Nothing beats watching your favorite movie or television show under the stars. A movie party outside is a terrific way to get the whole family out of the house and into the fresh air.
But you don’t have to watch your favorite movie in your living room through the windows. The greatest outdoor movie screens allow you to take your entertainment outside without sacrificing quality. You can create an incredible home theater even in your garden if you pair it with a good projector.
Finding the greatest screens and where to find them in our complete guide doesn’t have to be difficult.
Best outdoor movie screens
1. Elite Screens Yard Master 2
This massive screen has everything you’ll need for a larger movie night. Coupled with a powerful projector, it has enough room to display your favorite movies in excellent definition at 120 inches across when measured diagonally.
The screen is white and has a gain of 1.1. It can reflect light so brilliantly that it may be used both during the day and at night. Its material is mildew-resistant; if it gets dirty overnight, it’s simple to clean with soap and water. This is ideal for moviegoers who want to unwind rather than squint at their screens to see what’s happening.
The screen has a 160° viewing angle and is made of sturdy black-backed plastic. The screen is held in place by a strong frame of light aluminum square tubes. With the provided carrying bag, you can effortlessly transport these from one backyard to another.
- Simple to clean and store
- Simple to put together
- Made of high-quality materials
- Wide viewing angle
- Easily blown over strong winds
2. Mdbebbr 120-Inch Projection Screen
This is another screen with a fixed frame. It does not, however, come with a stand that raises it off the ground. This screen is supposed to be hung on the wall or attached to the ceiling using hooks or nails. As a result, the frame is made of a single lightweight and foldable piece of cloth. It’s not inflatable nor as durable as a fixed frame screen.
Instead, the material is crease-resistant and capable of absorbing and reflecting light. The fabric is an all-natural polyester fabric that reflects light more sharply and brightly than many other fabric screens. While watching your movie, the anti-creasing design ensures that there will be no creases. The cloth can be cleaned without causing damage even with these features.
The equally spaced hook holes strategically positioned along the screen’s perimeter make setup a breeze. The screen is set up for 16:9 projectors and has a viewing angle of 160 degrees. It’s a terrific choice for larger movie parties because of its superior viewpoint. The backline around the screen’s edge makes it simple to position your projector at the proper projection distance.
- It’s simple to move
- Made from a single, machine-washable fabric piece
- There are easy hanging holes on the back
- Exceptionally wide field of view
- You’ll need a place to hook or hang it
- At most, the gain is 1.0
3. Jumbo 20 Feet Inflatable Outdoor And Indoor Theater Projection Screen
The KHOMO GEAR Jumbo 20-Feet Inflatable Outdoor and Indoor Theater Projector Screen is an inflatable solution that should work well in any house or outdoor setting. The 20-foot size isn’t likely to take up most rooms. Despite its 16:9 aspect ratio, it can still accommodate a big group of friends and family.
Velcro allows the screen to be readily affixed to the inflatable frame. As a result, raking it down to clean it is as simple as it gets. The screen is set up quickly and easily with the help of a blower. To keep the inflatable screen in place, ropes and stakes are included. When you’re done watching, a zipper is built to release the air quickly. Also included is a storage bag for storing the outdoor screen until next time.
- It’s a good size
- The picture clarity on the screen is excellent
- It’s simple to set up
- The blower is included with the package
- Both front and back projections are offered
- It’s simple to set up and takedown
- Doesn’t have a chance of collapsing
- The fan that inflates is quite silent.
- Allows no ambient background light to pass through
- It can be risky to use in windy circumstances
- Deflating and putting away might be tough for one person
- If you don’t have good speakers, the blower will be a little distraction
- The frame isn’t very durable
- The viewing angle on the screen isn’t ideal
4. Abdtech 100-Inch Projector Screen With Stand
This projector screen has a diagonal of 100 inches and a viewing angle of 160 degrees. It’s one of the greatest outdoor movie screens for larger gatherings or arrangements that necessitate a dispersed audience. Polyester and spandex are used to make the screen. This screen material is thicker than most others, allowing for brighter image quality.
A three-sided black border adds to the screen’s strength. This is ideal for setting up your projector and determining the appropriate distance for placement.
