Lumens - the lumen rating gives info about how bright a projector is. Brighter is better and you will need at least 1200 lumens.
Resolution - how crisp and clear the image is matters. A 1280x720 WXGA or high resolution XGA 1024x768 projector would be best and again - higher resolution is better.
Bulb life and projector reliability - projector bulbs are expensive and some projectors can be delicate. A bulb can run into several hundred dollars and they have a finite life span, usually 1500 hours or more.
Price - weighing these options above and finding the best cost vs. options balance is the buyers dilemma. Projectors are available in many retail locations, but the best prices can be found on-line.
Screen - The new high tech screen is an inflatable outdoor screen that is held up with an electric blower. However, there are several suitable do-it-yourself options when camping. A little ingenuity will save you big bucks and can be a good campsite activity. Your screen needs to be white or light grey, flat, have no wrinkles and be somewhat reflective. It also needs to be easy to put up and take-down. It needs to be storable - especially if you are on the road. Some suggestions:
Suspend your screen so that it’s flat and has no wrinkles. Hanging it from the upper roller of a partially open awning works well.
DVD player: You can use your laptop or a portable DVD player or purchase an inexpensive player for just a few dollars.
Speakers: You will need to amplify sound. Most projectors either don’t have speakers, or they have very small ones similar to laptop speakers. You will need more decibels outside! You can bring along some PC speakers if using your laptop.
Cables: make sure you leave home with all the cables you need to wire up the system. Most projectors come with some cables, but you may need specific ones that are not included. A trip to your office supply store of electronics store may be in order. Have a test night at home to be certain you know how to run your equipment and have all the component parts.
- You need electricity!
- Be aware of the limitations on public viewing of movies.
- Be considerate of others camping nearby.
- Don’t forget the popcorn.