Whether you are simply looking to add a nice modern aesthetic, or to watch the big game on Sunday with some friends, installing a TV outdoors can provide supreme benefits. However, choosing the correct TV for outdoor use can be confusing, especially if you have no idea where to start.
The first question which will likely pop up, is can you use just any indoor TV outdoors?
Yes, you can use an indoor tv outside, however, most indoor TVs are not designed to withstand the elements of the great outdoors, so they will likely break down over time. The best TVs for the outdoors are TVs specifically made for outdoor use.
Though there are ways to help protect your indoor TV from outdoor elements, such as purchasing a TV cover or installing it under a shelter of some sort. Keep in mind there are specifically made outdoor TVs. Dust, dirt, grime, moisture, and sun exposure can be extremely problematic for an indoor television, whereas outdoor TVs are literally built-to-last in almost any weather setting.
Table of Contents
- What’s the Difference Between an Indoor and Outdoor TV?
- How Could I Protect My Indoor TV Outside?
- Would Anything Happen to My Indoor TV If Used Outside?
- What to Consider When Buying an Indoor TV for Outside?
- Do They Make Tvs Specifically Designed for Outdoor Use?
- Final Thoughts
What’s the Difference Between an Indoor and Outdoor TV?
The primary differences between an indoor TV, and an outdoor TV, is the temperature range, moisture control, brightness, and sensitivity to sunlight. Outdoor TVs are built to last and cut out some of the natural light hitting the screen, whereas indoor TVs cannot. Outdoor TVs are built to keep moisture out and maintain a safe temperature to provide optimal performance.
Aside from the functionality, and durability aspects, another major difference between the two is the price. It used to be that purchasing an outdoor TV was outrageously expensive, whereas nowadays you can buy a good quality 4k outdoor TV for under $2000. Now with that being said, it is possible to buy a good quality 4k indoor TV for half of that, so depending on your ability to protect it from the elements, and where you live, this could make a huge difference.
How Could I Protect My Indoor TV Outside?
The primary ways to protect your indoor TV is to purchase a TV cover or look to install it under some form of shelter.
Potential things to consider when looking for a TV cover is to find one that is waterproof and built to keep out wind, dust, water, rain, and any other damage that surely present itself as time goes on. The advantage to purchasing a TV cover is that it can help protect your TV from all weather conditions, however, the TV will be fully covered, and you will have to cover it/uncover it after every use.
Another option is installing your TV under an already-made shelter, such as a sheltered porch area, or pool-side bar. The key is to make sure that if it were to rain, snow, etc. The moisture would not directly make its way to the TV. The advantage of finding (or building) a shelter for your TV is not only does it help keep it safe, but it could also create a nice little DIY project, as you can build your own cabinet, or tool shack to shelter your TV. It allows you to add in some personal flavor and make it completely your own!
Would Anything Happen to My Indoor TV If Used Outside?
Depending on where you live, your tv could get damaged over time, even if it is sheltered properly. As stated previously, though there are ways to keep your indoor TV safe, understand that there is still potential for damage. Due to the fact that indoor TVs are only able to handle a certain temperature (compared to outdoor TVs), if you are in too warm of a climate (or too cold), moisture can build up, and eventually get into your TV, eventually damaging it. Outdoor TV’s are designed to last through more extreme temperatures, and will not break down as much over time.
Also, due to the fact that outdoor TVs are made to adjust to the brightness of their environment, using an indoor TV can hinder the brightness, and color ratio over time. With the sun beating down on a screen that is not meant to handle it, it can destroy the overall image of the screen, as well as some of the overall viewing experience. Eventually, the color scale, greyscale, contrast, can all be compromised and you will then notice a significant difference in terms of the quality of the image.
What to Consider When Buying an Indoor TV for Outside?
1. Your Geographical Location and Setup Location
The most essential things to think about before installing an indoor TV outside is understanding where you are located geographically, and what this could mean for potential hazards. Based on what sort of weather you get (mild, humid, cold, freezing, etc.), this will likely affect your decision-making on this project.
Also, are you setting this up in a backyard enclosed area, or pretty wide open space? Being that this is an indoor TV, it should be in the safest area possible, meaning one that is the most protected from the elements.
