What's new

Outdoor Home Theater Suggestions (1 Viewer)

Tino

Taken As Ballast
Premium
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
23,394
Location
Metro NYC
Real Name
Valentino
Hi All

Looking for ideas and suggestions on setting up an outdoor theater. Projector, screen, sound system.

Looking to spend about $1000.

Thanks!
 

Dave Upton

Audiophile
Moderator
Reviewer
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
4,409
Location
Houston, TX
Real Name
Dave Upton
Tino,

Is this going to be a temporary setup that you take down after use, or a permanent install?
 

Josh Steinberg

Premium
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
26,163
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
More of a vague suggestion than a specific recommendation.

Back in the '00s, I had a 16x9 native standard-definition projector. When I got my new unit in 2014, I didn't need the old one anymore, so I've loaned it out to a very select group of trustworthy people for backyard screenings. They've been able to get better than decent results using that projector, a bedsheet and the PJ's internal speakers, or hooking the audio out on the disc player to a boombox. I don't know exactly what your needs or goals are, but they can rig that thing in just a few minutes and take it all down just as quick. A projector from ten years ago might not meet your needs today, but I've found that the vast majority of people watching react to the size of the image more than the resolution, so that it's big makes up for it not being HD.

With a more portable setup, you don't have to worry about permanently installing things, nor weather conditions. If you start setting up something that's meant to stay in place, you'll need to start grounding wires and getting weather proofing, and in our neck of the woods, that might be more effort and money than you want to spend.

It really depends on what your priorities are. I find that when I do one of those outdoor screenings, I'm less concerned about picture and audio quality and more into the shared experience. Since you don't get any control over the light or sound conditions outside, it didn't seem worth it to me to go crazy trying to get everything perfect since the nature of the outdoor screenings meant it would never be ideal viewing conditions.
 

Tino

Taken As Ballast
Premium
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
23,394
Location
Metro NYC
Real Name
Valentino
Hi guys. Just looking to set up a temporary summer outdoor theater in my back yard.

Are most projectors the same in that they can be used inside or out or are there specific ones for both.

The wife and I were having dinner and she wants to entertain our friends with movies in the backyard. Then it hit me. I should have done this years ago.

I'm looking for sort of what Josh is talking about. Something I can set up quickly and take down quickly.

I see projectors on Amazon from $69 to $1000. Epson seems to be a brand I see a lot. A boom box is what I was thinking about for sound and maybe a portable screen or even a bed sheet.

Thanks for the ideas guys.
 

Brent Reid

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 27, 2013
Messages
813
Location
Nottingham, UK
Real Name
Brent
I second eveything Josh said. I've been to more outdoor screenings than I can recall, from fairly modestly-budgeted affairs to very prestigious, no-expense-spared premières. In all cases, technically speaking, not one came close to my relatively modest home set-up. No matter how much you spend, outdoors you can't control the weather, light levels, insects, extraneous noise, wind blowing both the screen and audio every which way, etc.
Keep it cheap, focus on it being BIG and bright rather than necessarily in HD, and make sure the audio is loud and clear enough to withstand a strong breeze!

Best of luck with it; do revisit this thread down the line and let us know how you get on. :)
 

Josh Steinberg

Premium
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
26,163
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
Are most projectors the same in that they can be used inside or out or are there specific ones for both.

As far as I know, most consumer projectors are just sold as projectors. Epson made a few models (I think called "MovieMate") that had built in DVD players and speakers, so those were obviously made with portability in mind, but they may be overpriced for what they are.

I see projectors on Amazon from $69 to $1000. Epson seems to be a brand I see a lot. A boom box is what I was thinking about for sound and maybe a portable screen or even a bed sheet.

Both my current projector and my previous one were from Epson. I'm very happy with the quality they've provided. The Epson projectors I've had also had two features that would be helpful for outdoor projection. The first is that they're freaking bright. Some projectors don't project as bright of an image, as they're meant to be used exclusively in light controlled environments, but the Epson gets a bright image which is great for using it in situations where light control isn't perfect. The other feature is that it has lens shift. What lens shift is, it allows you to adjust where the image is without having to move the projectors. A lot of projectors don't have lens shift, or have a very minor one. The Epson projectors I've had included a ton of lens shift, so the projector doesn't have to be perfectly lined up with the screen. This is helpful especially with temporary setups because you don't have to worry as much as being in the absolute perfect position when setting up - you get the projector close to where you need it to be, and then the lens shift will allow you to adjust for the rest.

Keep it cheap, focus on it being BIG and bright rather than necessarily in HD, and make sure the audio is loud and clear enough to withstand a strong breeze!

Agreed! Your indoor setup is your primary system, and that's where your major investments should go. For outdoor, something that works and is big and bright is good enough.

