Choosing and setting up your first projector screen.
There are a few types of projector screens. There are projector screen paints, manual roll-up screens, fixed frame screens, and a few more high-tech electric-powered screens. Today we will focus more on how to set up a fixed frame screen, which is popular in home theatres.
When it comes to fixed frame screens, you should always set up your projector first before choosing a screen. Test your projector on an empty wall to determine the size you want. If you don’t do this as the first step, you could end up spending more money changing your screen size.
Choosing Projector Screen Size and Aspect Ratio
Choosing the perfect screen size will depend on a couple of things. First is how much space you have in the area you’re installing it. For obvious reasons, you can’t install a 300-inch projector screen in a tiny space. Nor will you want a tiny screen in a large space.
Another factor in determining the size to get is the capability of your projector. Projectors can project images as small as 40 inches up to 300 inches diagonally. You want to make sure the projector screen you get is within your projector’s range.
You also want to make sure you get a screen with the correct aspect ratio. The most common ratio for home theatres is 16:9. You can go wider with a 2.35:1 cinematic ratio. Again, make sure your projector is capable of projecting in the aspect ratio of your screen.
Your personal preference, of course, will also be a factor in deciding which screen size to get. Many people prefer to get the largest screen size possible. This might not be the case for you.
Another important thing to do is to get most of your projector positioning and orientation down before deciding on a screen. The fine-tuning can be done once the screen is installed. We will talk about this a bit later.
Once you’ve set up your projector and determined the screen size and aspect ratio you want, it’s time to pick up your projector screen and get it set up.
Check this video out if you want to learn a bit more about choosing a projector screen:
Assembling Projector Screen
The first thing you want to do is assemble the projector screen. New projector screens will come with an instruction manual on how to assemble it. Most screens will have three main components: the frame, the screen itself and the wall mounts.
You can start with the frame. Following the instructions on the manual, align all the pieces and fasten them together.
Make sure you don’t mix up the different pieces as this can cause problems later on. You also want to make sure all your screws and locks are tight, so nothing falls apart when you mount it on your wall.
Next will be the screen itself. This can be quite tricky. You want to make sure the screen is fully stretched out to avoid any screen wrinkles. This can take some time to finish. Pull every corner onto their mounts slowly so you don’t tear up the screen.
Once you’ve successfully installed the screen on the frame, you can move on with the wall mounts. Make sure the wall mounts are attached firmly to the frame, so your screen doesn’t fall off later on.
Assembling your projector screen can take a while. You can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day. Remember to follow your instruction manual closely and never rush the assembly process.
After completing the screen assembly, you can now move on to installing it.
Here’s a really helpful video that goes into more detail on assembling your projector screen:
Preparing for Installation
It is crucial that you get all your measurements right before installing any of the wall mounts. Go over them several times before proceeding. You can use painter’s tape to mark out your measurements.
The bottom of your screen should be between 24 inches and 36 inches off the floor. This is the typical recommendation unless you have elevated seats or large front speakers. In which case you may want to move your screen a bit higher up.
Measure the horizontal position of your screen to make sure it’s centered on your wall. Do not attempt to eyeball any of your measurements.
Ensure that your screen is leveled before installation. Many projector screen mounts allow you to make minor adjustments once everything is installed but don’t rely on that. Make sure you’re as close to perfect as possible before proceeding to install your screen.
You can level your screen using a leveling tool or simply align it with your ceiling or floor. We recommend the Acegmet L9 Green Laser Level (below). It has a self-leveling mode along with other neat features that will make leveling your projector screen a breeze.
- 4 Times Brighter and More Reliable: This green laser level is equipped with Sharp's latest green LD...
- Accurate on Inclined Surface: This cross line laser level has an accuracy of 1/9 inch at 33 feet....
- Adaptable for Different Environments: This laser level is suitable for various home and outdoor use,...
Installing Projector Screen
When you’re confident about your measurements, you can move on to the installation. You may want to ask a buddy for help especially if you’re installing a larger screen.
The first step is to attach the wall mounts to your wall. Most projector screens are light enough to be attached directly to a drywall. If you get a heavy screen, you may need to attach a beam to your wall studs first then attach the mounts to the beam.
Installing your wall mounts should be a fairly simple process but will require drilling. If you have experience using a drill, then you should have no problem proceeding.
Once the mounts are installed you can now install your screen and make your fine-tuning adjustments. You may check out this article for more details about installing the mounts and brackets.
Projector Setup – How to determine projector distance from a screen
You should have already done most of your projector positioning and orientation before getting started with the screen. One of the most important is the distance of your projector from the screen.
This is referred to as the throw distance. The throw distance of your projector will be listed in the user manual as either a single number or throw range. If you only see a single number, this means your projector does not have zoom capabilities.
To calculate the throw distance, you will first need to measure the width of your screen. Take that number and multiply it by your projector’s throw distance and you will get the right distance your projector should be from your screen. Here’s an example:
100” screen width x 1.3 throw distance = 130” from screen
For projectors with zoom capabilities, you will have a bit more room to play around with the distance of your projector.
Most projectors will also have other adjustment features that will help you perfectly align the image on your screen. These adjustments can include roll, pitch and yaw adjustments.
Be sure to carefully adjust each one so that the image on your screen will fit perfectly. As much as possible try not to make the image bleed out of your screen or come in short of the screen edges.
Seating Distance – How far to sit from the projector screen
Seating distance will heavily depend on your preference, but there are a few guidelines which you may follow to get the optimum distance.
One common guideline is to take the height of your screen and multiply it by 3. So if your screen height measures 36 inches, the best seat in the room would be set 108 inches away from the screen.
Another guideline offered by THX is to measure the diagonal size of your screen and divide that number by 0.84. So if your screen measures 74 inches diagonally, your seat would be set around 88 inches away from the screen (74 ÷ .84 = 88.09).
These are not strict rules to follow but simply guidelines. Ultimately, you should decide how far your seat should be from your screen based on your preference.
Setting up your projector screen and fine-tuning your projector to work with your screen may seem like hard work. But really it isn’t as hard as it seems. All you need is a little patience and attention to detail as you follow the instructions carefully.
If you’re still not confident about setting up your projector screen yourself, you can always ring the professionals and have them do it for you.
Either way, we hope this article has been helpful to you.
You can watch this video to see how one YouTuber set up his projector screen from start to finish:
Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.