It’s always been possible to watch the big game or your favorite movie from your deck or patio. But until the arrival of wireless technology, you would have needed a really long extension cord and a super-long cable connection (or rabbit ears) to do it. And rain would have ruined your fun in more ways than one.
Now, wireless technology and a host of advances in how digital devices are manufactured and function have made it much easier to enjoy electronic entertainment in the great outdoors. Versatile technology could be part of what’s driving the growth in outdoor digital entertainment. Installations of outdoor entertainment systems doubled from 2010 to 2011 (the most recent numbers available), and the average project cost nearly $8,000, according to the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association.
Adding sound and audio systems is a great way to liven up outdoor kitchens and living spaces, patios and even screened porches. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
n Adding high-quality sound to your deck or patio is as easy as upgrading your home audio system. Modern systems allow you to wirelessly transmit sound (either music or audio from the TV) throughout your home. Bringing that sound outside requires a wireless setup and incorporating outdoor-ready speakers into your existing sound system .
n Wireless technology allows you to mount a TV outdoors and access content from your digital cable, satellite TV feed, DVD player or even indoor game console. Be sure to safely mount your television using a mount made for outdoor use .
n When choosing a TV for outdoor use, keep in mind positioning and concerns like sun glare. If you want to go with a plasma TV, it will be important to protect the set from sun and rain, and you’ll need to mount it in the shade. A weatherproof LCD can be a better option if you won’t be able to avoid sun glare and exposure to the elements. LCD images are less likely to look washed out in the sun.
n Water and electronics are notoriously bad together, so even if your outdoor electronics are weather resistant, it pays to protect them from the elements as much as possible. Consider adding an awning to your outdoor living space and outfitting it with an automatic rain sensor .