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Thread: Under cover audio/video solution

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    Under cover audio/video solution

    If all goes well we should soon have the cash to finish our back porch.
    Our pool is screen enclosed and semi-covered in the porch. The large porch is screened but stays pretty dry depending on prevailing winds.

    In anticipation of wanting audio and video from the porch/pool and hot tub we have run speaker wire to the 4 corners of the porch and to the site for the eventual TV. The site for the TV has a cable feed and AC power (inside wall) and it is close enough to our primary entertainment center to run a wired internet drop or an HDMI too.

    The attraction of the primary media center is the computer/internet that runs our netflix, amazon-prime, etc video as well as being the only DVR and high end cable box (the porch has a basic digital converter box). The downside is that I planned poorly and the surround system seems to be limited to one set of speakers, no remotes, no easy way to mirror it in A/V outside as far as I can tell.

    I'm going to buy a TV to hang on the wall, thinking to go as big as I can stand to pay (I guess that's 48 to 60" or so... perhaps limited because I'd like to swing it 90 to face the hot tub). But how to feed it video and how to get sound going too? For our first event in a few months DW wants to play a movie (maybe bluray or Netflix) and show it inside and outside. I think an HDMI splitter would handle it but I read that the splitter will stop the surround sound? (the SS unit is the hdmi source for everything). After that it would be nice to play music from pandora, or a stick in the SS box, or from an iPhone... inside and/or outside. It would be nice to have some control of it from a tablet PC (or iPhone or Android...)

    Has anyone done this? I am feeling like I may need to call my surround sound system (newish) a loss and start from scratch with something that can send audio to more than one place? I also keep thinking that a PC upgrade (we run our netflix et al off an old XP box we had laying about) could solve something?

    A last total tangent here. Since we are semi-enclosed I am not considering paying for an "out door" TV. But still we do get condensation which can't be good for electronics. So I figured I'd buy a regular TV and mount and fashion some kind of vinyl cover to stop condensation. Any suggestions for what to use for this cover?
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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    We have a (formerly) indoor TV that is now hanging high on a wall in our outdoor covered patio. It is never directly exposed to the elements (no rain or sunlight). However, condensation can still happen. For that reason, I would not get a vinyl cover. Instead, get one that breathes. With a vinyl cover, any condensation that gets under that cover will get trapped. That same logic is why virtually all car covers are made of a breathable fabric that keeps water out but provides enough ventilation to prevent condensation buildup. I got my cover here: https://www.tvcoverstore.com/.

    As you have probably discovered, a true outdoor-rated TV is not cheap. It does have some advantages, aside from built-in protection from the elements, including a much brighter picture that will allow you to see the picture even in bright sunlight. Unless you opt for one of these dedicated outdoor TV's, I would either (1) Get the least expensive TV that will meet your needs with regard to screen size, or (2) Do what I did...When I got a new TV, I "demoted" the older TV to the patio. Understand that an indoor TV placed outside, even if it is not directly exposed to the elements, will have a shorter life span than if it were placed inside. For that reason, I would not spend any more $ than you have to. My "old" TV that is now mounted on the patio wall is an LCD flat-screen. It has been outside for just over a year now. My A/V guy estimates a 4-5 year lifespan, based on his experience doing this. The good news is that prices on flat-screen TV's continue to drop while technology improves. So, you will at least get a technology refresh every 4-5 years or so.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    I had not thought of trapped condensation under vinyl. For sure though when the dew point is right any surface that loses heat too fast will get a coating of water and something needs to prevent that and stop water from running into vents and onto circuit. Thanks for the link.

    I also thought about demoting an indoor TV to the porch... but the issue is that the porch is the largest "room" in the house with the viewing distances far longer than the indoor -- so the big boy kind of fits best outside. Will surely be going lower priced though and see how much life we get on it.

    Still pondering how to manage all the sources...
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    All went well so we are ready for a few projects. The TV, bracket and cover are ordered. I'm holding off ordering speakers until I figure out what will drive all this.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    Installed this weekend


    The only problem is that I need an 8' ladder to install/remove the cover I got. I also unplug it because the power keeps something glowing in there for an instant on and I don't think it's wise to cover it and power it. Still, luxury... about to got watch the evening news in the hot tub.
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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    Have you looked into a RoKu or AppleTV streaming box? You will connect it to your wifi and stream all the TV/Music to a little box that hooks up to your TV. They run around $100 for the newer boxes, and setup in about 5minutes.

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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    We are still trying to figure out how to drive it. All it has at the moment is a cable drop and already I'm hearing complaints the family would rather watch the DVR or Netflix. The main entertainment system for the house is on the other side of the wall and it has an old PC attached to do the streaming stuff. I need to replace that and figure out how to slave the two displays or run them on different sources. I forgot about Roku, thanks.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    Looking at the Roku again and unless I'm missing something, it looks like the best way for us to get Netflix in HD in the house. Pay the Netflix fee and the Roku is free and comes with other free channels as well as an Andriod app that should run from our tablet. Seems the way to go? Anyone find a downside to Roku?
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    I love my Roku and would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. I can use my iPhone to control it but I always use the standard remote.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    I cut the cable over a year ago and never looked back. Downside is no sports unless you pay for League Pass/etc.

