For homeowners who enjoy entertaining in the summer, outdoor living spaces are just as important as what is inside the home. In creating an outdoor oasis, our patio décor achieves both durability and livability. Gone are plastic chairs as we welcome pillows, rugs, and of course, outdoor entertainment systems.
When developing your outdoor oasis, outdoor AV must be top of mind during the design process, instead of a last minute step. When planning, remember the #1 rule – you can’t outshine the sun. (Except perhaps in spirit)
Below are our top guidelines for establishing the perfect venue for your summer parties!
Placement of AV
It’s important to never place a TV in direct sunlight – this may result in an isotropic state. To help avoid this scenario, we suggest utilizing mounts, which can ensure proper viewing angles. And, remember: location, location, location! AV should not be placed near fire pits, grills and other heat sources, and if it’s not waterproof, it must be a safe distance away from pools, hot tubs, spas, and other water sources
Waterproof seals and clean cabling are a must to ensure signals are unaffected by weather conditions such as water, ice, dust, and air. Wireless devices can provide flexibility without wires by allowing for signal transmission from the home to the TV. Keep in mind, the power source must be close and it’s best to use a wireless, waterproof transmission enclosure.
Selecting Outdoor TVs
Aluminum or Steel Body Construction
Materials used to build your TV or speaker must be of the highest quality as it will need to operate in a wide range of temperature extremes. When putting a device near a heat source, aluminum will hold up much better than plastic, which is typically used in consumer TVs.
A device with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 65 or above will be sealed and protected from dust and water spray from any angle. When looking for an outdoor TV or speaker for your home, do not settle for less than IP65. For commercial purposes, I recommend finding an outdoor display that has an IP68 rating. A device with a rating of IP68 is a completely sealed unit that has been tested to stand up to the effects of moisture in the environment, be it humidity or torrential downpours.
NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, sets industry standards for electrical equipment that will be exposed to the elements. Before buying an outdoor TV, find the NEMA rating and look for a NEMA 6 rating, at minimum. NEMA 6 is widely accepted as the industry standard for outdoor TVs, and offers protection against dirt, ice formation, and temporary submersion in water.
Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant
Waterproof and water-resistant mean two very different things, and it’s important to understand the difference. A device that is waterproof means that it’s impervious to water and can even operate while submerged, whereas a device that is water-resistant is able to resist water intrusion to some degree – but cannot be submerged. There are a lot of acronyms and marketing terms being used to describe water ingress protection, so be aware of what they mean and ask questions if you are unsure. Don’t forget to make sure that the remote is also waterproof. Keep in mind that a waterproof device can be power washed, which you will undoubtedly be doing at least a few times a year.
Anti-Reflective, Impact-Resistant Safety Glass
I can’t think of anything worse than having a beautiful HD TV mounted elegantly in a backyard or restaurant patio and not being able to actually see the screen because of sun glare. Choosing a TV or display with an anti-reflective, impact-resistant cover glass will help prevent that dreaded sun glare. Impact-resistant cover glass will not shatter and spray glass everywhere if an errant baseball or flying debris happen to make contact with the front of the TV.
When considering buying a TV for your backyard, check reviews and manuals to ensure that a particular unit will not require much maintenance down the road. Units that are completely sealed and ventless don’t require external vents, filters, or exhaust fans, which can get costly as the need to replace them persists. Keeping maintenance to a minimum allows you and your family to enjoy more time outside without the stress.
Similar considerations related to weather must be made in regards to mounts. First, they must be designed to withstand wind. And, they must be environmentally coated with stainless steel hardware to prevent rust and corrosion. Taking these items into consideration will ensure years of trouble-free performance and prevent rust stains from occurring on outside walls.
Once you’re set up, finish your outdoor living space with some brightly colored pillows, ambient lighting, and maybe start a fire to make some s’mores. Sounds like the perfect summer gathering to me!