Outdoor Cinema Buyers Guide

Choosing the right projector for your outdoor cinema

Sitting outside on those warm nights watching a movie on the big screen has become increasingly popular in recent years. To make selecting the right projector easier we have answered some of the most common questions below. In addition our staff have listed their recommendations for you to consider.

How bright should the projector be?
What Resolution is right for me?
Are projectors weather proof?
Are there battery powered projectors for camping?
How far away should the projector be from the screen?
What projectors do you recommend for outdoors?

outdoor projector

How bright should the projector be?

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Brightness with all the major projector brands is universally measured in ANSI Lumens. For outdoor use generally the brighter the better. The minimum brightness we recommend varies depending on image size and the time of day you plan on using it. If you are only using it at night, and the area is fairly dark, then a home theatre type projector would normally be fine... these usually have around 2000-3000 lumens brightness.

If you want to use your projector during twilight hours, when some ambient light is still around, then something over 3000 lumens would be better. If daytime use is what you are after then 5000+ lumens is recommend. Just keep in mind you can't compete with the power of the sun so make sure the image is in a heavily shaded area if you want to use the projector during the day.

What Resolution is right for me?

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A resolution is essentially a measurement for the number of pixels being projected. Usually this is represented in a number of pixels width to height e.g. 1920 pixels width and 1080 pixels high. Projectors may accept signals higher and lower of the native resolution but will have to convert or compress the signal to display in the native resolution.

The most common resolutions are:

  • SVGA - 800x600 - For basic entertainment only. Is slowly being phased out.
  • XGA - 1024x768 - Good for basic entertainment too, a little more detailed than SVGA. Also being phased out.
  • WXGA - 1280x800 (HD) - Being HD this resolution is great value for movies, sport and TV.
  • WUXGA - 1920 x 1080 or 1920 x 1200 (FULL HD) - Great detail, perfect for high quality movies
  • UHD - 3840x2160 (Ultra High Definition 4K 2160p) - The highest resolution designed for 4K media

resolution

Are projectors weather proof?

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Just like with most electronics you need to keep the majority of projectors away from moisture. Ideally you would pack your projector away indoors when not being used however if you decide to permanently mount your projector outdoors please ensure it is undercover. It is also recommended to cover your projector with a bag when it is not in use to protect it from moisture and insects. There is now a limited range of some portable entertainment projectors with a level of slash resistance you can consider if you believe there is a possibility the unit could get wet.

splash proof projector

Are there battery powered projectors for camping?

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Yes! There are some new projectors that now feature an inbuilt battery, making them perfect for watching a movie while out and about. The models that use batteries are designed for personal entertainment so will require a small image size and, due to the lower lumens, will need a dark area to get the best image possible.

camping projectors

How far away should the projector be from the screen?

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This is where many customers can have trouble. Projectors need to be placed at a certain distance back for a certain image size. This distance varies between models. Generally you can expect most projectors to sit about 1.5x the image width. So if you image was 2m wide, most models would sit 3m back. This can vary considerably between models so always check prior to purchase. We have a throw distance chart for most models on our website in the 'More Information' section but we are here to help if you want to check any sizes/distances. If you have a long throw range/installation distance, you can still use a projector, you likely would need to look at a large venue projector though. These cost a bit more but can allow for long throw distances.

Check out our Throw Distance Blog for some further information.

throw distance

What projectors do you recommend for outdoors?

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The team at Just Projectors are constantly testing new releases to determine the best projectors available for the money. Below we list a range of projectors we recommend for outdoor set up. As always if you have any queries feel free to get in contact with us.

