outdoor movie projector
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series DIY Backyard Movie Series

It’s time to impress the neighbors with your backyard movie night and the best way to achieve that is with a quality projector. Picture the big game on a 25-foot screen or your favorite 3D movie. It’s fairly easy to achieve these days. Continuing our series on DIY backyard movie night, this article will walk you through a few things to consider when purchasing full-size projectors and a few projectors we recommend.

Jump To Products

Before we dive in there are a few features that make up full-size projectors that you’ll want to understand.


A projector’s brightness is measured in lumens. The larger the image the brighter the projector needs to be for a clear image, therefore, the more lumens a projector can put out, the clearer the images will be especially when ambient light is present. In a backyard setting projecting 10 – 15 feet away from the screen, a projector with 2000 lumens or greater will give a good picture quality.


It’s best to try to match the projectors resolution with the source your going to be projecting. Most blu-ray players output 1080P HD. Cable providers may output 720P to 1080P. We recommend a projector’s resolution be 720P or greater.

Lamp Life

Lamp life is pretty self-explanatory. It is the projectors average life of the lamp. Lamps generally last 2,000 to 4,000 hours. Lamp life is something to take into consideration depending on how frequently you intend to use your projector.

Connectivity / Video Sources

The last thing to consider is the number of options the projector has for connecting video sources. Remember this is for outdoor use so the less you have to connect and lug out to the backyard with cables and all ie. blu-ray players the better.

What To Look For – At A Glance

Price Range: As a rule of thumb you should be able to find a good entry level home theater projector from $300 – $500 and mid-level projector from $600 – $900 which will provide everything you’re looking for in an outdoor theater projector.
Lumens: at least 2000
Resolution: at least 720P (1080P preffered)
Light Source: LCD, DLP
Inputs: HDMI, USB, VGA
Lamp Hours: at least 20,000 hours depending on frequency of use

A Solid Entry / Mid Level Projector

Optoma H181X Full 3D 720p 3200 Lumen DLP Home Theater Projector with 2 HDMI Ports

Price: $458 on Amazonoutdoor-movie-projector
Rating: 4 out of 5
Resolution: 720P (1080P Compatability) DLP
3D Capability: Yes
Brightness: 3200 Lumens
Connectivity: 2 HDMI, RS-232C, USB, Audio Out
Internal Speakers: Yes 2 (2 Watt)
Wireless: No

Optoma is known for quality projectors and boasts about portability for outdoor use. This projector will give you everything you’ll want for your outdoor theater. In other words, you won’t be in the market next year because your projector is lacking this or that.

Picture quality is good at 720P and the projector is compatible with 1080P video sources as well as 3D. At 3200 lumens, the H181X is bright enough for clear big screen projection up to 300″ diagonally.

There are internal speakers, but the audio out jack allows for external more powerful external speakers.

Mid-level to High-End Projector

BenQ HT-series HT1075 1080P 2,200 ANSI Lumen 3D Full HD Home Theater Projector

Price: $839 on Amazonoutdoor-movie-projector
Rating: 4 out of 5
Resolution: Native Full HD 1080P DLP
3D Capability: Yes
Brightness: 2200 Lumens
Contrast Ratio: 10,000:1
Connectivity: HDMI, HDMI/MHL, USB, Mini USB, Component In, PC, RS-232C, Audio In /Out
Internal Speakers: Yes 2 (10 Watt)
Wireless: Yes (additional wireless adapter required)

BenQ is the number one selling projector brand in North America. The HT1075 has so much versatility it makes it a very sound solution as a backyard movie projector.

A few unique features set this projector apart. The projector has lens shift technology that allows you to place the projector diagonally yet still project on the center of the screen. Additionally there is a wireless adapter kit that allows you to stream full HD 1080P and 3D up to 100′ feet eliminating the cluttered chords necessary to connect cable, blu-ray, and gaming systems.

It’s two 10 watt speakers provide enough sound to where you don’t necessarily have to add external speakers and its sleek lightweight design make it fairly portable.

See It In Action

The BenQ HT1075 and Optoma H181X are solid examples of projectors that will give you everything you need in an outdoor theater projector.

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Series NavigationDIY Backyard Movie Night – Pico Projectors >>
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