SunBriteTV Model 4660HD Outdoor LCD HDTV Page 2
The deck/planter pole for the 4660HD is a 3-inch-by-3-inch, 62-inch-tall column of zinc-plated steel welded to a 12-inch square baseplate. It’s designed to be anchored to a block of cement (that can be hidden in the ground or “planted”) or bolted directly to the floor of a deck. The articulating wall mount attaches directly to the deck/planter pole and allows the TV to be tilted 15 degrees, panned left or right approximately 170 degrees, and it can extend out about 17 inches.
I decided to install the 4660HD/ pole/mount combination at the south end of the deck on the back of my house for a couple of reasons. First of all, the articulating wall mount would allow the TV to be panned so it could be seen from anywhere on the deck as well as from the swimming pool next to the deck. Just as important, though, was the fact that in this position, the TV would almost always have the sun to the side or back of the set. The SunBriteTV folks had advised me to avoid, if possible, mounting the TV where the screen would be facing the sun for long periods of time. Too much direct exposure to the sun’s IR/UV rays can cause “isotropic blackout,” a condition during which some of the LCD panel’s cells overheat and temporarily shut down (go black) until the cells’ temperature cools. No permanent damage is done, but it’s no fun to have a black splotch on the screen while you’re trying to watch a game. Needless to say, direct sunlight will also have a tendency to fight with the image and wash it out.
From a hardware standpoint (other than the remote control), there’s nothing about the 4660HD that feels flimsy or cheap—although I will admit to more than a slight amount of trepidation when it came to hanging a 65-pound TV on a mounting arm extending 17 inches out from a pole with only a 12-inch square for a base and eight ¼-inch bolts to hold it in place. It turns out, though, that once all the hardware was in place, the contraption was extremely strong and stable—and the articulating mount moved very smoothly. For simple systems, connecting cables can be run along built-in channels under the mount’s extension arms and then down through the middle of the deck/planter pole. All in all, the hardware installation was exceptionally easy and much quicker to finish than expected.
Is That Cloud 6500K?
While it’s a legitimate thing to do, I felt more than a little funny sitting in a wicker deck chair looking at test patterns trying to critique the 4660HD’s picture and sound. It’s just not that kind of animal. I mean, do you do the testing on a sunny or a cloudy day, or at night? Should I position the set so the barn or the garage is in the background? Suffice it to say that if you’re looking for a reference-quality display to put on your patio and watch the entire collection of Criterion Blu-ray movies stashed in your Kaleidescape server frame by frame, you’re going to have to keep looking (and looking…), because the 4660HD ain’t it. By $3,000, inside-the-house TV standards, the amount of bright-white and shadow detail is poor. The screen illumination is slightly uneven. Up close, there are some noticeable motion artifacts.
On the other hand, there are some tests the 4660HD can pass that no one would ever put an indoor TV through. As I’m writing this, for instance, the rain is so heavy that it’s temporarily blocked my satellite TV reception. Looking out my office window through the rain, though, I can see the local OTA broadcast of a hockey game playing on the 4660HD’s screen…along with a Tornado Watch graphic (seriously). I suppose I could haul my 50-inch Samsung plasma TV out on the deck for a side-by-side comparison, but I doubt I’d get very far (literally). Looking good despite what nature throws at it is the sort of thing the SunBriteTV’s 4660HD was designed for—and what it excels at.
Favorite Weather Channel
My wife’s family had a barbecue and liquid bread fest the evening of the NCAA Final Four at my in-laws’ small farm. Since most of the family thought “outdoor” meant “portable” and not “a big-*ss HDTV that can sit out in the friggin’ rain and snow all year long,” they were a bit surprised when I showed up with the 46-inch 4660HD, an antenna, and a really long extension cord. We propped the 4660 HD on a stump (not an approved SunBriteTV installation, by the way), fired up the grill, and the result was the same as had occurred with the inflatable-screen backyard movie night those many years ago. It was so much fun everyone went home thinking, “Damn, I’d like to have one of those in my backyard.” No one left muttering about a 6.68-inch-deep cabinet, blown-out whites, or slightly uneven screen illumination because nobody noticed any of that. Instead, what they noticed was an exceptionally bright, colorful image with sharp graphics that could be seen as easily during the day as it could be during the night—and they discovered that sometimes watching TV outside the house can be more entertaining than watching it cooped up inside.
You can certainly find a 46-inch LCD TV for much less than the $2,795 cost of the 4660HD (plus accoutrements). But I challenge you to find another 46-inch HDTV that can provide the same kind of untethered entertainment experience the 4660HD can give you. While it’s definitely not a replacement for a good home theater, it’s a fantastic add-on to your home entertainment ecosystem, regardless of the environment you live in. Sun- BriteTV’s Model 4660HD is an amazingly impressive TV for what it is capable of doing. That makes it reference quality in my book.