Outdoor Remotes and Smartphones Need Extra Protection
Outdoor remotes or waterproof cases for backyard control.
July 08, 2013 by Grant Clauser

In addition to the home theater or media room, the backyard is one of the most popular places for audio/video and control system installations. We’ve featured many impressive outdoor integration systems, from huge patio theaters to extensive speaker and lighting systems, but one thing they all have in common is the need for remote control in an environment that’s not always conducive to the remotes or interfaces we use indoors.

Few standard remote controls and no smartphones or tablets are designed with weather and pool safety in mind. Imagine dangling your feet in the outdoor hot tub while browsing your media selection on your iPad when someone playfully bumps you into the water? Now your hair’s wet and your iPad’s ruined.

But there are options. Just as speakers, subwoofers and HDTVs now come in waterproof/weatherproof outdoor versions, so do some remotes controls. With the right remote, you don’t have to worry that a poolside accident or surprise thundershower is going to ruin your precious electronics. A few of the outdoor remotes (shown in the accompanying slideshow) actually float, so you can use them in your pool, not just poolside.

But what if your main control system interface is actually your iPhone or iPad? This is an increasingly common situation. While many homes will have in-wall touchpanels and keypads, the in-hand remotes are often mobile devices. A great solution for those users is a waterproof case. Some waterproof cases are bulky and look more like sandwich bags than something for your elegant smart phone, but a few are slim and stylish enough to stay on your phone full-time. In fact there are even floating options, so your device won’t sink when accidentally kicked in the drink (by the way, these are also great options for boaters).


A few companies, such as Lifeproof, make waterpoof smartphone cases that work well for protecting your poolside A/V controllers.

Check out our picks for outdoor control interfaces at the included slideshow.

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 - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
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.

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