    Huge plus, as you said, is free apps for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Plex media server is also great for getting all of your digital media from a computer to the Roku.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski View Post
    I cut the cable over a year ago and never looked back. Downside is no sports unless...
    I've gotta admit I COMPLETELY missed the advent of these devices. I remember hearing about them, vaguely... but at the time I was not considering any streaming subscriptions and our experience with internet streaming in general had been so poor it never dawned on me it could be a cable replacement. Oddly, we ended up with Amazon Prime and now NetFlix and my wife has been after me to get rid of the PC sitting on the floor to stream.

    I just ordered a Roku3 and a Chromecast. We'll see how they do. If I can cut the cable bill, so much the better - we will see. A friend of mine just attempted that using an AppleTV and could not manage it, I think Fox News and the Golf Channel are hard to get live without cable.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    How do you feed everything to your indoor TV? Are all your sources using different inputs on the TV, or do your run everything through an AVR? If you have an AVR, you could add an HDMI splitter (or a lot of newer mid and higher end AVR's actually support 2 HDMI outputs natively). With that, you could either run a hard line HDMI cable to the outdoor TV, or make use of a wireless HDMI transmitter - which should work pretty well with the short distance you have to cover.

    Of course, control would be a challenge, but there are IR repeaters available that would allow you to point your remote from outside to an outdoor mounted IR receiver which then radios it to an indoor IR blaster that would relay the signal to your indoor hardware.

    You mention using a PC as your media hub - you might look at getting a bluetooth keyboard mouse combo to allow you to control the computer from outside. Though, range on bluetooth tends to be limited to 30 ft.

    I'm curious what kind of TV you got? Even a lot of "basic" TV's are "smart" enough to have things like Netflix built in and have either built in wireless or at least an ethernet port. Also, with the TV that I have, it has a RCA stereo line out - I use it to drive sound back in to my AVR, which then drives the speakers that I have out in my back yard (see my signature for stuff about my setup). In your case, since you've run speaker wire to where your TV is, you might look at a fairly basic AVR there outside by your TV to drive the speakers. Devices like a Chromecast or Roku (or your cable box) could be connected to the different HDMI ports on the AVR and then a single HDMI cable to your TV.

    I wouldn't get hung up on trying to get a true "surround sound" outside. We do find ourselves with just stereo when we're watching TV out by the pool or hot tub. There's enough ambient noise outside that trying to worry about setting up speakers in a front/center/surround arrangement isn't worth the hassle. I've found it much more useful to have different sets of stereo speakers to give me better sound coverage where I want it.

    Didn't me to turn this into a dissertation But, my TLR point is that you actually have quite a few options available with the work you've done already.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    I feed the indoor TV from my Onkyo Surround Sound, aka an AVR I guess? The Onkyo performs the HDMI switching of the various inputs. I started another thread on the audio, but I did broach it all here so... I am now thinking that putting an HDMI splitter on the output of the AVR will not work if the AVR strips the audio sent to the TV (I think it must because the TV stays quiet and the surround speakers have the audio).

    For the PC media center, it is a very old XP box we had, so I'm thinking the ROKU will replace it. But yes, some of my devices seem to know how to find Netflix or Pandora too. By Bluray can do it for sure. I did not try my TV. The new outdoor TV has an ethernet jack, I suppose I can feed it an internet connection and see what it does.

    For remotes... I'll cross that bridge later. Fortunately the inside and outside TV are close so in the worst case I reach in the door and click, I've also been told there are repeaters I could put in a window. Still my "dream" solution would be an app running on the tablet the controls the pool now.

    I agree that true surround sound is probably a secondary concern outdoors... but if I can manage to make it work it would be cool. At this point I've got the speaker wire all run for it, so it's only a matter of buying speakers. I am going to put at least stereo out there in any case.

    For now, next step is the long HDMI cable and a splitter. I have a monoprice promotion that expires soon so I'll use that to keep moving along.

    All inputs still welcomed. I will peruse the provided links too.
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    Re: Under cover audio/video solution

    Yeah, I need to remember I'm not on the AV Science forum AVR = Audio/Video Receiver which is what your Onkyo is. Typically they do only pass the video signal to the TV as the internal amps feed the audio to the connected speakers. My AVR has a Zone 2 audio feature and I have that driving my outdoor speakers. If you are going to pull a long HDMI cable through the wall, I'd recommend cutting some lengths of speaker wire to go with it - it would at least give you the option of driving your outdoor speakers with the Onkyo.

    Most of the newer middle to upper end AVR's now have Ipod and Android control apps available. Your AVR would need to be connected to your home network. Since you use a table to control the pool, I assume you've already got Wifi in your house.
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