If you’re planning your new home, you’ve probably noticed that “interior” design has found its way outside. In modern homes, the backyard patio, deck or pool area can often be as elaborate as any inside space, sometimes incorporating a full kitchen, extensive seating and dining areas, and, of course, electronic entertainment. That means getting sound and video, normally enjoyed under the protection of a roof, safely outdoors. It also means being sure your AV equpiment is protected from the weather in all seasons.
There are several approaches ranging from simply plopping down a wireless portable speaker that can be brought back inside when its too cold or the weather is bad to permanent, wired solutions.
The easiest way to get good sound outdoors today is with the new generation of high performance wireless speakers. Most use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi communication to route Internet radio services like Pandora or your favorite playlists from your phone, tablet or computer to the speaker. Some of the newest and best options for this would be the Bose Soundlink II or one of there cheaper options might be the SoundLink Mini or SoundLink Color. Another great option would be the new Sonos Play:5 smart speaker. All have AMAZING sound and are the easiest route to go for sound. Keep in mind that Bluetooth transmission range usually tops out around 30 feet; Wi-Fi solutions will go farther.
For those looking for more permanent and wider range solutions, I recommend checking out Sonance's Landscape Series. Sonance Landscape Series is a totally scalable outdoor speaker system that delivers perfectly-even coverage and unbelievable sound quality throughout any sized space. SLS provides jaw-dropping sonic performance from small satellite speakers and below-ground subwoofers that are hidden completely out of sight amongst plants and under foliage.
Enjoying your outdoor space can also mean watching television sports coverage by day and sharing a movie by night. Bringing video outside is more complicated than audio due to both the weather elements and the need to feed both audio and video signals along with AC power. If you only desire to keep an eye on the big game while you put away a few beers with the gang, most small indoor LCD televisions are light enough to carry outdoors in fair weather and plop down on the patio table. They can be easily brought back inside during inclimate weather or on colders days.
For a bigger screen and more permanent arrangement, you’re probably looking at investing in a dedicated, weatherproof outdoor television. Manufacturers like SunBrite and SEURA make LCD televisions up to 80 inches that are ensconced in housings designed to keep the elements (and animals) out and temperatures within normal operating range.
Want bigger? Of course, the ultimate outdoor big screen experience calls for home theater-style front projection, with a separate projector and screen. A permanent installation might involve the use of a glass rear-projection screen mounted on an exterior wall facing the outdoor viewing area. A dedicated projector shed can also be created with the screen mounted on the side facing a pool or patio area, though forced ventilation or even air-conditioning might be required to keep the projector cool. There are also companies like Camp Chef and Stuart Film Screen that provide easier options like The Outdoor Big Screen or Stuarts Outdoor Oasis Series Screens. These are the ultimate in portable screens!
Thanks to Control4 the options in automating & controling your outdoor oasis are practically unlimited now a days. There are also several great options that help you control things with just the touch of a button to help keep you cool in the summer, warm in the winter and protected from the elements. For example, we have a customer who has a mostly covered patio area but it is still subjected to the outdoors and the weather. For him we set it up so that at the touch of a button he is able to turn on and off heaters throughout the area, turn the outdoor fireplac eon and off, control the ceiling fans, and even bring down or put up bug screens surronding the space! Again the possibilites are endless!