Samsung's The Terrace costs $3,500. But do we even need outdoor TVs?
The new line of weather-resistant QLED TVs is shipping now, along with an optional patio-friendly soundbar.
David KatzmaierEditorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
ExpertiseA 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics.Credentials
Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Dubbed The Terrace, the new QLED television starts at a hefty $3,500 for the 55-inch size and goes up from there. That's roughly four times the price of an equivalent indoor Samsung TV and 10 times as much as budget models cost, but for the outlay you'll get something designed from the ground up to survive outdoors.
The Terrace is water- and dust-resistant, rated to IP 55 -- enough to withstand "contact with harmful dust" and "low-pressure water projected from a nozzle." For reference, the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra are both rated higher, to IP 68, but to be fair a TV mounted on a patio probably doesn't need as much protection as a phone. Hopefully your TV won't drop in the pool.
Another slick feature is the built-in HDBaseT receiver, which can pair with an optional HDBaseT transmitter to deliver video from source devices inside the house, such as a cable box or game console, via a single Ethernet cable. If you want to keep your gear outside there's a special sealed, protected media bay designed for connected devices (8.3 inches wide by 10.6 inches high by 1 inch deep). Of course the Terrace also has Wi-Fi and a suite of built-in apps, like the company's standard
, which makes for even easier setup.
Samsung also touts the TV's high brightness (2,000 nits), antireflective screen technology and adaptive brightness. Those features are typical for a high-end LCD TV but even more welcome outdoors where the image has to compete with sunlight. In my tests Samsung's indoor TVs perform very well in bright environments and I expect the Terrace to look as good as any TV can outside. Other picture quality features include 4K HDR compatibility, full-array local dimming, 120Hz and Samsung's Quantum Processor 4K with AI.
Speaking of looks, Samsung went with a standard matte-black frame with a 10-millimeter bezel and 59mm cabinet depth, which should allow the TV to blend in nicely with your outdoor ironwork.
The matching soundbar ($1,200 price, model HW-LST70T) is also IP55-rated, with sound tailored for the outdoors by the company's audio lab in California. It connects to the TV via Wi-Fi and
and also accepts Alexa voice commands, like Samsung's standard soundbars, but doesn't include a subwoofer. A special Terrace TV mounting kit is included with the bar.
So is the Terrace worth the price? Samsung rightly points out that most people who want an outdoor TV buy a cheap indoor set instead and put it on the deck. A couple of years ago I advised a family member to buy an indoor TV for his poolside gazebo rather than splurge on an outdoor model, and that set is still going strong. And here's a smart tip: Protect the TV with a waterproof cover and unplug it during storms.
Until now the biggest name in outdoor TVs was SunBrite and its sets are expensive too, starting at $2,000 for a 55-inch model. That TV is designed for "full shade" so I'm sure the Terrace is much brighter and likely performs a lot better. Either way, until these true outdoor TV come down in price it's tough to see most customers taking the plunge. With budget 55-inch models starting at around $300, you're still way ahead if one or two (or five) get fried by the weather.
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