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Best Outdoor Projector for under $2K?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

We're wanting to have movie nights at our campground, so I'm interested in what type of specs to look for in a projector that would create awesome looking movies on as large of a screen as possible. What's realistic for this type of price range for a projector?


post #2 of 9
under $2k you can get a 1080p projector. most 720p projectors run around $400-$700. $800-$1500 is the range for 1080p projectors. above that and you're starting with the low range of the high-end projectors.

also look for the Lumens output. higher lumens means brighter image. a good range for a 720P begins around 2,000 lumens and possibly through 3,000 lumens. for 1080p you'd probably want to start about 2,500 lumens and above.
also if you think you've found the projector you want, look online for that models replacement lamp. some lamps can go for $300 and above! especially name brand models (sony's in particular).

i wont mention a specific projector because it depends on your planned use. if it will only be for a few months of the year and for outside only, my money would be on a 720p projector. if it would be setup for year-round use and you're adamant about visual quality, then a 1080p. any higher end projector than that and you should probably consider going into business.

an major player in any backyard theater is the aspect ratio of the screen. most people would go for a 16:9 ratio. but there is a trend of people installing 2.39:1 screens though. knowing what ratio you want then simplifies what size screen you should get... more examples in a few minutes. brb
post #3 of 9
ok let me give you an example of what i mean by figuring out your aspect ratio. if you get a 16:9 ratio screen, most older movies will fit snuggly inside the screen. also use up most of the screen. if you watch, lets say captain america (aspect ratio of 2.35:1) you'll end up with borders on the top and the bottom of the image. letterboxing. if you had a 2.35:1 ratio screen you wouldnt have this letterboxing. you'd have the image fill the entire screen.

so far so good right? well if you tried a 16:9 movie in that 2.35:1 screen you'd get 2 black side bars on the left and right of the image. kinda like sideways letterboxing.
you'd have the same issues with 4:3 (much older movies). i believe you'd have to find a screen that hits a "sweet spot". i mean a screen that allows big movies outside with minimal amount of aspect ratio letterboxing. for me a 16:9 aspect ratio was that "sweet spot". newer movies have letterboxing but i'd rather see the entire film as the director intended all the while providing a big image.

for my particular set of circumstances i decided on a 16' wide by 9' tall screen. a direct translation of the 16:9 ratio. see my thread for its details.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help. I lean towards getting a 1080p projector, because my initial thought is that the further away i'd have to put it from the screen the better the 1080p projector would look compared to a 720p. But, what about the design of the projector? Which type is best? I'm thinking that my throw distance could be as large as 40-45'. Is that way too much to have a good picture? The reason is that we're planning to have a "Dive In" Movie in our pool every Friday and Saturday night at our park. So, the distance from the opposite side of the pool to the screen could potentially be that far away. What becomes the most important feature of a projector to look for given that possibility existing?

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've seen the Optoma TH1060P projector used by a company quite a bit for out door theaters. Anybody have any experience with it in the outdoors?

post #6 of 9
My thought as to the best pj for outside is your old inside one. When you upgrade inside, take the old one outside,,, that is unless you have far more $ invested than reasonable for outside ..

Easy for me to say when I went from a 720p to 1080p though.....

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I don't have an inside one to use outside. This is a new commercial installation for our RV park.

post #8 of 9
o... 40-45' throw distance is probably not do-able by any non-commercial type projector. non-commercials projectors can vary but most will throw an image (at their farthest point) from 20'-30' and some about 35' at the most extreme limit.

again projectorcentral can help you find a long range throw projector. an rv park install sounds vaguely familiar to one that was owned by a backyardtheater enthusiast. is this the same rv park in question

also, if its an rv park, i bet something like 80% of the audience will be kids. i play movies for about the same percentage of kids outside using a 720p to get an image of 16x9 and they're little minds are just blown away. me being the picky guy, i see the little things. no one else does. its up to you though.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
k, I'll check with them.

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