In many households, Movie Night is a regularly scheduled event. It’s fun for the whole family, and you can invite the whole neighborhood, if you have room. But what if your main living space cannot accommodate a home theatre (especially one large enough for your movie parties)?
Create a home theater instead, using your porch or sunroom. It’s surprisingly simple.
But there are details you’ll want to consider, if you want to get the most enjoyment from your new space.
Choose the Right Projector
- A projector intended for home theaters – models for office or home cost less, but they won’t live up to Movie Night standards
- Resolution of 16.9
- Contrast of 800:1 or better
- At least 1200 lumens of brightness
- HD compatibility
- Wide-screen imaging – this is optional but can provide better viewing for larger groups
Choose the Right Speakers
Today’s tiny speakers can deliver plenty of great sound, but you’ll want at least two – preferably more – to deliver theater-style surround sound. You may be able to build them into place. Or you can check out our easy-to-install SANUS speaker mounts.
Or you can go wireless, using your iPod or an MP3 as a transmitter. This makes it easier to use multiple speakers and place them strategically, without worrying about outlets and cords. Look for these speaker features:
- Waterproof (not “weatherproof”)
- Longest transmission range
- Rechargeable or solar batteries
Take Special Precautions with Your Electricals
Make sure outlets are convenient, so there are no cords to trip over. And depending on just how “outdoor” your porch is, make sure your projector, TV, and any other equipment are protected from the elements.
Choose a Screen
You can use any size TV for your outdoor home theater. You can also use:
- A white tarp or sheet
- HD-compatible portable screen
- Manual or electric screen, permanently mounted on the wall or ceiling
- Fixed-frame screen (practical only for 3- or 4-season porches)
Porches and Sunrooms are Typically Bright Spots
One reason you love your big, enclosed porch is that it’s filled with natural light, whether it’s screened in or has storm windows. It’s an extra room you can use three or four seasons, not just during the summer. It’s indoor-comfortable, with that pleasant, outdoorsy feeling -- minus the mosquitoes, flies, and yellowjackets.
If you’re going to transform it into a home theater, you’ll want to use it during the day, too – for gaming, exercising to your favorite video, watching early-evening TV programs, etc. Unfortunately, bright natural light, indoor lights, and reflections from windows can play havoc with your viewing experience.
No worries, though. You can always turn off the lights or close blinds on the windows. Better yet, if you’re using a TV as your screen, choosing a full-motion wall mount will enable you to position it so you can reduce annoying glare.
Some TVs have been specifically designed to provide optimal viewing in bright conditions. This article describes the six top models, as rated by the CBS online magazine, CNET.
Now you’re ready for porch-side movie parties. You just have to decide which movie to screen first.