5 Tips for the Ultimate Viewing Party
Planning a viewing party can seem like a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be! The most essential thing is making sure everyone can see, hear and sit comfortably. Here are several pieces of technology that can help you figure out how to host a memorable event.
Try an Evite
First things first: You need to let people know about your party and determine how many are going to be there. It’s incredibly easy to keep track of your evites and RSVPs using any number of online invitation services. They are free, and your guests will be able to RSVP from right within their email. You will be able to see at a glance who’s already RSVP’d and send a reminder message to those who haven’t yet.
Now that you’ve solidified your guest list, it’s time to get down to business.
Make Sure Everyone Can See
When hosting a viewing party, the screen can never be too big. Using a projector is one of the best ways to get the largest screen possible; if you are going to use one, you will also need something on which to project the picture. A large white wall can work, but your best bet is to create or use an actual screen. You can also use a large white sheet, but if you do, use two sheets so it’s not quite as see-through. When you have thicker material on which to display your projection, the colors and picture quality will come through much clearer.
In addition to figuring out where and how you’ll project, you will need to come up with a plan for what will be projected. Using a streaming-stick device is going to be your best bet, but you will need to make sure your content can be accessed from the stick. One reason I prefer a streaming stick is there’s often an option to plug it directly into your projector via HDMI or USB. When you are hosting your viewing party in a space where you don’t normally view your entertainment content, you don’t want to bring all your regular equipment. In my house, it’s impossible to use those devices since all of the connections run inside the walls. If you’re in the same situation, a streaming stick is lightweight and can really make finding the right content easy.
Amplify the Sound
One huge, often overlooked problem is making sure everyone will be able to hear. It’s not enough to rely on the speakers inside the projector; you will need to amplify the sound with additional external speakers. This is especially important if you are hosting your viewing party outside. When you are out in the open, there is nothing for the sound waves to bounce off of, so the sound can get lost. It will need to be much louder than you might expect.
You should be able to connect speakers to your projector through the projector’s auxiliary input (it looks a bit like a headphone jack). If you have really fancy speakers, like a sound bar, you may have a few different options of cabling in the back of the speaker. You can connect this cabling to a video device such as your DVD Player or projector. An RCA cable is probably one of the oldest versions and looks like a cable with one red tip and one white tip on both ends. The connection on the back of your speaker has matching red and white ports. An optical cable looks more like a phone cable, and an HDMI cable is flatter like an SD card. In order to create a connection, it’s important to make sure your video device and speaker have matching ports in the back. If they don’t match in size and shape, you may need to find something to convert the signal from one type to the other.
Find a Place for Everyone to Sit
As you plan your viewing-party space, make sure there will be plenty of seating for all your guests. No one wants to watch an entire football game on their feet. Using your computer, you can use any number of programs to draw out the space and start planning a setup. A combination of long seating areas and individual chairs can be used. As you look at your RSVPs, plan for a seat for each person on the list (they don’t have to be assigned seats; just make sure there is enough for everyone coming).
Now that you have the five basics down, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your party. After the success of this one, all your friends will expect you to host all the big televised events! Luckily, all the effort you put into planning this first one will be saved on your computer, so the next one will be even easier.