home theatre projectors

Outdoor Projector Recommendations

Optoma W400LVe DLP HD Multipurpose Projector
optoma W400LVE
  • WXGA HD
  • 4000 ANSI Lumens
  • 25,000:1 Contrast
  • 10W Inbuilt Speaker
  • USB Power Output
  • 3.5mm Audio Output
Optoma HD30HDR DLP Full HD Bright Home Theatre Projector
Optoma HD30hdr
  • 1080p FULL HD
  • 3800 ANSI Lumens
  • 50,000:1 Contrast
  • Fast Gaming Mode
  • Best Under $1k!
Epson EB-FH52 LCD Multimedia Full HD Projector
epson EB-fh52
  • 1080p FULL HD
  • 4000 ANSI Lumens
  • 1.6x Big Zoom
  • Miracast Wireless
Optoma HD39HDR DLP Full HD Bright Home Theatre Projector
Optoma HD39hdr
  • 1080p FULL HD
  • 4500 ANSI Lumens
  • 50,000:1 Contrast
  • Fast Gaming Mode
  • Bonus FireStick Lite
Viewsonic PX748-4K DLP High Brightness 4K UHD Projector
viewsonic px748-4k
  • UHD 4K
  • 4000 ANSI Lumens
  • 12,000:1 Contrast
  • Fast Gaming Mode
Optoma UHD35+ DLP 4K Home Theatre Projector
optoma uhd35+
  • UHD 4K
  • 4000 ANSI Lumens
  • 1,200,000:1 Contrast
  • Fast Gaming Mode
Optoma AZH430 DLP High Brightness Full HD Laser Projector
optoma AZH430
  • 1080p FULL HD
  • 4500 ANSI Lumens
  • LASER Light Source
  • Dust Resistant
Viewsonic LS740HD DLP High Brightness Full HD Laser Projector
Viewsonic LS740HD
  • 1080p FULL HD
  • 5000 ANSI Lumens
  • LASER Light Source
  • Dust Resistant
Epson EB-2250U LCD High Brightness Full HD Multimedia Projector
epson EB-2250U
  • WUXGA FULL HD
  • 5000 ANSI Lumens
  • 1.6x Big Zoom
Epson EB-2265U LCD High Brightness Full HD Multimedia Projector
epson EB-2265U
  • WUXGA FULL HD
  • 5500 ANSI Lumens
  • 1.6x Big Zoom
  • Miracast Wireless
  • HDBaseT Connection
NEC PE506ULG High Brightness Full HD Laser Projector
NEC PE506ULG
  • WUXGA FULL HD
  • 5200 ANSI Lumens
  • LASER Light Source
  • 1.6x Big Zoom
  • 360° Installation
  • Long 5yr Warranty
Epson EB-L630U High Brightness Large Venue Laser Projector
epson EB-l630u
  • WUXGA FULL HD
  • 6200 ANSI Lumens
  • LASER Light Source
  • 1.6x Big Zoom
  • HDBaseT Connection
  • Long 5yr Warranty
  • Miracast Wireless
Epson EB-L730U High Brightness Large Venue Laser Projector
epson EB-l730u
  • WUXGA FULL HD
  • 7000 ANSI Lumens
  • LASER Light Source
  • 1.6x Big Zoom
  • HDBaseT Connection
  • Long 5yr Warranty
  • Miracast Wireless
Panasonic PT-MZ880W Laser Large Venue Full HD Projector
panasonic ptmz880w
  • WUXGA FULL HD
  • 8000 ANSI Lumens
  • LASER Light Source
  • 1.7x Big Zoom
  • HDBaseT Connection
  • Long 5yr Warranty
  • Powered Zoom/Focus
  • Optional Lenses

CAMPING AND MINI PROJECTOR RECOMMENDATIONS

XGIMI Mogo 2 Pro Full HD Portable LED Entertainment Projector
xgimi mogo 2 pro
  • 1080P Full HD Resolution
  • 400 ISO Lumens
  • 1.1kg Weight
  • Android 11.0 Inbuilt
  • Wireless Streaming
  • Bluetooth Audio 5.0
  • 2x 8W Speakers
XGIMI Halo+ Full HD Portable LED Entertainment Projector
xgimi Halo+
  • 1080P Full HD Resolution
  • 700 ISO Lumens
  • 1.6kg Weight
  • Inbuilt Battery (Up to 2hr)
  • Android 10.0 Inbuilt
  • Wireless Streaming
  • Bluetooth Audio 5.0
  • 2x 5W Speakers