I've been thinking about this a little bit because I have kids and want my kids to be able to have parties and watch movies, but don't necessarily want 20 kids in my house all the time.
I also want to be able to have neighbors over to watch movies, but my theater seats 6 very comfortably and can seat 10 somewhat comfortably. I figure outdoors I can seat a whole lot more without worrying about people destroying my theater room. I think our theater room is best used for immediate family, close friends and small get togethers.
Last night I realized I had the perfect spot for an outdoor theater. After reading threads here yesterday, I also realized I have almost everything I need to make this a reality. The missing pieces are relatively inexpensive.
I have an extra 106" graywolf II screen. I don't like it for my main screen, but for the outdoor theater, it should be fine.
I have a covered carport in front of my garage (20x20 covered area). I can mount the screen above the garage door and not worry about any elements really. I'll probably keep it in the garage out of the humidity when not using it, but I'll have the mounts up there ready to go at a moments notice.
I have my projector currently ceiling mounted in my theater. Just need to turn one thumbscrew to release the projector from the mount.
I know one of the biggest obstacles to an outdoor theater is keeping the projector safe from kids (and adults). Putting a projector on an outside table can be dangerous (IMO). But I can ceiling mount mine on the carport ceiling.
I just need to buy an identical mount like the one in my theater and it'll be as simple as unscrew one thumbscrew, unplug projector and remove cables, bring projector downstairs, screw in one thumbscrew, plug in and ready to go.
I've got cable already running to my theater room above the garage. I have a tiny crawlspace in the theater room with some conduit from the front wall to the crawlspace.
I can run some coax from the front wall through the conduit into the crawlspace. Then, drill a small hole from the crawlspace (non-climate controlled area) through the ceiling in the garage. I'll simply get a wall plate and terminate the coax in the garage ceiling.
I'll need to get 50 feet of hdmi to connect the cable box to the projector. Relatively cheap at monoprice.
I've got an old (but good) hitachi bookshelf stereo system that's currently unused. It definitely gets loud enough. Granted, just stereo, but for an outside theater, I think I'm OK. I've only got one power outlet in my garage, so I'll have to connect a decent powerstrip to that outlet to plug in my stereo, cable box, and run a heavy duty extension cord from that powerstrip to my projector.
I figure I can easily clip the extension cord and hdmi cable along the wall in the garage to the ceiling in the carport. I'll get some nice, small, permanent clips, painted to match the ceiling and should get wife approval to keep those clips up all the time. Obviously I'll need to remove cables when not in use.
With the above, I think I'm set for any HBO HD events, and major sporting events.
For DVD, I'll initially just carry my DVD player from the media room and connect it via the hdmi to the projector. Eventually I'll probably replace my sony dvd player (upconverting) in my media room with an oppo and just keep the sony at the ready in the garage.
Since I've got the covered carport, light control at night will be easier.
My grill is very close to the carport, so I can keep it on and have hotdogs, brats, etc very handy. I won't freak out if folks spill ketchup all over the driveway (well, not as much as I would if they spilled it all over my coasters anyway!)
I can also entertain a crowd a lot easier. I've got one old sofa in the garage that will be easy to pull out (my wife and I gotta be comfortable!) Everyone else has to bring their own lawnchairs.
I'm hoping to get this setup in time for the boxing fight on May 5th.
Another good thing about all this too.... I've got concrete all the way around the car port to the house. No grass anywhere around this area. Meaning if folks do need to go inside for any reason, I don't need to worry about folks tracking grass/mud into the house.
I'm going to try to take some pics of the space as it looks now so you can all critique my space.