Mini Smartphone Projectors: Bringing Movies To a Backyard Near You

Summer is winding down and one thing I still want to do is host a backyard movie night with some friends. Smartphone projectors might be bite-sized, but their ability to get big screen results on a budget will help me have a nighttime showing to remember.

For starters, I need a screen. There's nothing cheaper than a white sheet, and it works just as well as more expensive set-ups. I recommend getting something from a thrift store and using some rope to attach it to a tree or deck. It's simple and affordable.

Not sure how to get the movie to the projector? How about using an app on your phone? If your cable company has an app, you can use that to access On Demand movies. Or if you're a Netflix subscriber, you can choose from your Instant Queue.

As an iPhone user, I was attracted to Brookstone's Pocket Projector, which slides onto the device and projects up to a 50" image. It's also got a built in speaker and a focus adjustment. The best part though? The projector has a built in 2100mAh battery, which is rechargeable, so even if your iPhone is low on power, you can use the Pocket Projector for back-up. The iPhone Pocket Projector costs $229.99.

If you're not an iPhone user, you've still got teeny-tiny portable options. The Optoma Pico Pocket Projector can project 1080i images via HDMI cable. At 5.6 ounces, it's ultra-light and portable, making it great for impromptu showings in the park. Another perk? This projector comes with a remote for easy pausing. It currently costs $256.42 on Amazon.

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Depending on the size of your audience, you may also want to invest in some speakers. One cheap option is small speakers which can be plugged into a headphone jack. And don't forget the popcorn!

Now that I've got my screen and projector ready to go — I just have to decide on the movie. I think a John Hughes film might be in order.

Want some more ideas for setting up an outdoor movie night? Check out these top 7 tips.

(Images: Brookstone, Amazon, Netflix, Yaletown Business Improvement Association on Flickr, licensed for use under Creative Commons)