2. Weatherproof Covers and Enclosures
Also look to potentially consider investing in a weatherproof TV cover, as they are optimized to prevent moisture, and damaging properties to get inside your TV. Below we have listed a couple of fantastic options to consider if you are using your indoor TV, outdoors.
These outdoor tv covers are great, but only if you live in a location where you get minimal rain and lower humidity levels. These covers keep water out but moisture can build up in these if temperatures are constantly going up and down through the day and night.
The outdoor TV enclosure will do much better than the regular cover, but it’s certainly a bit bulkier than the cover. Furthermore, you are looking at a much different price range, the enclosure costing a lot more. But if you are searching for a better weatherproof item then the enclosure is for you. Its impact-resistant, waterproof, and UV resistant, making it great for your TV outside.
If you doubled up with an outdoor TV and an enclosure I don’t think you would have anything to worry about wherever you live.
3. TV Weather Ratings
It’s paramount that you as a buyer understand that a certain TV may have weatherproof ratings, so be sure to check them out before buying. These weather ratings are able to provide the most essential information, as you will come to find in your search that some TVs are better for cold climates, while others are better for warmer climates.
All TVs are designed to be able to withstand a certain temperature in their environment, and for outdoor TVs, they are specifically created to resist more extreme climates.
Do They Make Tvs Specifically Designed for Outdoor Use?
As mentioned previously, there are specifically designed TVs made to withstand all different climates. Very unique in that they provide amazing picture quality, premium glare protection, and maximized durability.
Outdoor TVs also come in a variety of sizes, so you are not just limited to going either big or small, as they provide anywhere from a 17” to an 82” TV. You can get a 4k Outdoor Smart TV for under $2000, which is an amazing deal when you consider you are getting all the same features of a premium indoor TV, plus the added benefit of having it durable for all climates.
Whether you are looking to buy a brand new outdoor TV, or use your existing indoor TV outside, the biggest thing to remember is to adjust your brightness, backlight, and contrast to get the best picture, and protect it from the elements when possible.
To help get you started, we have gone through some of the best options for outdoor TVs, and listed a few of the best TVs on the market.
The Furrion Aurora Partial Sun Series outdoor TVs are one of the premium options on the market, as you are able to get the same Smart and 4K features you would normally get from an indoor TV, with outdoor durability, and performance features as well.
Designed to deliver a far superior picture in partially shaded areas, it is without a doubt one of the best considerations for outdoor viewing. With a 4k Ultra-High Definition screen, it is optimized to deliver crystal clear images, and ultra-bright picture at 4x the resolution of Full HD, and the premium 700-nit LCD screen with auto-brightness control adjusts light levels for optimum viewing.
SunBrite TVs are some of the best outdoor TVs on the market, and are sold at most major retailers. Built to provide the ultimate weatherproof features, as it is brighter than indoor TVs, and protects against hazards like snow, rain, insects and humidity. Offering Smart 4K options, SunBrite TVs are one of the most reputable brands for outdoor televisions.
Samsung offers amazing options in terms of weatherized TVs, as well as a few other major brands like LG and Sony. These TVs are a bit more expensive on average than the majority of indoor TVs, however, they offer amazing quality, reputation, and the best color ratio, and greyscale. All weatherized TVs by Samsung have 4k options, that can operate anywhere between -17 degrees F to +120 degrees F, providing a far more durable option.
All in all, going through this process of deciding whether or not to use your existing TV outside, or buy a new outdoor TV, can be challenging, and stressful at times. The biggest thing to remember is that there is extreme convenience, comfortability, and budget-friendliness, in installing a current, cheap TV (or one of quality) outdoors.
However, there is also a greater chance that, no matter how well you protect it, it will still get damaged over time. Now, if you live in an area that is always mild, and never really gets too much rain/snow, you may be in luck. But why take the risk? Maybe it’s just me, but I make a lot of my purchasing decisions in life, based on peace of mind.
Generally speaking, buying something for its intended purpose, from a reputable company, and simply taking care of it, tends to reap great rewards. And yes, those rewards may still be possible to obtain from using an indoor TV, but once again, why take the risk? Are you really going to want to buy a new (likely outdoor this time) TV once that one breaks down on you? Because the odds say that it WILL break down over time, and you WON’T want to run down to your local electronics store to buy a new one when it does.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.