Gone are the weekend nights spent at the local drive-in theater. Most of the next generation will probably never even get to experience a drive-in theater. The technological boom over the last 50 years has caused most people to stay inside to watch movies, either in a 3-D IMAX theater or in the comfort of their own surround-sound home movie theater.

Drive-ins.com shows that of the 4,622 drive-in theaters in operation at one point in the USA, only 335 are still operating today. That’s over a 90% drop in this American classic tradition, created in NJ back in the 1930’s.

Since you can no longer bring your family to the Drive-In, why not bring the Drive-In to your family? Many manufacturers have created Outdoor Projector Screens that are both durable and affordable. Plus, most HD projectors can still provide excellent picture quality outside and at night.

Outdoor projector screens are also referred to as Do It Yourself (DIY) Projector Screens. These projection screens are made with a much stronger screen material that is made to withstand the outdoor elements.

There are certain screens that are made specifically for outdoor use such as the Elite Screens DIY Series and their YardMaster Series.

Draper also offers a higher-end electric wall-mounted outdoor projector screen option with their Nocturne/Series E (electric) and Nocturne/Series C (crank operated) series screens.

Types of screens that you can use outdoors:

Fixed Frame Projector Screens: These outdoor movie theater screens can be permanently fastened to walls or frames. Many owners fasten them to the side of a house or a garage door frame. Make sure to get a frame & surface that are intended for outdoor use or that is easy to clean and care for if you plan on leaving it outdoors.

Wall Mounted Projector Screens: These outdoor screens can be fastened anywhere outdoors with a screen that rolls up while not in use. Manual wall screens are very popular due to their lower price and ease of use and installation.

Folding Frame Screens: These portable outdoor projection screens have a durable frame that can be assembled in minutes to create an outdoor movie experience anywhere. 

- Inflatable Projector Screens: Screens that run on constant power but deflate quickly for optimal storage. Inflatable screens generally have a worse picture quality than other alternatives due to the screen surface tension being weak.

Once you figure out the type of screen you want, you need to figure out the size of the screen. Although bigger always seems better, you have to consider the viewing space of your audience. Check out our guide to Projector Screens for information on viewing angles.

The final step is figuring out which brand you want and the price points you budget falls under. Remember- you aren’t just buying a projector screen… you also have to invest in a projector, laptop or DVD player, outdoor speakers and extension cords for this project to work.

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