Creating a home theatre somewhere in your house is a fantastic idea. With projectors now at an affordable level, owning one can transform the way you watch both television and movies.
Why go to the cinema, spending all that extra money on tickets and food when you can lounge around in your own projector room, eating what you want, and being in full control of the visuals and sound?
In this article, we will tell you the best way to use your projector. You’ll find out how to set up the projector in your room to get the optimal image and most longevity from the machine.
It doesn’t matter whether you own an Epson, Panasonic, or any other brand of projector. Everything we say here applies universally
How To Use A Projector: Step by Step Guide
1. THE UNBOXING
When buying something new, there is a temptation to rip open the box and get to use it as quickly as possible. Often, this enthusiasm leads to missing something vital that was in the box or failing to take note of some basic instructions.
Don’t let this be you.
Take the time to carefully remove any of the protection that is around the projector. You don’t want to mount the thing, only to see some plastic wrapping left on there that is in a difficult position to remove. It may be minor, but it will surely prove an irritant.
Check the box for all the accessories that come with the projector. From remote to wires to adaptors, you should know exactly what has been provided for you so that you can use it.
Many people look at the extras given in the box, and they work their way into a drawer of other long-unused items. These extra accessories have been given for a reason. Check what they are and why they have been given before discarding them.
Before moving on, check all the inputs. We’re going to assume that your projector has HDMI ports, and these will be the ones you use. Read the manual to check which ports you can use to the type of video you want to stream.
For example, while you may have multiple HDMI ports, it may be that only one of them can be used for 4K video.
A. Lens Shift
One factor affecting placement is the quality of your projector. A higher-quality projector has something called lens shift. When the projector has this lens shift feature, you have more placement options as the projector can be off-center in relation to your screen. Lens shift on such machines will be done either manually or be controlled mechanically via the remote or buttons on the projector.
With cheaper projectors, you may not get a lens shift feature. If this is the case, you need to place the projector in a specific spot to fill the desired screen space. Doing this placement will require the correct angle to be found for the projector to function in relation to your screen.
B. Throw Distance
You need to check if your projector is a short-throw projector or a long throw projector. Additionally, you should find you how well the zoom function works.
Short throw projectors can go close up to any wall or screen and still get a gigantic image.
Long-throw projectors, from a distance of around 10 feet, can get you a 100-inch screen. You will find many projectors capable of getting an even larger screen than this if you can place them far enough back.
There may be reasons why you can’t get the projector in the exact space to fill your screen. For example, there may be flight fittings preventing you from mounting in the correct place, or the furniture may need a total shift around to get the projector into the ideal spot.
This scenario is where the ‘zoom’ comes in handy, as it will let you reduce or increase the screen size. This function means you can get the screen size you want without necessarily having the perfect distance between the screen and projector.
Additionally, if mounting the projector, you’ll need to find a ceiling stud to ensure the projector is secure. There’s no guarantee this will be in the exact location needed to use the projector without using the zoom feature.
C. Keystone Adjustment
As much as possible, avoid using keystone adjustment for getting a perfectly rectangular picture.
Keystone adjustment is an electronic adjustment that will lead you to a lower resolution picture and reduce the image’s overall quality.
Get your perfect picture by determining perfect distance, angle (through lens shift if needed), and zoom.
3. PREVENT OVERHEATING
Projectors throw out a lot of heat while operating. If you want your projector to last longer and not get damaged by overheating, you need to ensure enough space for airflow around the machine.
Having the projector in an open space rather than a cabinet is a better idea. However, if using a cabinet, you could install fans to ensure that the heat is quickly dissipated.
If putting your projector in an open space, remember that it will blast out hot air. Having it in the vicinity of your seating area may lead to those close to the projector getting a bit hot and sweaty.
4. ADJUST FOR AMBIENT LIGHT
Even if you have a high-lumen projector, the sun is your enemy. If it breaks through the windows, even bright projectors will face some reduction in picture quality.
Additionally, don’t forget that as your projector gets older, the light it emits will dim. So while it may not be that badly affected by the sun in the first months or year, eventually, you are going to have to find a way to block out the light of the outside world. Blinds and heavy curtains are perfect for this.
Some people even find that the LED lights showing power on, and other things on projectors or laptops become a niggling frustration when watching something. To avoid this distraction, you can use electrical tape to cover these lights up.
5. GET THE FOCUS RIGHT
Display a very bright image from your projector and start adjusting the focus. This adjustment can be done manually or motorized, depending on the type of projector you have. (Unless you have an autofocus, in which case, your picture shouldn’t need adjusting.)
With motorized focus, you can adjust using the remote. This type of focus allows you to get close up to the screen as you adjust. Do slow adjustments until you can see individual pixels. If the pixels are too small to see, just take a seat and check the picture is clear from there.
When doing manual focus adjustments, so long as the focus wheel is smooth, you may actually find it easier to get the perfect focus.
With this method, you have to stand at the projector to operate it, so you will be further back from the screen. If you can’t get things right by yourself, get a second person to stand close to the screen to tell you when they can see the individual pixels.
Some projectors, especially the cheaper ones, will not get a perfect focus, especially around the edges of the image.
Additionally, if projecting on a wall that isn’t perfectly flat, you may experience focus issues.
6. PLAY WITH THE SETTINGS
Check the different modes the projector has and see which one suits you best.
If you want to have the brightest screen possible, you can adjust your settings to get this. Just remember, this will mean you get fewer hours from the lamp before a change of bulb is required.
Dimmer modes, like ECO mode, will mean the projector has a lighter workload. While this will result in a clear difference to the image you see, it will mean a projector that lasts longer and lower electricity bills.
You can also find modes that change the color style of the picture.Play around with these to get an image you love.
7. SET UP THE SOUND
Don’t use the projector speaker and expect cinema-quality sound. You won’t get it.
Instead, invest in decent speakers or even a soundbar to get sound quality that matches the picture quality you will receive.
It is better to go with wired speakers.
Wired speakers shouldn’t result in any sound lag, whereas Bluetooth speakers have lag and can result in the sound and picture is slightly out of sync.
The cheaper the Bluetooth speaker, the more noticeable the lag will be, and it will become very annoying.
You can set up a grand home theatre in very little time, and it needn’t be an expensive venture either.
Ensuring a few steps are done correctly and with precision in the beginning, will save you a whole lot of hassle in the long run.
Remember, some of these steps are required to get perfect picture quality, while others are required to boost your projector’s longevity.
All these steps are essential. Don’t miss a single one.