How to host an outdoor movie night with Alexa
She can’t pass the popcorn, but she can pause the movie for snack time
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There are few better ways to commemorate the start of summer than with a movie night under the stars. Amazon’s lineup of smart devices seems poised to help you turn your warm-weather cinema ambitions into a bonafide backyard home theater. The best part? No speakers to mount and no wires to artfully disguise.
With the help of a streaming device like the Fire TV Stick 4K and Amazon smart speakers like the fourth-gen Echo or Echo Studio, you’ll have the tools to simplify your outdoor setup and streamline the next movie night with friends.
Hosting an outdoor movie night—with help from Alexa
What you need:
- A portable projector (or outdoor TV) with USB or HDMI connections
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Amazon Echo speaker
- Wall outlet or outdoor extension cord
How to set it up:
1. Open the Amazon Alexa app on your iOS or Android device. 2. Tap "Devices" > tap "+" icon in the upper corner. 3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap "Combine speakers." 4. Tap "Home Theater" and select the Fire TV device that you would like to pair your speakers to. 5. Choose up to two compatible Echo speakers (or an optional Echo Sub) to pair with the Fire TV device. 6. Follow the directions on your projector to finish the setup process.
Unless you already have an outdoor TV, a portable projector is a convenient option for setting up your Alexa movie night. Make sure you have a smooth and flat surface to project the image onto, like an outdoor projection screen.
A Fire TV Stick connects to the projector (or outdoor TV) using the available USB or HDMI ports, with the caveat that the streaming device needs a nearby power source. Amazon supports audio streaming between its streaming devices and its smart speakers, so you could temporarily relocate an Echo speaker from the house to the backyard to immediately boost the audio quality of your budding outdoor home theater. It will need power, just like the Fire TV Stick.
At the end of the night, make sure to bring your gear back inside, as devices like Echo speakers and portable projectors are not designed to be left out in the elements overnight.
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Try these Alexa outdoor movie night routines
Amazon offers a feature called entertainment routines, where you can specify certain actions based on a particular phrase. For example, saying “Alexa, it’s showtime,” could trigger your projector to turn on, your smart outdoor lights to turn off, and your Fire TV Stick to navigate to the streaming service of your choice.
Conversely, something like “Alexa, it’s snack time,” could prompt the content you’re watching to pause and your string lights to turn off, paving the path for a quick refill before the end of the film.
While your friends will be impressed with the sound quality of your Echo-driven system, your neighbors will not be. Sound can travel far, especially if there’s something like the Echo Sub tossed into the mix to provide bass notes.
Most projector-based systems can only support nighttime movie watching, so it will likely be late when you do start streaming. If you’re concerned that your volume might be too loud for your neighbors, it most likely is.
Don't forget to make some popcorn. Enjoy!
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