How to Set up a Projector

Last update January 22, 2020
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Projectors are becoming more popular but are still underrated because these devices are much more versatile and impressive than most people believe. Following these tips, you'll be able to figure out why you should probably start using projectors and how to use them. 

Full Guide on How to Set up a Projector

Full guide on how to set up a projector

Projectors are not as difficult to set up as one might think. As far as we’re concerned, the process is more about time consumption than it is about difficulty. Equipped with the right tips and guidelines, most people will have no issues setting up projectors. It might take some time but you’ll get there sooner rather than later.

 Location Is Key

Location is key

Before anything else, you’ll need to figure out the right location. In other words, you need to decide where you are going to put this thing and where you’d feel most comfortable using it. First and foremost, you need enough space for the projection, the required space here being a blank wall (preferably white or anything close to white) or a projector screen. The bigger the space, the better.

Most projectors these days have no issues delivering images ranging from 40 to 300 inches (measured diagonally), so you can sacrifice as much space as you want and are able to. Having said that, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend going overboard since larger images tend to be dimmer.

Also, larger images pretty much force you to move the projecting device further back, so unless you’re able to mount a projector onto the ceiling, you’ll have to keep in mind the seating arrangements since you cannot sit before the beam.

Set up the Projector Screen

Set up the projector screen

Now, technically speaking, you don’t need a screen to make any projector work but we highly recommend purchasing one anyway. The difference here is that these screens give you a uniform blank surface, so you won’t be dealing with light switches and all the other issues that come from using walls. Also, the best projector screens are able to reflect and amplify the image, making the picture rich and bright.

Figure out the Height

Figure out the height

We’re assuming here that you’re looking to use table-mount projectors since these are the most prevalent models these days. That being said, the concept is not that difficult compared to ceiling mounts and rear-projection configurations, so most users should be able to figure this out.

More often than not, HD projectors line up roughly with the lens’ middle (somewhat above the screen’s bottom edge), meaning that you should choose some relatively small table or similar support item that will be the right height for the job. When you’re able to get close enough to this height, the image will look squared-off, which is our goal here. There are projectors that come fitted with a vertical lens shift feature though. When that’s the case, you’ll have more range to fiddle with.

How to Use a Projector

How to use a projector

Physically installing the projector is half the battle. Once you’ve done that, it is time to configure the settings, connect the content(s) sources, and optimize the picture quality. This is where things can get somewhat complicated, so make sure to follow these guidelines.

Project an Alignment Image

Project an alignment image

To make sure the projected image looks as good as possible, you’ll need to find a still reference pattern. More often than not, half-decent home theater projectors and even mid-range HD projectors these days come equipped with built-patterns, so you’ll likely be able to use those. When that’s not the case, you can download setup discs/images online.

Adjust the Image

Adjust the image

You need to make sure the lens’ center is lined up with the center of the screen. To do that, you have to ensure that the projector is as perpendicular and level relative to the projector screen as possible. The image’s far edges ought to be the same size and the entire screen is supposed to be filled to make everything as neat as possible.

Keystone Correction

Keystone correction

Most often, modern-day projectors come adopting a keystone correction feature. Using this feature, you’re able to quickly fix the proportions of the image. In other words, the feature lets you ensure that the image sides are as close to that perfect rectangle as possible.

Sometimes, these projectors provide both vertical and horizontal correction. Budget projectors are limited to vertical correction more often than not though.

Both projector types and the aforementioned feature will contribute towards making the image come as close to perfection (alignment-wise) as possible but the results won’t always be able to follow suit. In that case, we would recommend looking into higher platforms to align the device with the screen. 

Lens Shift

Lens shift

This feature, when available, enables you to physically move the device’s lens in the vertical and horizontal planes. Some high-end products even provide diagonal shift. When the image adopts the right shape (both vertically and horizontally) but needs to be lowered, raised, or shifted from one side to the other, this feature will let you achieve that without physically moving the projecting device.

Zoom and Focus Controls

With the right shape and angle achieved, you need to make sure the image looks brilliant. To do that, projectors are usually housing various zoom and focus settings. The first will let you ensure that the image fills the entire screen. Focus controls, on the other hand, are there to make the objects/ on-screen action as crisp and clear in relation to the seating arrangements as possible.

Optimize the Picture Quality

Optimize the Picture Quality

You can use projectors for watching TV, watching movies, watching/conducting presentations, playing video games, the list goes on and on. To make these experiences as enjoyable and streamlined as possible, you’ll have to access the device’s settings.

Though these devices usually come fitted with many different convoluted settings, like TVs, most projectors these days are crammed with preset picture modes, so you can switch between those without doing much at all. When you’re able to make the living room as dark as possible, Movie and Cinema modes are the best choices for watching movies and TV.

