What’s the Difference Between an Outdoor and Indoor TV?

As Ontario enters yet another month-long lockdown today and Canada continues to fall behind the rest of the western world in our Covid-19 vaccination rollout, many Canadians will be questioning if any realistic level of normalcy will be returning in our near future?  With travel, even within our own country being restricted, and that beautiful welcome most foreign countries provide to Canadians visiting abroad, now not so welcome seeing how few of us have been vaccinated, perhaps the prudent thing to do stay home and seriously step up our back yard living experience.  

Neptune TV by Peerless-AV housed in an attractive outdoor terrace

For years, we have watched a trend of backyard design akin to bringing the living room outdoors.  Often this includes adding a TV to your deck. In the past, adding a purpose built outdoor TV meant you’d have a panel that was safe from the elements but hardly worth watching. New options from companies like Samsung with their Terrace lifestyle series and the new Neptune Shade series of TVs from Peerless-AV means that having an outdoor TV no longer needs to be a sacrifice in picture quality.

Obviously, you can save a meaningful amount of money by just picking up the cheapest 55” you can find and mounting it to the fence. That’s one option, or would a smarter move be to invest in a TV that is purpose-built for the great outdoors?   The resounding answer is, keep the indoor TV inside and buy an outdoor TV designed for the elements.

Terrace by Samsung is the latest addition to the lifestyle family of products

More and more people are using their outdoor patios and decks as an extra space to entertain and utilize as living spaces. If COVID taught us anything, not only is your home your castle, but seeing people outside may be the safest environment of all.  According to Peerless-AV, the outdoor living market is expected to top $7.1 billion (us) in 2021, and is proving to be a smart investment not only for the lifestyle that such spaces provide, but also in maximizing your property value. Industry research confirms that there is a 100% return on investment when creating an attractive welcoming outdoor space for the family to enjoy.

But how to choose the right outdoor TV for you and your budget depends on many factors such as where you live and the location of the TV in your outdoor living space. Here are some considerations to ponder when shopping for an outdoor TV. 

Considerations when choosing an Outdoor TV 

  1. Durability: 

Standard indoor televisions are built for the controlled temperature range of a home, typically between 15°C and 45°C. Electronic components can be touchy, and when they overheat, this can shorten their lifespan. Untreated screens can be destroyed by freezing temperatures, as the liquid crystals in LCD screens can expand and cause cracking or picture distortion that cannot be repaired.  Outdoor TV’s however, protect this by ensuring an operating temperature range of -30°C to 50°C.  At the very least an indoor TV will require an enclosure, which can be bulky, add expense and may not be reliable in keeping your TV protected from the elements. Putting an indoor TV outdoors in an enclosure is at best a gamble. You are counting on the enclosure protecting against dust, intense sun and cold as well as direct exposure to water…either though rain or accidentally being splashed with water from a hose. Choosing a TV with an IP (ingress protection) rating of IP54 will ensure your outdoor TV will continue to function at optimal performance for the life of the TV. An outdoor TV should also come with an outdoor rated remote control.

IP ratings indicate a product’s ability to withstand elements—the number one feature you need to analyze when considering TVs for outdoor use. The first digit indicates protection against solids while the second indicates protection against liquids. For example, an IP54 Rating means the TV is protected from dust ingress and water splashing against the enclosure from any direction.

  • Brightness:

During the day, there can be glare on the TV screen as well as brighter ambient light. Indoor TV’s average between 200-350 nits. This is ideal for an indoor setting, but ambient light in the outdoors can be much brighter and TV’s need to be a minimum of 400 nits for optimal viewability. As they say, location is everything.  If you are putting the TV in full sun, meaning there will be sun on the screen for 8-12 hours, you will want to go to at least 500 nits for best viewing quality. The higher the nits the higher the price of the TV. If the TV will be in partial shade, you can opt for a TV that has 400 nits, and this can save money on the purchase price.  

  • Placement: 

In additional to brightness, outdoors also brings in another factor. Glare. No matter where you place the TV, there will likely be direct sun at some portion of the day. And because of this, outdoor TV manufacturers will add an anti-glare coating.  Peerless have launched what they call the Neptune Shade Series of Outdoor TVs that add an anti-glare layer to its screens and use IPS technology, which gives 178° viewing angles ideal for its high luminance and readability.   These additions allow you to put the TV where you want it on your deck or patio, allowing you and your (future) guests to get the most out of the viewing experience.

Highlight features of the Neptune TV series
  • BUGS!!

Anyone who has a BBQ, or a boat, will know that bugs, especially spiders, are attracted to secure warm places.  Get a spider web in the gas line of your BBQ and you no longer have a flame.  The same goes for the warmth from the components from your TV.  A purpose-built outdoor television has heat venting and impenetrable grills so that spiders, lady bugs and other pests don’t turn your TV into their home.  Don’t blame the bugs, they live outside, but you can live in harmony knowing that they can’t get inside the electronics of your TV!

  • Warranty Issues:

It’s simple: If you install an indoor TV outside, you’ve voided the warranty.  Look for an outdoor TV with at least a one-year warranty and make sure you register your product. And although warranties are great insurance in case your product fails, it’s always better never to need it. To that end, you will want to make sure the TV is built with high-quality components with the highest quality Display technology for optimal outdoor performance and reliability. 

  • Price:

Bottom line is that outdoor TVs are going to be more expensive than indoor TVs. They are built to withstand extreme temperatures a well as more resistant to dust, insects and moisture. The extra expense manufacturers put into building a more rugged casing is to protect the components inside and is built with withstand the wear and tear of outdoor climates. In addition, the screens put into outdoor TVs are specially treated to withstand the bright sun, preventing the TV screen from isotropic blackout.  Although the initial investment is higher than with an indoor TV, in the long run it is less expensive since it does not need to be replaced as frequently.  In other words, you may think you are saving money by placing the indoor TV you found on sale outdoors, but the savings erode when you realize it lasted only one season.

  • Outdoor IP67 Weatherproof IR Learning Remote

Your TV is waterproof, but what about the remote? Anyone with kids knows there will be a chance that the remote will be left out where it can be exposed to the elements including rain and snow.  The remote therefore needs to be as durable or more durable that the TV itself. You want to make sure you look for an Outdoor TV that comes with an IP rating of IP67 or higher.  And since streaming devices have become ubiquitous, having IR learning remote is key. Your remote will likely need to interact with several devices, and having one remote to control them all is critical. Especially when it takes a run through the sprinkler with the kids. 

An outdoor TV may be intimidating because of the higher price tag but understanding the benefits of a TV built to withstand the elements, and knowing which TV will work best for your backyard, can help turn your backyard into an oasis that you will get years of enjoyment out of. And if outdoor living is the safest environment of all, taking the big game or the movie outdoors may be the best money you can spend in these unprecedented times.

Special thanks to Gentec and Peerless-AV for the data points outlining the reasons to invest in an outdoor TV