Outdoor TVs allow you to combine being outside while enjoying your favorite shows. If you’re a sports fan, having the game on while you’re gathered around the BBQ can feel like a piece of heaven. Watching a scary movie outside at night makes the experience that much more terrifying!
No matter the reason you want an outdoor TV, there’s always the job of installing it. In most cases, outdoor TVs are more expensive than regular TVs so, you want to make sure you get things right. In this article, we help guide you through how to install your outdoor TV. We also look at the five most popular methods for mounting and why you might choose one over the other.
Why Choose an Outdoor TV?
There are several reasons why you want to choose an outdoor TV over a regular TV for installations outside. Even if the TV is going to be installed on a covered patio, it’s still exposed to the elements and requires adequate protection. Outdoor TVs and mounting-ware are also better equipped to handle sunlight, glare, and reflections. If you would like more information on outdoor TVs, their characteristics, etc, you can refer to this in-depth article.
One of the most important features an outdoor TV has is weatherproof protection. You’ll notice outdoor TVs have the ability to withstand harsh outdoor conditions from -24°F to 104°F. In addition to extreme temperatures, outdoor TVs also offer protection from moisture, rain, snow, dust and salt air.
Outdoor TV Types
One of the biggest challenges when mounting a TV outdoors is competing with sunlight. A TV’s brightness or luminance is measured in nits. A regular indoor TV will have a brightness of 350-400 nits while an outdoor TV will be upwards of 600 nits. Usually, the higher the nits, the more expensive the TV.
When choosing an outdoor TV, you’ll likely come across three different categories, Shade, Partial Sun, and Full Sun.
- Shade – as the name suggests, these TVs are recommended for shaded outdoor areas like an enclosed patio.
- Partial sun – partial sun outdoor TVs are best for open patio areas or mounting positions where the TV might get a lot of indirect sunlight.
- Full sun – these TVs often have the highest nit value allowing you to watch TV even when there is direct sunlight shining on the TV. Full sun TVs are usually the most expensive because they have a high nit value as well as high weatherproof protection. If you’re looking for a TV to install in the garden or adjacent to the pool, you might want to consider a full sun outdoor TV.
There are a few safety considerations you may want to take into account when installing your outdoor TV. The first has to do with the actual mounting position, especially when it comes to sheetrock.
If you’re installing the mount on a sheetrock wall, make sure you distribute the bracket evenly between the studs. The manufacturer will usually include instructions for dimensions and spacing. It’s essential you follow these guidelines for sheetrock walls to ensure the TV fall and break or worse, injure someone.
When it comes to electricity make sure to use weatherproof power outlets. Even if the installation is completely covered, moisture from dew and condensation can be an issue.
Cabling is another point to consider when planning a safe installation. If you are installing your TV out in the yard, it’s best to dig a trench to install cabling. For added protection, you might want to use a PVC conduit or pipe to run the cables through. This will ensure the cables don’t become brittle over time.
It is not recommended to run cables through the air from say, the roof, to a pole or tree. This could be dangerous if the cable falls or breaks. Under the ground or along a wall is always the safest option for cable runs. Another precaution is to use wires and connectors with UV-protection.
Outdoor TV Mount
The most popular way to install an outdoor TV is using an outdoor wall mount. Outdoor wall mounts are identical to indoor mounts except they typically provide better anti-rust and anti-corrosion protection. Outdoor mounts should only be used with fully protected outdoor TVs. These TVs are manufactured with all-weather protection and don’t need an enclosure for protection.
It’s recommended you get a wall mount with a pivot or swivel so you can change the viewing position depending on your outdoor activity. The swivel will also enable to angle the TV away from harsh light on sunny days.
Outdoor TV Stand
If you don’t have a wall to mount your outdoor TV, the next best thing is an outdoor TV stand. If you are concerned about theft, using an outdoor TV stand allows you to move the TV indoors when not in use. Outdoor TV stands also give you more options for TV placement. No longer are you confined to the wall but can position the TV anywhere on your patio or even out in the garden.
Outdoor TV Cabinet
Outdoor TV cabinets are popular for those who want an outdoor TV but don’t want it to be hidden or protected when not in use. If you’re planning to install a TV out in a garden entertainment area with no cover, a TV cabinet is definitely the way to go. When not in use, the TV can be stowed inside the cabinet protected from the elements. Some cabinets even come with automatic lift mechanisms so, with the touch of a button, you can open and stow the TV.
Outdoor TV Covers
Whichever method you choose to install your outdoor TV, when it’s not in use, you want to make sure you provide the best protection for your investment. Outdoor TV covers are inexpensive and are designed to offer superior protection against the elements. These covers usually wrap around the TV completely offering maximum protection from rain and snow.
It is crucial to get an outdoor TV cover as indoor TV covers do not provide adequate weatherproof properties.
Pro tip: if you are using a TV cover near the ocean, make sure you wipe down the entire TV with a soft slightly damp rag or chamois cloth. This will ensure you get all the salt condensation off the TV before covering it.
Outdoor TV Enclosure
Another wall mount option is an outdoor TV enclosure. These enclosures are a great option if your TV is not fully weatherproof or, you want to mount your outdoor TV where it’s exposed to direct rain or sunlight. Outdoor TV enclosures are usually airtight and temperature controlled to provide maximum protection. If you experience extreme heat or cold conditions, it may be a good idea to install your TV in an enclosure, even if it is fully weatherproofed.
TV enclosures are simple to install, however, require you to follow instructions carefully to ensure your TV is adequately protected.
Sound for Your Outdoor TV
Sound is something many people forget to consider when installing an outdoor TV. If you are choosing to install your TV in an enclosure or cabinet, the audio might be an issue. Even if you’re using a wall mount bracket, you’ll find it’s more challenging to hear a TV outdoors as it is indoors. This is because the sound is not contained, and there is more noise to contend with.
Installing some outdoor speakers is a good solution. The sound can be directed towards your desired viewing position, thus allowing you to hear better. You may think to install speakers might create more noise for your neighbors; however, you’ll find the opposite to be true. With better quality sound you’ll be able to hear the TV at lower levels.
Most people use streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others to watch TV these days. When choosing a position to install your outdoor TV, make sure you’re able to pick up your home WiFi. For streaming services, you’ll need a stable WiFi connection so, it might be an idea to install a WiFi range extender to cover the backyard. If you do extend your WiFi range, make sure you use a strong password, so people in and around the neighborhood don’t access your connection.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when installing an outdoor television. Take time to decide on the right solution and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. I know this seems obvious, but with outdoor TV installations, you’re dealing with expensive equipment and electricity.
No matter how you choose to install your TV, invest in a cover. This inexpensive item could end up saving you thousands of dollars in time and equipment. A cover is especially important for installations near the ocean.
Don’t forget things like WiFi connectivity and cable TV. WiFi is tricky, especially when the TV is inside an enclosure. If you are having issues with connectivity use a WiFi extender or better, run an ethernet cable directly from your router to the TV.