So you think that 42″ Vizio you just picked up at National-Big-Box-R-Us and hung in the living room means you’ve finally joined the ranks of the cool kids? Think again. The latest and greatest trend is to install an incredible flat-screen outdoors. Nonsense, you say. I would have agreed with you not that long ago. But that was before I interviewed David Berman.
David is a nearly 40-year veteran of consumer electronics, and when he’s talking about companies he’s worked with, he can toss out big names like Polk Audio, Monstercable, Mitsubishi, and Hitachi. Now a director with the Home Technology Specialists of America, David gave me a thorough schooling in the nuances of outdoor flat-panel TVs. All of the details are right here in the interview:
TFL: I’ve heard of outdoor stereo systems before, but never outdoor TVs. Is this a new trend?
David Berman: Over the last 3 years demand for weatherproof televisions have increased substantially
TFL: What changes in technology are making outdoor flat-panel TVs possible?
DB: Most flat panel TVs have a limited operating temperature range and the glass or tinted screens on the surface would exhibit significant glare. Outdoor televisions have special casings that can make them waterproof and insect-proof. Additionally, special screen materials have been developed to eliminate glare and industrial parts are used to allow the set to operate in temperatures colder than 40 degrees and hotter than 96 degrees farenheit. There are even projection screen systems that can be used outdoors!
TFL: Anyone who has tried to read their mobile phone screen in bright sunlight knows that the sun can be a factor in outdoor screen viewing. How does a bright daylight impact the times when outdoor TVs can be viewed?
DB: Direct sunlight will still affect brightness, but special filters and materials are used on some sets and they are easily viewable in these conditions.
TFL: So I’m ready to invest in an outdoor TV system. What should my first steps be?
DB: Go visit a high end custom installer or HTSA specialist. They will know which sets to recommend and how to mount them for optimum viewing conditions. They are not any more expensive than a big box store, but they will have skills and knowledge about this category, which others will not.
TFL: What features should I look for in an outdoor TV?
DB: Is it bug-proof? Is it waterproof? Is it capable of operating in almost every climate condition? Does it come with a weatherproof remote? Will it integrate with my system?
TFL: What about my cable box, Bluray, and game consoles? Is there an all-weather solution for them, too?
DB: Not yet. They will have to be kept indoors and control system used to access them for the outdoor TV.
TFL: How about security? Is this thing going to walk away as soon as it is installed?
DB: No, there are precautions that can be installed.
TFL: Ballpark, how much is this going to set me back?
DB: A good outdoor 50” television can run from $4000 to $7500 and that is before mounting and set-up. The good news is it will last for a long time, if done properly. Figure $5,000 to $10,000 installed.
I’d better start saving!
Image credit: star5112
Ben Martin is the CEO of THE FATHER LIFE. He lives with his wife and five children in the Rochester, NY, area.