Can an Indoor TV be Used Outside? — Is it Safe or Damaging to Your TV?

indoor tv outside

Watching shows outdoors gives a fresh take on your watching experience. Outdoor TVs are expensive so it might be tempting to just bring your regular TV to the outside. However, this could pose problems such as potentially damaging to the TV. 

Our experts did the testing so you can know if you can bring your indoor TV outside. 

Can an Indoor TV Really be Used Outside?

According to our experts, yes, you can use an indoor TV outside. However, a regular indoor TV cannot stand to be exposed to environmental elements like extreme temperatures and sun exposure. Hence, expect that your regular TV will function properly only for a short period of time. 

There are workarounds to do so your regular TV can be used longer. You can place it under a covered patio or purchase a UV-resistant TV cover. Still, using outdoor TVs is still best for outdoor viewing. 

Thus, the use of indoor TV outdoors is really possible. 

tv on the roof deck

Consider These First

Before installing your regular TV in the great outdoors, consider the following factors first. On this part, your TV manual will be your best friend as you have to check it again and again. Remember, you wouldn’t want to end up with broken electronics in just a few weeks. 

Temperature Capacity

Indoor TVs work best within a certain temperature range. Most operate well within 60℉ to 90℉. If your television is exposed to hot or cold climates well beyond its range, then it will not work properly. 

Most of the time, when the range is exceeded, the TV components get fried, the sound gets muddy, and the LCD gets damaged. Extreme changes in temperatures can damage the screen by blocking the pixels’ ability to switch colors correctly. 

If unsure of your TV’s temperature range, you may check the manual. 

tv screen and tower speakers

Outdoor TVs typically have a longer range. Sunbrite TVs can operate at outdoor temperatures even up to 154℉. Hence this is one of the outdoor televisions that can tolerate heat even under direct sunlight. 

Moisture and Humidity

Most regular TVs can tolerate and operate at about 10% to 80% humidity. As this is a wide range, most TVs are not humidity sensitive. However, using it at more than 80% humidity will result in moisture formation. 

Moisture is a big problem for a TV’s operation. If the sunlight is directly hitting the TV, then it will generate enough heat and humidity to evaporate water vapor and form moisture in the TV. The probability of moisture formation is higher in humid weather. 

Moisture in the TV can cause it to short circuit and reduce voltage transmission, causing the production of scrambled images. 

Sonos Arc beside TV set

Our technical experts suggest making sure that the TV remains dry at all times. The use of desiccants like silicon gels and using a TV cover especially at night is highly suggested if you are going to install the TV outside. 

Brightness

A TV’s brightness, like any other electronics such as your mobile phone’s, is largely affected by sunlight. To measure this, the NIT value is indicated.  

A regular TV has 250 to 250 nits. This is why when the light is very bright, the TV’s brightness seems to be dimmed, or worse, appears completely black. It is very hard to watch shows using a regular TV outdoors if it has low nit values. 

So before placing your indoor TV outside, check its brightness capabilities first.

tv and remote

Outdoor TVs, on the other hand, have higher values, typically about 1000 to 2500 nits. Hence, they can be used even during the summer season. 

Dust and Debris Outside

Another big consideration is the presence of debris and dirt outside. There are far more of these available outside the house and these become potential hazards to the TV’s functionality. 

They can go to the TV’s internal structure and cause problems in its circuitry. It may even damage its capabilities to display a clear and colorful picture. 

A good solution to this is to find a good location for your TV. Placing it in a covered porch gives more protection not only to dirt and dust but also to weather elements like the varying heat and even cold temperature. 

Sonos Arc mounted below the TV in a brown living room

These things should be considered first as they will ensure the production of the best picture possible.

What to Look For an Indoor TV You Can Use Outside

Good TVs that can be used outdoors have specific characteristics. They should be able to stand a high temperature without the ability to generate heat so as not to damage the circuits inside. They should also be able to withstand a sudden drop in temperature. 

The best TVs also have a high humidity range so moisture would not build up easily. They also should have a cover to protect it from the sun or the rain, especially at night. 

