How Close Can a Projector be to the Screen: A Simple Guide for Beginners

How Close Can a Projector be to the Screen
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Knowing how close can a projector be to the screen is very important when setting up a home entertainment room or space. Likewise, there are also a number of factors that go into choosing a projector screen.

Naturally, you want to make sure that the screen is compatible with the projector you have selected, and you have to ensure that its design will help in the projection of the best image. At the same time, certain practical considerations must be taken when you are picking the screen. Will it be easy to clean, roll up and store? Is it within your budget?

Two of the other main considerations should be how big the screen is and what is the screen’s aspect ratio. These two factors, in turn, connect to how close the projector should be to the screen. Screen size and aspect ratio have a direct effect on how close or far the projector should be.

Okay, let’s get to a uncomplicated explanation of how it all fits together..

What are the Different Screen Sizes?

In order to answer the question of where to properly place the screen, we first need to look at how big the screen is going to be. Of course, various screen sizes are available, and it is possible to pick up a screen as small as 80 inches and as large as 150 inches.

Screens that have a size of 80 inches will be perfect for a smaller room since the projection distance is cut down dramatically compared to the larger screens. Don’t worry though because you would still be able to get a great image on a screen this size. Well in fact, 80 inches is about as big as you can get when you buy a TV. On the other hand, a 150-inch screen will, obviously, need a monster sized space not only because of the projection space needed but also because frankly, with a screen this big, you don’t want to be sitting too close to it.

With that being said, 100 and 120-inch screens are the best of both worlds. They can give a real cinematic level of experience, while also being compact enough to fit into a lot of different rooms and spaces.

What Aspect Ratio should You Consider?

Who knew there was so much to selecting a projector screen? One more thing we need to look at is the image aspect ratio. Generally, this will be given as a pair of numbers, and the projection system will typically be either a 4:3 aspect ratio or a 16:9, or it could even be both. Having both aspect ratios will allow you to select the option you would prefer to display the image in.

As a very broad definition, 4:3 aspect ratio is considered “Normal” while 16:9 is the “Widescreen” viewing option. The former is going to be a bit better for TV shows, and the latter is better for big Hollywood movies.

How Close Can a Projector be to the Screen?

Finally, we have everything in place, so now we can get to the question of how close the projector can be to the screen. Basically, the answer is a combination of the throw distance of the projector and the width of the screen.

This means that when you are looking at your projector, it will state it’s throw distance as one of its key features, and it will give this information as a number with a decimal, something like 1.5. Once you have the throw distance number, you then need to measure the width of your screen (measure straight across the middle). You then multiply the width by the throw number to get the ideal distance that the projector should be placed.

For instance, if you have a projector that has a throw distance of 1.5 and a screen with a width of 100 inches, the product of 1.5 x 100 is 150. In this instance, you want to place your projector at a distance of 150 inches away from the screen.

Do take note though that some projectors will have a range of throw distances like 1.5 to 2.5, instead of a single number. In this case, simply do the multiplication twice; once with the smaller number and once with the largest. That will give you the range of distances that your projector can be installed away from the screen.

Why Does Distance Make a Difference?

The distance between the projector and the screen is going to have a big impact on the overall image quality, which is why it is so important to work out the best place to install your projector. To be specific, distance affects:

  • Color: Bear in mind that the image has to be projected onto the screen, and the projection uses light (i.e. energy) to achieve this. That means if the projector is mounted too far away, it will lose a lot of the energy in the projection beam before it hits the screen, making the image look dull and washed out.
  • Image Placement: You also want the image to be placed exactly onto the screen’s viewing area. This is, after all, why you have invested in a viewing screen. The distance from the projector to the screen needs to be just right to ensure there is no overlap between the projected image and the screen edges as this can catch the eye and be distracting during a screening.
  • General Image Quality: As 4K projectors continue to roll out and become more popular, getting the projector’s right distance from the screen will become more and more important to ensure that you can truly take advantage of the outstanding images.


There we have it! Like most cases, some simple questions can turn out to be more complicated than they seem at first. So we hope that you now have all the knowledge you need to answer the question “How close can a projector be to the screen?

By collecting the information we talked about and using the straightforward method we outlined, you will be able to simply but effectively set up  a projector screen at home. Good luck and have fun!

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