In my article about how to choose the best outdoor TVs, I talked about almost everything you might want to know before buying an outdoor TV.
Admittedly, it's a lot of information. Maybe too much for savvy shoppers like yourself.
The fact that you're here reading this right now is proof that you already understand you can't just take a regular indoor TV, put it outside, and expect everything will be ok.
So, in this article, I'm just going to break down what are probably the 3 most important subjects to understand when buying an outdoor TV: Weatherproofing, Brightness, and Sound.
1. Outdoor TVs are Weatherproof
Notice that I said weather-proof, and not water-proof. Yes, they are indeed waterproof, but there's so much more to weatherproofing that just resisting water.
In that other article, I described the 2 Functions of an Outdoor TV. The first is to withstand the outdoor elements.
Sure, bad weather can include rain and snow—the wet stuff. But, you can relatively easily avoid that with shielding, or install it in a covered area that's protected from precipitation.
But, what about dust? Insects? Salty air? Hot days and cold nights? Those are all included in the “outdoor elements” and outdoor TVs are built to resist all of that, and deliver a beautiful picture despite what the outdoors throws at you.
Additionally, many outdoor TVs have waterproof cable connections inside waterproof media bays or compartments, so you can easily hook up a wide range of media players and devices without worrying about weather damage.
Weatherproof remotes are also an amenity. Be sure to look into the weatherproofing options and ratings when you shop. Each outdoor TV is designed to handle different levels of the elements, and in different ways.
If you'd like to read more about how outdoor TVs are rated for the different levels of weatherproofing, check out my article about outdoor TV weatherproofing.
2. Outdoor TVs are Super Bright
The second function of an outdoor TV is to provide good picture despite bright sunlight.
The Sun is a pretty bright light to compete with. Standard indoor TVs don't have this competition. They are well shaded indoors, and the brightest lights they have to compete with are light bulbs.
Just as an example of the difference in brightness, have you ever tried using your cell phone outside on a sunny day only to find that you can't see the screen? You either have to wait a moment for it to detect the light levels and brighten up, or manually turn up the brightness yourself.
This is because it doesn't have to be so bright indoors, and will often automatically turn down to save on power.
Outdoor TVs have the potential for this same level of brightness. They will also have additional features to provide great picture outdoors.
For example, Partial-Sun and Full-Sun outdoor TVs will have an auto-brightness control similar to that of your smartphone, to automatically adapt to the changing levels of sunlight.
Outdoor TVs can also come with additional features like anti-reflective or anti-glare screens, which prevents bright objects around you from being reflected in the screen and distracting your view from the movie or TV show you're watching.
To learn more about the different levels of brightness, and how choosing the right level can save you money, take a peek at this article about Outdoor TV Brightness.
3. Some Outdoor TVs Have NO SPEAKERS
WHOA, whoa, whoa… What the heck? No speakers?
Why wouldn't an outdoor TV have built-in speakers? I believe the reasoning is a combination of Waterproofing and Volume.
I suspect that keeping the speakers built-in to an outdoor TV requires more expensive technologies that would make production more complicated, as well as the TVs more expensive.
However, I'd say that Volume— the ability to fill a space with sound—is the key culprit here.
Read on to see a quick way to determine whether you'll need built-in speakers or external speakers.
Indoor TV vs. Outdoor TV Sound
When you're watching TV indoors, your TV speakers have some major advantages with the acoustics of the room. Sound will bounce off the walls, which act as natural amplifiers, while also blocking competing noises from outside and from other rooms.
Outdoors, however sound will dissipate quickly, having nothing to reflect off to bounce back to the listeners. The TV speakers will also have to compete with outdoor noise for listeners' attention.
To compensate, built-in outdoor TV speakers would have to provide louder, or more directly targeted, sound than most small TV speakers provide.
This could mean larger speakers or more expensive technologies—both of which make producing and selling an outdoor TV more expensive.
Many television manufacturers compensate in a cheaper, more efficient way: They offer outdoor soundbars that pair perfectly with their outdoor TVs to provide impressive sound in your outdoor entertainment environment.
So, some outdoor TVs come with speakers, and some don't.
The Brightness-Sound Correlation: Full-Shade to Full-Sun
I made an interesting discovery while researching which outdoor TVs have speakers:
Full-shade outdoor TVs tend to have built-in speakers, while many Full-sun outdoor TVs don't.
Why would this be?
Full-shade outdoor TVs are designed to be in a shaded area, which is likely to have some walls that provide for better acoustics and sound reflection. So, having built-in speakers makes sense.
Full-sun and partial-sun outdoor TVs are designed to be exposed to more sunlight, likely in an open area with poor acoustics. So, they would require external speakers or a soundbar.
Here's an example of two outdoor TVs from the same company: SunBrite TV.
The Veranda Series is designed to be in a shaded area, and has built-in speakers. The Signature Series is designed to be exposed to more sunlight, and has no speakers.
This is not the same arrangement for ALL outdoor TVs, however. For example, Samsung Terrace outdoor TVs offer built-in speakers in all the models in the line, focusing on televisions that are adaptable to a varying range of brightness.
*(Read more about the various levels of outdoor TV brightness.)
The point is that you'll need to take responsibility for making sure your outdoor TV setup provides proper sound. Check for built-in speakers and for other sound options when shopping for outdoor TVs.
Choosing the Best Outdoor TVs
We are bombarded with all kinds of marketing for outdoor entertainment products. It can be overwhelming.
However, if you can narrow down your options by focusing on what is most important, selecting the best outdoor TV for your home or business can be relatively simple.
I hope you found this article helpful in your research. If you have any questions, or advice to share with other shoppers, please leave them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,