Aquatic AV Brattleboro VT
December 1, 2007 By Brent Butterworth
Americans seem to feel they have an inalienable right not merely to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but also to watch TV wherever they want to. The problem is, many environments that are hospitable to the human body aren't so kind to TV sets. The spray of warm water that feels so good to us might destroy a TV—unless that TV comes from Aquatic AV.
Aquatic AV specializes in audio/video gear for boats, and I don't mean the prissy superyachts that Jay-Z lounges on in Monte Carlo—I mean the workaday boats you use to party on Lake Powell or catch grouper in the Gulf of Mexico. When the company decided to create TVs for the bathroom, the kitchen, and the patio, its engineers were up to the challenge.
The company made its new TVs not only water-resistant, but waterproof. The cabinets of the 17-inch and 8.5-inch sets are sealed except for a coaxial DC power jack on the side. Seal up this jack, and the TV can be completely submerged; the company showed me a video in which the 17-inch model operates while fully underwater. Even without the jack sealed, the TV can deal with any bathroom mishap or Texas gulleywasher. To test the seals, I pour my dogs' water dish over the top of the TV right after I set it up on my patio. My stunt rattles my wife's nerves, but the TV is unscathed. It does shut off (probably some water snuck into the DC power jack and triggered a protection circuit in the external power supply), but it comes right back on when I touch the power button.
How does one gets audio/video signals into this sealed-up screen? The secret is 802.11a/g wireless network technology, better known as WiFi. An included interface box accepts audio and video signals from any A/V source device (such as a DVD player) or from the recording output of an A/V receiver. It transmits those signals digitally to the LCD screen via WiFi. Thus, the screen has no A/V inputs, just a small antenna to pick up the WiFi signal.
Waterproof speakers hide in the back of the set. There's an analog TV tuner built into the transmitter; analog broadcasts are slated to end next year, but the tuner will still work with unscrambled cable TV channels. The set is available in the silver finish you see here, and also in black or white. The set has keyhole-style mounting holes in back, and a wall-mount bracket is also supplied.
The transmitter also has a jack for an included infrared emitter, which lets you control your A/V source device from whatever room or patio the TV inhabits. When you point the source device's remote at the TV, the TV sends the remote signals back to the transmitter via WiFi, and the transmitter blasts them out through the IR emitter.
I worried that the Aquatic AV TV might require a frustratingly complex setup procedure, as WiFi routers sometimes do, but when I plug everything in it just works. The transmitter and the TV "find" each other, and within seconds I am sitting in my backyard watching video from th...