AV gear designed to survive the outdoor elements

Home theater devotees tend to be homebodies at heart. After all, for the quality of the experience, movies look best in dark, windowless rooms with no sunlight. But, for an alternative theater experience, take your movies outside. There are a number of weatherproof options that will entice even the most devout indoor movie lover, with speakers, flat panels, and enclosures that withstand heat, water, and whatever else you can throw at them. Maybe going outside isn’t as scary as you thought.

At the Oasis(pictured above)
Stewart Filmscreen Oasis Projection Screen ($5,041 for 100-inch model with 12-inch top masking and STI control)

A great movie experience can immerse the viewer in another place or time. Stewart Filmscreen’s Oasis projection screen aims to create that same theater experience in your own backyard. The Oasis sets itself apart from the company’s regular lineup of screens with a weather-resistant exterior that protects against corrosion and other natural elements. It also includes some of Stewart’s trademark features, like an electronically controlled mechanism that quietly raises and lowers the screen. The Oasis also features Stewart’s signature Tab-Guy tensioning system, which creates a smooth and completely flat surface that will impress your inner videophile.

Nature Sounds
Polk Audio Atrium 60 High-Performance Outdoor Speaker ($440/pair)
Just because you invest in outdoor loudspeakers doesn’t mean that your taste for good sound needs to go out the window. Polk Audio’s Atrium 60 loudspeakers are designed for all kinds of weather, but they still offer the audio quality of traditional speakers. The Atrium 60 features a 6.5-inch midwoofer with a mineral-filled polypropylene cone and butyl rubber surround. It also has a 1-inch metalized dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet. Plus, the Atrium 60 provides Polk’s signature PowerPort venting technology for exceptional bass response. You don’t need to be ashamed of your outdoor speakers any longer.

Firmly Planted
StereoStone Planter Speaker Loudspeaker ($200)
For those who prefer a more serene environment without extra gear crowding your patio, StereoStone’s Planter Speaker may be the next best thing. The Planter Speaker bears little resemblance to a traditional loudspeaker, with a place for your plants along with its audio capabilities. The two-way speaker can provide up to 250 watts of power for the ultimate audio experience. It won’t clash with your dcor, either—the Planter Speaker comes in a Terra Cotta or White finish. All you need to add is your favorite color of geraniums.

Ready to Rock Speakercraft 620 Rox Outdoor Loudspeaker ($269/each)
Most loudspeakers come in large, boxy enclosures that make your backyard look like an industrial park. As a nice trade-off, Speakercraft’s innovative 620 Rox outdoor loudspeaker looks as good in your manicured yard as it sounds. The rock-style loudspeaker’s grille almost flawlessly matches the surface design, so your speaker will be hidden from you and your guests. It features a 6.5-inch polypropylene cone woofer and a 0.5-inch polyamide dome tweeter. Additionally, the 620 Rox’s enclosure is made from durable, weatherproof material so you’ll be able to rest easy when the rain, snow, or sun hits your beloved loudspeaker.

Garden State
Idod Designs Estate Projection Screen Enclosure ($4,499)
It’s not easy to create an elegant backyard, and it’s even harder when you bring theater gear into the picture. Thankfully, Idod Designs points you in the right direction with its sophisticated Estate projection screen enclosure. The Estate pairs garden-ready style with practicality. It has room for a 92-inch diagonal screen, but it can be custom fit for a larger screen. It’s constructed with kiln-dried western red cedar and clear redwood for a stunning finish. If you truly want to make it your own, Idod Designs will add in custom options like a built-in bench seat, TV mounts, or speaker housings. With all that the Estate offers, it could very well become the centerpiece of your backyard theater.

On the Defense
Sanyo CE52SR1 Weatherproof LCD Monitor ($13,995)
Sanyo’s CE52SR1 LCD monitor takes weatherproofing to the next level. It has an IP-56 rating, which means it’s protected against dust, harmful deposits, and liquid. Sanyo designed the CE52SR1 with marine-grade anodized aluminum and a no-holes ventilation system that protects the monitor and keeps it cool. For prime viewing quality, it combines an 800:1 contrast ratio with antireflection cover glass. This means you won’t have to squint in the sun to see your favorite movie. To top it off, the Sanyo is compatible with the company’s signature PJ-Net Organizer, which lets you control the monitor through your Internet connection.

Think Outside the Box
Pantel PAN650 Outdoor Weatherproof LCD HDTV ($25,999)
If you don’t spare any expense with your outdoor theater setup, this one’s a keeper. Pantel’s PAN650 is the largest outdoor LCD HDTV on the block. At a whopping 65 inches, you’ll see things a lot clearer with this one. The PAN650 features a 1080p HD picture along with a wireless transmitter and receiver. Its wireless capabilities let you access audio and video from a distance of up to 150 feet. The Pantel is ready to battle the elements too. It has been tested to operate at temperatures that range from –40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and it has a rust-resistant, powder-coated aluminum chassis.

Crowd Pleaser
Open Air Cinema 16-Foot Open Air Home Screen ($1,199)
Open Air Cinema has the screen for you if you want to entertain your friends (and neighbors) in a big way. The 16-foot Open Air Home Screen makes an impression on guests with its quick setup and impressive size. The screen’s 220-inch diagonal projection surface features matte white, wrinkle-resistant ripstop nylon material for a durable image. Plus, it has a black-backed surface that aims to improve contrast ratio. Best of all, the Open Air Home Screen weighs less than 20 pounds when it’s deflated, and it inflates in just a few seconds, so you can start up a movie whenever and wherever you want.

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