The owners can choose to watch video from a high-def DirecTV DVR, Sony Blu-ray player or a movie from their in-home 400-disc changer. After the movie is over, the owners can treat guests to a light show. Colored LEDs shoot sparks of color in and around the pool. The owners use the Control4 remote to manipulate the effects and to add musical accompaniment.
It’s a lot of high-tech activity for one backyard, but shutting down the systems for the night is a cinch, thanks to the goodnight button. Touching it signals the screen to roll up, the A/V gear to power down and all but few pathway lights leading to the house to switch off.
Outdoor Theater Tips
Invest in a super-bright video projector. Though it’s dark outside, the projector will need to combat light from the moon, stars, porch lights, etc. Look for a projector that can output a minimum of 1,500 lumens.
Select a screen. The best match for a high-lumen projector is a high-intensity screen with a gain of at least 1.3 to 1.
Surround-sound. Doing a 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround sound system outside is best accomplished by following the same placement guidelines as an indoor theater: three in front and surround channels in the sides or back.
Components. If your house is a long way from the planned outdoor theater area, wiring your family room Blu-ray player to it might be a challenge. Consider a dedicated set of components for the outdoor theater, and place them in a well-protected building closer to the projector and screen. You’ll need shorter wiring runs, which will typically yield better video and sound than long wiring runs. Also make sure the components can access the Internet from the outdoor area.
Control. Convenient and portable, a handheld remote is the way to go. An RF model will typically work better than an IR remote. And it never hurts to have it waterproof.
For some more backyard theater ideas, check out more from ProjectorPeople’s backyard page as well as Backyardtheater.com.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.