5 Easy Steps to Build an Outdoor Movie Theater in Your Own Backyard

Last Updated on July 19, 2021 by Karen Maldonado

Setting up an outdoor movie theater in your own backyard a great way to spend quality personal time with your family and friends, and have some fun in the process. More than ever, especially when the world is getting back to a normal way of live after COVID, now is the time to assemble with your friends or family and enjoy your favorite movies outdoors in a safe manner.

This article will guide you step-by-step to creating your own backyard movie theater easily.

Best time of day to setup your outdoor movie theater

The best time to set up your outdoor movie theater equipment is after sunset, when it starts getting dark. This guarantees that you get a brighter picture from your projector this will ensure clear and crisp video images.

One thing to keep in mind is the size of your backyard, this will determine how big your screen should be, and how far away you projector needs to be from the screen.

Step 1: Pick your Projector

When choosing the best projector for outdoor movies keep in mind that the more lumens, the better. Lumens is the brightness output of the projector.

We recommend between 3,000 to 4,000 Lumens.

One such projector is the BenQ MH733 which outputs 4,000 Lumens of brightness. In addition the BenQ offers full HD resolution 1920 x 1080.

BenQ MH733 1080P Business Projector | 4000 Lumens for...
  • SUPERB IMAGE QUALITY: 4000 Lumens , Full HD (1920x1080), 16,000:1 contrast ratio, 16:9 aspect ratio.If you prefer images with that quality, The brightness level of the projected image will change accordingly when you switch between different input signals.For best display picture results, you should select and use an input signal which outputs at the projector’s native resolution.Brilliant Color utilizes a new color-processing algorithm If you prefer images with that quality,select On
  • FLEXIBILITY FOR Setup: With 1.3x Zoom, 100”@2.5m-3.3m, 2D Keystone, Auto Vertical Keystone, Corner Fit Correction
  • LAMP SAVE MODE: 15,000hr long lamp life to lower the cost of ownership

This combination of high Lumens and the high resolution is perfect for large screens and big backyards.

Another less expensive option is the InFocus IN136 which also outputs 4,000 Lumens of brightness but it does not have the HD resolution.

InFocus IN136 DLP WXGA 4000 Lumens, 3X HDMI, VGA, 3D...
  • Wage (1280 x 800) resolution; 28, 500: 1 contrast ratio and up to 4000 lumens for depth of image and life-like colors
  • Tech station compatibility allows you to simply insert your Google Chromecast, Intel computer stick, Fire TV stick, or other Fire devices into the projectors Tech station HDMI Bay and turn your projector into an all in one classroom solution
  • Save energy with value that lasts: long life lamp of up to 15, 000 hours when used in dynamic mode

It offers 1,280 x 800 resolution which will still work on medium-sized screens.

Step 2: Pick a Screen

The second step after choosing a projector is picking the best screen for your outdoor movie theater. Screens come in a variety of sizes. We at Tech Gadgets Today recommend the following outdoor projector screens:

Elite Screens which offer folding screens that are easy to set up.

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Elite Screens Yard Master 2, 120-inch Outdoor Indoor...
  • 120-inch Diagonal, 16:9 Aspect Ratio. View Size: 59.0" H x 104.7" W. Overall Size: 88.9" H x 109.8" W x 36.7" Leg Size. Silver Aluminum Frame. Front Projection
  • Projector Screen Material: CineWhite UHD-B (Tensioned Matte White), 1.3 Gain. 4K Ultra HD and Active 3D Projection Ready. Features 180 degree viewing angle with fully Black backed Front Projection. ISF, for Accurate color points, Dynamic Range, and Color Temperature. Easy to clean with soap and water. Compatible with standard, short-throw and ultra-short-throw projectors.
  • Assembles in minutes without the use of tools! Lightweight aluminum square tube construction easily transports with included padded carrying bag. Projector screen is mildly weather resistant, but should not be left exposed to the elements for extended periods of time. For maximum longevity, disassemble screen and store away indoors.

Keep in mind your backyard size, The bigger the backyard the bigger screen that you need.

For example with the InFocus IN136 you need 11-ft 10-in between the projector and the screen for a 100-in diagonal screen size.
If you use the smaller screen, such as the Epson Duet 80-inch screen, then you can do with less distance.
Check the projection distance calculators that come with your specific projector.

Step3: Choose a Video Source

The easiest way to stream is through a Roku streaming stick which can be directly and easily connected to the projector’s HDMI inputs port.

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Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Device with...
  • Wireless that goes the distance: Basement rec room Backyard movie night Bring ‘em on. The long-range wireless receiver gives you extended range and a stronger signal for smooth streaming even in rooms farther from your router
  • Brilliant picture quality: Experience your favorite shows with stunning detail and clarity—whether you’re streaming in HD, 4K, or HDR, you’ll enjoy picture quality that’s optimized for your TV with sharp resolution and vivid color
  • Tons of power, tons of fun: Snappy and responsive, you’ll stream your favorites with ease—from movies and series on Apple TV, Prime Video, and Netflix, to cable alternatives like Sling, enjoy the most talked-about TV across thousands of channels

Or you can also connect your laptop through an HDMI cable to a your outdoor movie theater projector.

If your Wi-Fi connection does not reach outside the house you can use the Wi-Fi range extender.

If you don’t have Wi-Fi at all then you can use a DVD player or a Blu-ray disc player like the Sony BDP s6700 It’s connected directly through an HDMI cable to your projector and watch those movies that are on Blu-ray in your collection.

Step 4: Pick a Speaker System

An outdoor movie theater experience can be less than optimal if you do not have some decent outdoor speakers.

For the best experience we recommend a pair of powered speakers with high-powered active passive speaker PA system.

Wireless Portable PA Speaker System - 1800W High...
  • 1800 WATT POWER: This portable high powered 2 way full range audio projection loudspeaker PA system has a maximum power output of 1800 watt peak power / 900 watt RMS so you can play your favorite tracks as loud as you want and with style
  • 12” SUBWOOFER 1” TWEETER: This active + passive pair PA speaker kit is equipped with 12” subwoofers, high performance 1” tweeters and compression driver w/ titanium diaphragm for surround stereo sound reproduction and impressive bass response
  • COMPATIBLE WITH BLUETOOTH: This PA loud speaker is compatible with bluetooth for wireless audio streaming and works with devices like iPhone, android mobile phone, iPad, tablet, PC. Ideal for personal indoor home use or for outdoor DJ party

It features dual 8-inch loudspeakers two speakers stands and even comes with a wired handheld microphone in case you want to adjust the audience during the movie be sure to pick up a 3.5 mm cable that’s long enough to connect the speakers to the projector.

Step 5: Choose a good Power Cord

You need the best outdoor extension cords on power strips. The Amazon Basics power extension cord is a popular option.


Prepare your outdoor grill and start preparing the food, to enjoy your dinner while you watch your favorite movies in your backyard.

Don’t forget bug spray to protect against mosquitoes and the other insects, so it can enjoy a distraction free movie night in your own backyard.


Items discussed in article


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Last update on 2021-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API