Televisions are a great way to enhance the entertainment value of a screened-in porch
A nice screened-in porch helps you stay connected to nature and the outdoors while also protecting yourself from the sun and pests. But what if you want to use your outdoor space to watch the big game with all of your friends or have a family movie night?
Installing a television in a screen porch is a choice many homeowners make to attain the best of both worlds. It can also be done any budget.
The Unavoidable Expenses
- Outlet Installation. When you’re putting something electrical outside, you’re going to need to run wiring out to it and then put in an outlet so that you can actually plug it in. Obvious, right?
- Installing a cable jack. Whether you’re connecting your TV to cable or satellite programming, you’re going to need a jack to plug into and that requires an installation
- Installing an infrared repeater. What is an infrared repeater? It’s a little red light that allows you to use your remote control outside for the exterior TV by bouncing the signal to the box inside. While not technically required, it is the most common option for controlling outdoor televisions
- Installing a mounting bracket. Unless your outdoor TV is going to be freestanding – which is not recommended – you’ll need to have a mounting bracket installed to hang it on the wall. Depending on the type of bracket you use and how complex it is, this will run you anywhere from $100 to $300 just for the part
The cost of an install is actually pretty reasonable: most people tend to pay between $500 and $1,000 for the basics unless their electrical situation is exceedingly complex.
'The Great TV Dilemma' and Other Add-Ons
For most people who decide to install equipment for watching TV outside, the most expensive part – and the place where they can save the most money – is the television itself. You have a couple of different options when setting up a television in a screened porch. Our tips:
- Get an exterior TV. If you are looking for something that you can buy and largely forget about, an actual exterior TV is the way to go. They will endure better than standard ones, which will save you money in the long run.
Companies like SunBrite and SunView sells television models that are specifically designed to be used outdoors. They stand up better to temperature fluctuations and Mother Nature in general, and you won’t have to worry much about wear and tear. You can find models starting around $1,500 and going up to $8,000 or more.
- Buy cheap and replace. If the idea of paying thousands for a TV that you’re probably not going to be watching all that much offends you on a personal level – or if you’d just rather save money if there’s money to be saved – a different way to go is to simply buy a regular interior TV and use it outside. They tend to be a fraction of the cost of exterior TVs, and you’ll probably get more TV for your dollar.
Why doesn’t everybody do this? Because interior TVs aren’t designed to be used outdoors. They’ll work, but they’ll also break a lot faster, and your only recourse will be to buy a new one. Still, if you’re paying $1,500 for a “real” exterior TV and $500 for a similar interior TV, you can replace it three times before reaching the initial cost of the “better” TV. If those cheaper TVs last 2-3 years, you may be better off.
- Move an existing TV as needed. The final option available is to simply use a television you already own and move it outside for special occasions. This way, you’re less likely to ruin a TV that’s meant to be used indoors by having it outside for extended periods of time and you don't have to shell out for a new set. The downside, of course, is the pain and hassle of moving your television every time you want to use it in this context.
The last add-on or optional expense that comes along with having an outdoor TV is building some kind of retractable system to keep it protected. These are great because they not only allow you to keep your TV safe from the elements, but because they provide a way to hide your television and preserve a minimalist aesthetic when the device isn’t in use, provided you’re willing to spend an extra few thousand dollars.