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Out at the Movies in Your backyard

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By Paul Fitzgerald - Clinton Howell of H2 Systems Inc. offers tips on how you can enjoy the great outdoor home theatre experience

Sure, we all know the reality of high gasoline prices, hefty airfare rates and hotel rooms, and the costly fees of just getting into amusement parks.

Getting away for the summer with the family seems more difficult than ever these days.

However, curing the family disconnect can be done quite easily, according to Clinton Howell, founder and owner of H2 Systems Inc. in Burlington, ON.

You see, Howell indicates that you can create an adventure like no other right at home or at the cottage with an outdoor home theatre system.

At first thought the task may seem daunting and expensive. But, think again.

With a little ingenuity and for a much lower cost than sending your family away for a couple of weeks, you can combine your home-bound summer activities of backyard BBQs and pool parties with your own outdoor home theatre.

“More families now are enjoying the outdoor home theatre experience,” says Howell. “It’s a new trend and it’s a great way to bring families, friends and even your neighbours closer together. And having an outdoor home theatre is less costly than going on expensive trips or taking part in ongoing outings of sorts.”

First thing first, select the right spot for the screen as this defines the focal point for the true entertainment experience.

“Pick a spot that has room and will ensure quality for viewing,” says Howell. “In the backyard, this can be done in an area on your back deck, or against a back fence. Choose your space wisely and work from there.”

In terms of selecting screens, there are many affordable options in purchasing ready-made portable screens and inflatable screens that come in an array of sizes.

When it comes to watching movies outdoors, using a video projector is one option to consider and these are no longer as expensive in price as they used to be. Before show time, you will need to experiment with the projector’s distance in order to get a good quality picture and this doesn’t take long at all.

While the projector/screen combo is a popular method in offering the right outdoor home theatre experience, Howell explains that more people now are utilizing self-contained outdoor TVs. “There are many types and sizes to choose from. The LCD or LED/LCD TVs range from 32 inches to 80 inches in size. And believe it or not all are now quite affordable,” he says.

On the higher end side, there are also other options for outdoor TVs that are weather and temperature resistant, and some are also rain-resistant. Also, to compensate for temperature variations, some also incorporate both cooling fans and/or heaters, which means they can be used all-year round in many locations. In addition, some specially designed outdoor TVs also have anti-glare coatings so that, unlike video projectors, they can be viewed during daylight hours which is most practical with a covered patio, slightly overcast day, or away from direct sunlight.

When it comes to watching movies, the options are endless when in purchasing Blu-ray players, up-scaling DVD players, as well as converter boxes and network media players, and these can be easily purchased as well without breaking the bank.

The same holds true with choosing the right kind speakers and receivers in fashioning the right outdoor home theatre adventure.

Building stands, wall mounts and mobile racks for all your gear are also very affordable. And if you are feeling creative, you can build your own. There are also wireless options when it comes viewing your movies, shows or sports events on flat screen TVs and specially designed outdoor TVs.

And for those who desire the outdoor home theatre adventure but don’t have the time, hiring a professional home theatre and home integration company to get the job done is also a great investment.

“Having an outdoor home theatre is a great family bonding experience,” says Howell. “And this is now a new way to entertain at home. In all, having an outdoor home theatre is more than doable. All’s you need to do is define your space and work with what suits you budget and in no time it’s movie time.”

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