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Four surprisingly affordable ways to set up a movie night in your backyard

Who needs a TV when you can binge Netflix on a 145-inch screen?

Four surprisingly affordable ways to set up a movie night in your backyard
[Photo: courtesy Elite Screens]

If you’re looking for an easy way to give your backyard a little oomph and keep yourself entertained this summer as the evenings get longer and slower, you can’t go wrong with an outdoor, at-home theater. And while it is possible to cart your TV outside for the occasional movie night, it’s not practical—and it’s certainly not going to have the “wow” factor of a big-screen projector.

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An “at-home theater” sounds like a potentially wallet-bruising commitment, but cobbling together a projector, screen, and speakers can fit any budget or backyard. In fact, upgrading from a TV to a projector system (whether it’s outdoors or inside) is quite functional these days—thanks to projectors that can connect to Wi-Fi, smartphones, gaming systems, and Bluetooth headphones and speakers.

That’s why we’ve found our favorite portable theater equipment, so you can stream your favorite summer flicks on your lawn, from your pool, or inside your home (if the weather isn’t cooperating). Happy streaming!

[Photo: courtesy Wayfair]
Pyle 2800 Lumen Projector
Offering a bright and sharp image thanks to its impressive lumen count, this projector is perfect for streaming before the sun has gone down. Plus, it can throw an image from 50 inches all the way to 200 inches—making it as versatile as all the places you can use it. This projector from Epson (that I have tested and love—it has Bluetooth!) has similar capabilities and goes for $700, making the Pyle a pretty impressive deal at only $316. 

 

[Photo: courtesy Wayfair]
Pyle 1200 Lumens Projector
If you are looking for a more affordable option, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better portable projector under $100 than the Pyle 1200 Lumens Projector. At only $81, this projector throws a pretty crisp full HD, 1080p picture. And because it has several inputs such as HDMI, VGA, VA and a USB port for media playback, you can plug it in to an external speaker, your laptop, and other electronics for a more customized experience.

[Photo: courtesy Wayfair]
Gemmy Industries Fixed Frame Projection Screen
If you don’t have a plain wall to throw a picture on or a place to hang a sheet in your backyard, there’s no better place to project your movies and shows than on an inflatable screen. They are more robust and more reliable than their tripod counterparts, and—to be honest—are way more fun. This 108-inch screen from Gemmy Industries self-inflates in fewer than five minutes and can collapse down into a bag for off-season storage.

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Photo: courtesy Elite Screens]

Elite Screens DIY Wall 3 Series
This super-portable roll-down screen can convert your back deck, wall, garage door, or patio into a movie theater-quality screen, thanks to its thick fabric construction. You really couldn’t get this quality with any sheet, no matter the thread count. Plus, you have the option to pick from three different sizes to suit your needs best: 100-inch, 116-inch, and 135-inch.

Looking for more recommendations? Check out our other handpicked suggestions.

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