Outdoor TV – when you use the words together, it sounds counter-intuitive…like a lawnmower in the living room.
But Samsung New Zealand have just launched their Terrace TV – a QLED set designed to be viewed outdoors and weather-resistant against rain, sun, humidity and dust – and say research has shown the concept is popular.
But…outdoor TV? Surely people watch TV indoors and only at times when they are not taking advantage of New Zealand's mostly benign climate outdoors, particularly in our long, hot summers?
That, says Samsung New Zealand Group Marketing Manager Adam McElroy, was precisely why The Terrace showed up so well in research – people wanted to mix the great outdoors with one of New Zealand's favourite pastimes: socialising with friends and family.
"There was a real enthusiasm for it," he says. "Many houses in New Zealand have indoor-outdoor flow and it turned out people saw a real place for it close to their barbecue, on their deck, their patio, maybe round a pool – anywhere they host and socialise at home.
"It turned out the content they wanted most to watch on it was sport. Movies were popular too but many mentioned the ability to host a barbecue and watch the cricket, for example; it meant they didn't have to be inside and could enjoy the game and the weather at the same time."
Demand was particularly strong in Auckland, he says, and Samsung is expecting New Zealand's strong interest in sport to maintain demand for The Terrace. That would mirror initial interest in the first two markets to see Terrace TV – The US and Canada, where American football was the prime motivating factor for purchasing the outdoor TV.
"American football can take a long time – like a cricket match – and what Samsung found in those markets is that people were able to watch, socialise, eat and drink and simply enjoy being together around a TV helping to draw them together, but still enabling them to appreciate the outdoors.
Samsung has lately really been accelerating its reputation as the most innovative TV maker. Recent launches include the Frame and the Serif TVs (which become works of art when they are not being a TV) and the Sero TV which can rotate itself to present either a horizontal or a vertical viewing perspective – aimed mostly at people who live on their phones and want a TV that best showcases vertical mobile content.
The technology that Samsung have employed for The Terrace is new again. The QLED TV produces a segment-leading brightness, so the outdoor viewing is sharp. Brightness is expressed in a measure called "nits" and McElroy says the Terrace's 2000 nits is greater than that of other outdoor TVs.
It has an anti-reflective matte finish, dimming technology and an IP55 weather protection which, among other things, means you could train the garden hose on the set without fritzing the circuitry (though why would you?).
The Terrace comes in 55-, 65- and 75-inch sizes (recommended retail price $7999.95, $9999.95 and $12,999.95), with the full array of local and international Smart TV apps built in - Sky Sport Now, Spark Sport, Netflix, Disney+, Neon, YouTube, Amazon, Google Play Movies, Apple TV, TVNZ on Demand, Freeview.
There are built-in 20-watt stereo speakers but Samsung are also launching another weatherised sound product – the Terrace Soundbar ($1499). It cranks up the sound to a level that may be needed for a large social gathering through a Bluetooth-enabled device that also includes Samsung's auto-detecting Adaptive sound mode (which tweaks the sound based on the content).
The Terrace is being launched at an interesting time – more people are staying at home because of Covid-19, lockdown and restricted travel options and more money is being spent on home renovations and comforts.
There are some existing outdoor TVs already here but McElroy says all make some sort of compromise, like not having a full range of streaming apps or having to be placed in a protective case.
"They are not easy to find," he says, "and even if you do, they have been made by a brand you have probably never heard of before. With The Terrace, there is confidence that it is from the leading and most innovative TV brand in the market.
"Even more than that, we believe The Terrace is achieving something new – not just being an outdoors TV but a device that genuinely becomes part of people's hosting and socialising experiences."
For more information on the Terrace TV click here
For more information on the Terrace Soundbar click here