Roku TVs are going outside. Roku has partnered with the TV manufacturer Element to produce the first-ever Roku TV made for outdoor use. The 55-inch 4K set features HDR 10 compatibility and, according to the company, reaches up to 700 nits of brightness. It sports tempered glass with an anti-glare coating and comes with an IP 55 rating, which means that it will continue to operate if it gets dusty or splashed with water. The Element will cost $1300 and will be available at Walmart.com
Outdoor TVs are often significantly more expensive than their indoor counterparts. SunBrite exclusively makes outdoor TVs, where a 55-inch model can run close to $3,000.
Samsung joined the outdoor TV market in 2020 with the Terrace line which included a 55-inch model priced at $3500. Like the Element, the Terrace also came with a IP 55 rating, but featured more higher-end specifications, such as full-array local dimming and a 120Hz refresh rate. Even so, the Terrace still cost roughly four times an equivalent indoor TV.
The Element Roku TV might be one of the cheapest outdoor TVs currently available, but it's still significantly more expensive than its indoor counterpart. For example, a 55-inch indoor Element Roku TV with similar specifications to the outdoor model retails for $450, but can often be found for less.
Much of the price difference can be attributed to the difficulty in protecting delicate TV parts from the elements. Television components don't stand up well to moisture and heat, which is why outdoor TVs need to be sealed off with an IP55 rating or higher.
But even that might not be enough to maintain appropriate operating conditions. The Element needs to stay in a temperature range of minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 F in order to function properly. However there are parts of the US that fall outside of that range at least some of the time during the year.
Portable projectors might be a less expensive option for outdoor movie nights, but those desperate for a television can opt for a cheap indoor TV and hope for the best. Even if you have to replace it every year or two, you could still end up saving money over an outdoor model.