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TV & streaming

Host the perfect movie night: All the tech and fun extras you need

When movie theaters closed across the nation due to COVID-19, most of us expected them to be back open within a couple of months. But as the pandemic raged on, theater doors stayed shuttered, leaving movie buffs to mourn from the safety of their own homes.

Some theaters have opened back up in recent months, but not all of them have taken that plunge. Others are closing their doors because there aren’t a lot of new releases to project onto the big screen these days anyway. Plus, you’ll be able to watch brand new movies for $20 from home in the near future — which means movie theaters will become even more obsolete.

If you want to immerse yourself in cinema right now, you can host a movie night at home instead. All you need are a few tech gadgets and fun extras to create the perfect set-up.

Bring movies home in a modern way

If you’re a Mac fan who wants to stream films on movie night, Apple’s streaming device is one of the better options out there. Apple TV doesn’t get as much love as the other streaming devices, but the features it offers are awesome.

You’ll get access to nearly all of the popular streaming services and Apple’s own apps. It works in sync with your other Apple devices, too — which lets you stream your phone’s display onto your TV or projector screen. Plus, you’ll get a touch-sensitive Siri remote for voice assistance.

Need an affordable, popular streaming device? Amazon offers a few versions of the Fire Stick — all of which have affordable price points. Fire Stick is simple to use and plugs directly into your TV to give you quick access to all of the popular streaming services. You’ll also get access to Amazon Prime TV, Amazon’s streaming service.

As the pioneer of streaming devices, Roku is another solid option for movie night. These devices have been around for a while, but they’re still as popular as ever. That’s because Roku lets you stream films and shows from almost any streaming service available.

If you want to use some obscure indie film streaming service for movie night, Roku is a solid choice. You can also install third-party apps, which gives you a ton of flexibility.

Get that big-screen experience from the comfort of home

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for an affordable big-screen option. The LG Electronics PH30N Portable CineBeam Projector was released earlier this year, and it offers a ton of features for the price point.

You can get this projector for a few hundred bucks, but it comes with 720 HD resolution and Bluetooth capability that rivals some of the higher-end projectors. It’s a great option if you’re trying to keep the price down without compromising quality.

Movie night deserves high-quality sound

A decent soundbar will help amplify and improve movie night at your home, and the VIZIO SB2920-C6 gives you 95 dB of crystal clear sound with a super affordable price tag. At less than $100, you won’t have to spend a fortune to get great sound quality and it connects to your TV or projector via wires or Bluetooth.

If price isn’t a sticking point, you might want to check out the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro. What’s unique about this soundbar is it comes with rear speakers and offers sound superior to almost every other soundbar available right now.

It offers a sound experience like no other, which makes it a great accessory to add to movie night. The price reflects that superior sound quality, though — you’ll have to shell out about $650 for this option.

RELATED: You can find tons of other affordable options on our list of best soundbars for any budget

Don’t forget the popcorn

Movie night isn’t complete without hot, fresh popcorn and microwaveable bags won’t always cut it. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, the Original Hotpop Microwave Popcorn Popper is a great way to make movie theatre popcorn right in your kitchen.

What’s cool about the Hotpop popper is it’s an affordable silicone bowl that makes fresh popcorn in a couple of minutes. You won’t have a bulky popcorn popper to clean or store, and you won’t have to mess with the bagged stuff, either.

Prefer the look of popcorn makers you see in theaters? The Nostalgia CCP510BK Vintage Professional Popcorn Cart looks like it’s right out of the old silent movie houses and carnivals of the 1900s, but it’s a modern popcorn-making machine.

It’s easy to use, set up, and it can pop up to 32 cups of delicious popcorn with every batch. You don’t have to use it as a cart, either — you can remove the base and set it on the countertop if you need to conserve space.

No at-home film fest is complete without candy, and the Ultimate Movie Night Gift Bundle Care Package is the perfect gift for movie lovers! It comes chock full of delicious candy and snacks — and it comes in a reusable popcorn bucket that you can use with your new popcorn maker. You’ll get Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, Ring Pops, Cheese-Its and a ton of other snacks in this pack.

Now, what to watch?

You can’t stream movies without a streaming service. Luckily, you have tons of choices at your fingertips. Services like Hulu, Netflix, Sling, and YouTube TV are all easy to use and won’t break the bank. You’ll pay about $20 per month on average for these services.

You also have the option of Amazon Prime Video if you have a Prime membership. You can watch tons of movies and shows with Amazon’s streaming service, and it won’t cost you anything extra to do so. That’s just one of the perks of being a Prime member.

You aren’t limited to Prime if you want to stream films for free, though. You also have the option of a ton of other free streaming sites. Take, for example, Kanopy. It’s one of the best free streaming sites, and you can watch art house or classic movies to your heart’s content with it.

Another option is Internet Archive, which is a treasure trove of golden age films. It’s a great (and free!) way to get your fill of the classics, right from your couch.

Looking for other free streaming sites? Tap or click here for 10 ways to watch movies for free.

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

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