Why Outdoor TV Enclosures are Better than Weatherproof Outdoor TVs - The TV Shield

Why Outdoor TV Enclosures are Better than Weatherproof Outdoor TVs - The TV Shield

4th Aug 2020

Outdoor TV on a patio

Outdoor TV vs. Outdoor TV Enclosure

Be it winter or summer, you should never be banished from your yard for months. We’ve seen a huge explosion in the number of people bringing the indoors out and getting a weatherproof TV, allowing them to enjoy the outdoors all year round. However, if you’re new to this game, the information can be a little overwhelming.

Fundamentally, beyond dangerous and rife-with-hassle ideas such as pulling an indoor TV to an open window, you’re down to two choices: an outdoor TV (often called a weatherproof TV), or an outdoor TV enclosure. The first is a specifically designed all-in-one weather resistant TV which you install outside. The second, TV enclosures, allow you to use a regular TV with a kit to remove the outdoor problems.

Article Table of Context

  • Are outdoor TVs weatherproof?
  • What is the best TV for outdoor use?
  • Can a regular TV be used outdoors?
  • Can I use my indoor TV outdoors?
  • Do you need an outdoor TV for a covered patio?
  • How long will a regular TV last outside?
  • How do I proof my TV for outdoors?
  • What materials are used to make outdoor TV cabinets?
  • What materials are outdoor TVs made from?
  • Which one is easier to add speakers to? What is the sound quality like in the outdoor TV cabinet vs. outdoor TV?
  • How easy is it to mount an outdoor TV vs. an outdoor TV cabinet?
  • Outdoor TV cabinet mounting steps
  • What is the best outdoor tv antenna?
  • Weatherproof TV vs. outdoor TV enclosure – the costs

  • Outdoor TV Questions & Answers

    Are outdoor TVs weatherproof? 

    It doesn’t matter where you are geographically, you have a weather problem when it comes to having a TV outside. Whether your TV’s enemy is heat, cold, humidity, or rain, there’s no point in having an outdoor TV that can’t handle it. Given that a decent TV will set you back a buck or two, you really don’t want to be mixing electronics with good old American weather.

    This means your outdoor TV has to solve a weather problem.

    Secondly, no matter where you are, security is an issue. If you’re in an urban area, then unfortunately the local opportunist is probably your outdoor TV’s biggest security risk. However, if you’re rural, you can’t ignore this issue either. Local wildlife are just as intrigued by outdoor TVs as they are drawn to your garbage cans.

    This means your outdoor TV has to solve the security problem.

    So, to solve these problems, weatherproof TVs and  outdoor TV enclosures have different solutions, and this is where you can really start comparing them.

    To solve the weather problem, a specific weatherproof TV usually offers a less valuable TV in an integral casing to ensure it is waterproof, as well as allowing for insulation against the cold and airflow to reduce humidity. This is great in theory. However, firstly you compromise on the quality of the TV and the picture. Secondly, if things go wrong - and they might, given this piece of equipment is outdoors - it’s very hard to fix electronics which are inside an integral casing and still ensure it is waterproof thereafter. Therefore, many people prefer solutions like outdoor TV cabinets. 

    Outdoor TV cabinet on a patio

    What is the best TV for outdoor use? 

    The great news is that actually most any TV can be great outdoors as long as it is protected in a weatherproof outdoor TV cabinet. The one big thing that always helps is the brightness of the TV which is also knows as the nits. The brighter or higher nit the TV the better it will look when placed in direct sun or even placed in a location where there is a lot of open bright area in front of the outdoor TV or outdoor TV enclosure. So, it is always recommended that no matter what TV you are using outdoors that you adjust your brightness, back light, and contrast to get the best picture.

    Can a regular TV be used outdoors? 

    Even if it is well placed out of direct rain, a regular TV should not be used outdoors unless it is properly protected with some type of specific built-to-last outdoor TV enclosure. There are many weather and environment threats like rain or bugs to consider. 

    Can I use my indoor TV outdoors? 

    An indoor TV should not be placed outside unless it is enclosed in an outdoor TV enclosure. There are many things that will render your standard indoor TV unusable in a pretty short period of time if left outside. Aside from the issue that if it gets rained on it will most likely be broken immediately, other things that significantly shorten the lifespan of an indoor TV being used outdoors even if well protected under an overhand are things like bugs, moisture, condensation, flying objects, and good old theft. 