As you're looking at potential projectors, look to see what the replacement bulbs will cost. Depending on the model of projector, a bulb could last anywhere from 2000-5000 hours, so it's not likely that you'll be using it up immediately, but some projectors require more expensive bulbs than others, so I think it's good to know those costs upfront.
 

Tino

Taken As Ballast
Premium
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
23,394
Location
Metro NYC
Real Name
Valentino
Thanks for the great tips guys. Josh do all Epson projectors have lens shift. Which model do you have or prefer? Also define big and bright. How big and how bright?
 

Josh Steinberg

Premium
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
26,163
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
I know a lot of Epson projectors offer lens shift, and some have more than others. I'm not sure if it's in 100% of their lineup. My older projector was a Powerlite Home 20 unit. For my main setup today, I'm using the Epson 5030ub, but that's far more than you need or want for a backyard setting.

As for size, it's a matter of preference. Not that I'm the most experienced guy in the world for projection, but I never advocate for buying the screen on day one. I always tell people, get the projector and get the biggest white bedsheet you can find (or, if you have a white or light colored wall, that will do). Set up the projector and play around with the zoom lens until you find the image size that's comfortable for where you prefer to sit. Then, grab a tape measure and measure the size of that image, and that's the screen size to go out and buy. But for outdoor screenings, I'd probably just stick with a white bedsheet, or at least start there and see how you like it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PMF

DaveF

Moderator
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
28,630
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
All things being equal, I think you want the brightest projector you can get. (Dusk is late in the Summer, especially late in the Western bounds of time zones. And many neighborhoods have lots of light pollution.)
 

Dave Upton

Audiophile
Moderator
Reviewer
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
4,409
Location
Houston, TX
Real Name
Dave Upton
You need a light cannon to ensure a good experience,so i'm going to point you at this one, as it has lots of light output for your dollar, excellent picture and very portable:

https://www.amazon.com/BenQ-HT1075-1080p-Theater-Projector/dp/B00LTMPOUO l

Then all you need is an inflatable screen, which is by far the best option for an outdoor screen:

https://www.amazon.com/Inflatable-M...3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1494243214&sr=1-3

Audio wise, you can use whatever you want, boombox, old powered PA speakers from craigslist (pretty cheap:

https://newyork.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=PA speaker&sort=rel

That will get you a killer set up for under 1K.
 

Josh Steinberg

Premium
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
26,163
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
Not to quibble with Dave, but the projector he suggested is a DLP. Those use a spinning color wheel to make a colored image rather than individual color chips. For some people, this is fine, but for others, they see rainbows on the screen during projection. Before spending your money on a DLP, you may want to visit a showroom or someone who has a DLP projector to ensure that you're not prone to rainbows.

The other thing, DLP projectors generally include very little to no lens shift, which means your placement of the projector isn't as flexible. This may or may not be an issue for you depending on your place, but you may want to use the calculator at Projector Central before buying to make sure the projectors required measurements and positioning with work in your outdoor space.
 

Bryan^H

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
9,463
Not to quibble with Dave, but the projector he suggested is a DLP. Those use a spinning color wheel to make a colored image rather than individual color chips. For some people, this is fine, but for others, they see rainbows on the screen during projection. Before spending your money on a DLP, you may want to visit a showroom or someone who has a DLP projector to ensure that you're not prone to rainbows.

The other thing, DLP projectors generally include very little to no lens shift, which means your placement of the projector isn't as flexible. This may or may not be an issue for you depending on your place, but you may want to use the calculator at Projector Central before buying to make sure the projectors required measurements and positioning with work in your outdoor space.

This is the reason I think these type of threads can be more harmful than helpful:D The advice is all good, but of course we all have our preference. I have had my Optoma(DLP-HD 25LV) for two years, and had the "rainbow effect" for about ten minutes after the initial setup, and testing. Since then, it has never returned(trust me I was highly sensitive and concerned when I saw it). I love the look of DLP more than LCD-but I admit the LCD I compared mine to was a higher end business model, not a dedicated home theater type.

At any rate Tino, I'm sure you will be happy with whatever you choose, and like Josh said you do not have the risk of the rainbow effect with LCD, so maybe that is the type of projector you should consider.
 
Last edited:

Tino

Taken As Ballast
Premium
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
23,394
Location
Metro NYC
Real Name
Valentino
IMG_3010.JPG


Almost but this one. . Still searching.
 

Dray Crawford

Auditioning
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
10
Real Name
Draymond Crawford
Hi All

Looking for ideas and suggestions on setting up an outdoor theater. Projector, screen, sound system.

Looking to spend about $1000.

Thanks!
Most of the gear I use comes from other HT system inside of my home. Some of the speakers are for outdoor use but the components come from other systems that I have upgraded and moved these units to the backyard home theater.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum statistics

Threads
356,525
Messages
5,115,198
Members
144,106
Latest member
linda19798888
Recent bookmarks
0
Top