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Build the Ultimate Entertainment System for You and Your Friends

old school box tv

When you’re sprawled out on the couch with your friends and family, experiencing the thrill of your favorite movie or cheering on your favorite team, you want the media to shine. With a couple of wise purchases, you can have the ultimate entertainment setup without having to buy the most expensive products. Here’s what you’ll need to make the most of every nickel for your own nickelodeon.

Projector

Projectors enable you to project your favorite media onto any flat surface, anyplace you can make dark enough to see the picture. Draw the blinds to stream your TV marathon in your living room, or wait until it’s dark to screen a larger-than-life B-movie on the side of your house.

Most projectors lack a TV tuner. That means that, unlike with a TV, you cannot plug in a raw feed from an antenna or cable. However, if you have a DVR, a game console, or any other device that outputs HDMI, you can watch TV over your projector just fine.

Projector
$500

Projector Screen

If you have a plain-white-painted wall that is free of any marks, you’re good to go with your projector. Otherwise, you’re going to need a screen. You could spend upward of $100 buying one online, or you could make it yourself.

Drill a couple of hooks into the ceiling. You want them to be strong enough to support a dowel or PVC pipe. In a pinch, you could hang a bedsheet at this point and you’d be good to go. However, if you spend a few more dollars on a couple of antimicrobial flat white shower curtains, you’ll get a crisper image with better viewing angles.

Alternatively, you can buy white blackout material in the size you need and sew it to a dowel to hang from the ceiling hooks. Depending on how flat you are able to get the screen, you may also need to staple the bottom into a loop and run a second dowel through it to keep it hanging flat.

Projector Screen
$75

Streaming Stick

After a tense drama or a spooky movie, you may want a palate cleanser. Stream your favorite cute animal videos from your phone onto the projector screen with a streaming stick. It’s about the size of a stick of gum, but its ability to expand your viewing possibilities packs a punch.

If you’re looking for greater speed, connectability, and storage expansion options, you may want to look into a set-top box. The demand for TV streaming devices is driving the price of boxes into the same range as the smaller, less expensive sticks.

Streaming Stick
$50

Sound Bar

If your audio sounds like it’s coming out of a tin can, even the most beautiful screen can’t compensate. A sound system is one area in which you can spend a huge amount of time and money and still end up with middling results if you’re not careful.

That’s where sound bars come in. A quality sound bar can hold its own while having a much easier setup process than a typical surround sound system. And if you’re using a projector screen, you can place the sound bar behind it for an immersive audio experience.

Sound Bar
$350