    Do you need an outdoor TV for a covered patio? 

    It is recommended to weatherproof your TV even on a covered patio. Rain could still damage the electronics. Bugs could crawl in the TV and fry it. There are many risks. So, an outdoor TV solution is recommended. 

    How long will a regular TV last outside? 

    This is a complicated question. Not every TV is designed the same. Some may last longer than others. Many will burn out within a year or sooner, especially in particularly hot, humid, or cold climates. 

    How do I proof my TV for outdoors?  

    Outdoor TV cabinets solve the weather problem by creating an absolutely fit-for-purpose enclosure. This enclosure is weatherproof by preventing water ingress, ensuring airflow to reduce humidity, while being insulated against extreme temperatures. You can put any TV you like in it. You can also protect media devices like Roku or Apple TV within the enclosure behind the TV. Outdoor TV cabinets such as The TV Shield are designed to be opened and closed. Therefore, even when the TV has problems, or you want to replace it, it’s designed to come out with ease.

    For the security problem you need to take a look at the specific product you’re considering – whether that’s a  weatherproof TV or an outdoor TV enclosure. However, typically, outdoor TVs might fare well against the local opportunist who can’t get it off the wall – they may not fare so well against a willful raccoon armed with a stone because the screen is not protected behind an enclosure. The TV Shield, however, is shatterproof -making it tough against wildlife, but also has two metal-chambered and keyed locks to stop a would-be thief. And, when it comes to actually watching the TV, you get to lift the screen’s cover off, if you want.

    Outdoor TV Enclosure The TV Shield PRO by Pool in Backyard

    What materials are used to make outdoor TV cabinets?

    Various outdoor TV cabinets are made from a variety of materials. The main body or “tub” part of an enclosure is usually comprised of metal, plastic, or wood. HMWPE reinforced with strategic ribbing is the best outdoor grade plastic/polymer option. The TV Shield outdoor TV cabinets are an example built with this material and design. Some outdoor TV cabinets are made from less durable ABS plastic. Enclosures composed of metal, such as steel or aluminum, need to have a protective powder coating that will prevent corrosion, and other damage.

    Quality outdoor TV cabinets have strong and clear front panels that can be left closed all the time, even while watching TV. Weatherproof outdoor TV cabinet front panels made of ultra-clear grade Lexan® polycarbonate are shatterproof. Other front shield types are very clear but breakable safety glass or less durable and opaque ABS plastic. “ABS plastic has lower resistance to extreme conditions and industrial chemicals than polycarbonate. If your enclosure is likely to see exposure to high temperatures, solvents or other challenging environments, you most likely need a polycarbonate enclosure,” ( Polycarbonate Enclosures vs. ABS Enclosures ).

    - Outdoor TV Case Pros

    Why an Outdoor TV Cabinet May Fair Better than an Outdoor TV in the Elements:

    Outdoor TVs are generally meant for mild semi-outdoor applications. The type of location to possibly place an outdoor TV might be a covered screened in porch in mild climates where weather, damage, or theft concerns are not an issue. However, there are outdoor TV cabinets that are built for almost any outdoor or harsh environment.

    A true top quality and robust outdoor TV cabinet is shatterproof and extremely durable. It will protect a TV from rain, dust, water, hot and cold temperatures, moisture, tampering, theft, bugs, and much more. An outdoor TV cover may also be referred to as an outdoor TV enclosure, outdoor TV case, outdoor TV box, or outdoor TV cabinet.

    - Outdoor TV Case Cons

    It’s all a matter of need for your specific application. Outdoor TV covers are the leading outdoor TV solution. Historically size limitations and aesthetics have been concerns. But today, the leading TV enclosure brands are supplying extensive size range options and aesthetics are top of the line.

    What materials are outdoor TVs made from?

    Materials are what set indoor and out TVs apart. A typical indoor TV is constructed with plastic. There isn’t much of a cooling system. Generally indoor TVs aren’t equipped to face outdoor challenges like extreme temperatures, water, or sunlight.

