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How to Position a Projector for Your Home Theater System

For having an authentic home theater experience consider installing a HD projector. If you are installing a projector, you will certainly need a proper screen to acquire the best video experience. The type of screen you need will mainly depend on the ambient light available in the room, the viewing angle, the distance between the screen and the projector, and the type of projector. However, here we shall discuss the points to be considered while positioning a projector.

The Height of Your Room Ceiling

Living room with projector screen

The height of your room ceiling has a major role to play, since it will determine the height and width of the screen, which will in turn determine the distance of the projector from the screen. The bottom of the screen for a home theater should at least be three feet from the floor, which enables viewers to look up, just like in a theater. Now, take the height of your ceiling, subtract this three feet and you end up with the maximum height for the screen that your room will take.

Aspect Ratio

For determining the width of your screen, you will need to consider the aspect ratio you want. When you are installing an HD projector for movies and HDTV, the aspect ratio required is 16:9. Now take the maximum screen height you calculated in the previous step, and multiply that number by 1.78, and you will have the maximum width for your screen.

Screen Placement

Projector on ceiling

Once you have figured out the dimension of your screen, you need to decide whether you are going to mount it permanently on the wall or you want the option of moving it up and down. The next thing to consider is the placement of three speakers around the screen for having a decent surround sound effect. After considering all this, you will have an idea where you will be placing the screen.

Distance between Projector and Screen

Once you have figured out the correct spot where you are going to place the screen, you can move on to calculating the distance your projector will be from the screen. For this, you will need to consider the throw ratio of your projector. The specifications of your projector will mention the maximum and minimum throw ratios. You need to multiply these numbers with the width of your screen independently to arrive at the maximum and minimum distance your projector has to be from the screen.

Projector on office table

To provide a practical example, suppose the maximum width of your screen is going to be eight feet for 16:9 aspect ratio, and your projector's maximum throw ratio is 2.2:1 and minimum is 1.8:1. In such a case, the maximum distance for placing your projector from the screen will be 17.6 feet (8 x 2.2), and the minimum distance will be 14.4 feet (8 x 1.8).

Placement of the Projector

After calculating the distance from the screen, you need to figure out where you should mount the projector. It could be mounted on the ceiling, wall, or on a stand or table. The lens of a projector is designed to project the image above the level of projector itself. However, many projectors are equipped with "lens shift" feature by which the image can be moved up and down. This enables you to mount your projector on the ceiling without having to invert it.

How to Mount the Projector

You will need to buy a quality mount for mounting your projector, especially when you want it on the ceiling or wall. A sturdy and durable mount will have adjustments for tilting and rotating your projector, so that you can place it precisely. Certain wall mount models also come with a sliding aluminum arm for precise adjustment of the distance.

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