Thursday, July 21, 2016


Summertime means more than taking a vacation — it’s also the time when many folks become reacquainted with their backyards. Some have pools, others sculptured lawns or quiet areas for reflecting, but once it becomes dark it’s like a “No Loitering” sign has been hung. Lets take back the backyard by making it what it was meant to be — a great alternate for going to the movies. This is easier than ever to do, because the technology needed to bring the big screen to the backyard is now easier to use than ever before. And the best part is that you can set it all up and then take it all back down later and put it away with ease. All it takes is a bit of careful planning.

The Picture

To get the movie theater experience, you need a big picture. The two ways to get this are:

1)A front projector gives you the opportunity of making the picture very big. Front projectors come in varying shapes and sizes, but the two most important things to consider are how much detail the projector can provide (i.e., the resolution) and whether the zoom is sufficient for making the image large enough within the confines of space that the projector is to operate within (i.e. how much room there available between the projector and the screen it will be playing the image on).

2)A big outdoor TV that is made with outdoor use in mind not only takes care of what you see but also takes care of the audio. These TVs are designed to be used in all-weather conditions and make for the easiest way for watching outside by yourself or with others.

The Screen

Because it’s the backyard, a big screen is required. The two most used choices are:

1)Going “old school” by draping a white sheet (or multiples) against a wall of the house (or even use the wall itself if the projector can compensate for its color).

2)Setting up one of those portable screens that inflates. This provides an all-in-one-screen system that can be taken down afterwards. Another advantage is that the screen will be the right color for projecting on (i.e., white).

In both of the above cases there must be no obstructions between the screen and the projector.

The Sound

While some projectors even have built-in speakers, these are often too ineffective for use with a crowd (especially when many won’t be sitting right near the projector). The solutions to this are:

1)Should the audio system inside be close to the outdoors where the screen is placed, the audio can be played at a loud volume. Additionally, wireless audio speakers and some compact audio systems can be moved outdoors for use, for example, on the patio.

2)A portable speaker running off of batteries can be positioned easily and, depending on the size and power output, provide more than enough volume. Some speakers will even include multiple drivers so as to provide a stereo output or even, in some cases, a simulated surround sound effect.

The speaker can be connected directly to the video source or, in some cases to the projector’s audio output. This requires knowing the correct kind of audio cable to have on hand.

In all of the above cases, it’s important to have the sound coming from in front (or behind) the picture, as otherwise the dialogue and sound effects (left and right stereo) won’t sound correct.

The Content

What to watch is more of a question of what you WANT to watch, because the choices here are simple to set up and execute. They are:

1)Connect a Blu-ray player or DVD player directly to the projector using the simple and single HDMI cable as used indoors.

2)Content can be played off of a USB flash drive that has been plugged into the video source player or the projector.

3) Use a streaming device connected to the video source or even the projector itself. The video source player might even have streaming capabilities built in (such as a Blu-ray player). This does require that the WiFi signal from the home’s network can reach the streaming device.

Watching a movie in the backyard brings a party atmosphere that screams sharing with friends and family. And you know what can make it even better? Have your guests bring the snacks and popcorn and drinks in return for you being the host.


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