There is no denying outdoor electronics are more expensive. In fact an outdoor television is twice as expensive as a standard (indoor) TV. We are often asked about installing a standard television located under a covering of some sort (patio, hood, inside of a media lift) as a substitute for an outdoor TV. So, can it be done?
OUTDOOR TELEVISIONS ARE DESIGNED AND TESTED TO DO FOUR THINGS TYPICAL TELEVISIONS CANNOT:
- Be seen in areas with higher ambient light
- Withstand the elements
- Operate properly in extreme temperatures
- Comply with building codes for external use
BE SEEN IN BRIGHTER AREAS
Let’s be clear, no television is going to give you an amazing picture in direct sunlight. In fact even manufactures of outdoor TVs suggest avoiding direct sunlight, or adding a hood, to help protect the screen (and of course to see it better). So could you increase a standard television’s brightness, cover it, and see just as well? Yes.
WITHSTAND THE ELEMENTS
Most people associate this with water, usually rain and snow. Yes, rain and snow will ruin standard electronics, as will extreme humidity. (This is why waterproof televisions are installed in bathrooms and kitchens). So why can’t we just use a waterproof TV? Because outdoor televisions are also designed to withstand wind and airborne particles, such as pollen, that can also cause damage.
So what if you put a standard display someplace that is covered? You will be able to see it better, it will keep out the water and drastically reduce the amount of wind and pollen the display is exposed to. Will that work? Maybe, it depends on how well protected it is.
OPERATE PROPERLY IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES
Standard televisions function properly at room temperature. Think back to the days when flat panels first came out, remember how large and sometimes noisy the fans were? Remember how hot they got? There is a reason even the most stylish outdoor TVs are never as sleek as their interior counterparts, they need to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which requires larger fans and heaters.
When electronics get too hot, they overheat which quickly destroys the internal components. In freezing temperatures, the liquid crystals in the screen (like most liquids) expand, which can cause distortion beyond repair or cracking. Additionally, temperature changes can cause condensation within the unit leading to water damage.
Now think back to withstanding the elements, the solution was to protect the display. Often times this involves some sort of enclosure. Can you properly protect a standard display from the elements and various temperature changes to the same level as an outdoor television? No.
COMPLY WITH BUILDING CODES FOR EXTERNAL USE
Not only will a standard television located outside not be covered by warranty, it won’t be up to building codes. Why does this matter? When water is introduced to electricians not only can it damage the products, but it has the potential to start a fire. We’re not trying to be over-dramatic, but the possibility that precipitation or condensation could result in flames is an issue that shouldn’t be ignored. Can an standard television be held to the same standards, thus giving you the same sense of security? No.
We understand why the question is asked, but the answer is we recommend against it.