All-weather TVs, grilling gadgets, and ambient smart lighting

In today’s fast-paced, connected world, we often find ourselves sucked indoors because we’re glued to our screens — for work, for fun, for gaming, and for streaming TV and sports programs.

But the great thing about technology is that as it changes, there are more options, and that means we have the ability to bring our connectivity, and our families, outdoors. So it’s time to change your mindset and get outside, and your own backyard oasis is the perfect place to start.

Extended Wi-Fi

Until recently, Wi-Fi extenders were a good option to ensure even Wi-Fi coverage around your property, but the systems do have limitations. They rebroadcast your Wi-Fi signal as their own separate network. That means you often have two networks — like “Smith House” upstairs and “Smith House Ext” for downstairs — and your devices will connect to one until it’s out of range. To connect to the other, you need to manually switch networks, and it can be a hassle.

The better option for today’s connectivity needs is a mesh Wi-Fi system, which consists of the main router that connects directly to your modem, and a series of satellite modules, or nodes, placed around your house for full Wi-Fi coverage. They’re best for large homes and ones with dense walls or multiple floors, and tech experts recommend them for signal reliability and speed consistency.

Mesh Wi-Fi works by spreading your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, essentially blanketing that signal everywhere. You won’t have to switch between networks when you move around your home or property, and you’ll have the speed you need no matter where you are. To make sure your signal extends to your backyard, consider a weather-resistant setup like Netgear’s Orbi Outdoor.

Well designed covered patio boasts stone fireplace
A well designed covered patio boasts a stone fireplace

Séura Outdoor TVs

When designing your outdoor oasis, a Séura Outdoor TV needs to be at the top of your list.

Séura’s line of outdoor TVs has superior brightness, better sound, and overall supreme quality in every application — from direct sun to full shade. They’re made to enhance your family’s outdoor leisure space and keep you connected while enjoying the mood-enhancing benefits of the great outdoors.

“We created these TVs with work-hard, play-hard consumers in mind,” said Gretchen Gilbertson, CEO. “We want our consumers to feel like they can unwind outside, but at the same time, we know they want or need to stay connected. Our TVs give them that opportunity.”

Séura, a Wisconsin-based company, manufactures outdoor TVs that range in size from 49 to 86 inches and can withstand temperatures from minus 40 to 140 degrees.


Grilling Gadgets

When you’ve made your outdoor space an extension of your home, it only makes sense to maximize your time outdoors by cooking there, too.

But nothing is worse than a piece of overcooked meat, so in order to keep your ribeye a perfect medium-rare, get an iGrill 2 from Weber. This meat thermometer uses a wired probe to measure the temperature of a piece of meat while it’s cooking. You don’t need to stick around the entire time to watch the numbers rise, because it connects with an app to let you know when your meat has reached its desired temperature when you’re up to 150 feet away.

The iGrill 2 has the capacity to monitor up to four probes at once. Other features include an LED temperature display, Bluetooth® connectivity, 200-hour battery life, a magnetic base, preset temperatures, and temperature monitoring. The corresponding app is available on App Store and Google Play.

Light it Up

Whether it’s for convenience, security, or decoration, there are a growing number of ways to bring smart lighting to your home’s exterior. The ambiance it creates might make your family want to stay outside all night long.

Decorative outdoor lighting isn’t about the light itself, but the light it casts. For that reason, we recommend Philips Hue’s Lily outdoor spotlights, which come in internet-connected, color-changing (16 million colors, actually) models. To use these lights properly you’ll need a Hue Bridge plugged into your router.

Our recommendation is that you don’t settle for smart bulbs (which Philips Hue also makes) because they’re only usable when the power to the light is switched on, which defeats the purpose. Our recommendation is to smarten things up at the light switch. A non-Philips option is the Ecobee Switch+, which features built-in sensors for motion, temperature, and ambient light, plus it has built-in Alexa voice controls.

Make your life easier, your home smarter, and your backyard amazing with these outdoor tech tips. Dare to step outside and create your oasis.