With movie theaters being closed for the current COVID-19 situation, you might be feeling trapped in your home and not getting the big screen experience. Well, getting the best home theater projector and knowing how to set it up in your home can help you bring the silver screen experience at your home comfort.
However, the process of setting up the projector is not as easy as it might look to you. Before taking the leap, it would be great to know all the processes that will guide you to a successful setup that will offer you complete entertainment.
Our team has devised an easy and effective setup process that you can follow step by step to get a satisfactory payoff.
Before starting out, you need to arrange all the tools like a screwdriver, power socket extension, ceiling mount for ceiling installation, drill machine, etc.
So now, let’s get started with the setup process;
1. Finding The Ideal Location
The first thing you need to do is to find the ideal location of your projector because placing the projector at the right place will ensure a proper cinematic experience. Depending upon the throw distance of your projector and screen size you want to achieve, you need to arrange the space.
If you have a short or ultra-short-throw projector, then placing them in a small room or bedroom won’t be a problem as you can easily achieve a 100inch screen from a short distance. However, if you have a regular projector and you need a big screen, then you need a bigger space where you can create the whole setup.
While assessing the location, you also need to keep in mind the seating arrangement and speaker placement. Most importantly, the power supply also needs to be at a convenient place so that you won’t have problems powering the projector and associated devices.
2. Mounting or Placing the Projector Screen
Once you have finalized the location, you need to arrange a space for the projection screen, and it would be best to use a dedicated screen. You can use a white wall or white cloth as a screen, but for proper video output with clarity and color saturation, a projector screen would be best.
Moreover, a screen provides a uniform surface and properly reflects the projector’s light, thus giving you a better view experience. So if you are going for a wall hanging screen or any other retractable screen, then you need ample wall space for placing it. While arranging wall space, you also need to consider the maximum screen size you want to achieve, and likewise, you should free up space.
However, if you think you can’t arrange a vast area in the wall, then a standing screen would be a smart buy as you can easily set them up in your home. But these types of screens don’t offer an extensive screen size range at a budget rate, and you will have to shell out a good amount of money for a large screen. If quality is your main priority, then keeping the screen in a 40-120inch range would deliver the best visual quality.
3. Placing the Projector
The most important step of the whole setup process is to place the projector at the accurate position so that it can offer an error-free projection. You can set your projector in three ways; on the table, on the ceiling, or on the rear side of the projector. The table top placement is considered to be the most common and convenient option as it allows you to place the projector without much hassle easily.
In tabletop placement, you first need to arrange a small table whose height matches with the lower end of the screen as the projector generally offers an upright projection. Once you get the right height, now you need to place the projector in such a way that the lens is almost in the middle of the screen area. Placement is an essential task because the appropriate projection height and placement in the middle of the screen will ensure a proper squared-off image. If you still find any difficulty with the height, then we would suggest using the projector stand or any object to notch up the height by a small margin.
Ceiling mount can be a good option as it saves a lot of space in the middle of the entertainment arrangement and offers an uninterrupted viewing area. Moreover, it allows you to move without getting your leg tangled in wires and also lets you keep a dynamic sitting arrangement for a large crowd freely. However, installing the projector in the ceiling is quite tricky, and you need to get a separate projector mount for placing it.
First, you need to find the right location in the ceiling so that the mount along with the projector’s lens is in the middle of the screen. Mark the area with a marker and drill holes in the ceiling so that you can place the projector mount. Once you have installed the mount, you need to attach the projector with the help of screws located at the bottom device. It would be smart to take assistance from one of your family members who will hold the projectors while you attach the screws. Remember, while connecting the projector, you should place it updown as they are designed for such orientation. Many ceiling mounts come with a height adjustment option so you won’t have any problem to get a proper squared-off image.
Precautionary Measures: If you think you won’t be able to complete the whole ceiling installation by yourself, then it would be smart to hire a professional. Not only will it prevent any accident, but it will also ensure an accurate placement at the right distance.
You can even opt for a rear-projection setup where you need to place the projector at the rear side of the screen. It would be great if you want a clear space while enjoying your movie, and you can comfortably place seats and audio boxes for a clean setup. For houses and apartments, you need to have an ultra-short or short-throw projector for this setup; otherwise, it would bite a large space for installation.
