November 04, 2010
| by Tom LeBlanc
Journalists sometimes have to make sacrifices and go to great lengths to get their stories.
Such was the case after I watched the emergence of the outdoor TV category and its “all-weather,” “anti-glare” assertions. I sacrificed a good portion of my summer to verify those claims, sitting on the roof deck of my Boston condo and testing a SunBriteTV 32-inch high-definition LCD TV.
OK, I admit it. I sit up there most nights and weekend days anyway, often listening to the Red Sox on AM radio. So it really wasn’t much of a sacrifice. I already had a point of reference, having lugged my bedroom TV to the roof several times to connect it to a coaxial input and watch Sox games or Patriots games.
While my bedroom TV performed fine at night, the glare was too much to take during afternoon football games. I was interested to see how the SunBriteTV model would handle glare, especially since most all-weather TVs I’ve seen installed are covered at least to some degree under a cabana, awning or overhanging roof.
There is no such protection on our roof deck. The glare can be brutal, as my wife and I found after a windstorm snapped our table umbrella and left the area exposed.
The SunBriteTV 3220HD model I reviewed uses an anti-reflective window to reduce glare and increase contrast. Within reasonable expectations, it delivered. The TV looked absolutely fantastic at night and pretty good during the day. Depending on how sunny it was, there was noticeable glare but nothing that a rational person wouldn’t expect.
Consumers should feel comfortable installing this TV if they’re looking for an outdoor solution in this price category (MSRP $2,595) - but I would use common sense and aim to mount it in a shady location.
The other unique benefit of outdoor TVs is that they can be exposed to the elements. SunBriteTV says the LCD screen is protected against rain, dirt, insects and scratches by a powder-coated aluminum “all-weather exterior.” We got lucky and Boston had a nice summer without many torrential downpours, but the 3220HD emerged from what rain and wind we got without any battle scars.
It did get hot in Boston, especially on our shade-less deck. The SunBriteTV is designed with a dual-fan airflow system that is supposed to keep the unit cool and dry in temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Without scientific proof, my conclusion is it worked because, as mentioned, the TV seemed no worse for the wear as I packed it up at the end of the summer.