When planning for an Outdoor TV or Digital Signage display you have 3 choices to compare, standard TV, Weatherproof TV, Outdoor TV Enclosure. I will attempt to give you a brief overview of the options. Outdoor TV Options Compared The best advice is to do your research to be sure you understand the options and to make the proper choice for your application.
As Americans continue their migration to warm weather states industries associated with outdoor living have seen a significant growth in business as well. Companies that supply outdoor kitchens, outdoor furniture, outdoor entertainment and landscaping have experience a steadily growing market during the past decade. We relocate to more tempered climates to enjoy the outdoors for longer stretches of time. Even in the colder northern states we see growth in outdoor living. Since my expertise is in Audio Video Integration I will focus this writing on a growing segment of the market, outdoor TV.
Over my 20 year career in Home and Commercial entertainment products outdoor TV screens went from a small majority of wealthy clients to basically a standard feature in every home. The desire to extend living space outdoors, watch the game while barbecuing some burgers or maybe watch a night time movie while relaxing on your patio has been a driving force in the expansion of outdoor living products.
Going back to my early experience with outdoor TV the only choice we had was to select an inexpensive TV, do our best to protect it from the elements and hope for the best as far as durability and longevity. A few TV mounting manufacturers introduced protective outdoor enclosures but the pricing was very high and again only for the wealthy. When you combined the high price of Plasma or LCD TV’s at the time with the high price of the TV enclosure the cost became prohibitive for all but a few clients.
When placing a standard TV the expected lifespan of the TV was greatly reduced due to moisture and particle infiltration in to the electronics and possible damage to the TV from airborne debris. Some clients had great luck and their TV’s lasted for a few years. Many were not so lucky. That is one reason the market was restrained to the more wealthy clients who could afford to replace their outdoor TV when necessary. Of course TV manufacturers would void any warranty on an indoor TV used in outdoor conditions. This is still the case today.
You have three options for outdoor TV and Commercial Digital Signage applications.
1) As discussed above, purchase an inexpensive indoor TV and hope for the best.
2) Purchase a value added third party weatherized outdoor TV.
3) Purchase an outdoor TV enclosure.
There are pros and cons with each solution. I would suggest that you do your research to select the best solution for your application.
Option #1, Standard TV placed outdoors;
The main change from what we have already discussed with option #1 is the huge reduction in the price of flat panel TV’s. Anyone who purchased one 10 years ago and has gone shopping for a new TV has experienced this first hand. Beyond that the same potential issues still exist. If you choose this option be prepared for the possibility that your TV may just go “poof” one day never to shine again. Ironically this of course will occur in the middle of the game or during the climactic scene of the movie neither of which is a fun experience. I can’t tell you how many times we would get calls from clients whose TV’s decided to stop working at the worst possible times.
Option #1 Summary;
for those with a limited budget and that have a bit of a gambler in them this is the right solution. Just keep in mind that the clock is ticking from the first day you mount your TV outside. I would recommend buying a new TV for your family room and moving the old TV outdoors. It will hurt much less when it decides to go “poof” on you.
Option #2 Weatherproof TV;
As the market for outdoor living continued its growth a few companies introduced the Weatherproof TV. The weatherproof TV offers an attractive self contained package that fits nicely into most designs. Most of the weatherproof TV models offered were from “value added manufactures”. These are manufacturing companies that take an already existing product and customize it for more specialized applications.