    On the other hand, outdoor TVs are often comprised of metal and have impact resistant glass on the display. Sometimes there are internal heaters or fans to keep the internals cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There also may be added sealing to help keep unwanted materials out. This equips them for some mild outdoor climates or settings.

    - Outdoor TV Pros

    The most notable outdoor TV pros may be the aesthetics. They are also useful in mild outdoor locations.

    - Outdoor TV Cons

    Costs are known to run high on outdoor TVs. The outdoor defense materials can all be very helpful, but it is good to keep in mind that electronics and the outdoors just don’t mix well. While outdoor TVs fair reasonably in some mild outdoor locations, they still aren’t as robust as external TV protection like TV enclosures. Leading TV enclosure brands offer sturdier defense and even shatterproof (not just shatter-resistant) front panels. Outdoor TVs also only fortify the TV itself, unlike TV enclosures which also provide protection for devices like a mini PC, Roku, or Apple TV.

    Which one is easier to add speakers to? What is the sound quality like in the outdoor TV cabinet vs. outdoor TV?

    Outdoor TVs come with speakers built into the product. Quality is debatable, since most times outdoor TV listings include speakers, but don’t specify which speakers ( see this outdoor TV example). Materials used to build an outdoor TV must be more friendly to outdoor elements, which limits the technology options. It is best to look at reviews or inquire with the manufacturer about speaker quality. Added external speakers may be helpful.

    Another option is an indoor TV paired with an outdoor TV enclosure. Typically, when a TV is in an enclosure, it can be heard just fine by simply turning the TV volume up about 1/3rd higher than indoor listening volume. An external speaker is not usually needed. If for any reason you are using a TV with lower sound quality with an enclosure, enclosures like The TV Shield have a front cover which can be raised on its hinge and propped open with its standard prop arms to enhance use of the TV’s speakers.

    Some people want to improve sound overall for their TV (similar to when people want to add sound systems to their indoor TV setup), especially in loud environments. So, an outdoor speaker is an option for those scenarios.

    How easy is it to mount an outdoor TV vs. an outdoor TV cabinet?

    In some ways comparing outdoor TV mounting to outdoor TV enclosure mounting is an apples to oranges situation. This is because typically for an outdoor TV enclosure, the TV needs to first be mounted inside the enclosure before the enclosure is mounted to the wall. However, aside from that, mounting either one involves a similar process of deciding your TV set up….

    Outdoor TV Cabinet Mounting Steps

    1) Ask yourself where you want to place your TV (wall, ceiling, pergola, pole mount , etc.).

    2) Take diagonal measurements of your TV and enclosure. Be sure your TV and enclosure will fit together correctly. Now also measure the space where you want to place your enclosure and be sure it is the right size.

    3) Decide what mount you want to use. Various options are available such as flat, tilt, or full motion mounts . Identify the weight of your TV and of your enclosure to be sure the mount you choose will have enough strength.

    4) Different outdoor TVs or TV enclosures may have different processes, so follow the manufacturer’s manual or online video guides for step-by-step instructions to complete the mounting process.

    Mounting an outdoor TV vs an outdoor TV cabinet

    What is the best outdoor TV antenna?

    This HDTV waterproof UV resistant outdoor TV antenna is very popular and affordable. It is specially designed for the new digital terrestrial broadcasts and enables you to best utilize the built-in HD tuner in your TV. The antenna features the best low noise amplifier technology and circuits for the best reception. It comes in compact, stylish, UV resistant, and waterproof housing. This amplified waterproof UV resistant outdoor TV antenna is also a great option.  

    Weatherproof TV vs. outdoor TV enclosure – the costs

    This is another aspect where you really start to see the pros and cons come down in favor of the outdoor TV enclosure. Weatherproof TVs come with a fairly eye-watering price tag. For a mid-range outdoor TV you’re looking in the region of $4000, but don’t be surprised if, for the features you need to really combat the weather and security problems, you end up heading towards $7000.

    On the other hand, these  outdoor TV enclosures start at just $399. Even if you need to buy a TV to go in it (if you don’t have an old one to hand) and need a complete outdoor TV kit, then you’re still looking at massive savings - with prices under $800.

    So the verdict? Outdoor TV enclosure – always. 

    Ready to find the best outdoor TV enclosure?