The screen is held aloft by light aluminum poles that do not easily rust or deform. These stands, on the other hand, aren’t very well supported. Under severe winds or if someone bumps into it, the movie screen has a danger of tipping over. Keep this in mind as you decide where you want to put it.
Because the frame and fabric are attached as a single piece, you can fold the screen when it’s time to move it. It’s lightweight, weighing only 5.7 pounds in total.
- The screen is a good size
- For large groups, a wide viewing angle is beneficial
- It is simple to move from one location to another
- The screen is made of a tough material that won’t break easily.
- It is more readily knocked over than other screens.
5. Camp Chef Outdoor Big Screen
For campers, this outdoor movie screen is great. Rather than depending on unstable platforms, it is put up by driving boundary stakes into the ground. This makes it excellent for setting up on uneven terrain or lumpy ground, as you’d find in a campground.
The rear of the movie screen is black. This shuts out ambient light from the back and boosts the main fabric’s light-reflecting abilities. When completely expanded, the screen measures 144 inches diagonally, making it suitable for both large gatherings and small families.
It usually only takes a few minutes to set up. Several guiding lines are included in the purchase for securing or stabilizing the frame. When it’s time to relocate it to a new location or store it, simply pack everything into the supplied carrying bag.
Overall, the versatility to place this screen almost anyplace makes it the greatest option for off-road moviegoers. It isn’t the best in screen gain, but it will suffice for most movies.
- Excellent style of setup
- It can be placed almost anywhere
- For groups, the large viewing screen and angle size are ideal.
- It comes with a handy carrying bag
- The screen gain might be improved
Understanding how outdoor movie watching differs from the indoor viewing
People who wish to create a spectacular outdoor theater already have projectors and projection screens that function well indoors. They expect the same equipment to work just as well outside, only to be disappointed by a drive-in-like experience.
When you view a projected movie indoors, you’re usually (and ideally) in a dark and controlled environment. This provides the viewing experience you’d get in a cinema, but it’s never completely dark outside, even after sunset.
Ambient light from passing headlights, home lights, street lamps, your fire pit, your BBQ grill, the moon, and even the stars on a clear night will compete with your out-of-house projector and screen that can compensate for the light sources’ interference.
Types of outdoor projector screens
Several open-air projection screens are available, including retractable, foldable, tripods, inflatable, and screen paint. Each type of screen is ideal for a variety of outdoor scenarios.
Retractable outdoor screens
A permanently placed retractable projector screen is the way to go if you’re a homeowner who enjoys family movie evenings outside on a deck or patio.
You can roll down an external manual or motorized projection screen to watch a movie and then roll it back up when you’re done.
Because of their weather and bug-proof casing, these roll-up display panels can be left outside in all weather. Even in windy conditions, outside retractable screens are tensioned using cable guides and weighted dowels for excellent stability.
They’re available in various sizes, allowing you to choose the ideal solution for alfresco media entertainment on a patio, pool deck, or other outside location.
A projector screen that can be blown up to a big size is known as an inflatable projector screen.
For outdoor movie needs, inflatable outdoor projector screens provide enormous size, support, and convenience. You can acquire a large blow-up projector screen for a low price that is ready to project in just a few minutes. These air-filled screens provide excellent picture quality and are constructed of weather-resistant material.
Self-inflating screens rely on fans or air pumps to inflate the frame and keep it from collapsing. The projection display surface is affixed to the inflated frame. (So don’t worry about blowing one up with your lung power.)
They come with their support system; however, depending on the wind on your lawn, you may need to add some more grounding. The last thing you want is a pinhole prick that causes the setup to collapse during the movie, so invest in your blow-up screen. Windy circumstances are also better handled by a well-made blow-up cinema screen.
You should acquire a smaller backyard inflatable screen that allows you to blow it up before the movie starts so that the blower does not run the entire movie.
We propose buying a blowup screen with a constant air source for a greater outside experience. Because it’s easier for air to escape from a larger inflatable screen, the screen may begin to shrink before the movie is over.
While these blowers may create noise, they’ve been built far quieter than you imagine. Furthermore, with a huge outdoor movie setup, you’ll have substantially more powerful speakers to drown out the noise from the blowers.
