Today's best TVs are sharper and smarter than ever, but not many of them can go outside. Thankfully, there's the SunBriteTV 55-inch Veranda (SB-V-55-4KHDR-BL), an outdoor TV that puts 4K resolution and HDR support into a weatherproof package that can withstand rain, dust, temperature extremes and even bugs. The protective design gives the Veranda a premium price, but after testing the TV and viewing it indoors and out, it's worth the expense as the best outdoor TV we've seen.
SunBriteTV 55-inch Veranda (SB-V-55-4KHDR-BL) Outdoor TV Specs
|Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Ports||3 HDMI, 1 USB|
|Smart TV Software||N/A|
|Size||49.4 x 28.7 x 3.5 inches [w/o stand]|
|Weight||47 pounds [w/o stand]|
When it comes to the physical design of the outdoor-oriented Veranda, this TV is a fortress, not a fashion plate. It's all about protection, and style comes in a distant second. The TV cabinet is built like a tank, with powder-coated aluminum instead of the lightweight plastics and fancy finishes seen on premium indoor sets. The front and back halves of the cabinet are bolted together and sealed against moisture and dirt. It's also all enclosed, with no vents that might let in dust, bugs or salty ocean air.
The beefy metal construction makes for a hefty TV, with the Veranda weighing 47 pounds and measuring 49.4 x 28.7 x 3.5 inches without the optional stand. The overall design still manages to be slim and light compared with other outdoor TVs. The 40-inch Evervue Cosmos TV weighs a back-breaking 80 pounds, thanks to a stainless-steel enclosure and an internal climate-control unit. Even without specialized internal temperature controls, the Veranda can be used in extreme heat and cold, from highs up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit to lows of minus 24 degrees.
The back of the TV has a matte finish that resembles the protective spray-on lining seen in truck beds, while the front of the chassis – which is mostly just the display bezel – has a shinier finish. Set into the bottom bezel is the TV's IR sensor.
The set is primarily intended for wall mounting, and is compatible with 400-millimeter VESA brackets, of which SunBriteTV offers several weatherproof models. They range in price from $139 for a basic fixed mount, up to $369 for an articulated dual-arm mount. The tabletop stand used on our review unit is sold separately ($105), and has an all-weather design made of heavy-gauge aluminum, painted black to match the TV.
Ports and protection
On the back of the set is a sealed panel of inputs and outputs, giving you a full port selection. To keep the elements out, but allow cables in, the connector panel is locked behind a heavy metal door that secures with three thumb screws. Along the bottom of the door is a gap protected by a thick foam-rubber gasket. Flexible enough to mold to the shape of cables passing through, it effectively rebuffs wet weather and warmth-seeking insects that might try to work their way into the set's ports.
The port selection is decent, with three HDMI ports (including one with Audio Return Channel support), component and composite video inputs, and even a VGA port. A single USB 3.0 port lets you connect a drive for digital media, or power an external device. An RF connector lets you attach an antenna for over-the-air channels.
While there is an Ethernet port, it's purely for IP-based control of the device. The TV has no smart functionality, and it isn't equipped for streaming without a secondary device. That said, the port compartment does offer enough room to add a Google Chromecast or other streaming stick, so you can add some smarts to the weatherproof dumb TV if you want to.
The Veranda is an outdoor TV, and with that specialization comes a few caveats about picture quality. The Veranda is optimized for shaded installations, such as a covered cabana or shaded deck. To improve visibility with so much potential ambient light, the display boasts a direct LED backlight that has the brightness dialed up.
Without local dimming, the Veranda's full-array backlight is just brighter, with none of the tightly focused illumination controls seen on premium indoor sets. A street scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming showed Peter Parker on a fire escape at sunset, and the entire scene was overwhelmed by the setting sun. Where it should have had rich colors and discernable details, the image was largely blown out.
When we tested the brightness, we measured a peak of 346 nits. That's nearly identical to the 2017 version of the SunBriteTV Veranda series, which measured at 354 nits. The SunBriteTV Signature series, on the other hand, posted a maximum brightness of 695 nits – but bear in mind, the Signature series is meant for partial sunlight viewing, while the Veranda is designed for full shade. Both offer very good visibility in their respective optimal conditions.
