How To Set Up A Mini Projector Home Based Theatre

You can now watch movies on the big screen, at home, with the perfect home cinema set up for any budget using a mini projector.

There is nothing that can beat the big cinema screen experience for movies or gaming, but home theater can be an expensive hobby to get into.

We have put together this guide to take you step by step in setting up your home theatre experience so get out your shopping list and tape measure and let us walk you through every aspect of planning your own home theater. We take you through from layout to choosing curtains and the most important part of the set, the mini projector itself.

The Mini Projector

Projectors are like man other tech devices where you really do get what you pay for. Regardless of your budget, it will probably be the most expensive purchase in your home theatre system.

Never purchase a mini projector blind – if you can’t find a stockist locally with a demo room, then make sure you find high-quality photographs, videos, reviews and comparisons online from sources you trust, just like

Projector on office table ready for presentation with chairs in background

Most portable projectors resolution will be either 720p or 1080p or HD. There will be a hundred dollars in price difference. For the big cinema experience if you want a big image, you’re really going to notice that difference in resolution – so if you can afford it and plan on projecting onto a large screen, you’re really going to appreciate spending a little more on a good home projector that has a good resolution and if you can stretch that far go for HD quality.

One thing to look out for is that you’re buying a mini projector that actually projects at 1080p, instead of one that just “supports 1080p” – which means the signal is downgraded to something lower.

One other crucial specification you’ll see quoted very often is the lumen value. Lumen is a measure of the amount of light emitted by the projector; in layman’s terms, the brightness.
A low lumen value – 1500 or less – will only be visible in a dark room. 3000 lumen and higher will be visible in daylight, but truthfully any projected image will look better when there’s less ambient light.

One other key point to pay particular attention to when buying a mini projector or pocket projector is the life of the bulb and cost of replacement. The bulb life is usually quoted in hours.

Projectors use incredibly powerful bulbs and replacing them can cost a significant amount although many latest models of mini projector come with 30,000 hours plus lamp life.

As stated before bulbs are rated by the number of hours they should last for; a few thousand, usually, so it should last a year to two years with moderate usage.
If you’ve set up your home theatre room to be as dark as possible, you may be able to switch the projector into a lower power economy mode without too much detriment to the picture.

A quick note on image ratios: widescreen means 16:9 ratio, great for gaming, movies and general use. Avoid older projectors that only have XGA, WXGA, and SXGA, as these are all 4:3 ratio and less than 108op resolution.

Room Planning

One of the biggest issues you may face when planning a home theatre room is that projectors need a good throw distance, and the greater the distance you give them, the larger your screen can be.

This value is fixed – projector model X at a distance of Y meters from the screen will give you image Z inches across.

The throw distances vary by manufacturer and model – once you’ve found a suitable projector, use this helpful projection calculator tool to work out how far the projector will need to be placed to get a certain size image; or inversely, the size of the projected image, when placed a certain distance away.

You have to bear in mind that the projector also needs a clear line of sight for the light to travel; any objects in the way – such as furniture or people – will obscure the image.
A coffee table or table of some description is fine for use with ultra short throw devices such as mini projectors.

For the best image quality, the projector needs to be placed in the center; you can project from off to one side, but the image becomes severely distorted.
Do also make sure that your projector has adequate ventilation on all sides; don’t mount it inside anything, or the heat build-up will severely damage the life of your the bulb. The projectors can get really hot!

Black Out Curtains

There are two reasons for using blackout curtains – thick, heavy material that blocks more light than regular curtains, also sometimes called “room darkening curtains”. The first is to improve image quality – dim projectors just won’t show up satisfactorily in anything but the lowest of lighting. The second is purely aesthetic – for those who want an “authentic” theatre experience, nothing less than pitch black with adjustable LED lighting is acceptable.

Nowadays, the first reason is no longer really valid – high lumen projectors can work fine even in daylight, a projector screen will improve this yet further, though all will look better in lower light levels. Generally speaking though, you don’t need special curtains unless you really, really want that cinema feeling.

The Screen

You may have read or heard that the mini projector is only half of the equation; you need an equally good quality screen to go with it. For the absolute best quality, the room, projector, and screen all need to be matched. That may be so, but if you are putting together a cinema experience on a budget you can get away with different manufacturers and models for sure.

If you are buying a screen, avoid high gain models (which focus the light back toward you), as they can result in hotspots of bright light in the center and bad image quality when viewing from the sides.

You can also buy special paints with a reflective coating if you’d rather use the wall but want better performance.

Sound Quality

Finally, the missing piece of the jigsaw is sound. Sound quality can make all the difference to your cinema experience.

The best option is to go for surround sound. That means you need a 2 front and 2 rear speakers and a central speaker complete with a subwoofer.
You can usually buy all the cabling and other items you need from good AV or hardware stores.

To conclude a home theatre is a certain investment that will repay you with great experiences for years to come, it can dramatically enhance your enjoyment of movies, TV, and gaming. At the very least, buy yourself a decent mini projector and read the latest reviews here Mini Projector Review

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