Office rooms, on the other hand, usually have ample ambient light, so, when preparing the projector for presentations, you should probably stick to brighter modes. While these will usually skew the greens, you’ll be able to make the text, charts, and graphs on the screen look crisp and visible, which, in these scenarios, is more important than accurate and realistic colors.

Apart from that, projectors will let you access and play with various settings, including video noise reduction, motion interpolation, gamma, and more.

Connecting Devices to Projectors

Devices compatible with projectors

More often than not, projectors are loaded with various ports and interfaces so that you’ll be able to hook up a projector to many different devices. Generally speaking, these interfaces include (and probably not even limited to) HDMI, USB, RCA, Composite ins and outs, headphone jacks, the list goes on and on. Using these ports, you’re able to connect various devices to projects, ranging from Blu-ray players and gaming consoles to laptops, smartphones, speakers, and more.

Connect Laptops to Projectors

Connecting a laptop to a projector

Generally speaking, you’ll have access to various buses/ports that will let you connect most laptops to most projectors. When available, we would recommend choosing the USB 3.0 connection before all these options though. Its power consumption is low, the data transfer speeds are ridiculous, and the interface guarantees reliable circuitry projection. Of course, you’ll also be able to use HDMI inputs too.

Connect Speakers to Projectors

Connecting speakers to a projector

Most projectors come equipped with built-in speakers. That said, you can pretty much presume that these speakers are terrible even when you’ve paid the heftiest price. The huge picture that these devices are able to project calls for equally huge sound, so we highly recommend using separate speakers. You’ll be able to easily connect these speakers using the auxiliary input or the projector’s Bluetooth module. More often than not, the device will be able to immediately recognize the speakers and you won’t even have to address the settings.

Connect Phones to Projectors

Connecting a phone to a projector

Smartphones these days are not that different from full-fledged computers/laptops. That means that connecting these gadgets to projectors is an option too. You’ll probably have to access the Google Play store/Apple App store before that though since you’ll need the right app to manage projectors. That being said, sometimes, you won’t have to install any software at all.

To connect smartphones to projectors, you’ll be able to use Bluetooth. When that’s not an option, you need to make sure that the projector and the smartphone that you have/are looking to purchase come equipped with the same interface (usually some version of USB) or you’ll be forced to use adapters.

Choosing the Right Hd Projector

VANKYO Performance V630 projector

We’ve been talking about all these steps now without even addressing the fact that all these tips won’t be able to do you any good when you don’t have the right projector.

On that note, we would like to introduce VANKYO Performance V630. What we have here is a device that delivers across the whole board, which is impressive considering that the price puts this product somewhere between budget and mid-range projectors.

First things first, the device looks streamlined and elegant. The gray, textile front contrasts the white finish, making the device’s presence subtle yet sleek and nuanced. The minimalist profile will be able to seamlessly blend into most settings and even enrich some spaces.

What defines projectors before anything else is performance though, so let’s pivot towards that. First off, this device boasts the full HD 1080p native resolution that we’ve come to expect from mid-range projectors, meaning that you'll be able to enjoy vibrant and rich colors backing the most detailed, nuanced, and sharp image. The accurate blacks and shadow details will be making the picture look dynamic and deep too.

Separating budget and even most mid-range projectors from high-end projectors is usually the fact that these devices are not bright enough to make rooms with ample ambient light acceptable environments. That’s not necessarily the case with this device though. Its 6,500-lux rated brightness will be able to project the brightest image even in the most well-lit rooms.

At the same time, the projector’s 5,000:1 contrast ratio matches most IPS/VA panels, so the picture you’ll be looking at will be able to tussle with high-end TVs.

Key features

These days, customers do not care for projectors that are unable to provide somewhere around 100 inches screen size-wise. That’s not an issue here. You can use this device to project images ranging from 40 to 300 inches (diagonally measured), so, as long as you’re able to place this thing 25-30 feet away from the screen/wall, you can make the picture as large as you want.

Keystone correction is, more often than not, the defining characteristic that sells different projectors before their peers. Here, you’ll be able to adjust the image within the ±45-degree angle, meaning that you’ll have no issues achieving that rectangular picture that you need to make the movie experience as immersive as possible. Meanwhile, the company’s trademark cooling system offers excellent heat dispersion, making the colors warm yet vibrant. At the same time, the noise-reduction tech will be able to cut as much as 80% of fan noise, so you won’t have to crank the volume uncomfortably high to silence the fan.

Apart from that, there’s not much to add here. Connections-wise, this device comes fitted with USB, two HDMI, AV, VGA, SD card, and audio out port, so you’ll be able to connect/use gaming consoles, TVs, USB flash drives, SD cards, laptops, most smartphones, and more.

The two 5-watt stereo speakers that the projector adopts will be able to complement the movie experience with decent sound, so you won’t necessarily have to purchase and connect separate speakers.

Last but not least, the LED lamp that this device comes equipped with will be able to last as long as 50,000 hours, meaning you won’t have to replace it anytime soon.