With movie theatres closed, it’s going to be a while before you can go out, sit in the VIP and have a glass (or three) of wine while catching an interesting film. The impact of physical distancing will limit crowd sizes and make it hard to get a ticket to a new performance. Still, just because you can’t go out doesn't mean you can enjoy your favourite flicks on the big screen. In fact, imagine being able to “go to the movies” right in your own backyard. Many people are buying home theatre projectors for their backyards to set up new home experiences that might even rival a night out at Cineplex. If you have the space and you have comfortable patio furniture, you can create your own home theatre that will rival the drive-in experience.
We’ll walk you through some of the do’s and don’ts in building a home theatre in your backyard, or even in your condo. We’ll also show you some of the best projectors to buy and other things to consider for your spaces.
Summers are best spent outside. When the weather is right, it’s much nicer to watch the season’s blockbusters under an open sky instead of an air-conditioned theater. With the right setup, you can have a do-it-yourself theatre in no time, and you’ll be able to spend fun nights with your friends and family doing something that’s a little out of the ordinary.
Below, we cover the main components of a basic DIY backyard theatre: the projector and the video source, the screen, and the sound system. The rest, from the seating arrangements and outdoor décor, to the snacks and guest list, will be entirely up to you. In order to watch a movie on your own backyard big screen, you need to invest in a high-quality projector. Although this product can be expensive, and you might experience some sticker shock at first, don’t worry. There are more affordable options on the market, so just taking your time to shop around a bit can help you find the one that will give you what you need at the right price.
Once you have your projector, you can hook it up to a video source, such as your laptop, a regular Blu-ray player, a 4K Blu-ray player, or Apple TV. It depends on whether you’re playing your movie from a streaming platform like Netflix or if you’re playing it off a DVD that you purchased.
If you’re interested in using a Blu-ray player for high-definition movies, some good options include:
You can’t mimic a moviegoing experience without a big screen, and there are several options that you can choose from when you don’t want to build one yourself. The key is to find a screen that will be easy to assemble and will provide a totally flat surface onto which a movie can be projected.
We recommend checking out the lightweight and durable Elite Screens Yard Master 2. It measures 135” and comes with everything you need to set it up securely and quickly, even if you’re working on uneven terrain. Plus, when you need to store it away in between uses, you can simply fold it down and put it in a padded carrying bag that comes with the screen.
If the sound quality of your outdoor movie theatre is lacking, you won’t be able to fully immerse yourself in the film and really enjoy the experience. Just keep in mind that you want the sound that comes out of the speakers to be loud, but also balanced and clear, so don’t just focus on volume.
Portable, wireless speakers are a great way to go because they can be simple to set up. And they’ll have the power necessary to deliver sound that’s loud enough for everyone to hear the movie while watching it in your yard. Take the EcoBoulder by EcoXGear, as an example. It’s a 3-way speaker system that features a telescoping handle and all-terrain wheels so you can set it up wherever you need to, and you can connect to it via Bluetooth if you prefer to avoid a wired setup. It’s also waterproof and dustproof, and it will float if it accidentally falls into your swimming pool. Plus, you can even use EcoConnect to pair two speakers wirelessly and make your at-home theatre even better.
Thanks to the performance of the gear you can get these days—at very attractive prices—you can put together something in your yard that performs better than the sound and picture you get at a commercial drive-in. Check out some of the top projectors you can buy for your backyard movie theatre.
The RCA Standard Home Theatre Projector allows you to watch your favourite movies and TV shows on the big screen. The device projects onto any flat surface and can deliver picture from 30” to 150”. It boasts two HDMI ports so you can easily connect gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, streaming devices, and more. It also has two built-in stereo speakers and it comes complete with a Roku streaming stick so you have instant access to apps like YouTube, Amazon Video, Netflix, and more.
Even if you don’t have space for a projector at your home, you can carry a projector over to your friends or family member’s house to watch all of your favourite movies and shows as well.
The Miroir Micro Pocket Projector gives you access to a portable projector that lets you watch films and other media. The device weighs just 7 oz. and lets you deliver professional presentations anytime and anywhere. It even features a built-in battery, so the show can go on even when don’t have easy access to an electrical outlet. It has up to two hours of battery life so you might need to plug it in after an hour to avoid interruptions. It has a lamp life of 20,000 hours makes this pocket projector cost effective and long lasting. It also has built-in speakers offer big sound, or connect an external speaker to the 3.5mm audio out port.
The ASUS projector is a small, lightweight and multifunctional pocket projector that has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers up to 5 hours of playtime. It’s got a 16:9 aspect ratio and standard definition resolution allows you to project entertainment and presentations on the wide screen up to 120 inches in size. It also has HDMI and MHL connectivity allows you to connect to computers, smartphones, and media streamers for projecting content.
You can take your home theatre experience to the next level with the 4K Ultra HD Optoma UHD60 home theatre projector. It delivers sharp, vivid, and detailed images to breathe new life into your favourite movies, TV shows, live sporting events, and video games. For those special movie nights with your significant others or watching a sporting event with your friends, this is a great model that will deliver premium quality every time. It’s more on the expensive side but you can’t really put a price on quality. Its 3840 x 2160 4K Ultra HD resolution projector presents 4K-compatible movies, TV shows, and video games in stunning detail.
The BenQ projector allows you to bring a theatre-quality experience to your living room or outside in your backyard. All you need a screen and some chairs to enjoy all your favourite movies and TV shows. The TK850 projects from 9.9 metres and onto screens up to 200 inches in size. With 8.3 million pixels, its 4K Ultra HD display gives you brilliant, crystal-clear images, and has dedicated sports and cinema modes for whatever you’re watching. It has 2 x HDMI ports and a USB port let you connect the projector to your computer, smartphone, external drive, DVD or Blu-ray player, and other compatible media sources. It also has built-in 5W speakers to deliver crisp, clear sound straight from the projector. You can also additional plug-ins to amplify the sound.
With the right equipment, you can set up a movie theatre in your backyard surprisingly easily and affordably. Then, whether you’re enjoying a quiet date night with your significant other or you’re planning a big summertime party with friends, you’ll be ready to entertain, relax, and have fun while watching your favorite flicks without leaving home. Check out some additional items listed in our sidebar including screen and other projector accessories.