Three ways to enhance your outdoor space with technology

Published Friday, July 19th

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Have you ever been sitting out on your patio/deck/balcony enjoying a beautiful day, but sort of...bored? Maybe you thought to yourself, “Self, you know what would make this perfect moment exponentially more perfect? TV. Or Music. Or better yet, TV and music.” The good news is that this dream can be achieved with relative ease. 

As the owner of an audio-visual company in Chicago, one of my favorite installations is creating an outdoor oasis for our clients because it means really capitalizing on Chicago’s gorgeous summer months. Here’s the rundown on our most popular outdoor setup. 

There are three components that work best together, but they can certainly be trimmed down to suit specific needs. 

  1. WiFi: First, we start with WiFi, the foundation of any strong tech setup to allow for streaming, playlists, or work. We set up an outdoor-specific access point in an inconspicuous location like a shed or dark corner. These are built with shells that can endure 100 degree summer days and 30 below winter days, with all the precipitation in between. An outdoor access point will ensure that you can stream movies, Netflix or games without any of the lag time or buffering that can occur when you pull from indoors. 
  2. Outdoor TV: From there we think about an outdoor TV. Our favorite brand at Digital Systems is SunBrite because they have been around forever, and truly do last. Fun fact: Wrigley Field’s outdoor TVs are all SunBrite! In terms of user experience, SunBrite has it figured out. Because outdoor lighting is so variable, they have actually developed three distinct models--one for full sun, partial sun and shade. SunBrites are also available in a wider variety of sizes, so whether you have a downtown condo balcony or a Lincoln Park garage deck, we can find something that fits your space.
  3. Outdoor Speakers: With your outdoor WiFi access point and SunBrite TV, you will no doubt have an excellent time. But to really maximize your outdoor entertainment pleasure you need a few outdoor speakers. You have two options when it comes to outdoor speakers: wall mount or garden. With the wall mount we can also affix them to a pergola or other overhanging structure. The garden speakers are hidden in and around landscaping, and we bury the wires. A third option could be a combination of the two types. In terms of brands, there are an endless number of brands to choose from ranging from low to high end. When I meet with clients, I discuss factors like how long they will live in the home, budget, etc. and then make a recommendation. 

So there it is! We’ve somehow found a way to improve on Chicago summer with a meaningful, sustainable, easy plan. If you’re considering an outdoor setup, feel free to reach out to me directly anytime. 

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