Additionally, if you want to use your indoor TV, it should have a high nit value so even if the sun is shining brightly outdoors, you will still be able to see the pictures clearly. 

tv on white cabinet with plants

Our experts still advocate for the use of outdoor TVs, however, since they come with a high price, looking for these specifications can make your indoor TV have a longer life span. 

Purchasing a cheap TV to use for viewing shows outside is not a very good idea as this may cause you to pay more for fixes. You also have to take into consideration that using it outside will immediately void its warranty. 

TVs Designed for Outdoor Use

There are also TVs that are designed for outdoor use, like SunBright. The outdoor TV’s capacity to adjust brightness according to the ambient luminosity is lacking in a regular one. They are also able to withstand weather conditions even when it suddenly becomes very cold. 

There are also other features that TVs specifically made to perform well outside have that regular ones don’t have. They have an anti-reflective and impact-resistant safety glass that can protect them from glare and any flying object. 

people talking

Since these are located outside the house, they are water-resistant, and at best, water-proof, so as not to worry when it starts to rain. 

Given available funds, using an outdoor TV is a good investment as you can use this outside all year round. 

Preparing a TV for Outdoor Use

Most people do not want to purchase an outdoor TV mainly because of its price. Hence, our engineers listed these ways to prepare and secure an indoor TV so you can use it outside without the need to pay more.

Ideal Placement

Choosing a location to install your TV is very important. You should choose a space that is shaded all day. 

patio tv

If there is no location like this, other sites should be somewhere enclosed to protect them from harsh elements present outside. This will prolong the life of your TV. 

Mounting the TV

When mounting the TV outside to the wall, you should choose one that is strong enough to hold your TV across different seasons. It should be able to resist rusting as it will be subjected to humidity. 

Lastly, your mount should be able to resist expansion and contraction which makes most metals brittle [1]. This will ensure that you won’t have to worry about your TV suddenly calling to the floor, damaging the screen. 

Cover

You should also be prepared with a TV cover. As mentioned previously, outdoor TVs should be protected from dirt and other minute elements which can damage the internal circuitry of electronics. Covers also protect your TV from raindrops so this is a must. 

TV on a shelf

Aside from that, covers protect your TVs from extreme changes in weather conditions, especially if you are located in the deserts where the weather swings a lot within the day. 

TV Enclosure or Cabinet Storage

Our engineers state that TV enclosures or cabinet storage matter a lot in protecting your indoor TVs. They provide good airflow to prevent humidity from building inside the enclosure as well as making it weather-proof. 

(Looking for the perfect television from a reputable brand? Well, you can check our comparison of Samsung 7 Series and 8 Series to get the right TV for you) 

FAQ

What is the best indoor TV to use outdoors?

The best indoor TV to use outdoors is the Sony A8H 65-inch TV. It has a triluminus display allowing the pictures to be displayed even if it is very bright outside. It is also slim so it is not hard to hang and has many compatible enclosures for it. 

How can I protect my indoor TV outside?

To protect your indoor TV outside, you have to look for safe sites to install it. Ideally, these sites should be free from direct sunlight and any flying debris. The use of covers and enclosures is highly recommended to ensure its safety. 

You should also use a wall mount strong enough to hold it even with the changing seasons. 

What is the difference between an outdoor TV and indoor TV?

An outdoor TV and indoor TV have many differences. Indoor ones do not have high nit values so the displayed images appear dimmed or very dark when used outside. They usually also cannot perform well in very high or low temperatures.

There are many features of an outdoor TV that an indoor one doesn’t have. Outdoor TV enclosure is not needed for they are already meant to be used outside, hence don’t need additional protection. 

Outdoor ones also have higher nit values so images are still very viewable even if the sun is shining brightly. They are also weather-proof but much more expensive than regular ones. 

Conclusion

According to our experts, there are a lot of things to consider before installing an indoor TV outside. 

Remember that using it outside will void its warranty and the use of covers and enclosures is highly recommended to protect it from weather-related damages. They should also be in a shaded location. 

Writer

Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.