Outdoor Projection Advice
Just about any projector can be taken outdoors under the right conditions, and we can help you choose the right package to make the most of your available budget.
So what do you need?
- A Projector!
- A screen or wall to project on to (flat white walls can work ok but a portable screen will give you the best picture quality).
- Output device – DVD player or laptop for films or a games console. You can connect Freeview or Sky set top box but you would need to run a cable from your box to the projector.
- Sound System
Obviously the budget you have will determine the level of performance you get but here is a guideline for you.
Ideally go for a home cinema projector as this will give you the best picture quality especially for watching films.
specifications you should aim for:
- Brightness - 2000 lumens if being used in the evening with low light levels. 5500 lumens or more if your budget allows if you are competing with daylight
- Contrast - 10,000:1 or higher
- Resolution - at least WXGA but for best result 1080p when used with Blu-ray, DVD or gaming consoles.
- Connectivity inputs - Dependent on the projector and components you have but generally look to have at least one HDMI, Composite video and VGA connection.
There are a number of options, if you have a flat wall (preferably white) then this can be used, but to get the best out of the image you may want to consider using a portable floor screen.
You may not want to move all your home cinema equipment outside! So to keep it simple and easy to set-up we suggest the following:
- DVD player
- Games console (Xbox 360 and PS4 will run dvd’s as well)
- Laptop – another option to play a DVD off or for computer games is not advised for HDMI runs
- Sky / Freeview – can be done but you would need a long HDMI cable to run from your sky box or Freeview box to the projector. Over 15mtr run of HDMI cable is not advised so this may not be an option for everyone
Again assuming you don’t want to have to move all your equipment outside so we suggest some portable powered speakers to give you enough sound but wont disturb the neighbours too much!!
Remember, the further back your projector is from the screen, the larger the image will be. You cannot beat the sun so even the brightest projector will be on a loosing battle if you are unable to shade your projection surface from direct sunlight or ambient lights if using the projector in the evening.
A low priced DVD player that is not connected to your current home system is a good investment if you plan to use your garden as an outdoor home cinema. This will save you the hassle of unhooking your components every time you want to take it outside. You may also be able to use a laptop computer with a built in DVD player too.
Last but not least cold beer/wine, BBQ, and few friends and a film and your ready to go!
Use common sense when setting up for your home cinema outdoors. This is by no means an inclusive list of safety advice, but here are a few suggestions for safer enjoyment.
- Check the weather forecast! Rain does not mix well with electrics!
- Keep power cords out of the way as much as possible to avoid tripping.
- Keep electronics away from pools & BBQs. (Away from all heat & liquid sources for that matter!)
- Consult your projector owner's manual for specifications on outdoor use
- Do not leave your equipment outside when not in use and put away once you have finished avoiding moisture/dew getting into your kit and causing potential damage.