Like the tabletop front projection, you have to place it in the same manner at the rear area and invert the projection beam. Before going for rear projection, you need to make sure the projector and screen supports are compatible with the rear projection system.
4. Connecting the Projector With All Required Cables
With both the projector and screen installed at their designated space, you will now have to connect the projector with the power cable and all other required cables. Generally, the power cables of projectors don’t come with a long reach, so it would be convenient to use a power extension and keep it tucked at the corner.
Now you will probably need an HDMI cable to connect all the modern video sources, whether it is laptop, Blu-Ray player, streamer, DTH box, etc. However, if you are going to connect an old DVD player, then you would need a VGA cable for connection. An MHL cable will also do the trick if you have a projector and a smartphone with MHL cable compatibility.
We know cables can be a mess for connecting video streaming devices, so a projector with a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection would be really helpful. You can keep the video source at any corner of the room and seamlessly play your favorite movie with uninterrupted viewing.
After you have connected all the devices, switch on the projector and the video source. The projector will automatically detect the video source and start showcasing the contents. However, if it doesn’t, then you will have to manually locate them through the projector’s settings or remote controller.
5. Aligning and Adjusting The Projected Picture
It is time to accurately project the image on the screen and get the best picture quality out of your projector. It is an integral part of the whole setup because when you adequately align and adjust the projected video, it will give you the best visual experience possible.
At first, you need to project a test pattern on the screen to properly align the image on the screen despite the screen size. Most of the projectors come with inbuilt test patterns so that it won’t be a problem for you. However, if you don’t find it, then you can download it from the Internet and use it for accurately aligning the projection.
Once you are ready with the test pattern image, now you have to make sure the lens is almost at the center of the screen. Then slowly adjust the height of the table or ceiling mount so that it is complete in level with the bottom end of the screen. Even if you have opted for ceiling mount, you will find no difficulty tilting the projector to project the image accurately. You have to make sure all the corners are within the screen, and it should fill the entire screen without any blown outside. You can use the lens shift or keystone correction of your projector to correct any deformation or image error.
If the test pattern image doesn’t fill the screen entirely, then the zoom button or e-zoom facility can help you to fit the image without leaving any blank space altogether. When the image is ready, use the focus dial to make sure the image is totally sharp and detailed. However, if you see the center is in focus while corners are a little hazy or vice versa, then there is a high chance that the projector and screen aren’t perpendicular. You can add more support or fiddle with the ceiling mount to accurately project the image with even focussing on every part.
6. Tuning And Getting The Best Picture Quality
Only aligning and adjusting the image won’t simply do it, and you will have to tune the picture settings to get the best image output. Every projector comes with different picture modes ranging from standard, classic to games and cinema so that you select the preset mode based on the video you want to project.
However, if the room lighting or projected video is not giving you the best visual, then you separately customize the brightness, color saturation, contrast, sharpness, color temperature, clarity, etc. You should also adjust the setting properly for getting a proper viewing experience. You should also consider the ambient lighting in your room while setting the picture quality because if you don’t properly adjust the brightness and contrast, it will ruin the whole output. While tuning, you also need to adjust the noise reduction, motion interpolation, iris, and gamma level to churn the best quality out of your input video.
It would be smart to completely set the room dark to get the image quality as not all projectors come with high lumens and contrast figures. Moreover, the color saturation is not the same in all the models, so you have to be dynamic with the settings.
7. Arranging The Audio Setup
An excellent visual experience is incomplete without the right sound quality, so you need to place some powerful speakers. However, you should avoid using the inbuilt audio because it will ruin the whole cinematic or football experience. A great home theater or 5.1 audio system would be perfect for the entire setup and reproduce all the sound details along with dialogue from the videos.
However, if you are short on budget, then a 2.1 speaker or Bluetooth bar would be an excellent option for better sound output. Properly spread the speakers and make them directed towards the seating arrangement so that you won’t miss out on anything.
8. Making The Final Move
When everything is ready, you just have to start the intended video game, football match or movie to enjoy the new setup.
My name is Henry Larson and I have been associated with research and development of projectors throughout my professional career. I used all my experience and expertise to create this blog so that I can guide people to get the best projector of their choice. For any further assistance, you can get in touch with me through email or comments.