REVIEW – Even though it is the dead of winter here in the Houston area, there are still so many beautiful days in which to enjoy our (relatively) new back patio. We have a little work to do to finish (like putting in a fire table), but at the absolute top of our list was an outdoor TV. So, when Sylvox offered a 43-inch outdoor TV to review, I jumped at the opportunity. And, thankfully, I won the chance to review. But is this outdoor TV going to be any better than the standard TV you can pick up at the local Big Box retailer? I sure hope so – but let’s find out together.
What is it?
The Sylvox 43-inch 4K outdoor TV (model number OT43A1KAGE) is a 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) TV encased in a metal shell that protects the TV from the elements. It includes special ventilation to keep the system cool. This shell gives the TV an IP55 waterproof rating, meaning that you can keep this TV mounted outside through almost any weather short of a hurricane or sandstorm. In addition, the screen supports up to 1500 nits brightness, which means you should be able to see the screen clearly up until the next supernova.
What’s in the box?
- The Sylvox 43-inch 4K TV
- A standard remote control
- The “Magic” remote control
- A power cord
- Various manuals and warranty cards
Unboxing and Setup
Let me begin by saying that the shipping box is one of the best I have ever seen. Nothing short of a direct shot in the center of the box is going to damage the contents. That said, unboxing is not a solo mission – because of the TV’s casing and weight, you are definitely going to need help getting it out of the box, let alone mounting it. Once it is out of the box, you are going to want a soft safe place to lay the TV down while you connect all of the necessary cables. Trust me, this is not something you want to attempt after mounting.
In order to maintain the waterproof rating, Sylvox conceals the cable connections behind a special panel on the back of the Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV. There are 13 screws to remove to access the connections – well, in my case there were 12 screws as one was missing. And here’s a pro tip for you – unlike me, make your connections BEFORE you put any mounting brackets on. Once the screws are removed, the panel slides down and off, but it is much more difficult to do when the brackets are in the way. And to think my high school guidance counselor didn’t think I could learn these kinds of things.
Once the panel is removed, you have access to the various ports.
Starting from the left side, there is an Ethernet port, an optical audio port, s-video and stereo RCA plugs (for older DVD players, VHS or any device you have that was made in the analog golden age), a USB port, HDMI port #3 and a coax input for your cable box, ATSC antenna or any other device requiring a digital channel assignment.
And on the left side of the port array, starting from that left, there is another USB port, an HDMI-ARC (Audio Return Channel) masquerading as HDMI 2, HDMI port #1 and the power cord. At a minimum, you need the power cord – assuming you have a strong WiFi connection and will primarily use streaming services. The Sylvox TV uses the 2.4gHz band, so you should have a strong if not super speedy connection. In my case, I have a wired access point in the room to the left of the TV (based on the picture below), and even through the brick wall in between the Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV gets a strong signal and has yet to drop a frame or buffer in playback from any service. Your mileage may vary, of course, so depending on where you place your TV you might need either a wired connection or an outdoor AP.
Setup and Operation
The Sylvox TV is really meant to be mounted to a wall or other structure, but at the moment we are not ready to do that. Not because we don’t know where we want it, but because we don’t have a suitable mount to attach it to the column. Currently, the TV is on a rolling stand that housed our previous TV (may she rest in peace, a standard TV from said Big Box retailer that lasted a year or two before the harsh environment in Houston caused an early demise). While this works for the time being, it is less than optimal. The Sylvox TV is heavy due to the nature of the casing that protects it from the elements, so the weight causes the TV to constantly point towards the ground.
The setup is pretty straightforward.
Answer a few questions about where the Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV will live, connect to a network and you are off to the races. The TV uses webOS over the top of Linux. For those who are unfamiliar with webOS, it was originally developed for Palm (remember the Palm Pilot – now you know). Later, Palm sold the OS to Hewlett-Packard who used it in some PDAs, but then kind of released part of it as open source. HP sold the OS to LG who owns it today. It is an integral part of LG’s TV offerings, and also the driving OS that Sylvox uses in this line of outdoor TVs. Is it any good? Yeah, it works and as a mature TV OS, it supports so many different applications you’d be hard pressed to find a streaming service that doesn’t support it.
