Outdoor TVs FAQ

Even the tech-savviest homeowners may not know all there is to learn about outdoor TVs. We’ve been testing and selling these products for more than 20 years, so we understand the common points of confusion customers encounter when searching for the right one. We’ve compiled your most frequently asked questions below, along with expert answers to give you some much-needed clarity. From weatherproofing methods and mounting concerns to speakers and remotes, we offer a comprehensive look at the most pressing questions surrounding outdoor TVs.

Have a question about outdoor TVs that isn’t listed here? Our outdoor living experts can help — and they’re just a phone call away at 1-877-743-2269!

What makes an outdoor TV better or more expensive than an indoor TV? Can I just use an indoor TV outside?


There are 2 main elements found in the outdoors that will quickly ruin indoor TVs: moisture and general dust particles. Should either make its way inside an ordinary TV, it would ruin the circuitry in a matter of weeks. Water is the main issue, but dust can seriously mess with the display picture (for context, think of how smudged your phone screen looks when dust sneaks under the screen protector). Normal TVs have no protection against these harmful elements, both of which will always exist to some degree in outdoor environments. Outdoor TVs, however, are built with special protections against moisture and dust, and those enhancements are reflected in product price. You’re free to continually put cheaper TVs in your outdoor space and replace them when they inevitably break, but we’d bet you’ll end up spending more in the long run.

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Are outdoor TVs waterproof, or just water-resistant?


This depends entirely upon the TV collection. The Weatherized TVs Elite Series is totally waterproof inside and out, meaning those units can operate even after getting rained on. All other models we carry are water-resistant (and some are even internally waterproof) but still function just fine under cover as intended.

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How long do outdoor TVs last?


As with almost everything we sell, we can’t give you an exact time frame or number of years to expect. Longevity comes down to several factors like maintenance and environment that are out of the manufacturer’s control. What we can tell you, though, is that outdoor TVs will last much, much longer than an ordinary TV would in your backyard. Outdoor TVs are built specifically to handle the rigors of being outside, whereas regular TVs simply can’t handle the elements.

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Do I need special speakers for an outdoor TV?


Only SunBrite Signature series TVs require a special soundbar for audio; all other models have built-in speakers.

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Can I connect external speakers to an outdoor TV?


Yes, they’re compatible. If you can connect something to an indoor TV, the same can be done with an outdoor model. It’s worth noting, though, that outdoor-rated speakers may be more qualified for the job.

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Do outdoor TVs use the standard VESA pattern for mounting brackets?


Yes, all outdoor TVs are made to fit VESA’s standardized pattern. Just keep in mind that the holes in the VESA pattern come in different spacings depending on the size of TV it’s meant to hold, so be sure that your outdoor TV mounting bracket matches your unit in terms of VESA pattern size.

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Will any mounting bracket work on an outdoor TV, or do you need a special one?


We strongly recommend using outdoor TV mounts and brackets because they’re made specifically for outdoor use and are treated as such. The same can’t be said for indoor TV mounts.

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Can I connect my Blu-ray player to an outdoor TV?


Yes, outdoor TVs are compatible with Blu-ray players.

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Is the remote control IR or RF?


Whether the remote for your outdoor unit is IR or RF depends on the model you choose. Not sure what the difference is? IR (infrared) remotes must be pointed directly at the receiver, while RF (radio frequency) remotes will still register even if they aren’t aimed at the receiver.

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Is the remote also weatherproof?


Yes, all the remotes that come with our outdoor TVs are weatherproofed as well.

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How can I protect my outdoor TV from theft?


The best way to prevent theft of your TV would be to purchase a locking mount. Some of the mounts we carry have a locking feature, so if that’s something you’re interested in, be sure to read the product specs or ask one of our experts.

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Do I need to winterize my outdoor TV?


You don’t have to winterize your outdoor TV, but some degree of winterization could be beneficial for its lifespan. Something as simple as shielding your unit with an outdoor TV cover would prevent animals from nesting or leaving their droppings on it. And if you live in terribly harsh climates, consider bringing your outdoor TV indoors during the coldest months.

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Will an outdoor TV work with my existing cable system?


