This year gave us tonnes of good movies, and what's more enjoyable than watching them in your own home theatre? You get unlimited snacks, loads of comfort, and customized settings - all inside your home sweet home.
But a lot of people find the idea of setting up a home cinema projector daunting. And they're justified - home projectors can seem confusing at first. From one wire to another and weird angles, it can get frustrating to set them up.
So in this post, we'll break down the steps for you. Setting up a home cinema projector is easy once you know the basic stuff like finding the right spot, angle correction, etc. Our simple step by step instructions will guide you through the whole process so you can have a hassle-free movie night. Read on!
Steps For Setting up a Home Cinema Projector
The following section includes six easy steps and some things you need to keep in your mind while setting up your projector:
Finding the Right Location
First off, you need to decide which room is best for setting up the projector. Typically, people want to hook it up in their TV lounge where they can snuggle on their comfy sofas, but these rooms aren't always ideal.
During the day, a lot of light can seep in the lounge and ruin the projector's image quality. Even the ones with exceptionally high lumens suffer at the hands of ambient light. So we suggest finding a room where there's only one window, so there's minimum light coming through at day time.
But if you're selecting your TV lounge or bedroom, try adding blackout curtains or wooden blinds to the windows. This will allow you to stream during any time of the day without feeling restricted.
Also, keep in mind whether the room you want to install your projector has an empty wall. You'll know why this is important in the next step.
Setting the Screen
Are you planning on purchasing a screen for your projector? Or do you wish to use a plain wall or a white backdrop? Either way is okay as the results won't vary too drastically. However, we recommend using a screen for a bright and clear display.
When purchasing the screen, you'll have to choose the right size. Anywhere between 100 to 200 inches is good for a home cinema set-up.
Placing the Projector at the Right Place
This step is the trickiest part, so bear with us as you'll have to keep certain points in point.
First off, select a suitable surface to place your projector. Something like small tables with smooth and straight surfaces would be ideal so that there aren't any issues with angles.
Next, consider the table's height. Is it tall enough? Typically, you'd want to set the projector so that the lens is an inch below the bottom of your screen. So any small coffee table would work.
Most projectors come with a vertical lens shift, so you can play around with that to reach the ideal height. You can also use the projectors stand (if there's any) to increase or decrease the height.
If you're planning to mount your projector on the ceiling, we suggest consulting a professional installer so that everything from angle to distance is perfect.
Next comes the throw ratio of your projector, which will determine how far away it needs to be from the screen. If your projector doesn't have the option of optical zoom, you'll have to figure out the best distance yourself.
This requires a simple calculation involving the projector's throw ratio (which you'll usually find in the instruction manual). Simply multiply the numbers by the length (horizontal, not diagonal) of the screen.
For instance, if you own a 100-inch screen and your projector's throw ratio ranges between 1.7 to 2.5, then you can place your screen anywhere between 170 to 250 inches away from the screen.
At this point, you'll have to have a still image on the screen (connect the projector to a laptop or gaming console) to determine the best distance. Try different distances to see what fits your room's design and your preferences the best.
Also, keep your seating arrangement and cable placement in mind when finding the best distance. You don't want the bright light to flash into someone's eyes or the noise to bother anyone sitting nearest to the projector.
Making Adjustments in the Settings
If you haven't already connected your projector to a power source, now's the time to do it. You'll also have to have an image on the screen to fine-tune the settings.
The first thing you'll want to do is zoom in or out of the screen to fill it up. (If your projector doesn't have this option, you'll have to manually move the device back and forth to fit the screen).
Next, you want to focus on the image so that everything is detailed and sharp. This is especially necessary when your projector is placed far away, and the display quality seems a bit wiped out.
Use the ring around the lens to turn it around till the image seems sharp and focused enough. Try walking nearer to the screen to watch out for any blurred outlines and readjust if necessary.
Vertical and Horizontal Shift
After this, if the image isn't centered on the screen, you'll have to use 'Lens Shift' to adjust this. The vertical shift will allow you to make height adjustments, moving the display up and down. This proves useful if your projector is placed too far below the screen.
The horizontal shift will allow you to move the image left to right, so it's perfectly centered on the screen. You could manually shift the projector, but this might disturb the angle you set it on, so make use of the horizontal shift option.
If one side of the image seems wider than the other, you'll have to use keystone correction. This will process the image so that it's equally rectangular in shape and at the correct angle.
You can use the settings in your projector's menu to increase or decrease the angle of either side of the image till it's a rectangle.
Some devices like the Prima 1080p pocket projector can automatically adjust this no matter which angle you set it at.
A lot of projectors have preset modes that adjust the brightness and contrast of the display. If you're planning to use the projector in a dark room, then choose one of the darker settings like cinema mode.
However, if you're watching a movie during the day when the light will creep in one way or the other, select something brighter with high contrast. You can also manually adjust color saturation, brightness, and contrast in the settings.
Connecting the Components
Finally, you can start hooking your projector to other components.
You can choose between a Blu-Ray player, a laptop or pc, or a gaming console. In most cases, you'll have to have an HDMI cable on hand to connect your projector to the video source. Some components might require you to use a VGA or composite video cable, but not all projectors have these ports.
Speaking of ports, you should probably consider connecting an external speaker as well. Most projectors these days come with built-in speakers, but they often fall short when it comes to quality. You don't get the bass and the crispness required to fully enjoy a show with them.
Hence, try connecting your projector to stereo speakers, a soundbar, or at the very least, a Bluetooth speaker. This will amplify the sound to a significant extent and boost sound quality.
Just plug in the speakers' composite cable to the audio out jack on the projector (or AV receiver, if you plan on using one). Projectors like the Prima 1080p pocket projector can also wirelessly connect to speakers as long as they support Bluetooth or WiFi.
If you want the ultimate cinema experience to immerse yourself in the movie fully, you might want to hook the projector to a surround system.
Before you start with your movie, try playing a random video to check if the video quality is up to your standards. At this point, you can choose to adjust settings further and also check if the resolution is correct.
Even if your projector has a high resolution, sometimes the quality can be low due to the video source. So make sure that the resolution is set to the highest on your computer (or whatever gadget you're using for playing the video).
Yes, setting up a projector seems like quite a task, but once you know which cable goes where and what settings to tweak, it gets easier, and once you are ready, you can enjoy quality time with your loved ones binge-watching your most anticipated movies.
Some projectors will allow you to set up everything very quickly, such as the Prima 1080p pocket projector, which can be easily set up on any angle and still produce a perfectly aligned image.
But if you want to invest in a typical home cinema projector, consider mounting it up permanently. This way, you won't have to mess with the settings each time.
Either way, you're guaranteed a phenomenal movie night with a home cinema projector that TVs just can't compete with.