By now you probably know about the Google Chromecast (and have entered our contest to win one), but here’s a great use for it I hadn’t considered before.
Sunbrite makes outstanding TVs for outdoor use. They can withstand rain, wind, sun, snow and even insects (spiders can do terrible things to TV circuitry). That’s great, but hooking an outside TV up to source components is a bit more complicated than hooking up one that’s in your living room. You can’t simply stack your cable box and Blu-ray player on a patio table. Many users of outdoor TVs will hire a professional integrator to connect the Sunbrite TV to indoor components via conduit and outdoor-rated wiring. Here’s another idea:
Because the Google Chromecast is so small, you can easily plug the thumb-sized device into an HDMI port, then run the AC power cord out the back (unfortunately Sunbrite TVs don’t have an available USB port to provide power to the Chromecast).
If that power thing is a sticking point (and I don’t know why it would be since you’re plugging the TV in anyway) then try a Where’s the Wires Insta Outlet. It basically gives you an extra outlet (via a very, very short extension cord) right behind your TV. You can then tuck everything into the Sunbrite waterproof housing that protects the inputs.
The input panel on a Sunbrite TV is protected by a waterproof housing.
Assuming the Wi-Fi signal on your patio is strong enough (if not, add a D-Link Wi-Fi extender or something similar) you can start streaming Netflix wirelessly to your outside TV to enjoy movies or Orange is the New Black (with more streaming services coming). If Sunbrite TVs included an MHL-capable HDMI input, you could use a Roku Stick instead of a Chromecast (and then you wouldn’t need the power cord), but not at present.
Wait, you also want to watch regular TV? Then add this Winegard outdoor antenna. It’s weatherproof, so you can mount it near the TV or pretty much anywhere.
This simple setup can get you loads of outdoor entertainment with very little installation trouble.
Electronic House can help you get a Chromecast for free by entering our contest here. Unfortunately we can’t help you get a free Sunbrite TV. but the company is offering $100 off here.
Want to learn more about outdoor AV? See these stories:
Planning Your Outdoor Audio/Video System
Outdoor TV Rising Out of Custom Cabinet on Roof
Backyard Bellagio Includes Lights, Music and Fountain
Backyard is Outdoor Electronics Showpiece
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.