Outdoor Home Theatre

So I want to set up an outdoor home theater… and I’m going to ramble on about it here for a while. Feel free to share your perspective and any other thoughts.

I was wondering if any of you have done this?
There’s a website (http://backyardtheater.com/) that probably has everything I would want to know… but I’d rather discuss it in here as more of a casual thing.

How complex or simple is your setup?

I have an LCD projector; I have to check to see if there’s a way to make it work with a dvd player. I suppose I could always play a dvd off a laptop, but then I think the sound would be difficult to set up.

what about screens?
You can get an inflatable screen for < $300, but I hear they can be noisy.

No, we found a laptop is ideal for this. I live in a downtown complex of 5 apartments that is the only residential clump in the area. Our parking lot is isolated from everything around us and blocked from street view. Next door is a Firestone, and their 2 story, flat white back wall is one of the borders of my parking lot. Let me tell you, that wall is an ideal movie screen.

My friends and I have cobbled together a setup that works for us. It’s a dvd projector, a laptop, and a good set of computer speakers - the kind with the subwoofer and everything. See, a regular dvd player wouldn’t hook up to the computer speakers, making the whole rig bulkier and more of a pain in the butt.

The first time we set this thing up it blew our minds. It’s great to sit out under starry skies, drink beers, and watch all the flicks we never think we’d get to see on the big screen. Good luck to you!

Our neighbors down the street have been doing this for a couple of years now, setting up an inflatable screen in the front yard and projecting movies.

Their screen isn’t noisy at all. I certainly never heard anything over the amplified sound of the movie. I don’t know what brand it is, though, or where they got it.

When I’m outside in the spring and summer, the last thing I want to do is watch a movie or television. To me the sounds of crickets, cicada’s, neighbors, etc. would be too distracting.

My outside evening activities normally are drinking, listening to music, visiting with friends and neigbors, watching the kids in the pool.

Movies were meant to be watched indoors in the air conditioning…why do you think most drive-in’s went out of business.

We play Hallowe’en movies on the night of… We have an old sheet with some old quarter-round that was lying around stapled to the top and bottom that hangs in the garage doorway. My husband sets up the projector to show the movie backwards from inside the garage, so the view is normal from outside. The only problem with this set-up is the kids plopping down on the driveway to watch…

Thats very nice for you. On the other hand, I live downtown and don’t really have much in the way of cricket and cicada sounds over the traffic. Or a pool. Or kids. But if you substitute “watch Predator while yelling comments at the screen” in for “listening to music,” we’re on the same page.

One night, instead of a full movie we did All Music No Plot. We just played the best scenes from movie musicals and those that wanted to had a dance party to go along with it. Rocky Horror, Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago, Sound of Music, Hedwig - it was a blast, even for the folks who normally hate musicals.

I built a quickie stand to support a pull-down movie screen, and then just put one of my projectors on a card table, along with a couple of speakers, a power amp, and a MacBook. We had a cookout and then watched “Little Shop of Horrors” for Halloween.

Totally fun!