Foldable outdoor projector screens are ideal for smaller, temporary home theater setups in the backyard. Unfold the structure, then attach the surface material and legs before projecting. It’s as simple as that. You can put one up in any part of your yard.
When not in use, a foldable projector screen for your yard is normally composed of lightweight aluminum and comes with either a carrying box or a bag for easy storage.
If you don’t plan to make outdoor movie nights a regular occurrence but still want superb images for the films you do want to watch outside, folding frame projector screens are a terrific low-cost option.
Be careful not to use one of these screens in anything stronger than a moderate breeze since they may float away.
Outdoor tripod screens, like foldable cinema screens, are a terrific low-cost option for the occasional family movie night. Simply place the tripod on the table and lower the screen. That’s all there is to it. Backyard tripod screens are also wonderful for watching movies in the great outdoors because they’re lightweight and easy to transport.
Tripod screens are smaller than outdoor projector screens, so they’re greater for modest backyard groups.
Projector screen paint
Last but not least, projector screen paint can be used to create a permanent display surface. While it may appear that you can simply paint a wall white and call it a day, outdoor projector screen paint is designed to provide an optimal surface for projecting.
Titanium oxide and other chemicals are used in the formulation of home projector paints to produce extremely sharp, high-resolution images.
You can either use one of your house’s walls or create a freestanding wall for projecting on, similar to a drive-in movie theater. Some folks even use outside projector screen paint to decorate their garage.
An outdoor wall painted with projector screen pain will not be able to generate a full 4K resolution image because you won’t be able to make it smooth. For a textured surface, the pixels are simply too small. If you want to get the most out of your UHD projector, couple it with a 4K projector screen.
What you should look for in an outdoor movie screen
When choosing an outdoor movie screen for your next showing, remember these crucial considerations to help you find the best screen for your needs.
It’s crucial to consider the viewing angle. This metric determines how far to the left or right a viewer can sit while still being able to observe a video properly. The broader the viewing angle, the further someone can sit to the left or right and still enjoy a movie.
The material of the movie screen and how light is reflected on it play a function in determining the viewing angle. Only those sitting towards the center of the viewing angle will receive a good view of the movie because subpar movie screens may poorly reflect light to the sides. Stay away from these screens if you’re planning a big movie night with many people.
Choose an outdoor movie screen with a wide or high viewing angle for larger events. A lower viewing angle is fine if your outdoor movie screen will only be utilized by a few people or is large enough for everyone to sit roughly in the middle.
The cinema screen’s fabric material can affect how well light is reflected at different angles, hence the screen’s efficacy. Regardless of the native resolution of the video file, the fabric has an impact on the final resolution of the movie you project. The contrast levels of the images portrayed on the screen can also be affected by the material color of the screen.
Most movies benefit from white screens, which give adequate contrast for most colors across the spectrum. Gray screens, on the other hand, can be a fantastic choice if you plan to watch movies that are dimly lit or have a lot of darker tones.
Gray screens are a fantastic option to utilize your outdoor movie screen during the day. During the day, white cinema screens might be overly bright, resulting in a poor movie image. However, keep in mind that to display white colors in their full brilliance on gray screens, higher powerful movie projectors are required.
To avoid ambient light from shining through and impairing the intensity of your image, look for black-backed displays. It’s always preferable to be black-backed.
It’s also important to evaluate the “gain” of an outdoor movie screen. A cinema screen’s gain measures how reflective the fabric is.
A gain of 1.0 should reflect all light directed at the fabric’s surface with the same intensity or brightness as when it was first applied. Higher gains will, of course, reflect a brighter picture than the projector’s starting light brightness. Gains with lower values, by definition, lessen the image’s total brightness.
Despite this, most outdoor movie screens have a gain rating of around 1.0. If you’re not sure when you’ll use the screen or if you plan to use it both throughout the day and at night, go for one with this gain rating.
An outdoor movie screen size is just as significant as a standard television. However, remember that bigger isn’t necessarily better.
Larger outdoor cinema screens allow more people to sit at the optimal viewing angle and enjoy the film to its full potential. On the other hand, smaller outdoor cinema screens can focus the projected image in more detail and quality.
