How to Shop for Outdoor Movie Projector

How to Shop for an Outdoor Movie Projector

Watching a movie outdoors is an entertaining pastime that you can do when the weather is nice and cool outside. Outdoor movie projectors can even let you set up a backyard theater where neighbors, friends, and family can gather for a fun night. Of course, its not just about this the quality of the movie you’re watching, it also about sharing a fun moment with friends and family.  

However, when you survey the market and see multiple options, you get confused about what you should consider and which ones are the best. But if you don’t have prior experience with projectors, buying an outdoor movie projector can be a little tricky. If you don’t consider the right factors, you may end up with the wrong outdoor projector, which could ruin the entire experience.

Shopping for an Outdoor Movie Projector: Factors to Consider

When you don’t know a lot about outdoor projectors, you can sometimes buy the wrong one. It is essential to buy the one that fits your requirements and your environment too. Essentially, a projector’s quality and selection depend on where and how you’re going to set it up.

For instance, if you wish to set it up in your backyard at night, then you likely won’t need high lumens compared to when you’re in a brighter place. Remember, a projector needs to have higher lumens if there’s more ambient light.

Besides, you should focus on other factors that make up an outdoor projector.

Aspect Ratio

When looking at a description of a movie projector, you may notice that there are some numbers like 16:9 or 4:3. This is the projector’s aspect ratio. Now the ideal aspect ratio for a projector is 16:9; this is because it is the modern widescreen format that most movies feature.

However, if you’re usually watching television shows from the 90s, then you can buy a screen with a 4:3 ratio. This aspect ratio is the better old-fashioned format.

It makes sense to opt for a 16:9 ratio since the experience of watching a movie that fits the entire screen is unmatched.

Contrast Ratio

Essentially, the ratio of light to dark in a picture is the contrast ratio. The sharpness and vividness of a movie depends on the contrast ratio and ambient light, which are inversely proportional. Contrast enhances details and makes the pictures sharper.

Your contrast ratio should be as high as the quality of what you’re watching. The ratio contrast of 3000:1 means that the lightest spots are 3000 times brighter than the darkest ones.

Usually, you will need higher contrast in areas that are dimmer but comparatively lighter. Beware that the smallest amount of brightness in the area will diminish the contrast no matter how high it is. Remember this when you’re looking at contrast ratios.

Throw Ratio

The throw ratio is the distance from your projector to the screen and the screen width. If you opt for a projector with an inadequate or a wrong throw ratio, you may experience an over bleed on your screen. A bigger screen and setup distance means you will need higher ratios.

For instance, if the throw ratio is moderate (2.0) and the screen is five feet wide, you will need to place your projector at least ten feet away from the screen.

You can adjust the variables and divide them to determine the precise ratio. The exact ratio is usually available for each brand and all models; you have to know the amount of distance you will have and the screen’s size.

The formula for an accurate throw ratio is ratio x width = distance.


Outdoor venues have excessive light, and there is no immediate way to control that. In a cinema or a room, you can usually completely control the amount of light coming in from external sources, i.e., hallways, windows, shops, streetlights, etc. Even if you manage to relocate your viewing area to somewhere else, you can’t control the moonlight, stars, and other natural light sources.  

Brightness is either measured in candle feet or lumens. This is defined as a light being emitted by a candle from a foot away. An average 75W incandescent bulb emits around 1100 lumens. If your area has more lighting, you need to opt for a projector with higher lumens.


If you tend to watch video content or movies often, then you may already know this term. Resolution measures the number of pixels in the predetermined areas. The standard resolution is 1280 x 720. The resolution of 1280 × 768 is often available in most of the new projectors. And the 1920 × 1080 resolution (mainly used for gaming or HDR purposes) is only found in the most expensive projection systems on the market, like YABER Projector 5G.

Adapters and Ports

One of the main reasons why modern projectors are popular is that they are compatible with almost every media-playing device. This allows you to play movies through various mediums, including laptops, DVD players, smartphones, BluRay players, tablets, USBs, etc.

If you wish to have access to all adapters and ports, ensure the one you’re buying is fit to operate through all these mediums. If not, it’s most likely not worth the investment.


When you’re thinking of buying a projector for the outdoors, you should also see if it is portable. You need to make sure that you can wrap it up fast. When a projector stays out in the wind and dust for too long, it’s more likely to get damaged.

Portable projectors are easier to set-up and wrap-up, which will save both time and money. Portable projectors perform better and have better longevity.

Top Rated Outdoor Movie Projectors

Choosing the ideal movie projector usually comes down to your needs and preferences. But the top-rated outdoor movie projectors include:

The Freestyle

The Samsung Freestyle is one of the most popular projection systems in the market. It has premium 360° surround sound with built in Alexa. You can mount this wherever you want, and it can rotate up to 180 degrees. It’s a versatile projector that allows you to watch movies from all angles.

It’s great for portability and streaming your favorite movies, shows, events, etc. Freestyle also comes with an extra battery pack, so you don’t need to worry about searching for an outlet when you’re outdoors. You also get three color options, green, pink, and beige.

GooDee 2022 Upgraded Native 1080P

With a 1080p resolution and its affordable price, it’s worthy of being on your list of choices. It has an updated cooling system, an advanced fan design, and reduced noise. It extends the bulb’s lifetime and creates a quieter atmosphere to enjoy a movie.

It has an aspect ratio of both 16:9 and 4:3. You can choose whichever one fits your needs best. It’s a great entry-level projector, seeing how its affordable and simple to use.

YABER Projector 5G

It’s the smallest 1080P projector on the market. It offers improved portability that most 1080p projectors don’t. However, it doesn’t compromise on the sharpness and brightness of what you’re watching. It is a perfect fit for your home entertainment system, it has improved resolution, is lightweight, and is easy to wrap-up.

A great bonus of this projector is its wireless connection and Bluetooth function. This is available for iOS and Android systems. Because of the 5.0 Bluetooth function, you can connect to your wireless speakers seamlessly.

Wrapping Up

Shopping for an outdoor movie projector can be really fun, but you do need to keep a few things in mind. When you remember these factors, you can buy the best projection system that fits your preferences.

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