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Movies Under The Stars

A general guide and tips to setting up a backyard theatre

By Davide Buice

For most of us, few things are more fun than watching a movie on a big screen, but some of us might be a bit anxious to sit in a theatre for a couple of hours surrounded by people we don't know.

In fact, you can have a lot of movie fun in the comfort of your own backyard. Creating an outdoor movie theatre is a lot easier than you might think. Read on to learn how to host an endless number of open-air movie nights.


The projector is the heart of your outdoor setup, and here are a couple of suggestions.

BenQ HT2050A FROM Adorama

This light, portable projector offers accurate colors and has a good contrast ratio, making it suitable for both indoors and out. If you want a 100-inch image on your screen, you'll need about 8.4 feet between your projector and screen to create that image.

Price: $749

Anker Nebula Mars ll Pro from AAXA Technologies

A less expensive alternative to the BenQ, it has a built-in speaker and streaming apps, so you won't need a separate media player. It also has a battery, so you won't need a power cable, as well as built-in handle for carrying it.

However, it's dimmer thank the BenQ projector, which means images will be smaller and somewhat darker.

Price: $150 and up depending on the size

You can find less expensive projectors, but they may not be as bright, have a lower resolution, and more inferior image quality.


The simplest solution is to project the movie on a wall of your house, but no matter the wall's surface, the image quality will probably not be very good.

A white sheet is the least affordable option that can give you a decent image, but even a slight breeze will cause the screen to move. So you'll want to stretch it as taut as possible when attaching it to a wall or homemade frame.

However, to get the best image, you need an actual screen. An excellent choice is the Elite Screen Yard Master 2 that comes with a sturdy frame and yard stakes, preventing it from falling over if the wind picks up.

Price: $150 and up depending on the size


If you don't already have an outdoor space equipped with speakers, you'll need some portable speakers. The easiest solutions is using the projector's analog output, allowing you to connect to any PA speaker or soundbar with analog input.

Price: Varies


How are you going to access the movies? A streaming stick, like the Roku or Amazon Fire, connects to the HDMI input on the projector and uses your homes Wi-Fi to stream the movies.

Alternatively, many laptops can output a video signal via HDMI or an HDMI adapter, and you can run an HDMI cable from the computer to the projector.

These are just a few options and tips to get you started with your search for an outdoor setup and on your way to making some magical movie memories.


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