You may think you need a special weatherproof television to enjoy movies, TV shows, and sporting events in the great outdoors. That’s not true. Any ‘ol TV can be put outside if you’re smart about it. Allow me to explain.
I love the outdoors, and I try to spend as much time outside as possible. But I also love binging new TV shows and watching movies. These two interests don’t really mix well, which gave me the idea of putting my TV outside from time to time.
Can Any TV Go Outside?
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of TVs are not “outdoor-proof.” They’re not waterproof or designed to withstand extreme temperature changes. However, this is only important if you plan to leave your TV outside, which is not what I’m suggesting.
It’s much cheaper to simply move a regular TV outside when you need it and keep it inside the rest of the time. The only real requirement for this approach is to get a TV that’s easy enough to carry and a place outside to put it.
Any TV can go outside as long as you’re not leaving it out there unattended all the time. You don’t even need protection for it. Just bring it inside if the weather turns bad. If you’re comfortable outside, your TV will likely be just fine too.
I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this. I had looked into outdoor TVs a few times, but they all seemed like overkill for my purposes. Modern TVs are much, much lighter than older TVs. It’s really not that difficult to move a TV around.
Now that I’ve been doing this for a few years, I have some tips to share. A few affordable purchases to go along with your TV will greatly improve the experience.
First, let’s talk about how to get your content on the TV. You don’t want to be transporting a TV and a bunch of other peripherals outside. The best device for this situation is a Google Chromecast.
Chromecasts don’t have physical remotes, so that’s one less thing to carry back and forth. They also can be powered over USB, which means if your TV has a USB port, you won’t need to find an extra plug outside. The Chromecast and TV can be moved together as a package deal.
If watching sports is your top priority, you may want to look into an antenna. You can get a flat-style TV antenna to connect to the TV. Since you’re outside, you’ll probably get good reception for the nearby OTA channels. Just make sure it’s weatherproof if you plan to keep it outside.
Mohu Leaf TV Antenna
A simple, affordable TV antenna that can bring free OTA channels to your TV. This model has a range of up to 30 miles.
Lastly, a nice mount will make it easy to have a secure spot for the TV. I purchased a wall mount with an adjustable arm and removable TV plate. The plate is what attaches to the back of the TV; it slides in and out of the mating piece on the arm. I keep the mount outside all the time and just slide the TV on the arm when I need it. It’s pretty slick.
Mount-It! TV Wall Mount with Quick Release
This is a TV wall mount with an adjustable arm and quick release TV plate. The arm mounts to the wall and the TV plate can slide in and out of the arm.
What If I Want to Leave the TV Outside?
Everything I’ve talked about so far hinges on the idea of moving a TV outside when you want it and keeping it inside the rest of the time. This is fine if you’re like me and you only do it once in a while, but it can be cumbersome if you want to use the TV outside a lot.
For leaving a TV outside all the time, you basically have two options. The cheapest solution is some sort of weatherproof cover. A cover can protect the TV from dust, the sun’s UV rays, and water, but you still may want to bring it inside during extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Outdoor TV Cover for 55-inch Flat Screen TV
A simple cover to add some dust, water, and UV light protection to your TV to help it withstand the elements.
The second—and much more expensive—option is a legitimate outdoor TV. These TVs have IP ratings for dust and water resistance, more durable displays, and can withstand extreme temperatures. However, all that protection comes at a price.
On the low end, you can get a 55-inch 4K Element Outdoor TV with Roku built-in for $1,300. On the higher end, you’re looking at $3,500 for a 55-inch 4K Samsung “The Terrace Series” television. That’s quite a wide range and a lot more than you would pay for a non-outdoor TV with similar specifications.
It may seem obvious to some people—of course you can put a TV outside. That wasn’t my first thought, and maybe others feel the same way. A TV is not something you typically think of as being “portable.” What’s better than chilling outside on a warm summer night and watching the latest season of Stranger Things?
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