So what is smart outdoor entertainment? And why should I bother? Well it's all fine to talk about your garden being your extra living room throughout the summer months, but if you’re missing your TV or you long to listen to music in the fresh air, that doesn’t mean you have to heave all your stuff outdoors.
Here, we explain the latest in smart outdoor entertainment. From outdoor audio visual tech specifically designed for outdoor use and what you need for them to work - so you can really make the most of your garden ideas, both this summer and year round.
Smart outdoor entertainment - clever ways to bring tech into your garden
The days of your local pub being the only place where you can watch a big screen best TV outdoors are long gone. Whether you plan to watch Wimbledon or Love Island, there are plenty of ways you can do so alfresco on a screen bigger than your tablet’s.
Samsung’s The Terrace TV (from £3,999 for 55”) is a big screen designed for outdoor use, ideally in a partially covered space like under a pergola. It has an IP55 weatherproof rating, and crucially for an outdoor screen, it features an anti-reflection screen and ultra-bright picture with clear QLED 4K quality so you won’t have to squint to see Rafa Nadal’s serve.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to such a big purchase, you can always work out how to create an outdoor cinema in your garden. Look to get an ultra short-throw projector - costing upwards of around £800, they don’t need loads of distance from a surface to project a quality picture (hence the name) and will work perfectly against a retractable screen, a wall or a tautly-hung white sheet.
Whether you're listening to music or watching TV, a quality sound system is a must. Thankfully, portable speakers are widely available and they can be linked up to any audio device via Bluetooth.
Look for models that are durable and built for outdoor use and if you do plan to use one outside, opt for a speaker with Bluetooth connectivity rather than Wi-Fi (or pick a design that connects to both, like the waterproof Sonos Roam, £179) so the sound doesn't keep cutting out.
If a disco vibe is what you’re really looking for, Philips Hue can integrate with your Spotify account, so that your outdoor lights beat to the tempo of the music playing.
Don’t forget, if you do plan to install any audio or visual tech outdoors, always be super considerate to your neighbours!
Finally, if you plan to run any smart outdoor entertainment off your home’s Wi–Fi signal, distance from your router and signal strength may be an issue.
Thick exterior walls and how far away you are in the garden from your house can often leave you with very little signal to work with. If this proves a problem, it’s worth forking out on a mesh extender to give your signal a helping hand.
Consisting of a group of devices that work together to create a linked up Wi-Fi network for stronger, wider spanning signal, Netgear’s Orbi is a great example of a mesh system and it even has an IP56 rated weatherproof device (£250) that works with the existing system to boost the signal even further - perfect for extra large gardens.
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Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.
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