Many people will not go on vacation this year, but will spend the summer vacation at home on the terrace or balcony. Here Samsung wants to get involved with a new TV: The Terrace, a smart TV for outdoor use. We took a closer look at The Terrace’s concept and explored alternative ways to enjoy outdoor video.
Waterproof and dustproof
The Samsung LCD TV is housed in a housing that is protected against water jets and dust in accordance with IP protection class IP55. It should survive a heavy downpour. The slim remote control is also waterproof, it even withstands strong water jets (IP56), but should not fall into the paddling pool or pool. Unlike many industrial displays with IP protection, the terrace LCD is not particularly thick, but remains pleasantly slim at just under six centimeters thick.
Samsung has given the screen a special anti-reflection treatment that eliminates reflections from the ambient light. Direct sunlight of around 10,000 cd / m2nd However, you still have to avoid the display, because for the remaining reflections the maximum luminance of 2000 cd / m specified by Samsung for The Terrace would be2nd not enough – the picture will fade in bright sunlight. An adaptive brightness control should also adapt the image to the respective ambient light – in the evening the screen no longer has to shine so brightly.
Apart from that, quantum dots in the backlight ensure rich colors on the LC display. For the Direct LED backlight, Samsung gives the key figure Array 16X, which could mean 120 dimmable zones. Of course, the TV also supports the two high-contrast formats HDR10 and HDR10 +, and as usual no Dolby Vision.
So that you can play outside on the TV screen, Samsung has installed a nimble panel with “Motion Rate 240”, which in this case probably means a 120 Hz panel. We do not know whether at least one of the three HDMI signal inputs supports HDMI 2.1. Since only the 8K models of the Smart TVs planned for 2020 should have an HDMI 2.1 connection, this equipment is rather unlikely with the new Terrace TV. This is irrelevant for video playback, but the 120 Hz support with variable refresh rate (VRR) or FreeSync would be interesting for gamers who want to connect the upcoming PlayStation to the terrace TV, for example.
Easy connection to the mobile device
When watching TV, the image from the smartphone can be reflected on the large screen next to the actual TV image via MultiView. For example, you can check news during a film or chat with friends about the film while watching a video. The Tap View function shown at CES is relatively new: With it, it is enough to hold the smartphone directly to the TV display (to tap) to trigger pairing between the two devices and to mirror the content of the mobile device on the large screen. The devices involved are identified using NFC, and contact is established via Bluetooth.
Unfortunately, this currently only works with the Android smartphones from Samsung, from other androids you can stream via cast via Google’s Home app. On the other hand, the image content from the iPhone can be mirrored using Apple AirPlay 2. Of course, the Terrace TV can also be controlled by voice, for which you have to use either Samsung Bixby or Amazon Alexa; Google’s Assistant will be submitted later via a firmware update. As usual, the operating system of the Smart TV is Samsung’s Tizen OS.
Just expensive fun?
The Terrace TV is available in the US for $ 5000 with a 65-inch diagonal (1.65 meters) and as a 75-inch version (1.90 meters) for $ 6500. In Germany, the outdoor TV should also be available with a 55-inch diagonal (1.40 meters) from August; in the US, it is listed at $ 3500. Samsung has not yet quoted prices for Germany, but experience shows that they should be around 3500 euros, 5000 euros and 6500 euros. In addition, there will also be a waterproof and dustproof sound bar called Terrace HW-LST70T for $ 1200 to cover the garden. You can also use it via Bluetooth or WiFi to play music from your mobile device.
So far, so exciting, but there are a few questions: How can the device be protected against theft if you do not have a property secured with walls and cameras? How do the neighbors react when you watch films outside all summer long? Is there a sufficiently protected and stable wall to which the 30 to 50 kilogram umbrella can be attached? And last but not least: is the bright terrace TV really a good offer?
Bright industrial displays instead of Terrace TV
Alternatively, there is a bright outdoor display for digital signage. This usually lacks the smart functions, but they can be quickly upgraded with a Fire TV Stick, Apple TV or Chromecast Ultra. Samsung offers such devices itself, such as the OM75R, a 75-inch outdoor screen with 4K resolution and direct LED backlight but without color-enhancing quantum dots.
The OM75R is also waterproof in accordance with IP55 and shines with 4000 cd / m2nd even brighter and has a DisplayPort in addition to two HDMI inputs. The 60 Hz panel is not quite as nimble, but the latency is likely to be very low due to the lack of sophisticated smart functions and image optimization. However, this means that the display only flawlessly reproduces images if the signal source plays back perfect 4K images and no image optimization is necessary. This can prove to be a problem with “stupid” displays, as was shown in the test of the nasty 4K TV Evo 50 from Nogis. Samsung’s 75-inch industrial display is designed for 24/7 operation, so it can run around the clock without being damaged. At 7,800 euros, it is significantly higher than the manufacturer’s terrace model.
Iiyama has the 3000 cd / m2nd bright 75-inch ProLite LH7510USHB-B1 with 4K resolution and IPS panel from around 5800 euros. Although it is also suitable for 24/7 operation, it is neither waterproof nor dustproof. Philips also offers a very similar model in its H line with the 75BDL3003H for around 7400 euros. Like Iiyama’s ProLite LCD, the display is intended for weather-protected use in bright shop windows.
LG has very bright displays in its XF series, such as the 75XF3C-B. However, these displays are not really safe from the bad weather: The boards in the LCD are temporarily secured during maintenance work, but the display itself must be packed in a waterproof case for outdoor use. This is not included in the price of 8,000 euros.
In this respect, Samsung’s Terrace TV is expensive compared to conventional TV sets, but not necessarily overpriced given the IP55.
What about bright projectors?
Projectors are actually recommended for large images, but they are only of limited use in very bright surroundings: if the area around the screen cannot be shaded very much, the projection becomes milky and unattractive. The advantage of a beamer: you can simply take it with you in the evening and protect it from thieves.
Some time ago we started several tests on how to optimize the outside projection with the simplest possible means. It has emerged that even very bright projectors cannot compete with sunlight. The problem: The darkest parts of the projection – the black segments in the film – can only be as dark as the ambient light reflected on the screen. You have to do a few pull-ups to minimize reflections on bright days – hanging the canvas in a dark pavilion, for example, has proven useful; the projector is then protected against rain.
Real LED walls
Such problems with bright surroundings are the reason why, in football stadiums, at concerts or other outdoor events, projectors are usually used instead of projectors, but LED walls: These achieve acceptable black levels with good anti-reflective coating and, thanks to their enormous luminosity, create sufficiently bright images in sunlight.
However, LED walls are almost unaffordable for private use, because you would need significantly higher resolutions or pixel densities for short distances than are required for stadium screens. The problem: The smaller the pixels, the more expensive the LED display, or conversely, the higher the resolution of the high-resolution LED walls, the smaller their diagonals. That’s why Samsung currently only offers its The Wall micro-LED wall in large diagonals.
The individual 36.4-inch modules from The Wall have a size of just 960 × 540 pixels, so a 72-inch model with a diagonal of 1.80 m consisting of four modules comes with Full HD resolution, which can be annoying from a few meters away perceives. Only a 146-inch wall with a 3.70 meter diagonal has 4K resolution – not a size suitable for private use. By the way, The Wall is not waterproof.