Large outdoor cinema screens must distribute the projected film pictures to fill the screen’s borders. As a result, a lower resolution or fewer pixels per inch is required. The resulting film will be hazier than one shown on a smaller outdoor movie screen.
You should strive to seat yourself according to the size of your movie screen. Ordinarily, 1080p movie projectors assume that the audience is 1 to 1.5 times the screen size. In this example, you’d calculate the diagonal distance to determine the size of the outdoor movie screen.
Alternatively, multiply the screen’s viewing height by three. Calculate the appropriate viewing distance based on the screen size by multiplying this number by twelve. 4K Ultra HD movie projectors, on the other hand, are so good at presenting ideal imagery that you can sit at the same distance from the screen as its diagonal dimension.
Type: fixed or inflatable?
Finally, decide whether you want an outdoor movie screen with a permanent frame or one that is inflatable.
Outdoor movie screens with fixed frames are similar to ordinary televisions and are either mounted on the wall or supported by a stand or legs. These are easier to maintain but are often heavier than inflatable screens and more susceptible to sun and moisture damage. On the other hand, fixed frame movie screens never risk deflating during a movie.
The use of inflatable cinema screens is highly convenient. It takes a few minutes to set them up, and they can be deflated for easy storage when not in use. The blowers needed to inflate most inflatable movie screens are included.
However, while they are light and easy to transport, they are also vulnerable to physical harm, especially if left in your yard. The movie screen will collapse over time if even a little hole emerges in the frame. If you use the screen regularly, you’ll need to check for damage and repair it as soon as possible.
Easy to clean
A moist cloth can be used to clean all of the screens listed below. Don’t worry if you get a little dust and particles from your on-the-go viewing experience. PVC, polyester, or a combination of the two are used to make the screens, which makes them extremely durable.
When you set up your outdoor projector screen, be sure it remains put. Wind can swiftly derail an evening’s festivities, so steadiness is essential.
The screens for outdoor cinemas are designed to be both huge and light. As a result, they can readily operate as a sail on a boat, catching the wind and quickly blowing over. The more surface area the wind catches on the screen, the more probable it is to tumble over.
Make sure you have pegs, stakes, and ropes to secure the screen to the ground, especially if it’s a huge outdoor movie screen. If possible, consider adding more weight and strategically situating the screen away from the wind.
For outdoor movie screens, getting a tensioned projector screen is extremely vital. If you don’t use a tensioned projection surface, you’ll be projecting on a rough surface, and every wrinkle and fold line will be visible.
Furthermore, suppose you don’t acquire a tensioned outdoor projector screen. In that case, you’ll be viewing movies with many discomforts because every tiny gust of wind will cause the surface to ripple, taking you out of the immersive movie experience.
Setting up your outdoor movie screen
Here are some pointers on how to set up your outdoor projector and screen.
Ensure the outdoor movie screen isn’t facing any direct light sources when putting it up (aside from the projector). The final image will be of higher quality as a result of this. You should also think about where you’ll put the projector. Remember that most projectors require access to a power outlet, which may limit your selections.
Remember to leave enough space for the audience while setting up the projector. Calculate the appropriate viewing distance based on the screen size as specified above. Then, once you have a general notion of where your audience members will be sitting, put the projector on.
Finally, consider covering the movie screen if you foresee light rain or drizzle.
Best outdoor movie screen brands
Here are the top 5 outdoor movie screen manufacturers:
- Elite Screen: Elite Screen has a long history in the industry. They create projection devices for home and mobile use and high-quality displays to display them on.
- Mdbebbr: Mdbebbr is a company specializing in various sizes and shapes of cinema screens. They’re noted for their wide range of products, as they have a screen for almost any application.
- Khomo Gear: Khomo Gear is a company that sells outdoor furniture and accessories. Other inflatable items, such as seats and swings, are available.
- Abdtech: Although Abdtech concentrates more on projectors than screens, this only means they know what to include in their products.
- Camp Chef: Camp Chef isn’t the only company that makes outdoor cinema screens. They also provide camping supplies for a range of experiences, so they know what it takes to build a durable piece of outdoor gear.
