Patio, Porch or Poolside = Perfection!
Here’s some great information from my friend Sean Hotchkiss from Grand Home Automation.
We’ve all heard the term before – ‘Staycation’. Which really means that people are focusing more on the home environment, and turning their attention back to family, friends, and home life. Pretty healthy, really. So with more time spent in fun areas of the home such as the patio, porch, and poolside, some may wish to have their everyday media available. TV, music, internet, movies – outside? Why not?
As media has become much more personal recently by means of cellphones and iPads, one of the first things that should be considered is outdoor WiFi coverage. Having your internet connection available wirelessly inside the house is fairly common, but extending it to the backyard by means of a weatherproof access point provides a foundation for many possibilities. Consider this scenario: You are hanging out by the pool with friends, and using your WiFi tablet and a control system app, you turn on an FM radio station, piping your music to the outdoor speakers from the amplifiers inside. Sounds great! Then you decide you really want to play that summer lounge playlist you have been putting together on your iPad, or you prefer a Pandora station that’s on your phone. No problem – just start it playing on your device, and WiFi allows you to ‘push’ that music through the system and out to the speakers. Even one of your guests could play music from their device, once you give them the secure WiFi guest password, trusting soul that you are.
About those speakers. Of course, weather resistant outdoor speakers have been around for a while, usually in the form of boxes attached to the wall, or a couple of camouflaged ‘rock’ speakers. The newest trend is to put in many more speakers, distributed all around the landscape. MORE speakers? Won’t that really tick the neighbors off? Actually, the opposite is true. A few speakers need to play really loud to cover a large area. Many speakers, distributed evenly around the landscaping using commercial technology, can all play at a much lower level, with a very ‘plush’ sonic ambiance. Add in some in-ground subwoofers, and you may start doing all your music listening outdoors.
So what about your party on the day of the big (insert favorite sporting event) game? Or you decide that yes, you actually do wish to play Wii bowling out on the Lanai. Well, we now have TV’s that are specifically designed to operate and stay outdoors. They come in a variety of sizes, are weatherproof, and have enough brightness to compete with that big ball of fire in the sky. Connect one of these to the house A/V system, fire up the satellite video DVR using your WiFi remote, and it’s no different than being in your living room (except for the sunshine, swimsuits, and mojitos).
All this this outdoor electronic stuff is great, but I absolutely MUST watch the entire Star Wars saga every week, with all the big-screen goodness and surround sound trimmings. Can that be done outside? Yep, no problem – Really. We have done full outdoor home theater installations. Projection video can be installed in a temporary manner, or permanently using a rear-projection screen built into the side of an outdoor building or pool house. Outdoor speakers systems and subwoofers mentioned earlier can also carry 7.1 surround sound channel information, with digital acoustic correction to compensate for the unusual outdoor environment. Yes, nearly anything available inside the home is now possible outdoors, making your home the place where you, your family, and your friends would just rather be.
Michael and Sean