When you want to capture the magic of the movies at home, home theater projectors are the best option. But there’s a big misconception that getting them?set up is a difficult and time-consuming process.
Don’t let the idea of installation trip you up. We’ve broken the process?down into five easy steps so you can?ensure?your new home theater is ready for movie night. Here’s the breakdown on how to mount your new home theater projector.
1. Select?your screen location
The first thing to consider when shopping for a projector is whether you’ll be using a projection screen or blank wall as your projection surface. While a flat?wall is typically fine for naturally dark areas of your home like basements, screens are recommended across the board?for their ability to dampen?ambient light and improve image quality.
When you’re ready to install your home theater projector setup, it’s a good idea to mark everything out with painters tape first. This ensures the least amount of damage to your walls and ceiling while allowing you to make any necessary adjustments during the process.
Important factors for screen location are:
- Direct and ambient lighting: Light washes out projected images, hindering your image’s color accuracy and brightness. Try to choose a location?without a competing?light source nearby.
- Height above the floor: In general, the bottom of your screen should be about 24″ to 36″ off the floor. However,?this number may be higher if you have furniture that will sit below the screen or want to accommodate additional rows of seating.
Ideally, your audience members shouldn’t have to tilt their heads up more than 15? to view the screen. Refer to your user manual for your projector’s recommended screen size, then mark your ideal screen viewing area with painters tape.
2. Choose?your projector location
Purchasing your home theater projector at the same time as?your screen ensures maximum compatibility across?useful features?like?mounting options and rear projection capabilities. What you purchase will determine your installation options, but usually, they are:
- front-facing table-top
- front-facing ceiling
- rear-facing table-top
- rear-facing ceiling
Note that if you decide to go with a ceiling mount, it’s a good idea to?consult with a home theater installer to ensure your ceiling can support the equipment.
Figure out your throw distance
The throw distance of a projector is how far your projector should?be mounted from your screen and?can be found in your product manual. A range of numbers indicates that the projector can make adjustments to a variety of distances using?optical zoom. Meanwhile, a single number indicates that the projector must physically be moved closer or farther away from the screen to get the best image quality.
The exact?distance in inches can be determined with some simple multiplication:
- Throw Distance x?Width of Screen in Inches = Distance From Screen to Projector Lens
When you’ve determined the distance from the lens to your screen or wall, use painter’s tape to mark it on your ceiling or floor.
3. Mount the projector
Lower quality?mounts have the tendency to drift out of alignment over time and can be tricky when it comes to making precision adjustments. Overall though, mounts are usually made of two pieces: the ceiling plate and the projector plate. And they’re usually pretty simple to install:
- Begin by leveling the projector plate on top of the projector. Follow your mount’s instructions to connect the pieces.
- Attach the projector plate to the ceiling plate. At this point, the mount and projector should be assembled on your floor.
- Measure the exact distance from your projector lens to the?front of its attached?ceiling plate. Return to the spot you marked on the ceiling for your throw?distance earlier, and mark where the projector mount should be situated.
- Separate your ceiling mount from the projector, and attach it securely to a ceiling joist using at least two lag bolts (consult your mount instructions for the manufacturer’s recommendation).
- When the mount is secure, lift your projector and affix it to the mount. Attach whatever video or power cables you’ll need, and zip tie them to the mount to keep them out of the way for now.
Always refer to your product instructions when installing projector mounts, and be sure to use any safety screws included in the packaging for added?security.
4. Mount the screen
How you mount your screen will vary by product, but the process itself is pretty straightforward:
- Assemble the frame for your screen by following the product’s?instructions.
- Have a friend help you position the frame against the wall and level it.
- Locate studs and mark where the frame will be installed.
- Attach the screen to the frame and double-check that it’s level.
- Install the fully assembled screen and frame where you have marked on the wall.
Now that your screen, projector, and mount are up, it’s time to fine tune your projector’s image settings.
5. Optimize?your home theater projector settings
There are a number of settings you can use to customize to your home theater setup, but the most important ones are:
- Zoom: Usually controlled by a ring near the lens, make your image slightly larger than your screen to ensure a polished look.
- Focus: Also typically controlled by a ring near the lens, adjust until your image appears razor sharp.
- Roll: Use a level to adjust your mount to be completely flat and even with the ground. Uneven roll will make your image appear slightly titled.
- Pitch: Use a level to adjust your mount to be perpendicular to the screen so the sides of your image are perfectly parallel. If the image is projecting slightly up or down, the projection won’t be a true?rectangle.
- Yaw: Adjusting yaw requires moving the projector side to side until the image is centered horizontally on your screen.
Getting your settings right is a tricky process. Keep in mind that you may need to shift?between settings multiple times and use your lens shift settings to get it just?how you want it.
The show must go on
Installing a new home theater system can seem daunting, but we’ve got even more tips to make the process quick and easy.?Once your home theater projector is up and running, follow these steps to get streaming!