Outdoor living – systems, wireless, and networks

Lush garden

Lounge in your lush garden, lingering while listening to lovely audio

OUTDOOR SYSTEMS

For the most part, outdoor entertainment consists of mounting speakers in various types of locations in a permanent fashion. We offer several type and styles of outdoor speaker options and these are covered in: Outdoor Audio.

The wires for the system, encased in burial cable, are then run to some sort of a central spot. Often it’s into the house, or into the basement, although it could be into a cabana or some other sort of outbuilding. There may be a television, and there are a variety of options for these explored in the article: Choosing the right outdoor TV.

Then the electronics, which could be very small and simple, are in the outbuilding, the basement, or in a cupboard. Somewhere that they can be indoors, protected from the elements. The control of the system is normally something wireless, usually a pad or a phone.

An outdoor system can be set up so that it may operate as a self-contained unit with its own source, but can alternately be connected to the house system when a continuous or shared experience is desired.

Most outdoor systems, if not connected to the indoor system, use a streaming source such as a phone or tablet with a streamed music system, like Sonos or Bluesound.

The first thing about outdoor sound which people ask us about is wireless, and the last thing is networking. We’re still dealing with the same issues as indoors however.

WIRELESS

It’s important for the controls to be wireless, but when it comes to signal transfer, you’re dealing with high resolution files requiring a steady and powerful delivery. For rich data streams like high-resolution audio and video, you need wires.

The only wireless for outdoors other than the control device, is a portable speaker with batteries in it that you carry outdoors and it works on Bluetooth or something similar. They’re temporary. Carry it out, listen to it, and carry it back inside. Really, it’s like a transistor radio…a very good one perhaps, but it’s like that.

Plus, anything wireless has to be charged. How are you going to do that? You’d have to bring it in to be charged, and you can’t permanently install it if you bring it in to charge it. It makes no sense. Ultimately, it’s about power. You can’t push volume out without it, and power is delivered through wiring.

Wiring has to be rugged for outdoor use. It must be weatherproof, properly shielded wire for outdoors. Burial cable is like regular speaker wire, but with a very thick weather and animal/rodent proof jacket on it. So when you set it in the ground, you don’t have to worry about bugs and skunks and your buddy landscaper nicking it with a shovel. It’s not like hydro cable though, it won’t hurt anyone if they cut the cable.

NETWORKS

Lindsay: What often happens, is that people begin by asking about having something outside, like music, or movies, but don’t realize, or don’t consider, that their network may not adequately cover the outdoor area involved. If their WiFi doesn’t reach outdoors, they won’t be able to control things. It’ll work, but they can’t control it, because the control for things these days, is through an app. Otherwise, it’s a pain in the neck because you would have to keep running back into the house to change the source.

Most people won’t think to ask for WiFi, and when we say “outdoor networking” they often respond “Well, I’m not going to sit outside with my laptop, working”, but that’s not why we put WiFi outside, we put it out there so their entertainment system control works.

Usually it comes up when we’re discussing the other things. We let them know that their desired system will require a proper working network that covers the outdoor area. If we’re doing an in-home consultation at any other time of the year, we normally ask them to consider the summer months as well when establishing their network.

That’s why people come to us, they trust that we’re experienced enough to know what they haven’t thought to ask about. They want things to be perfect when they enjoy their downtime.

Drop by anytime to say hello, check out the equipment in person, and talk about your dream system. Or you can phone or email us to set up an appointment. We’re happy to come by for an in-home consultation…and equally happy to do an in-garden visit. 130 Davis Drive, Newmarket, 905-898-7133.

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