A/V for the Great Outdoors

Ah, summertime. The smell of lavender wafts through the air. A warm breeze rustles through the trees while you kick back on the patio and savor the latest craft beer. It’s almost time to head inside to watch the Yankees take on Detroit. If only you could watch the game outside… Well, you can. In honor of America’s favorite season, we present 10 products that will add pleasure to your backyard experience. Read on, and you may soon be the envy of the neighborhood.


Movies Under the Stars
Mate a cheap projector and simple sound setup with one of Elite Screens’ Yard Master Series projection screens and transform your backyard (or campsite) into a drive-in—as in drive-in movie theater for you under-30 types who’ve never been to one. Available in sizes of 100, 120, 150, and 180 inches (diagonal), the screens are made of 1.1-gain DynaWhite fabric with a black border and mount on a heavy-duty, weather-resistant frame; prices start at $249, and all models include a carrying case and mounting kit with ropes and stakes for securing the screen. Looking for something a little simpler? DIY Series screens are made of the same durable fabric but designed to be mounted on a wall or shed/garage door; prices start at $89. elitescreens.com


Horn of Plenty
Klipsch knows how to make speakers that play loud, so if you want to rock out in your backyard, you need to check out the KHO-7 ($300/pair). The secret lies in the horn-loaded drivers the company has been perfecting for more than half a century. In this case, a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter loaded in a Tractrix Horn is mated with a 5.25-inch woofer in a ported enclosure. Designed for permanent outdoor mounting—under the eaves, on the deck, on your boat—the enclosure is made of UV-resistant ABS plastic with a grille and hardware made of stainless steel. In typical Klipsch fashion, the KHO-7 is rated to handle 75 watts (continuous) and boasts a sensitivity rating of 92 decibels that makes every watt count. klipsch.com


Water/Drool-Proof Remote
Think about how many times you drop the TV remote control. Now think about what happens when you drop it poolside while surfing between games on that ever-so-cool SunBriteTV mounted on your deck. Seal Shield’s Slim Seal STV5 5-in-1 Universal Remote Control ($30) is not only waterproof but made of antimicrobial plastic. You can even toss it in the dishwasher after your sticky-fingered kids get barbecue sauce on it. The remote can be programmed to control up to five devices, learn commands, and has a code library that covers most major brands. sealshield.com


Let’s Rock!
Of all the outdoor speaker possibilities, the faux rock is one of the most enticing options if you’re looking for a permanent solution. A number of companies sell speakers that masquerade as rocks, but not all are capable of delivering, uh…rock-solid sound, so choose wisely. Niles is known for building high-quality outdoor speakers and offers a dozen rock models in its RS5 and RS6 lines. The two-way speakers come in a variety of styles and colors—including coral, sandstone, shale, and granite—at prices ranging from $220 to $320. RS6 models have a beefier 6.5-inch woofer, and SI (stereo input) models have two tweeters for wider-dispersion stereo sound. Want to really get down? Add a GSS10 in-ground subwoofer ($700). nilesaudio.com


Al Fresco TV
What could be better than chillin’ on your deck while watching the ball game on a lazy Saturday afternoon? That’s easy: watching Jeter knock one out of the park on a weatherproof TV on the wall behind your tiki bar, brewski in hand. SunBriteTV’s 55-inch 5560HD LCD TV ($3,995) is sealed to protect its innards from rain, bugs, dust, humidity, even salt air and can put up a 1080p image bright enough to compete with the sun. A multi-fan airflow system keeps the set cool in you-could-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk temperatures as high as 122 degrees. What if you want to light a fire in the dead of winter and watch the Cowboys? No problem. The TV is designed to brave glacial conditions (down to –24 degrees) as well. sunbritetv.com


Al Fresco TV Sans Wire!
Speaking of watching TV outdoors, who wants to mess with running wires out to the tiki bar? Peerless-AV’s “corrosion-free” PeerAir Wireless Articulating Outdoor Wall Mount ($1,364) is designed for permanent installations and supports flat panels with screens from 42 to 63 inches. It tilts, swivels, rolls, extends (more than 2 feet from the wall), and—ta-da—includes everything you need to stream 1080p video from a set-top box or Blu-ray player more than 100 feet away. You get a transmitter with two HDMI inputs, a receiver that sits on the mount in a weatherproof box, and a remote control. An IR back channel makes it possible to stand in front of the TV and control A/V gear in the house. peerless-av.com


Here, There, and Everywhere
Nothing like being able to plop a speaker on your patio table and start streaming tunes from your iPod, iPad, iPhone, or Android phone. With Acoustic Research’s Mainstreet-style AWS6B3 and Mission-style AWS5B3 Bluetooth speakers ($130 each) you can do just that—or plug the supplied 900-megahertz transmitter into a stereo in the house and stream music to the patio. Listen in mono with one speaker or stereo with two speakers. Both models have a 2-inch tweeter and 3.5-inch woofer and run on six AA batteries or an AC adapter (which sort of defeats the purpose of going wireless). The weather-resistant speakers aren’t designed to be left outside, but you can take them almost anywhere you go…including the beach. acoustic-research.com


Sound for Swimmers
That’s right…if you’re going to enjoy music outdoors, why not also enjoy it in the pool. From Clark Synthesis, the company that specializes in butt-rumbling tactile transducers, comes the AQ339 Diluvio Underwater Speaker ($900). Hailed as the “world’s only full-frequency, full-fidelity underwater speaker,” the 8 x 4.5-inch dual transducer can be mounted in a special housing on a pool wall or used as a tethered “drop-in speaker.” Frequency response is rated at 20 hertz to 17 kilohertz, and Clark recommends powering the speaker with an amplifier rated to deliver 125 to 150 watts into 4 ohms. Diluvio is designed specifically to produce sound underwater, so it probably won’t sound very good if you try to use it out in the open. That’s why man invented the rock speaker. clarksynthesis.com


Protect Your Gear
DryCASE makes waterproof sleeves to protect phones, tablets, e-readers, and other electronics from water damage; you can even submerge them for an hour in up to 100 feet of water. All you have to do is place the device in the sleeve, close the top, and use a small hand pump (supplied) to form a vacuum seal by removing excess air through a medical-grade one-way valve. Protected devices remain completely functional—you can swipe screens, press buttons—and the case has a waterproof audio jack so you can listen in or out of the water. Every case also comes with a buoyant arm band so you can stay connected while playing water sports. The phone-size case is $40, and the tablet-size case is $60. drycase.com


Sonic Illumination
Ideal for landscaped areas and meandering pathways, think of Terra’s LuminSound LS.32 ($850 each) as an outdoor tower speaker housing a 5.25-inch coaxial driver and a 50,000-hour LED lamp. The driver is mounted behind a wraparound aluminum grille in the top of the 32.5 x 7-inch polypropylene column and can be rotated so you can aim the sound. You can order the speaker with a black, copper, or silver grille and with an angled light that shines up or down (see photos). Installing the LS.32 involves bolting the supplied 30-inch PVC pipe to the column and sinking it into the ground. Custom Audio Manufacturing of Maine (CAMM Inc.) is so confident in the LS.32’s build quality that it offers a lifetime warranty with a few reasonable restrictions. terraspeakers.com