With more people creating elaborate summer kitchens, verandas, and pool houses to expand living spaces beyond the walls of their homes, requests for outdoor entertainment systems including video are increasing. And being able to sit outside and watch your favorite sporting event, TV show, or movie while enjoying a beer or glass of wine is a pretty sweet proposition.
When customers bring up the idea of installing a television outdoors there are three main options: (1) purchase a weatherproof TV designed for outdoor install, (2) purchase a cheap, regular TV and understand that it will die sooner than later and need to be replaced, or (3) purchase a regular TV and install it in some kind of weatherproof enclosure.
SunBriteTV’s Veranda Series of outdoor TVs are available in 43-, 55-, 65-inch sizes.
While option 1 is the most logical, weatherproof TVs have traditionally been priced so exorbitantly–usually at a multiple of around four to five times the price of a regular TV, let alone that of some third tier brand–people often rule it out in favor of some throwaway model they’ll just use for as long as it lasts. This is especially the case when they reason the TV will be under a porch or some other covering where it won’t be exposed to direct rainfall.
Even setting aside the fact that using an indoor TV outside poses a potential fire or shock hazard, many areas of the country–such as my home in South Carolina–have so much moisture in the summer and winter months that delicate electronics in modern TVs scarcely make it a year even when not directly exposed to water. Further, some areas experience extreme weather transitions; where it can be over 100 degrees in the summer and below freezing in the winter, further taxing TVs not meant for such climates.
For those patio, porch, and sunroom installs that are open to the elements but where the screen will be located in full shade, SunBriteTV’s new Veranda Series can be the perfect solution. The Veranda models are offered in 43-, 55-, and 65-inch models at far more consumer palatable prices, and I received the 55-inch SB-5574UHD for this review.
Now, don’t let the term “full shade” throw you, as this is definitely turn-a-hose-on-it waterproof. It’s also rated to operate in temperatures from -24 to 104 degrees F. During my review period, the TV remained outside during several storms, freezing temps, and a 50-degree swing in a 24-hour period. The only weather-related “ill effect” that I experienced was the screen being covered with pollen–something easily rectified by a hose and dry cloth. (The optional dust cover is definitely recommended to help keep the screen clean.)
The TV features 4K resolution, including four HDMI 2.2 inputs (one with ARC, one supporting MHL.) The panel does not support HDR, but, honestly, the great outdoors isn’t really the best environment to support HDR viewing anyhow. It also retains a component and composite input for legacy devices and features two USB inputs to attach external media. Some may be disappointed that the set doesn’t feature any smart/streaming capabilities, but a Fire Stick or Roku could be easily added. There is also a rear panel mini-jack IR connection for a nice, clean connection of a third-party control solution. (No IP control is available.)
Rest assured that this is not a monitor, but rather a full-blown TV featuring an antenna/CATV ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuner and internal 20-watt speaker system. While the downward-firing speaker was fine for my viewing from about eight feet away, I often found myself turning volume up to around 75 (out of 100), and larger areas would likely benefit from a soundbar or other outboard audio install.
All connections are kept weatherproof inside a sealed rear panel, which is held on by thumbscrews and a sealed rubber gasket. SunBriteTV offers a variety of optional weather-coated stands and mounts to support a variety of installs, from tabletop, to flat, to arm, to ceiling. The included remote is also weatherproof.
A big part of what separates the new Veranda series from SunBriteTV’s more expensive Signature and Pro models is light output. At 350 nits, the newer line isn’t as bright as the other models, which can be up to three times brighter than traditional TVs. The screen also doesn’t feature the anti-glare coatings or heat-resisting technologies found in SunBriteTV’s more expensive models.
But how did it look? The short answer is that the TV looked pretty terrific, and you can confidently spec the SunBriteTV in without worrying about clients complaining of any video performance. I had the set for a couple of months and watched a huge variety of content including golf, basketball, football, Planet Earth 2 in 4K, and several HD and UHD movies served up from my Kaleidescape Strato. Never did I feel like picture quality was an issue, rather just how awesome it was to be sitting outside enjoying TV.
To eliminate subjectivity, I fed the TV a variety of SD and HD test patterns from Silicon Optix and Spears & Munsil, and the scaling performance from both was surprisingly terrific, with the “jaggies bar” test looking as good as I can recall seeing.
This performance held up in real-world viewing, as well. The opening scene of The Dark Knight features some tight vertical lines in buildings that can cause definite scaling issues, but the SunBriteTV took these challenges in stride, revealing just the briefest shimmer, at worst.
“The Lake of Wisdom” scene from The Angry Birds Movie never fails to amuse, and the 4K video features ultra-vibrant colors and amazingly sharp detail. The TV delivered all of Red’s bright plumage, along with the rich blues of the sky and lake, and incredibly sharp detail in the feathers and close-up textural detail. While not as over the top, the ocean in The Shallows looked convincingly Caribbean, as did the skin tones and bloody bite wounds on Blake Lively’s thigh.
I was a tad concerned that the 60Hz refresh on the panel might be distracting, but I was never bothered by any motion artifacts, even during fast moving basketball games. Perhaps the only real picture quality issue was some noticeable dimming and color shift when viewed from well off axis.
Two other points of interest for integrators are that the set offers a full complement of 18-point CMS adjustments as well as 10-point grayscale adjustment for calibration. And, since SnapAV acquired SunBriteTV at the end of 2015, it has greatly reduced shipping costs and times to Snap customers.
If you’ve been reluctant about proposing weatherproof TVs due to premium pricing, SunBriteTV’s new Veranda series is a solution that you should consider.
True weatherproof design; great scaling
No streaming features or IP control; larger areas would benefit from improved audio
► Sealed, weatherproof design; -24-104-degree F operating temp range; -24 – 140-degree non-operating
► 3840 x 2160 UHD 4K resolution
► 350 nits backlight brightness; 4000:1 contrast
► 60Hz refresh; 6.5 millisecond response time
► Available in 43-, 55-, 65-inch sizes
► Inputs: RF Antenna/CATV (ATSC/QAM/NTSC), 4 x HDMI 2.2 (HDMI 3 supports ARC, HDMI 4 supports MHL), 2 x USB, Composite Video with analog audio, Component Video with analog audio, mini-jack IR input, RJ45 (service only); Outputs: Variable Analog audio, Fixed Toslink optical digital;
► Dimensions (55-inch SB-5574HD):
► 50 x 29 x 3.86-inches (W x H x D), 51 pounds