If you and your family just love the immersive full cinema feeling at home but are limited on space as well as the budget to buy a huge television, then a home projector screen is a fantastic way of transforming a home into your very own home movie theater. As a bonus, it can be had for a fraction of the on-going price of regular trips to the cinema. You’ll immediately get bigger and bolder images that will really enhance your viewing experience.
If it’s a hung ceiling version that you opt for then it’s really going to look slick and professional and of course can be a great space saver too. Be warned though, once the neighbors find out that you are the proud owners of a projector screen, expect line ups at your front door as your family and friends line up with their buckets of popcorn!
Factors to Consider when Hanging a Projector Screen from the Ceiling
Before you even get to grips with the installation though there are a few essential considerations that you need to weigh up first so you’d best have your tape measure on hand! Think about the size of your room versus the size of the projector screen that you’ve purchased. Also make sure that you have correctly taken into account the projector’s specific throw distance versus its vertical offset. These are both crucial measurements which you should be able to easily find in your accompanying instruction manual. You’ll need to take all of these measurements into account to perfectly hang the projector screen from your ceiling.
Crucial steps to follow
So first up, you are going to need to decide exactly where you want to place your projector screen itself and that will depend upon the layout of your room and to a certain extent where it will physically fit. There are a few hard and fast rules that are best applied, the main one being to not fix onto a wall that receives direct sunlight. That said, if this is the only option that you have, you could purchase some black out blinds that you can pull down each time you are ready to use your projector screen.
Next, and again this is a factor directly related to your room size, you need to decide on the screen height. If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated home theater style room with rows of chairs you need to ensure that its fixed high enough so that whatever row someone is sitting they still have a good unobstructed view. Otherwise if it’s just in a regular living room, for example, then a good generic height for the bottom of the screen would be anywhere between 24-36 inches from the floor.
Besides the image size of the actual projector, also make sure that you know the size of the screen itself as that’s an important measurement to have to hand in order to perfectly hang your new projector screen.
Let’s get technical now!
Here’s the tricky part! Well, it can be depending upon how good you are at following formulas. You’re going to need to calculate what’s known as your projector’s “throw” distance. This should be listed in your projector’s manual and will be either a single number or a series of numbers depending upon whether it comes with or without optical zoom functionality. Once you know what that number is then the recommended formula to adopt is:
Throw Ratio x Screen Width = Throw Distance.
Still with me? OK just by way of a quick illustrative example, if your screen width is 100 inches and your throw ratio is 1:2:1 to 2:4:1 then you can place your projector anywhere between 120 and 240 inches from the screen. As soon as you have calculated and decided upon the best throw distance, next fully evaluate your room and decide the best place to hang your projector screen.
Additional factors to consider
You should also evaluate the following before deciding where to hang your projector screen. Where will you all be seated while viewing the screen? Do you require easy accessibility to any HDMI cables and power that you are going to need? What’s your image preference: short and bright or long and sharp? These will all determine where both your projector and your screen are located for best viewing advantage, safety and convenience.
It’s all in the preparation
Before you are tempted to get the electric drill out, you should probably create a template to help you drill your screws evenly in place. Let’s face it, no-one wants a wonky hung projector screen that they have to crick their neck to watch. Depending upon what type of walls and ceilings you have will also determine the size drill bit you need to use. It makes sense to predrill your holes before attempting to install the screen, also use a wiring/pipe detector to make sure that you are not about to drill into any wiring or plumbing!
If your projector screen is particularly heavy or your ceiling is not studded, then it might also be a good idea to additionally use anchor bolts to ensure that it’s secure. The important thing is that you need to ensure that the projector screen weight is evenly distributed, thoroughly supported and that the screen enclosure is securely fixed to the ceiling.
Two pairs of hands are better than one!
You are really going to need two sets of hands and probably two sets of step ladders too to ensure that your projector screen is safely, evenly and securely fastened. Go ahead and lift up the projector screen towards your ceiling holes simultaneously with your partner. Screw loosely into place initially. Keep checking that both sides are evenly flush to the ceiling then tighten the screws into place, but be careful not to over tighten either.
If your ceiling is high then it’s a good idea to thread a string or rope onto the handle of your screen if it’s manually operated. That way it’s easily accessible for all the family to reach and makes lowering and stowing away your projector screen so much easier.
Now all you have to do is decide what film you and your family want to watch and whether sweet or savory popcorn is on the menu tonight. Then kick back, relax and get ready to enjoy your own fully absorbing, larger than life, home cinematic experience.