Outdoor Entertaining Series 2

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Now that the summer heat is gone we spend more time on the deck or patio. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to watch the game with a sunny outdoor background, a concert under the stars or with a beautiful sunset? Selecting and installing equipment for outdoor spaces can be a puzzle and using the wrong equipment or placing it improperly can have disappointing and expensive results.

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If you feel squeamish about putting that expensive flat screen outside, why not take the old den TV and use it on the patio? If you’re planning on replacing your main screen remember TVs tend to last longer than they used to and your old screen can have years of life left in it. While tube-type sets had average lifespans of 9 to 13 years, flat screens can predictably last 20 years and more. The Sunbrite company makes several sizes of premium dust covers to protect your set from the elements. They are very effective, although our summer temperatures make it advisable to keep the set under the patio lid or overhanging eaves. Your builder or cabinet designer can make effective protection for a more permanent approach, and Peerless has a fully sealed waterproof outdoor protective enclosure for your 40″ to 55″ screen which can be wall-mounted or built into the wall.

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Even in winter ambient light can interfere with the TVs own output but Samsung’s new 6350 LED screen Samsung.com is available in a number of models which put out considerably more light than standard screens and are designed to combat daylight’s effect on your viewing. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new screen for the patio or deck, look for some degree of humidity resistance. Along with protection from sun and weather the brightness and detailed contrast of Samsung’s LED TV offer a great picture, and the extra-thin profile is a plus for outdoor decor. The 1080p HD image gives twice the resolution of standard HD so you can catch all the details of your favorite films and games. For more exposed outdoor use we suggest the Peerless UV2 outdoor TV, which is weatherproof Peerless-AV. The Integrated Thermal Management System allows an operating range from -24 to 124 degrees, with a built-in Light Manager which adjusts picture brightness to the surrounding light.

Now that we’ve seen some available solutions for outdoor viewing we should think about where this is going to happen. The screen should definitely have something above it a roofed-in area, ramada or at least a “lid” can help protect your screen from much of the direct light and heat. We should also consider where the ambient light is coming from. To avoid washing out the picture with afternoon sunlight the screen should face east (or at least any direction but west). If the screen must face west, try to have something between the screen and the western sun. If the screen will be wall-mounted, try to keep the screen at or near seated eye level. If you want to place it higher, try for no more than a couple of feet above eye level to avoid strain on your neck. For very large patios, you might consider a larger screen than you would use for a standard den or living room viewing distance.You can bend the placement rules a bit if you want it higher, to avoid having to peer around someone else’s head to watch the game. Contact or visit Watt for help in choosing the appropriate size of screen and more information on placement.

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Unless you’re watching silent movies you’ll need something to make the sound. While we addressed this in last month’s outdoor speaker letter Outdoor Entertaining Series One, we’d like to recommend either a Sonos Playbar or a good pair of Sonos weather-resistant speakers, available in several sizes and colors. They sound great, are moderate-sized, placement-versatile and quite affordable.

remote-controlNow we have our sound and picture. How to control all this beautiful stuff? URC makes an excellent simple-to-use, water-resistant RF/IR (radio-frequency and infrared) universal controller suited for patio or poolside use. Watt Integration can program and set up the URC MXW-920 remote for up to 40 devices.

For those hard-to-shop-for friends and family members we think the URC MX-890i universal remote control can fill the stocking admirably. This deluxe remote has a brilliant high-density 2.0″ color LCD display for easy use in bright indoor or outdoor light, comes with its own recharging base, eliminating those late-night searches for batteries. Its radio-frequency commands get to your equipment via an ultra-reliable signal which passes through most construction and removes the need to “aim and shoot” to make things happen. This is especially useful if you’re on the patio and your system isn’t.

For larger stockings, how about the Sonos Play products? They are self-contained portable smart speakers which have their own source. With the Sonos Control App you can roll with iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Sirius XM and many more services to hear music streaming or use internet radio to hear all your favorite music in any room in your home and outside too!

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