How To...Mount a Projector from the Ceiling

How To...Mount a Projector from the Ceiling

Sonia Zjawinski
Mar 9, 2009

If we had a large enough apartment we'd be all about installing a projector and ditching the boob tube. While flat screens are sexy and all, it's pretty nice to be able to truly hide your media gizmos once the screen goes black -- plus that big screen video is way impressive. One of the issues though of having a projector is how to set everything up. You basically need to rethink your media room, from sitting in front of your TV, to having your "TV" sit both in front and behind you. One option is mounting your projector from the ceiling. Electronics House asked a pro, Simon Scotland the CEO of Beyond the Invisible Ltd., to find out what you need to think about before you hang your $1K projector from the above...

When most projectors are suspended upside down from a ceiling, they are designed to work at the same height as the top of the screen. You will be able to adjust the amount of black material that comes out of the projector screen roller so you can get the picture at a comfortable height. If you have a really high ceiling, you can often get the screen manufacturer to provide you with some extra black leader on the screen.

The center projector lens should also be in the center of the screen horizontally. This often means that the projector needs to be installed on a pole hanging from the ceiling. If this is not acceptable aesthetically, there are three ways around the problem. Two are good - one is not!

Motorized Drop: With a motorized drop, the projector will glide into place when in use and hide in the ceiling when not. It's an expensive option but a great feature in a multipurpose room. Your local CEDIA custom installer can help you with this.

Vertical Lens Shift: Another solution is to buy a projector with a vertical lens shift feature. This allows the projector to be installed above the level of the screen because the image is shifted using optics. This method has little or no affect on the picture quality and will allow you to get the projector closer to the ceiling.

Different projectors have different amounts of lens shift - although many budget projectors do not have this ability. Some projectors have horizontal lens shift which allows you to install the projector off-center of the screen. Click here for more about lens control.

Keystone Adjustment: Budget projectors have an option called keystone adjustment which allows you to tilt the projector down from the ceiling. Ordinarily this would produce a trapezoid image (the bottom of the image is wider than the top). The keystone adjustment essentially straightens this out. It does so by electronically squeezing the image on the chip inside the projector. This can produce a slightly fuzzy image. This method may be OK in a classroom or boardroom but really should be avoided at all costs in a home theater.

via Electronics House
photo: zedworks

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