Ah, yes, summer movies! We all look forward to them and, sometimes, we would rather watch them at home. When the weather is really nice, though, you want to be outside. One answer is to set up an outdoor home theater. Although it’s a considerable initial investment, you can use it again and again. And you don’t need to go for high end professional gear.
There is one area in which you don’t want to skimp, and that is the projector. If you already have one, that’s good, but for outdoor use you want the brightest bulb you can find and at least 1080p. Prices vary widely, but you should be able to get a good low-end new projector for between $500 and $1500.
Then, you will need a DVD or Blu-ray player. Blu-ray, being a higher definition format, is always better for cinematic projection. If you already have a player you aren’t using, great. If not, you can often find a refurbished Blu-ray player for as little as $50. If you want to stream, make sure to pick one with built-in Wi-Fi – and be sure to test how well your Wi-Fi signal works outside. If it doesn’t, then outdoor Wi-Fi range extenders (repeaters) are cheap and easy to find.
For the outdoor movie screen, there are several options. There are inflatable screens, although they do make a bit of noise. If you are good at DIY, you can make your own screen. But really, any reasonably smooth white surface will do – white bedsheets and painter’s drop cloths hung on the outside of the house work well.
You will also need a sound system. There are open air cinema kits available, and you may want a mixer. Or, you can just use an old stereo’s receiver and whatever speakers you have. Remember that for an outdoor movie you may have to turn the volume up higher than normal.
A few more tips:
You won’t want to leave your equipment outside. A rolling equipment stand that can slide into the garage is a handy investment.
You’ll want to turn off the patio lights, but also be able to see enough not to trip and fall over something. Christmas lights make great “aisle lights” and work well for low lighting outdoors.
Make sure your equipment is on a surge protector – this is even more important outdoors, where water can be an issue. Any extension cords used need to be outdoor-grade. Again, there’s the issue of water and extra wear and tear outside.
Add a few lawn chairs, bean bags or whatever makes you more comfortable and you’re all set to enjoy an outdoor movie – or even a video game or two – under the stars!
Performance Audio can help you gear up for outdoor summer movies or an indoor home theater system… or both. Contact us today for more information!