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post #1 of 3 Old 08-07-2013, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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My Daughters really want to watch movies outside under the stars. I know nothing about AVS and I would like to get a good projector but I don't need the best. I would like to have a good quality one but since we will only use it a few times each summer (And I am cheap) I don't want to spend a lot. Maybe under $500. Can you help me? I should also say that I don't want to go too cheap and then wish I would have spent the extra $50-100 dollars lol.

*Probably will build a homemade screen unless you have a better idea smile.gif

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post #2 of 3 Old 08-07-2013, 10:43 AM
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OK, you're going to need a few things.....

1) A projector. You sound like you a have a budget for that.
2) A screen...You CAN DIY that.
3) Something to play disks... DVD / BluRay player.
4) Speakers....Something to hear the movie.
5) An amplifier/ receiver to send the sound to the speakers.

Have you thought aobut these things? Do you have a total budget in mind?

For the porjector, just about any recent (3-4 year old model) projector will work for you. Personally, I use an old business class projector from 7 or 8 years ago. They tend to be really bright and also tend to be smaller and more compact so they can work well.

You will find that to start, ANY flat surface will work, even the side of the house or a shed, etc.

You can knock out items 3,4 and 5 with a Home Theater in a Box (HTiB as it's known around here).

For my deck theater, I bought the cheapest, most powerful HTiB I could find for the money I wanted to spend. At the time, they didn't include the disk player the way many (if not most) of them do now, so I added a $29 DVD player. Connect up the speakers, spread them around the area, and you have full 5.1 surround sound. If you are only doing ot a couple of times a year, just place the speakers around your area as best you can.

If you find that you are doing it more often, then you can start to upgrade. Get outdoor speakers and speaker wire that you can leave outside (the low voltage wiring for garden lighting works great and is esay to find locally). You can build a frame for the screen that makes it easy to put up and take down. I found a small, plastic cabinet designed for garden tools with two shelves and after drilling a couple of holes, I leave my stuff in there all season. Then I just put up the screen and bring out and hook up the porjector and I'm ready to go in about 5 minutes.

From there, it's up to your imagination and budget.

I highly recommend looking at this site: www.backyardtheater,com

You'll find PLENTY of ideas and help there. And if you scroll down the front page far enough, you'll see my deck!

Good luck!

Tom Logan
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-07-2013, 03:41 PM
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I just got a pjd5134 viewsonic from Amazon for $340. Brand new with 3 yr warranty. It's bright enough (2800 lumens) and is portable too as its a business projector. You could do much better but for the price this is the one I settled on. The bulb should also last 3000-6000 hours which is more than most. I couldn't bring myself to put a $1000+ projector outside.
You can make a screen easily enough or buy one. Check out to check out the DIY section on screens here too. If your hoping to put up a sheet I think everyone here would recommend not doing it (outside anyway). That thing gets blowing in the wind a little and you'll make yourself sea sick. I don't know how else to explain it. I made a screen from a 2"x4'x8' piece of pink panther foam from Home Depot ($9?) and 3 coats of Behr "silver screen" (light grey) for $10. (Must use laytex on the foam) Find a 16x9 calculator online (google) and cut it the size you need. It's huge and it's light. Hang it where you want it.
The projector I mentioned above has an hdmi and VGA ports so most laptops, Apple TV, roku, ipad, iphone, android phone can play to it with the right adapters.
Audio. It can be as simple as computer speakers for a few people to a full 5.1 surround system although I stick to stereo because I don't want all the wires.
It can be as simple or complicated as you make it. Check out the throw distances of the projectors your looking at to get a better idea of what you'll need before you make a screen.
Also. Projecting on the side of a house is fine when your right in back of the projector but if the house have siding it looks bad the farther over you move to the side.

If your buying a new projector, buy more lumens than you will use. Running it in "Eco Mode" makes your bulb last 20-40% longer and reduces noise and heat.
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