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A World of Entertainment
Make your backyard the new hangout with outdoor TVs and speakers.
By Debra Maurer
While electronics and Mother Nature usually don’t mix, advanced technology and innovations have led to the creation of sound systems, TVs, and projector screens all meant for the outdoors. Whether you’re entertaining a crowd or relaxing during your favorite show, it’s easier than ever to take your family room outdoors.
Your house may be the designated viewing location for major sporting events and movie marathons. Instead of cramming everyone into the basement or family room, create a modern entertainment space outside, complete with a bar, dining area, loveseats, and a weatherproof TV. You can connect the TV to your cable box, computer, DVD/Blu-ray player, or gaming system.
Weatherproof TVs have been engineered to survive extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions. With anti-glare, impact-resistant, and scratch-resistant screens, they are built to survive the elements. They come with water-resistant remotes and can be installed on articulating mounts to easily adjust the screen’s position. Weatherproof TVs retail for $2,000 – $8,000 for screen sizes of 23 to 55 inches.
Dreaming of a movie night under the stars? Set up an outdoor screen in your backyard, and it’s like having your own drive-in movie, minus the cars. These screens work by connecting a projector to almost any video source (TV, cable box, external video player, computer) to display the picture on an outdoor screen. They display a clear picture quality and are elevated with inflatable blocks. One manufacturer sells 72-, 96-, or 144-inch inflatable screens for $200, $750, or $1,050, respectively; an available kit that includes the 72-inch screen plus a projector is priced at $500.
There are a few sound systems you can drop right into the pool—without panicking! Specially designed water-resistant radios float on the surface as you swim or relax on a comfortable float. With designs ranging from basic circles to submarines and dolphins, these devices require just a couple of regular batteries. Some systems also have underwater speakers and sound effects for games. Prices range from $21 – $42.
If you’d rather play music from your iPod, MP3 player, or other audio source, you can purchase a floating waterproof speaker for $100. Simply plug your audio device into the transmitter via a 3.5 mm cable, and the wireless speaker will transmit sound from up to 150 feet away. (Note: Only the speaker is waterproof; the transmitter should be kept safely away from water.)
If you don’t need a weatherproof system, you may opt for a wireless speaker that you can take with you outside and store inside when not in use. Though not weatherproof, some portable systems include a splash-proof plastic covering to protect your iPod or MP3 player, and one unit also operates on solar energy. Many have remotes and are powered by a rechargeable internal battery.
Photos courtesy of Ciil Technologies
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