Backyard Party Time Page 3

SunBrite 4660HD All-Weather LCD HDTV

Video is perhaps the trickiest aspect of backyard A/V. TVs are designed for a cushy life in a climate-controlled space, but that still hasn’t stopped people from enjoying the video they want outside. Traditional thinking has been to either install something cheap that is destined to die sooner than later or just temporarily haul something in and out of the house. But a much better solution exists.

SunBrite has been manufacturing truly outdoor weatherproof TVs “designed and built from the ground up for the outdoor environment” since 2004. The company’s sets are designed to operate in extreme temperatures, from –24° to 122° Fahrenheit, making them perfect for watching the Diamondbacks playing baseball down in Arizona or the Sabres slapping the puck up in Buffalo. Along with having a sealed cabinet that keeps out rain, moisture, dirt, and bugs, the 46-inch 4660HD is also considerably brighter than regular LCD models.

I set up the 4660HD on its stand on an outside table for nearly a month, during which time it endured multiple rain showers. When I noticed some pollen covering the screen (I didn’t use SunBrite’s included dust cover), I just turned my hose on the set, blasted it for a while, and then wiped it clean with a soft towel.

I spent an entire weekend outside watching the Masters golf tournament on the SunBrite, and I have to say… it was frickin’ awesome! I usually feel a bit guilty being indoors on a beautiful spring day, but with the 4660HD I could sit outside enjoying the fresh whatever and watch the tournament! The screen is terrifically glare-resistant even with the sun shining directly on it, though for best results it should be installed on an articulating arm that can be rotated away from direct sunlight.

The SunBrite’s 1080p picture brought out the texture of the ribbed material in Louis Oosthuizen’s dark green shirt. And its contrast was good enough to reveal the gradation of tones in Bubba Watson’s white shirt, pants, and shoes as he stood against Augusta’s blindingly white bunkers. I also connected our Kaleidescape so that my daughter and I could enjoy some nighttime movie sessions, specifically Cars 2 and Star Wars on Blu-ray. Black levels at night weren’t on par with my Pioneer Kuro plasma, but they were still plenty respectable, especially after I dialed in the Custom picture mode for evening viewing.

The SunBrite TV’s internal 20-watt audio system plays plenty loud enough to compete with ambient noise in an outside environment. However, when I played my Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City concert Blu-ray, it did start to sound a little overwhelmed at high volumes.