April 17, 2008 by Gordon Jones
As my editor will verify, I’ve become somewhat obsessed lately on the idea of building a backyard theater. Now even I have the good sense to realize some of my enthusiasm is nothing more than spring fever (last year it was fish pond). But somehow 2008 feels different… and with a deal like this the odds of me actually following through are tantalizingly realistic (don’t ask about the fish).
First, let me back up and explain what a “backyard theater” is. EH has posted a lot of outdoor uber theaters in it’s pages, most so far out of our budget it’s laughable (if you’re not laughing, you’re crying). Backyard theaters take a more every-day-guy approach. Often, they’re nothing more than a bed sheet, a projector off ebay, and your kids receiver/speakers. And to be honest, that low-budget feel is half the draw - nights like these with friends and neighbors aren’t supposed to be full-blown cotillions. Rather, they’re meant for sharing an igloo cooler and your favorite movie.
If this is a project you’d be into, I highly recommend doing a bit of research as there’s a plethora of great sites out there dedicated to nothing but taking the home theater outside. To get a taste, hit the forums at BackyardTheater.com and go from there.
Once you’ve sampled the above options and advice, you will appreciate how crazy the price is on today’s Gemmy Widescreen inflatable screen. At 144” diagonal (12’ wide, 12’ tall) the screen is perfect for 16:9 shows and comes with a integrated pump, stakes, tethers, storage bag and even an extra fuse in case the kids try it out in the pool (our lawyers are gonna love that line). The frame is made from weatherproof/fade-resistant nylon and weighs about 25lbs in all. Setup and breakdown time is minimal and storing the entire screen is at most one shelf in your garage. This widescreen model is also slightly raised to accommodate multiple rows of lawn chairs and hammocks. A cheaper version is set lower to the ground.
Reviews are glowing for the entire line, mostly due to the bang-for-buck nature. Most will admit these are not high-end screens and may only last a couple seasons of use, but compared to the $1k-12k ticket price for the competition, it’s a no-brainer.
Sale Price: $198.00
Deal Ends: n/a
Buy now: www.walmart.com
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