Tips for the best outdoor theater
- Invite your neighbors, or at the very least let them know that there will be life-size images and possibly some extra noise in your backyard.
- Without the approval of the movie distributor, do not charge entrance. It is illegal, however, how appealing it may be. Check the rules in your area.
- The optimal time to start backyard events is about dusk (just like at the drive-in).
- Power lines should be kept out of the way as much as possible.
- Inclement weather should be avoided.
- Pools, BBQs, your neighbor’s dog, and that obnoxious child down the street should all be kept away from gadgets. Before you set up, turn off your sprinkler system.
- Keep in mind that your projector isn’t a coaster.
- For details on how to operate your projector outside, consult the owner’s manual.
Is there anything else you should know about outdoor movie screens? Here are some popular queries and their replies.
What screen is best for my projector?
The aspect ratio of your projector determines this. The aspect ratio of HD TV movie projectors is commonly 16:9. This is a regular occurrence in almost all forms of visual media.
This projector requires a normal widescreen outdoor movie screen, supported by most movie screens. Projectors with a 4:3 aspect ratio are preferable for media created on laptops or tablets.
Find an outdoor movie screen that is more like a square presentation screen that you find in schools if your projector has native SXGA+, XGA, UXGA, or QXGA resolutions.
What is the ideal distance between my projector and my screen?
Typically, this distance (also known as the “throw distance”) is calculated through trial and error. Turn on your projector and play a few test clips before seating your audience for the movie.
Feel free to move the projector around until the image is balanced and fits inside the confines of your screen.
Remember that your projector can’t be too close to the screen. As a result, the image will be fuzzy or will not fill the entire screen.
Can I mount my screen on a tripod?
In most cases, no. To be steady, most outdoor movie screens require dedicated mounts.
Can I watch movies on my outdoor movie screen during the hottest part of the day?
However, achieving a good photograph within this window may be tough. We recommend a high-lumen projector and a high-gain screen if you want to use an outdoor movie screen frequently during the brightest portions of the day.
Can I have a movie theater in my backyard without a screen?
You can construct your screen out of anything: a sheet, the side of your house, the garage door, a painter’s tarp, and so on. A projector and a sheet between two trees made for some of the nicest outdoor movie theaters we’ve seen.
However, you may choose a more refined appearance for your outdoor theater. Manufacturers have recently released a plethora of reasonably priced outdoor screens.
There is bound to be an outdoor screen that meets your demands and budget, ranging from cinema-grade material that can be attached to your garage to standalone displays that are set up in minutes.
What are the materials used to make outdoor movie screens?
The majority of outdoor cinema screens are constructed of 210D Oxford nylon cloth. The water-resistant, lightweight fabric is built to withstand damage and filth.
It’s an excellent choice for outdoor movie displays because it can withstand the environment. However, it is widely utilized in manufacturing bags, tents, and even shoes.
Is it possible for outdoor movie screens to become wet?
While it’s advised that you take down your outdoor movie screen after each viewing, they can get damp. The 210D Oxford fabric is often used and is made to last.
It’s made tant to dirt and moisture, so watching it in the rain shouldn’t be a problem. However, you should always maintain your projector dry to avoid electrical problems.
However, as everyone who owns an outdoor screen, especially an inflatable movie, knows, you should avoid putting up any form of the screen during windy circumstances because they’re effectively giant sails that can fly away in high winds.
The Elite Screens Yard Master 2 is generally the best of the best. You can’t go wrong with this option if you have an outdoor movie party in a regular backyard. Its ease of use, wide viewing angle, and high grain rating makes it a good choice for watching high-definition movies.
Alternatively, campers may like the Camp Chef Outdoor Big Screen, which is ideal for uneven ground. Consider the Mdbebbr 120-Inch Projection Screen if your party will be on a terrace. This is a great option if you already have a blank wall that needs to be filled.
It’s entirely up to you to choose the ideal outdoor movie screen! You’ll have a terrific time if you choose the appropriate one. After building your outdoor theater, check out some additional backyard landscaping ideas. Best of luck!
Last update on 2023-02-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API