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Outdoor Movie Theater: What You Need To Host An Outdoor Movie Party

by Reyna Thomas

Nothing compares to seeing a movie on a big screen. But, instead of holing up in your living room or spending money on the theater, why not enjoy the summer weather and build a better cinema experience in the comfort and privacy of your own backyard?

Building your own outdoor movie theater is far easier than you might think and can be adjusted to fit your budget. The possibilities are endless, from a simple projector and sheet to a full-fledged theater with a large outdoor screen and speakers to improve the audio quality.

And to help you figure it all out, here's a list of the items you'll need for your outdoor cinema so you can watch movies all summer!

Projector & Screen

You could take your TV outside or use an outdoor TV for a movie night now and then, but it won't have the same wow factor as a projection system. Home theater projectors provide outstanding picture quality and, in most cases, a much brighter image than you might expect—not light enough to watch outside during the day, but plenty bright enough for a movie night beneath the stars. Just be sure your screen doesn't take away the quality. Sure, projecting a movie on the side of the garage or house is an option, but it's not the best. No matter how bright the projector is, you'll be able to see the texture and surface of the "screen" material. The film's colors will change in response to those of the wall. Although this solution is simple (and free), you will want to do better.

A large white sheet is the most cost-effective option that produces a good image. Although the texture problem remains, it is reduced if the sheet is kept wrinkle-free. If you want the greatest image from your projector, you should invest in a real screen. High-quality screens offer features that allow for crisp, wrinkle-free viewing, allowing you to see even the smallest details in your movie.

movie projector in backyard movie theater


It's not uncommon to discover that even the greatest and most premium projectors on the market have poor sound. If only a few individuals are seated close to the projector, the internal speaker may suffice. However, if you have a large yard or any kind of background noise, having a separate pair of outside speakers will provide a better outdoor movie experience. After all, if you're going to watch a movie, wouldn't it be nice to have movie-quality sound to accompany it?

The quickest way to add a better speaker is to use the projector's analog audio output, which lets you connect any speaker that has an analog input. If you want or need to go wireless, you'll have to use a Bluetooth speaker. 

speakers outside

Patio Furniture

Okay, all of the critical electrical parts are in place! However, you must now begin to consider where everyone will end up sitting.  A few blankets will do for smaller gatherings, but chairs will be required for bigger groups. If at all feasible, have folks sit on your patio furniture while you set up the outside projector screen on the lawn. For optimal outdoor comfort, remember to bring extra blankets and pillows and choose materials that can get damp or dirty.

four friends hanging out on a rooftop

Now that you've mastered the basics of building your own outdoor movie theater, it's time to shop!  And we'll help you design and set up the ultimate outdoor theater experience at Toton’s TV! Check out some of our products, and if you have any questions, please give us a call or come in to see us today!