Ready to take your favorite movies to the big screen in your backyard? Continuing our series on DIY backyard movie night, this article will take a look at the projection options out there and which projectors make the most sense for your outdoor movie projector. With countless hours worth of projector insights and reviews to read on-line, I’ll widdle down what you need to know and suggest a few products that I think work best.
First off, there a few different projector segments to take into consideration.
Pico Projectors or hand held’s are small and portable but generally less powerful than their full-size counterparts.
Full-size projectors come with many different options and viewing capabilities and can fill up the largest screens but are less portable.
Lastly, smart or connected projectors are offered in both segments and make streaming content that much easier in an outdoor setting.
Most had held or Pico projectors only weigh a couple of pounds and feature HDMI or VGA inputs. There are plenty of manufacturers who’ve built LED and DLP capabilities into the latest projectors which can put out an image at around 100″ in low light. The higher end projectors reach upwards of 140″ which isn’t bad for hardware that is the size of your palm.
I like these in an outdoor setting because they are battery powered and can run from 1 – 3 hours depending on the model. They are also obviously very portable making them an easy solution for your outdoor movie theater.
What To Expect – At A Glance
Price Range: $50 – $450 depending on the model and capabilities
Weight: 1 – 3 pounds
Battery Run Time: 1 – 3 hours
Light Source: LED, DLP
Inputs: HDMI or Mini-HDMI, VGA, USB, MicroSD Slot
Lamp Hours: 15,000 to 20,000 hours
RIF6 CUBE – 2 Inch Pico DLP High-Res Mobile Projector- 120 Inch Display, 20,000 Hour LED Life, Mini-HDMI, 90 Minutes Battery Life, Pocket Size Home Cinema
If your are going to go for a small projector you might as well go for micro and the Cube is literally 2 inches. It is very well designed and its aluminum frame makes it the perfect choice for a backyard projector as it will provide the durability needed.
One of the biggest challenges in creating a backyard movie theater is connecting sources to the projector to stream your content. The cube has this covered with cables included to stream your smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac laptop. Note you will need to purchase an HDMI adapter for your iOS devices. This combined with a battery reduces the cords you’ll need to run through your yard.
The LED lamp life is 20,000 hours which is on the high end for Pico projectors and the projection size can reach up to 120″.
ZTE’s Hybrid Spro and Spro2 Wi-Fi Projector
In the smart Pico projector category consider the Spro and Spro 2 from ZTE. These 5″x5″ projectors double as a mobile hotspot and run on the Android operating system.
When projecting, battery life runs about 2.5 hours and 10 hours when used as a WIFI hotspot. The Spro projection size can reach up to 120″.
Best of all, because of the built-in wireless technology you can stream to the projector directly from you phone, tablet, or laptop wirelessly. Furthermore the Spro has a 4 inch touch screen (Spro 2 has a 5″ screen) so you can connect directly to the Google Play store from the projector to download streaming services like Netflix, ESPN Go, Hulu + etc. Stream all of the content you like directly from the device completely eliminating the need to run any cables to the device which is a game changer in an outdoor setting. The Spro and Spro2 are priced between $399 and $499 depending on the wireless contract.
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Have a Pico projector you recommend? Or a backyard movie theater idea? Let us know…leave a comment below.