If you want to install a TV on a covered patio or in a similar outdoor setting, you have two options. First, you can try using a regular TV, only to have the set damaged by temperature fluctuations, moisture from rain and condensation, and exposure to bugs and the elements. The better option is to get a TV built for outdoor use. The SunBriteTV Veranda ($1,999) is a 55-inch 4K TV that offers protection against the elements and 4K picture in one set. You'll pay extra for the weatherproofing and optimizations for outdoor viewing, but it's a better deal than burning through a standard 4K TV in a matter of weeks.
Design and Durability
The SunBriteTV Veranda is built for a very specific set of circumstances. The outdoor television is designed to bring 4K display quality to full-shade outdoor environments. Think covered patios, uninsulated garages, poolside cabanas and screened gazebos. As such, the construction of the set is heavy-duty, with a sealed aluminum shell serving as weather-sealed armor against rain, snow and extreme temperatures. The Veranda can operate in temperatures ranging from minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees and can be safely stored in temperatures of up to 140 degrees.
The metal exterior looks sharp, thanks to a black powder-coat paint job, but the real impressive stuff is the weatherproofing. The chassis is sealed against moisture, including a protective closure around the AV inputs in back.
The locking door cinches shut with two thumbscrews and is ringed with a thick foam-rubber gasket that allows cables to snake in and out of the compartment, but seals around the cables to protect the actual ports from moisture. Built into the bottom bezel is a sealed IR sensor for the remote control.
The TV measures 50 x 29 x 3.86 inches and weighs 51 pounds, which is heavy for a TV of this size, but not surprising when you take the metal exterior into account. The TV is compatible with 400-millimeter VESA wall-mounting hardware, or you can opt for SunBrite's own all-weather stand (an extra $105). The optional stand is also made of heavy-gauge, powder-coated aluminum and provides a rock-solid base for the 55-inch Veranda TV.
For improved visibility in indirect sunlight – the TV is meant to be used in shaded outdoor installations – the brightness has been ramped up considerably.
Installation is pretty quick: imply remove a few screws from the back of the TV, get the stand in position and then put the screws back in. However, the screws that are used to mount the stand are coated in a gooey sealant, so you might want to wear gloves when you install it.
Open up the weather-sealed compartment in back and you'll find four HDMI connections, two USB ports, an RF connector for over-the-air broadcasts and both component and composite video inputs. A digital optical port gives you output for surround sound. However, it's worth noting that when mounted on the wall, the rear AV compartment is closed and inaccessible, so you'll want to get all your AV sources and connections sorted out before you get the set up on the wall.
The 55-inch LCD panel in the Veranda looks better than you might expect for a niche category like outdoor TVs, but it's not perfect. The display has 3840 x 2160 resolution and a basic 60-Hz refresh rate. Unlike many midrange TVs however, there's no attempt to deliver a higher "effective" refresh rate. The other feature you might otherwise expect in a TV at this price is support for HDR content, but the Veranda has none. It's a very basic 4K TV, and most of the sticker price comes down to the extensive weatherproofing.
For improved visibility in indirect sunlight – the TV is meant to be used in shaded outdoor installations – the brightness has been ramped up considerably, to a maximum brightness of 354 nits, according to our lab equipment. The result is a very bright TV when compared to something like the Vizio E65-E0, which had a max brightness of 180 nits. Thus, the regular viewing mode on the SunBrite is more similar to the Vivid mode offered on most TVs for use in in-store displays. The brightness is ramped up for maximum effect, with color and contrast tweaked slightly to keep the picture looking good even with the brightness maxed out. In this case, the brighter mode is a necessary evil for outdoor visibility, but it means that your standard mode is overly bright in many instances.
Switching to Movie Mode improves the situation quite a bit, but even then, black levels aren't as deep as you'll see on indoor sets; they have a tendency to look grey when compared to a standard indoor set. Colors are also muted; when I watched Arrival, a scene that was filled with bright-orange biohazard suits and yellow tents wasn't quite as colorful as it was on the Insignia Roku TV or the TCL Roku TV 55P607.
Fast action was reasonably smooth. In scenes from Transformers: The Last Knight, quick-moving scenes played without juddering, whether it was a game of polo with real horses, or a robot battle of pure CGI. But while action was smooth, there was some noticeable smearing, with fast-moving objects blurring slightly.
The display offered mediocre color accuracy, with a Delta-E rating of 3.5 (closer to 0 is better), according to our colorimeter. By comparison, the TCL Roku TV 55P607 (2.2) and the Insignia Roku TV (2.0) both offered better color. The overall color gamut was also less impressive than most budget-friendly sets, producing just 97.4 percent of the Rec. 709 color space, as opposed to sets like the TCL 55P607 and the Vizio SmartCast E-Series E65-E0, which both offered better than 99 percent.
The outer case on the SunBrite is essentially a metal shell over the guts of a standard TV, but the resulting effect on audio is a slight muffling. With no speaker grilles to speak of, the downward-firing speakers are slightly muted, but you'll likely be turning up the volume higher than you would with an indoor TV, if only because the outdoors is noisier.
Thankfully, the volume goes up high enough to counteract most of this muffling, though the overall sound quality still won't match a regular set. In fact, SunBrite recommends using a pair of its all-weather outdoor speakers ($329) with the TV.
Remote and Features
The remote that comes with the SunBrite is decidedly old-school, with a staggering 50 buttons in total. As with the TV itself, the remote is made to be weatherproof, with a bubble-button design that shrugs off dampness. The design is not particularly responsive, either – it frequently took multiple button presses to do something as simple as change the channel.
The menus for adjusting audio and video settings are similarly clunky, with pixelated lettering and slider controls for basic settings like brightness and audio balance. It feels like a time warp to several years back, but as with the TV's no-frills display, you're paying for the outdoor aspects of an otherwise basic TV set.
As with the TV itself, the remote is made to be weatherproof, with a bubble-button design that shrugs off dampness.
The SunBriteTV Veranda has no internet connectivity built in, and doesn't include any smart TV functions. If you want to stream online content, you'll need to use something like a Google Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick, which should fit into the rear AV connector compartment without any trouble.
The 55-inch SunBriteTV Veranda is a tool suited to a particular job — specifically, enjoying 4K content outdoors. Under those circumstances, it is excellent, standing up to cold and heat, rain and snow, and providing good picture quality at any time of day. If you want a TV for your covered deck or poolside cabana, this is the TV to get.
However, it's a no-frills experience, with outdated menus and a complete lack of internet-connected capability. We'd recommend pairing this otherwise basic TV with a Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick, and you may want to spring for the accompanying speakers, too. Overall though, if an outdoor TV is what you need, the SunBriteTV Veranda will fit the bill.
Credit: Tom's Guide