This Summer’s Hottest Outdoor Accessory: The Weatherproof TV
Advances in television tech have enabled Los Angeles residents to turn their backyards into home theaters.
You’ve seen outdoor weatherproof TVs at places like ballparks, Universal Studios, college campuses, cruise ships and museums, and you knew it was only a matter of time before you could bring the specialty electronics home. This summer they seem to be popping up in backyards from Malibu to Long Beach, as one of the Los Angeles area’s hottest summer trends.
Southern Californians have always been keen on using their backyards as an extension of their family rooms, and more recently, elaborate kitchens have moved out back as well. The addition of a television that can be viewed outside both day and night is a logical progression.
Although Catherine Caccavo of Thousand Oaks has plenty of television screens to watch inside, she says she and her husband enjoy watching their 55-inch outdoor TV in the fresh air, and inviting friends over for big games and movie nights. They have a state-of-the-art surround sound system so the neighbors never complain about the noise, and they leave it up year round, covering it when it’s not in use.
The fact that Californians can enjoy outdoor entertainment year round adds to the appeal of the weatherproof TV in Los Angeles. Unless it’s raining (and that doesn’t happen nearly enough) an outdoor heater and a blanket can make even the coldest Southern California nights pleasant. There isn’t much Angelenos wouldn’t do outside if they could.
“We’ve always loved to watch movies outdoors, and we used to do it with a pull-down screen mounted on the gazebo and a video projector,” says Santa Monica resident Ted Sinclair. “The only problem was that we were accustomed to much higher definition viewing inside, and we couldn’t watch in broad daylight. The new televisions made specifically for outdoor viewing rights all those wrongs.”
Sinclair lives near the beach, and the first question you might have for him is "what about the weather?" Salt air corrodes almost everything, and then there’s intense rain, wind and high or low temperatures to account for.
Companies that manufacture these TVs, like Ciil, Sunbrite, SkyVue and MirageVision have taken all that into consideration. Fully sealed Ciil TVs from Peerless-AV, for example, can withstand moisture and weather as cold as minus 40, including ice and snow, and can take heat up to 140 degrees.
Jack McKeague, General Manager of Ciil Technologies notes the outdoor display can be submerged in up to five feet of water, continuing to operate reliably for up to eight hours. Not that you’d ever want to watch TV underwater, of course, but who knows?
Ciil is especially proud of a video of fireman squirting down one of their TVs with a firehouse, with no damage done.
Another benefit of owning a TV specifically manufactured for outdoor use is that a a wider selection of content options is available. People who watched movies outdoors on projectors, like Sinclair, could previously only view DVDs. Now they can beam movies, TV shows and games to their outdoor TVs, without ugly and complicated cabling.
All this advanced technology, however, doesn't come cheap. Prices prices run from about $900 to almost $10,000.
Sizes for home weatherproof TVs range from 22 inches for something you might want to mount on your spa, to 80 inches for that home drive-in theater effect.
Outdoor weatherproof TVs are obviously not for everyone, but for those who can't decide between spending an evening watching a great show or spending an evening outdoors under the stars, they're just the thing.