July 30, 2012 by Grant Clauser
So the next weekend I took it outside. This time I pulled an older Stewart Grayhawk screen out of the basement. At 85 inches this was not the ideal screen. As I wrote earlier, this projector is mighty bright, so you could fill a screen the size of your double garage doors. There are plenty of places online to buy inexpensive outdoor screens for a few hundred bucks (even this one that attaches to your garage door). If this was my projector I’d probably figure out some contraption that would allow me to easily put up a big screen for when the movie mood hit me.
Anyway, I aligned the projector (on a box to raise it up a little) at the screen, made some tweaks to the zoom and focus, then docked my iPhone. On the iPhone I launched the Netflix app and pulled up some fine outdoor entertainment (Conan the Barbarian). With a bottle of wine and some bug spray on the table next to me, I was ready for an evening out.
The picture may not have been a match for the $8,000 JVC I reviewed recently, but it was good, and looked great in my backyard. Blacks looked more gray compared to the black of night, but taking off my “reviewers cap” I sincerely enjoyed the whole thing. The 10 watt stereo speakers sound like what you’d get on a mid-priced stereo iPod dock. They got very loud, loud enough that I needed to turn it down when the fight scenes got too rowdy for fear my neighbors might wonder what was going on. By the way, you can also use it just to play music from the iPod.
This is not a projector for someone looking to build the ultimate home theater, but it’s a great projector for someone who likes to have a toy around for special occasions such as a video game marathon, sharing iPhone photos/videos with friends or hanging out in the back yard for family movie night. After I posted the above picture on my Facebook page I had friends trying to invite themselves over for an evening. You just can’t help but have fun with it.
Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD
Specs and more info
If you’re looking for an easy way to add tunes to your backyard, check out this review.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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