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A modern outdoor TV mounted on a wall, displaying vibrant content in a picturesque outdoor setting.

How To Buy an Outdoor TV

Not sure how to buy an outdoor TV or which one is best for your? Get ready to enjoy afternoons on the patio and evenings on the outdoor sectional in a whole new way—all with screens that can stand against the weather, the sun and even extreme temperatures. Whether you're hoping to watch the game out back with the boys or enjoy a movie over a crackling fire pit, discover what you need in your backyard with our outdoor TV buying guide.
Outdoor TV Buying Guide
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Outdoor TV Buying Guide
1 year ago

Why Take The Big Screen Outside?

The Best of Inside, Outside

Entertainment doesn't have to stay indoors anymore. Nice weather means everyone wants to head outside, whether they're taking a nap in a hammock, playing ball outside, hanging out with friends or just lounging. A big screen elevates your entertainment experience, but the main reason anyone would want one? You get to enjoy the best of nature all while keeping up with your favorite entertainment. Stay updated on local news, watch the baseball game, smash past friends online on your favorite video game console and more. And you can do it all as you soak up the sun.

Before You Choose, Consider Your Outdoor Space

Where Are You Watching?

Think about where you want your outdoor TV to exist, no matter what you'll be watching on it. You might mount it onto an outdoor fireplace, attach to the side of the home for some cover or find complete cover from an shaded porch that blocks the sun's rays. Where you place your outdoor TV is more important than you might think is, and that's all about how much sunlight it receives. Make sure you keep in mind the direction your screen will face—east vs west, north vs south. That will determine the amount of sunlight you get.

Full Sun or Partial Sun?

Before buying, make sure that the outdoor TV you love is rated for the sunlight your space receives. For TVs installed in a location with full sun exposure, be sure to only use a model rated for that purpose. Anything else will break down quickly and void the manufacturer's warranty. Meanwhile, partial shade models are made specifically to be placed beneath a covered space like a porch or pergola. And while partial shade models will have significant weatherproofing effects on the interior, their exterior elements are not made to sit in the sun or rain all day. The screens themselves are designed with different brightness levels as well, making them hard to view in bright light.
Meanwhile, models designed for full sun are created with a higher degree of weatherproofing in mind. These outdoor TVs are crafted with corrosion-resistant internal parts along with ultra-bright displays. With all of that power, they can stand up to direct sunlight and still provide a great picture. Additionally, their external frame is made to be as weather-resistant as possible.

What Size Should I Choose?

Just like standard televisions, it's important to choose the right size outdoor TV for your space. The biggest one you can afford isn't always the best choice—consider how large your viewing area is and the distance you'd be from the screen as users watch. If you'll be relatively close, going all out on a 90-inch model will be overwhelming, while you'll have a hard time seeing a small one from far away. The general rule is to buy what fits your home best; you'll enjoy being able to watch your media from the pool, the patio and all across your space.
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Mounting & Connecting Your Outdoor TV

Choose a Spot to Mount or Place your Device

Once you've picked out the model that's perfect for your needs, it's time to figure out how it'll stay in place. Choose between a few different options, like mounting your outdoor TV flat, choosing a mount that pivots or placing the stand atop some weatherproof furniture . Flat mounts are best for watching from one spot or side of the yard, while pivoting mounts are great for if you'd watch from different seating areas, like the backyard sectional in front and the dining table off to the side. Meanwhile, you might opt for the classic way—don't mount at all. Instead, you'll be installing a stand and placing it atop a weather-resistant console table.

Make Your Connections: Cable, Satellite, Wifi, Speakers & More

Finally, you'll want to make sure that your outdoor TV has everything it needs to function correctly, and that includes a nearby electrical outlet. Once you're plugged in, you're going to want to watch something, too. Streaming and cable boxes are going to have to live somewhere if you use them; you can hide these in a cabinet below if necessary. If you have a smart TV and choose to only use that internet connection to stream content, you might run into a different problem: connecting to the internet. If you're far from your WiFi router, you might experience a slow connection (or no connection at all). This problem can be easily solved by WiFi range extenders or boosters. Hoping to do it the old-fashioned way? Pick up an antenna to watch local stations for free.

External Speakers: A Must-Have

Do I Need a Soundbar For My TV?
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Do I Need a Soundbar For My TV?
Finally, you'll want to make sure you can hear your outdoor TV as well as you can see it. Like many indoor screens, most of these electronics come with low-volume speakers built in (that's because screens are made more and more skinny as time goes on—there's no room for the speakers). Make sure you can hear everything with a sound system that meets your needs: choose between all-in-one systems like a soundbar, or adjustable and positional speakers you can place all across the yard. There are even some that masquerade as rocks and other backyard tenants if you'd like to keep your look as natural as possible. For help choosing the sound system or screen that's best for your space, call us at 847-954-4140 or check out our Speaker Buying Guide and our TV Buying Guide. Whether you spend your time out back grilling for friends and watching the game or just streaming your favorite shows, you'll have a blast enjoying the best of nature with your new outdoor TV.

Q&A Summary

Do I need an outdoor TV?

That depends on a few factors, such as how much time you spend outside, how much you enjoy being out there, how well-outfitted your space is and whether you like to entertain. If you've answered "very" and "yes" to all of these questions or even some of them, you should consider buying one. Whether you're grilling up dinner or enjoying mingling with friends, it's the perfect entertainment to give you a break.

Do I need an outdoor TV cover?

Absolutely. While different models are designed with some to high degrees of weatherproofing against the elements, a cover will help to prolong the lifespan of your device (and keep it working like new). No matter what brand you buy, make sure you always cover it up after you finish watching—even if there's no rain in the forecast.

Are all outdoor TVs weatherproof?

To a degree. As a general rule, partial sun versions tend to have partial weatherproofing and produce a lower brightness (in Nits) than a full sun version. Meanwhile, the opposite is true of ones designed for full sun: they're made to withstand rain, sun, pollen, insects and more, 24/7. That being said, keep in mind that these completely-weatherproofed screens will be more expensive than models made to exist beneath a porch or pergola. No matter what, keep that cover over your device when not in use to prolong its lifespan. To measure just how weatherproof one is, check its IP rating. Weigh your budget against your weatherproofing needs, and that will help you make a decision and choose the right product for your home.

What is the best outdoor TV antenna?

With so many options for how to access visual content, the classic TV antenna can get left in the dust—but they offer free local stations, helping users to access one of the only subscription-free sources of news, shows & more. The best outdoor TV antenna will be able to catch a strong signal, which differs depending on where you live. Explore ratings online and check to see how far different models can reach and what quality they'll provide, from simple HD to full 4K resolution. There are even indoor TV antennas, but they may not have as strong a signal as the models that sit atop your roof.