As the weather starts to warm up, more and more people are taking their parties outside. Between football games, BBQ’s, and watching movies on warm summer nights, there are so many reasons to enjoy an awesome home theater in your backyard. Here are some tips, tricks, and expert recommendations on building the best outdoor home theater for any home.
Backyard Theater Basics
First things first, it needs to be dark to watch anything outdoors! There is no projector made that is brighter than the sun so movie watching, outdoor gaming, and everything else should happen once it’s dark outside. Sure, you could install an outdoor TV, but then you’re stuck sitting on the patio huddled around a small screen? When you’re having a party, you want a large image that only a projector can create. Why watch your favorite football team on a 60 inch screen when you can watch it in crisp HD twice that size?
Placement is also an important factor. Keep in mind the distance you want to set up and how far away it is from the nearest power source as well as the lengths of your extension cords. Also make sure your setup is far enough away from the “splash zone” if you are doing an event near a pool.
What You’ll Need
For outdoor home theater use, experts recommend a minimum of 2,000 lumens and brighter as well as an HDMI connection. HD resolution is also an important feature for watching favorite movies and games in crisp and clear quality. Look for a unit that has built in MHL functionality so you can avoid running too many wires. Since this setup won’t be a permanent install and people’s expectations won’t be as demanding, you can sacrifice some contrast for increased brightness. There are plenty of great perfect for backyard movie night that cost less than $1,000.
You may be tempted to simply project the video onto a hung up sheet or directly on the side of the house. That’s fine! Do whatever suits your needs. A note of warning though: the smallest gust of wind can ripple your sheet and if the side of the house isn’t a smooth surface, your image can get easily skewed. Experts recommend screens that are extremely quick and easy to setup (you don’t want to spend half the night installing) and that keep the image tight and polished regardless of wind. From screens that fill up with air and then deflate to be put away, to roll-away screens with cinema-grade material, there is sure to be something that fits your budget.
Some home theater projectors come with built-in speakers, however if the projector you have your eye on does not, try portable outdoor speakers or Anchor powered speakers which feature built-in amplifiers.
A Video Source
There are so many options available to get your video projecting. Just make sure that the wireless router signal is strong enough to reach the projector; a Roku stick, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV are good video streaming options. Otherwise a Blu-ray player or laptop will work just as well, you’ll just need to run some extension cords. For running cords outdoors, a popular solution is dig a small trench, bury some pvc pipe and then run the cabling from the house to a weatherproof junction box.
Some Obvious Don’ts
There are a few common mistakes people can make with outdoor home theaters that could ruin any party. Here are a few things to avoid:
- Leaving the equipment out in the weather
- Using the projector as a coaster
- Forgetting to turn off the sprinkler system
- Charging admission without permission of the movie distributor
With that said, outdoor movie theaters are the hottest trend of the summer! Be the talk of the neighborhood with the coolest backyard parties on the block. Need advice about which products to get for the perfect outdoor theater setup? ProjectorPeople.com has some excellent backyard theater tips and offers expert advice via chat or phone.
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