Yes, outdoor TVs are able to connect to existing cable lines.

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I can barely see my phone screen outside. How will an outdoor TV screen be any different?


Let’s approach this question a few different ways. For starters, viewing angles for phones are totally different than those for TVs. Phones are made to project light in a small space relatively close to the viewer, whereas TVs must emit light over a much wider area to compensate for distance and the huge spectrum of viewing angles. Outdoor TVs also must be designed to work outdoors — in our case, their screens are recalibrated specifically for outdoor viewing. (The only other option is making a TV display that’s brighter than the sun, which seems rather dangerous in theory.) Additionally, mounting an outdoor TV on a full-motion (or articulating) mount can fix all problems with glare. Think of adjusting the mount a few degrees to reduce glare like turning a phone in your hand to solve the same problem.

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If I use a regular TV outside, will it void my warranty?


Yes, it will almost certainly void the warranty. Regular TVs are not meant for outdoor use because environmental factors like dust and moisture will quickly ruin the circuitry within the unit.

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What’s the difference between LED and LCD?


LCD stands for “Liquid Crystal Display,” which perfectly describes the technology at play. In simplest terms, LCD screens feature a large panel of liquid crystals held between two pieces of glass. When fluorescent backlights shine on the panel, the crystals change shape, color, and opacity to produce the picture on the screen.

LED, meanwhile, stands for “Light-Emitting Diode,” which actually describes the backlights rather than the technology itself. That’s right — LED monitors use the LCD method of projection, just backlit with LED lights rather than fluorescents. LED TVs provide sharper contract and better efficiency than LCD models, but brightness is their biggest advantage in outdoor settings. It’s not coincidence that all the outdoor TVs we currently carry are of the LED variety.

You should also be aware of OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) and QLED (Quantum Light-Emitting Diode) TVs, both of which are relatively new technologies. OLEDs trade backlighting for pixels that produce their own light and color, resulting in sharp contrast and quick response time. QLEDs rely on quantum-dot nanoparticles that filter color and light to generate gorgeous displays.

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Can I use a universal remote with an outdoor TV?


Yes, universal remotes can work with outdoor models.

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What is the best location for an outdoor TV?


There’s no “best” location for outdoor TVs — instead, focus on finding the best location for you. That being said, you have 2 main placement options: shaded and full exposure. All outdoor units are built to handle the elements in a shaded area, but there are certain models designed with extra weatherproofing to withstand full exposure to the sun. So, if you’ve chosen a full-sunlight installation, be sure you purchase the TV for the job.

Partial or Full Shade Full Sunlight
Weatherized Prestige Series Weatherized Elite Series
SunBrite Signature 2 Series
SunBrite Veranda Series

When deciding between covered or exposed placements, you should keep a few things in mind. Firstly, where are your electrical outlets? You obviously can’t place a TV in a location that doesn’t have access to power. Additionally, if you plan to connect your TV to a speaker system, DVD player, or cable box, is there enough nearby room for a storage cabinet? We can also tell you that you should mount your TV a safe distance from the grill, unless you like watching plastic melt. But perhaps most importantly, take your own comfort into account. If you don’t plan to rearrange your space around an outdoor TV, then be mindful of the existing setup and look for an installation spot that gives you the best viewing experience. And in the event you need a tiebreaker, always pick the more shaded area to help prevent glare.

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Do I need a cover for my outdoor TV? Is one included?


No, outdoor TV covers aren’t necessary, nor are they included with your purchase. However, a cover will add a layer of protection from the elements and keep out nesting birds and critters when the unit is not in use.

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Can I watch Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, or AppleTV on my outdoor TV?


Smart outdoor TVs allow you to connect to the internet, which in turn enables you to watch movies or TV through apps. Just keep in mind that the available apps vary from model to model because certain brands may not be under contract with every streaming service. If the outdoor TV you select doesn’t include your favorite app or isn’t a smart TV to begin with, you can always connect it to a Roku or similar streaming device.

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Does the warranty specifically cover outdoor use?


Yes, outdoor TVs are engineered for outdoor use and therefore covered for such applications.

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