Spring is in full swing and Summer is right around the corner. The days are longer, the nights are warmer and we’re all spending more time outdoors. Why not make your al fresco dinner or backyard barbecue infinitely more fun with audio and video products designed for outdoor use?
Bringing audio outdoors
Getting your music and movies outdoors is a breeze (figuratively and literally) and something that can be accomplished on any budget. The first order of business is getting your audio outside to enjoy while you are grilling, entertaining or soaking up the sun.
There are several portable and rugged Bluetooth speakers that allow you to stream your digital music without having to worry about installing speakers or running wires. We’ve even seen models with solar panels to keep them charged up! Be wary, however, as the sound quality on these speakers can vary wildly. Look for reputable brands and always ask for a demo. Some up-market models sound absolutely amazing and are worth their higher ticket price. Remember that most wireless speakers you take outdoors are a local solution and require that you move them around as you do.
A more permanent and pervasive solution is a wired outdoor audio system. There is no shortage of weatherproof speakers that you can mount on or in your wall or ceiling, offering top-notch audio designed to fill large open spaces. Likewise, speakers and subwoofers designed to look like rocks and planters aren’t gimmicky, but can actually sound very good and are a solid solution for reaching areas with no walls. For total invisibility, one manufacturer will custom-match your stone with a speaker grille made to look like part of your wall.
Who needs a drive-in?
Of course, for the ultimate outdoor movie night, you’ll also need more than just a great audio system; you’ll need a solution for video as well. Again, there are temporary and permanent solutions. For example, many portable projectors work very well outdoors and some even come with iPod docks so you can access your iTunes movies or home videos with ease. We never recommend projecting your movie onto a white sheet; many screens include stands and are easily portable so there’s no reason not to have a true movie screen for your outdoor movie nights. We also love the inflatable models, perfect for setting up over the pool for a float-in theater experience this summer. Jaws anyone?
TVs that can handle any climate
Want to avoid the hassle and install something more structural? Check out the different outdoor TVs designed to endure the elements—including rain, dust, humidity, insects and even the harsh salt air of coastal climates. These TVs will usually have a built-in cooling system to operate in hot environments and will be temperature-proof in cold weather as well. Perhaps most importantly, however, is their ability to compete with aggressive natural light. Make sure you demo the model you want in a brightly lit environment to predict performance in your own outdoor space. And remember that more lasting solutions are only limited by the imagination and creativity of your A/V specialist. We’ve seen customers with projectors that live above their outdoor pizza oven or that pop out from a bench on the patio. Whatever your backyard brings, we can handle it.
Controlling your new outdoor space
Finally, how do you tie all this outdoor home entertainment together? With a waterproof remote of course! One manufacturer touts a model that you can leave afloat in the pool. Better yet, you can have an installer tie in all your systems, from the outdoor TV, the outdoor audio, outdoor lighting, and even the pool, Jacuzzi, and fire pit together for a completely automated outdoor system. Want the Jacuzzi to be hot when you arrive from a long day at the office? Just log on to your home system via the Internet and set it to your preferred temperature before the commute home. Or we can automate that function for you so you don’t need to think about it.
Come in or call us today to learn more about making your fair-weathered home adventures more fun for years to come. Trust us when we say that you’ll be the attraction of the neighborhood. And the kids, well, they will love it!