For example, here I am installing Amazon Prime Video. I also installed Plex, Discovery+, Pluto TV, YouTube, YouTube TV and more. I feel pretty safe saying that if there is a streaming service out there, webOS likely supports it out of the box.
The Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV comes with 2 different remotes.
There is the standard remote – pretty much like any other remote you might get with a consumer TV. While there are 2 dedicated buttons (one for Netflix and the other for Prime Video), beyond that the remote handles all the functions the TV supports. But here is the differentiating factor: the Sylox version of this TV also supports the Amazon Alexa ecosphere, so if you are a part of that ecosystem then the other remote is for you.
This is the “Magic” remote. Instead of directional buttons for menu navigation, there is a wheel and dial which makes moving around through the menus much easier. The key difference is the microphone button above the navigation wheel. This opens the opportunity to communicate with Alexa and to perform various functions through that assistant. Personally, I am deep into the Google Assistant ecosystem, so this isn’t as important a feature for me. That said, I can see if Alexa is a part of your daily routine, then this is a major selling point for the Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV.
So, I’ve spent a fair amount of time so far talking about the technical aspects of this TV. Now for the practical. Is it worth the additional cost compared to what you can buy at the store near the mall? In a word, yes and then some. First, the Sylvox TV is built like a tank. This is strong, and sturdy and will last far longer than the plastic sets you can buy. More important, though, is the fact that the TV itself was designed to live in an outdoor world. This means that the screen is far brighter than anything you would buy at a lower price point and the attention to detail takes the TV to a whole new level. For example, most consumer TVs have speakers that fire to the rear, which makes the sound muddled at best and unintelligible at worst. The Sylvox has downward firing speakers in the bottom of the unit which makes the sound just that much better than the competition.
As good as this TV is, there are things you want to buy to go with it. First up is a decent outdoor sound bar. While the speakers are good, they aren’t great. A sound bar that can handle the elements as well as the Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV itself will make the difference in how much you enjoy the experience as a whole. In addition, you will also want a good quality TV cover. Although the Sylvox is built to withstand a weather assault, there are things out there that defy reason. For example, every spring in Houston we are beset by pollen which turns the entire outdoors into a grey-green dust-covered hellscape. Although the TV itself can weather this, a good cover can keep you from having to take 2-3 inches of pollen off the TV before your guests arrive.
I’ve played with a few outdoor TV sets, and frankly, up until now, I was not sure there was enough of a difference between those and consumer sets to make the difference in price justified. That’s changed with the Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV. Let me show you:
This is a photo of the Sylvox in full sun (directly behind me as I took this picture) without cloud cover. The screen brightness was at about 50%. Other than a little reflection from the screen itself, the picture is as close to perfect as you can get. I’ve been in pool rental cabanas in Vegas where the TV was covered by the cabana itself and the picture was nowhere near as bright, vivid, and clear as this. And even though I don’t have a sound bar attached (yet), the sound is still loud and clear.
Once the fire table has arrived, we will obtain a mount for this TV and will put it where the fan is now on the column to the right of the TV in the picture above. If I had this mounted back when the Astros won the World Series, our backyard would have been party central. And the centerpiece? This TV. OK, and the cocktails. But mostly the Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV.
What I like
- The picture is insanely bright, clear, and ready for any weather conditions
- The sound is better than expected
- webOS App support is going to allow me to stream pretty much anything I want from any source
What I’d change
- Maybe only 1 remote instead of 2, but otherwise nothing at all
I originally thought that the difference in price between what a normal consumer TV costs vs. a specialized outdoor TV was not justified. I was wrong. The Sylvox 43-inch 4K Outdoor TV shows that in the right hands, the difference in price is more than just dollars – it is a whole new experience that I just wasn’t expecting. No matter the scenario – a group of friends in a conversation pit watching some event or a swim-up theater at your pool, the Sylvox TV is ready to take on the challenge and won’t let you (or your guests) down. As I understand it, Sylvox is about to jump into the Google TV arena with its next generation of outdoor sets, and I can’t wait to see where that goes. In the meantime, though, if you are in the market for some outdoor entertainment, the Sylvox lineup brings a lot to the party.