Review: Open Air Cinema True HD CineBox Home

The warm summer breeze, the starry night sky, the relative privacy of your own backyard. Time to wake the neighbors with a raucous outdoor screening of True Grit.

Actually, just try keeping them away when they peep your bitchin’ CineBox Home setup. This soup-to-nuts kit provides everything you need to recreate the drive-in right on your lawn: speakers, projector, Blu-ray player, even a big inflatable screen. Weather permitting, the results are nothing short of spectacular — but you’ll need a movie-studio budget to afford it.

Open Air Cinema makes the CineBox as portable as possible, packing a Samsung BD-C8000 Blu-ray player and Rolls MX122 MiniMix Pro audio mixer — preget-gadget together, conveniently, so they’re ready for action — into a plastic carrying case. Optoma’s blazingly bright TX615 projector comes in a case as well, no different than if you’d purchased it separately.

Everything else, well, you’ll need a wheelbarrow. A big drawstring bag stows the towering inflatable, which provides 12 by 7 feet of widescreen viewing goodness. As for the bundled Behringer Eurolive B208D speakers, they have no case, only a pair of cardboard boxes. Open Air Cinema also supplies four heavy-duty metal stakes for the screen, a pair of heavy-gauge cords for connecting the speakers to the mixer, and various other accessories. Again: wheelbarrow.

Power is this rig’s problem. You’ll need a six-outlet strip, with one extension cord long enough to reach your house, one long enough to reach the blower, and two for each of the speakers. All these items: not included. So much for everything plus the kitchen sink.

No matter. Once it’s up and running, the CineBox rocks. Watching Gnomeo and Juliet with the kids and The King’s Speech with the grown-ups, I thought sure my eyes were seeing 1080p. Only later did I learn that Optoma’s projector tops out at 1,600 by 1,200. I guess Blu-ray shines even at lower resolutions, though, because the movies looked razor-sharp. They sounded even better; Behringer’s boom-boxes were loud enough to fill an open field, let alone a backyard. The whole experience was simply exquisite.

Movies under the stars are one of the joys of summer. If you can swing it, the CineBox Home will make your backyard a joyful place indeed.

Photo courtesy Open Air Cinema

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