Man adjusting projector in ceiling mount

How to get the best picture from your projector

Published 4th January 2023
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Blurry images, a misaligned screen, rainbow-like colour ghosting - all of these can ruin your movie-watching experience, and they're all caused by a projector that's not set-up properly. Good thing we're here to show you how to do it the right way!

In this blog, we'll be discussing everything you need to know about choosing and setting up a projector for your home or office. We'll cover topics such as finding out the throw ratio of your projector, picking the right screen, mounting your projector and adjusting focus and picture quality. With this guide in hand, you'll have all the information you need to get the most out of your new projector setup!

Find out the throw ratio

First, you need to know what your projector's 'throw ratio' is. This number tells you how far back from your screen the project needs to be to display a clear image. This will be two numbers separated by a colon. For example, if the throw ratio is '1.5:1', then the projector needs to be 1.5 metres away from the projector screen to show an image 1 metre wide, and 3 metres away to show an image 2 metres wide.

You should do this first because you need to work out if your projector will be suitable for the room you're setting up. For more information about throw distance, read our blog on projector technology.

Choose a projector screen

If you want the best picture, a projector screen is a must. A projector screen is designed specifically to display projected images, and can help to improve the overall image quality by providing a flat, smooth surface for the image to be projected onto. This gives you a more detailed and clearer image, with better colour accuracy and contrast, than a wall would. Here are some tips for picking the right one:

Size

The size of the screen should be appropriate for the size of the room and the distance at which the projector will be positioned. A general rule of thumb is to have a screen that is at least as wide as the diagonal measurement of the projector's image, with a height that is approximately two-thirds of the width.

Gain

The gain of a screen refers to how much the screen reflects light back towards the viewer. A screen with a high gain will be more reflective, while a screen with a low gain will be less reflective. A screen with a high gain may be more suitable for a room with low light levels, while a screen with a low gain may be more suitable for a room with high light levels.

Viewing angle

The viewing angle of a screen refers to the angle at which the screen can be viewed without significant loss of image quality. A screen with a wide viewing angle will allow viewers to see the image clearly from a wider range of positions.

Mounting

You should decide early whether or not to fit your new projector onto a projector mount. Projectors are expensive, particularly home cinema and 4K models, and mounting them permanently will stop them from being accidentally knocked to the ground.

Also consider whether you want a fixed or portable screen, and whether you will need to mount the screen on a wall or ceiling. Fixed screens are obviously less flexible, but you won't have to adjust the projector's focus every time you watch something, which you might with a portable screen if it's been moved.

Placement

Once you’ve determined what type of lens is best suited for your space, it’s time to think about placement. You want to make sure that your projector is placed in an optimal position so that it can project an evenly lit image onto the screen without any obstructions or glare from nearby lights or windows. Ideally, it should be placed directly in front of where viewers will be sitting so they can enjoy an unobstructed view of whatever content is being projected.

Connecting video players & accessories

The next step in optimising your projector setup is making sure that all connections are secure and working properly before turning on the device itself. This includes checking cables and power cords as well as ensuring that any external devices such as Blu-ray players, laptops, desktop PCs, soundbars or memory sticks are connected correctly and functioning properly before powering on the projector itself.

Adjusting focus

Once you've turned your projector on and checked it's working, you should put the picture in focus. To do this you need a reference point. It's easy to tell if text is in focus or not, so pausing the end credits of a movie makes for a good reference point.

How you actually adjust the focus depends on the model you've bought. You might be able to use a remote control, or you might have to do it manually by adjusting a focusing ring on the front of the lens. Your projector's manual will tell you exactly how to focus it.

Fine-tuning your picture

The last step is perfecting your image quality depending on what you want to watch. For example, if you're watching movies then you may want to boost the contrast levels while reducing the brightness.

If you're playing video games then you may want to turn on any gaming-specific settings that your projector has, such as a 'game mode' or 'low latency' setting. This will reduce the amount of time it takes for the image to be displayed on screen after pressing a button, which can make a big difference when playing fast-paced games.

Follow these steps and your project will work perfectly. For tips on picking the right model and type, read through our projector buyer's guide.

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