Even though it’s almost August, there is still plenty of summer left to setup your own outdoor movie theater. This may actually be the perfect time to set up a projector in your backyard for your own outdoor movie night. With the days starting to get a little shorter, you’ll be able to start your movie a little earlier.
To set up your own backyard movie theater you really only need a few basic components but each component has its own considerations before you dive in.
Set up your very own backyard theater
- Projector – The projector is obviously the most essential piece of this setup (and the most expensive). There is an almost endless range of projectors available. There are a few key differences that you should take into consideration.
If you are going to spend money on a projector, just remember that you often get what you pay for. The cheaper options available on Amazon often won’t be as bright or as sharp as the more expensive options. Even if the description on the site looks appealing, if you are paying under $300 for a projector, you’ll have to live with an image that may not be exactly what you are hoping for. It’s recommended that you stick with the big name brands such as Epson and BenQ.
When thinking about using a projector outside, you have to remember that the brighter the projector output, the sooner you’ll be able to watch your movie. With most projectors, you’ll have to wait until it’s almost dark outside. You’ll also want to see how large of an image it can project.
- Screen – The second most important part of any backyard movie theater is the screen. There are several options available but you could make do with just a sheet if you have to. While looking into screen options, the blowup screens seem like a good deal but you will have to remember that they will need to be ankered down and the screen itself may end up with some creases in it. The best option is a metal, collapsible screen frame with the screen.
In the past it may have been cheaper to purchase PVC pipe and build your own frame, but with the cost of PVC having increased in most places, it’s probably cheaper to buy an all in one system. Like most screens, the longer you have it stretched out, the less wrinkles and screeces you will see. Another consideration you’ll want to think about is whether you want to project your image from the front or rear of the screen. Depending on the layout of your backyard, you may be able to project from the back, leaving more room for seating in the front.
- Audio – Most projectors will include some type of audio output. If you are looking for a temporary setup, you probably won’t have outdoor speakers permanently installed outside, so you will need to consider how you will hear your movie. A lot of projectors include a speaker but they really aren’t good for trying to listen to a movie outside. If you have a small boombox with an AUX input, you can use this without much trouble. The other option is to use a streaming device that includes Bluetooth for the audio. A Firestick will let you output the audio through Bluetooth, allowing you to use just about any wireless speaker available.
- Streaming Devices – You will need some way to play back your movies and unless your projector comes with built-in software, the easiest way would be to plug in a streaming device such as a Firestick or Chromecast. All modern projectors will include at least one HDMI input, which is all you need to plug in your streaming device.
As long as you’re able to connect to Wifi from your backyard movie theater, you’ll be able to stream movies and TV from all of your favorite Apps. I’ve found that the Firestick 4K has better range for picking up a Wifi signal than my Chromecast, plus it allows me to connect to a bluetooth boombox for decent audio.
That’s really all you need to set up your very own backyard movie theater on a nice warm summer evening. All that’s left for you to do is to pick out a movie and pop some popcorn.
If you know someone who is setting up a backyard theater and want to buy them a gift, check out Remarkably Cool for 21 Best Gifts for Someone Setting up a Backyard Movie Theater.