Plenty of standard TVs can deliver more brightness – the TCL 6-Series has a maximum brightness of 608 nits, while the Samsung Q9FN dialed up to a blistering 3,272 nits. That higher brightness is usually reserved for HDR content, while the Veranda produces it generally, increasing the brightness across the entire display. In actual viewing, the SunBrite TV is brighter than some of its indoor peers, but not as impressive in HDR performance.
Watching a scene from Blade Runner 2049, the contrast of bright lights in a dark casino wasn't as stark as I'd expect, and brightly lit shots showed some inconsistent shadows along the outside edges of the panel.
Even though the Veranda has a 60Hz refresh rate, fast action was a little choppy. Quick- moving objects and people – such as Spider-Man swinging through Queens – had pronounced smearing, as if they were surrounded by a blurry cloud of video artifacts. Color quality left something to be desired, as well; pinks, reds and blues were all bit oversaturated, making fine distinctions in hue difficult to distinguish.
As a rule we expect to see some pretty severe picture issues on outdoor TVs – compromises made in the name of outdoor visibility – but we were pleased to see that the Veranda did quite well in our lab testing.
The color reproduction was pretty good, with the Veranda displaying 98.61% of the sRGB color spectrum. We expect most TVs in this price range to get closer to the 100% mark – the Editor's Choice Samsung 65-inch Q9FN (99.94%) and value-favorite TCL 6-Series (99.96%) both did better – but we can hardly fault the outdoor-oriented Veranda for falling a little short. We should also point out, it's actually an improvement over the 2017 model (97.4%).
The Veranda also delivered solid color accuracy, testing at a DeltaE rating of 2.67 (lower scores are better). This is, again, a significant improvement over the 2017 model, which had a DeltaE rating of 3.5, and drastically better than more recent outdoor models, like the SunBrite TV Signature (6.7) and the Evervue Cosmos (13.1).
Even sitting dead center in front of the TV, at the ideal distance of 4.5 feet, I could see a bit of color shifting on the right and left edges of the screen. A purple test screen was fringed with pink, and any off-angle viewing caused colors to skew. While it isn't unwatchable, it's noticeable enough that crowding more than two or three people around the TV to watch a movie or sporting event will mean some people won't see everything as it should be.
Connecting the Veranda to our Xbox One X, we were pleased to see support for not only 4K gaming, but also for 10-bit color and HDR in both apps and games. It will also support a variety of frame rates (including 24Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz), which will be helpful for anyone using a game console as their primary streaming source.
If you wanted to use the Veranda to take your gaming outdoors, be ready to slow down in fast-paced games – the TV had a tested lag time of 73 milliseconds, much slower than we recommend for most gaming.
The SunBrite Veranda’s built-in speakers may be all you need to enjoy shows and movies on your covered porch. The two 20-watt speakers deliver potent volume and strong bass. When listening to selections from The Bourne Identity soundtrack, I was impressed by how clear everything sounded. This is, again, an improvement over the 2017 Veranda, where the sealed-chassis design slightly muffled any sound coming from the speakers. This time around, I didn't have any such problems.
And if you opt for a set of all-weather speakers or a soundbar from SunBrite, the Veranda also has a built-in 20-watt amp.
SunBriteTV has been using the same remote-control style for at least two years now, so the Veranda's remote is something of a familiar face. Like the TV, it's designed for outdoor use, and has a sealed plastic layer over the 50 buttons that offer everything from numbered input and up/down for channel and volume to media playback controls. The individual buttons are each under an individual domed bubble on the plastic surface, and there's no tactile distinction between one button and another.
The SunBriteTV Veranda 55-inch outdoor TV is a worthy successor to the models we've reviewed in the past, with the same stout build quality, weatherproof design and improved picture and sound quality.
As with other SunBriteTV models, we wish there were some smart-TV functions on offer, but with so many ways to add those features to the TV yourself, it's a small quibble on an otherwise excellent outdoor set. Compared with past models, including the SunBriteTV Signature Series, the new SunBriteTV Veranda is the best outdoor TV we've seen.