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7 products to turn your living room into a home theater on the cheap

There’s no denying it, we miss the movies. The popcorn, the big screen, maybe even those too-close-together seats. At the same time, we’re spending more time at home — the living room has gotten more playing time as of late, sometimes more than we ever wanted. So it occurred to us, why not transform the latter into the former (minus the bad seats, of course)? What if you could have all the tastes and sights of the movie-going experience, from your own very comfy, and very close-by couch? We’ve assembled the best seven products to turn your living room into a home theater on the cheap. Of course, it won’t be the same as going to the movies, but it might be better. Cheaper, too.

Reusable Plastic Popcorn Tubs (3-Pack) — $10

What are you going to eat your popcorn out of? A bowl? Nah. For $10 you can have a three-pack of authentic, retro, and most importantly, reusable, popcorn containers. Evoke the movie-going days of yore — or just a few months ago — with a tub of popcorn that will keep you, and maybe a few of you, munching for a whole movie night. These popcorn containers are made of durable plastic, so you don’ have to worry about them breaking down or falling apart (add all the butter you want!). They’re 7.25 inches tall and wide, so there’s plenty of room, and the three-pack means that you, a partner, and the kids, can each have their own.

100 Movies Scratch Off Poster — $18, was $28

So what are we going to watch? It’s the question that begins, and plagues, each movie night. Get a date, a friend, or the whole family involved and make a game out of what used to be a chore with the 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster. Here, you can scratch away to reveal distinctive art from some of the greatest movies of all time. There are Oscar winners like The Godfather and Braveheart, as well as fan favorites like The Bourne Identity, Fight Club, Jaws, and The Usual Suspects. Along with the interactive poster, which will look great on any wall, comes a movie quotes e-book, for even more movie-loving fun for you, your guests or the whole family.

Dash Popcorn Maker — $20, was $30

Now we’re getting to the good stuff: The popcorn. Nothing tastes better, and is more fun, than movie popcorn. For some of us, it’s the whole point. You can bring that experience to your living room with the authentic Dash Popcorn Maker. It makes it easy to measure your kernels, comes with a tray dedicated to melting butter while your popcorn pops and uses hot air — not oil or microwaves — to pop your corn. The best part? The Dash Popcorn Maker is super compact, measuring 10 by 9.6 by 5.4 inches, which means it’s easy to stash once movie night is over (we’re guessing it won’t stay out of sight for long). Also, it comes in a retro aqua finish, making this not only a fun and tasty addition to movie night, but a sightly one, too.

Reusable Plastic Tumblers (6-Pack) — $21

But what about the drinks? Don’t worry, we got you. This six-pack of Civago Clear Insulated Acrylic Plastic Tumblers will keep everyone in your family hydrated for at least the length of a movie, maybe two or three. The cups come with lids and a reusable straw, which is great news for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’re environmentally sound; you can reuse these acrylic plastic cups, lids, and their straws, again and again. Also, their design is super helpful in limiting spills, which can be great for kids, as well as those of us who get engrossed in what’s on the screen and sometimes forget about the drink next to our foot. Finally, they’re insulated which means that they double as an easy travel cup for your iced coffee when you’re headed off to work or just some errands. Finally, their lids come in three fun colors: Fuschia, blue and clear.

Nostalgia Countertop Snow Cone Maker — $38, was $40

Nothing says fun like a snow cone. On the other side of the movie treat experience from popcorn are these sweet, delicious, cooling treats. With the Nostalgia Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker, you can make them yourself, up to 20 at a time. Your living room just became the ultimate fun zone for kids during movie night, or maybe just a throwback experience for you on date night. Either way, it provides tons of fun with its 360-degree views into the shaved icemaking process, which delivers light fluffy snow cones, just like you remember. There’s a prep station, reusable cone cups, and best of all, it fits right on your countertop.

Amazon Fire TV Stick — $40

There’s a reason the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the No. 1 bestselling streaming media player —  it’s the easiest way to access movies and your other favorite content from Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO, and Criterion. The Fire Stick gives you more storage than any other media stick, and is easily transportable, in case you want to take your home theater elsewhere. The built-in Alexa provides incredibly easy voice access, and this version comes with an Alexa remote, providing dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons to control your TV, soundbar, and receiver. And of course, it pairs seamlessly with your Bluetooth devices, like headphones. Shop now, and it arrives with a one-year subscription to the Food Network and Kitchen for free! Eat well while you luxuriate in the near-infinite convenience and options provided by the Fire TV Stick streaming media player with Alexa remote.

Apeman Mini Portable Movie Projector — $90, was $130

The main event — what’s on the screen. But what if it’s not a screen at all? What if you imitate the actual movie-going experience with a projection on to your living room wall, in the backyard, wherever you want! With the Apeman Mini Portable Movie Projector, you can make your own screen with its 3,800 lumens of brightness and 2,000:1 contrast ratio. This projector is 70% brighter than others in the same class and incorporates the most recent 4.0 LCD display technology with advanced LED light sources. How big a projection are we talking here? How about up to 180 inches, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. That’s like a real movie screen, right in your home. In terms of compatibility, this thing is a dream — it’s ready for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, PlayStation 4, HDMI, TF, AV, and USB for home entertainment. And it’s small (7.7  by 6.5 by 2.3 inches small), so you can bring it anywhere. Our projection? Some fun movie nights ahead at home.

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