’s cheap grill cover, most of the time they don’t last a season and TV covers are no different.
Buy a Protective Enclosure.
This option is a good middle-of-the-road choice. You get decent benefits for your buck and can also add a piece of decorative furniture to your patio or porch. Again numerous options are out there, be diligent so the money you are saving stays saved.
Build Your Own Enclosure
This option is a lot like number 2 but comes with the added benefit of applying your DIY skills and creating a unique, safe, and secure option for your TV.
Provided you have the skill this option truly is only limited by your imagination, skill set, and available tools at your disposal. You will also have the control to weatherproof your enclosure as much as is needed for your situation.
Add a Sun or Screened-In Porch.
This could be the perfect time to add on all those remodeling plans you’ve been saving. Adding basically another enclosed room om where the outdoor air can still move in and out, or a nice quiet “zen” spot to read your favorite book could be the greatest answer of them all.
It certainly has the greatest potential and will allow you to let your creativity flow as well as completely customize your set up while keeping your TV’s protection and weather-safe close to mind.
Go Back to Considering Investing in a Real Outdoor TV.
After it’s all said and done, and if you are not open to adding another piece of furniture, or spending the money to add on/upgrade then your best and safest option is going back to buying a great outdoor TV.
The upfront costs may be a lot and will be certainly felt more if you have a number of TVs already but over time a good outdoor TV will pay you back by remaining safe no matter the weather or situation.
Everything is designed for a reason and when the right tool is used for the job everyone’s life just goes easier.
What Temperature Can a TV Stand Anyway?
To completely answer this question we need to touch on two topics. A TV can typically handle two different sets of temperatures and this is based on whether they are just being stored unplugged or still being used.
What Temperature Can a TV Withstand if It’s Just Being Stored?
According to Sony, a TV that is only being stored can handle anything from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (F).
This is considering that the TV is unplugged as well. If it is not then the following the “in use” guideline would be best.
What Temperature Can a TV Withstand if It Is Being Used?
According to Samsung, LCD TVs can operate safely in rooms or areas in which temperatures range from 50° F to 104° F (10° C to 40° C). Temperatures outside the listed range will negatively affect the operation of your LCD TV.
Now with all this said most outdoor TVs can also operate safely in this range. Some may claim to be able to go higher or lower but there really is only so much “proofing” you can do before sensitive elements no matter the protection will eventually fail. Always be sure to thoroughly inspect and follow the guidelines for the TV you look at or buy, this is the best way to know what they can and cannot do.
How Long Will Your Outdoor TV Last?
This question is tough to answer as it will really depend on a few factors. However, in a nutshell here is the best one we can provide.
An outdoor TV could last you a lifetime. If you select one that is a great brand and the proper protections are in place, then that TV will be a one-time investment meant to last years and years.
On the other hand, exposing an outdoor TV to conditions it isn’t designed for, or using an indoor TV may only last a year or two before you will end up replacing it.
In almost every situation whether it be TVs or something else products are typically designed with a purpose in mind. When used appropriately and to the standards, they were built so you can maximize your enjoyment and value from them for years to come.
How Much do Outdoor TVs Cost?
On average, outdoor tv cost between $1,500 and $3,000. On the lower end, you would be sacrificing some extra features such as protection (lower IP rating), a dimmer screen, smaller screen size, and lower picture quality. If you can survive with minimal “bells and whistles” then this is a great way to go and be more affordable for your situation
An outdoor TV on the high end could have a larger screen, premium picture quality, totally weatherproof with a high IP rating, and many other fancy settings.
What are the Unexpected Costs?
There can be a lot of unexpected costs such as buying a TV wall mount, adding additional outlets, building an enclosure, or possibly other protections to get one installed properly.
Depending on all of your goals and aspirations this could surpass the simple cost of the TV itself.
What are the Best Outdoor TVs to Buy?
Owning an outdoor TV and adding it to your home is a wonderful idea. There are plenty of things to consider and evaluate prior to doing so but once it is all said and done the benefits and enjoyment can provide years of fun, togetherness, and satisfaction.
I hand-picked the following TVs as some of my favorites. They are priced well within the typical range but I also added one that is outside of it. This will help you really compare these TVs along with others you are eyeballing to make a well-rounded decision in the end.
Let’s see a few great options.
A Good One to Buy.
First up is Furrion Aurora TVs available in four different TV sizes. This company has some impressive-looking TVS at modest pricing. They also come equipped with a rating of IP54 so they have middle of road protection.
A Great One to Buy.
Another option is this Neptune 55” Shade Series TV. Not only do you get the TV but a free wall mount is also a nice touch. Based on many of its features this TV would surely turn heads and be a great addition to your outdoor space.
The Best One To Buy.
Finally, we have the Sunbrite TV line. Also available in a few different sizes this one will allow you to select the right TV for the space you have. The added benefit is its weatherproof capabilities boosting the ability to stand up to all the elements no matter what.
What Outdoor TV Would I Pick?
Now with all these TVs, it got me thinking about what would I would personally go with.
The Samsung 75” Terrace Outdoor TV is the behemoth I would love to mount above my patio space. It has a modest IP rating, is priced reasonably, and is backed by a solid brand.
Plus it looks absolutely beautiful.
Selecting Your Outdoor TV.
You can really see the great options you have available to purchase the perfect outdoor TV. Honestly, it is hard to go wrong as long as you follow all of my great advice and information found here.
Whatever route you decide to go I am sure that you will make a sound logical decision and by keeping this little guide handy you’ll always be an expert. I wish you the best of luck on your future home addition and can’t wait to hear how it goes.