Backyard theater for dad | What the Tech?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — Google searches for “Outdoor living space” have spiked and a way to enjoy the backyard is turning it into a theater – and dads love it too.

As Father Day approaches, there are also some affordable projectors and screens you can find as a gift.

You’ll want to look at two numbers: Lumens, and resolution. The higher number of Ansi or LED Lumens means a brighter picture, which is important for watching outside when it isn’t completely dark.

Projectors that play in HD are sharper.

The Anker Nebula projector is battery-operated with its own speaker. It is 200 Ansi lumens but in 720 HD.

Viewsonic has projectors for all budgets. The M1+ is 300 LED lumens but is not HD.

For a bright picture, look for at least 1000 lumens, like the Viewsonic M2E which also plays movies in 1080 HD and has a loudspeaker. it doesn’t have a battery so you’ll need power.

All of the projectors play movies from a streaming stick, laptop, phone, or anything with an HDMI or USB connection.

As for screens, inflatables can be as large as 20 feet. They require power and the blowers can be loud. They’re also difficult to store away.

The Elite Screen 120-inch portable screen is free-standing and the picture doesn’t bleed through so it displays all the colors and brightness that a projector dishes out. It takes about 10 minutes to set up and 10 minutes to get back in its case.

Expect to spend around $300 or more on a quality projector and another $200 on a premium screen. They also make foldable cloth screens you can hang on a wall for about $50.

Father’s Day is coming up June 18. All of these items are widely available online and in some brick-and-mortar electronics stores.