Depending on what you see and your budget, a 1080p (“Full HD”) projector is still a good buy, as many shows and movies are still not streamed at a super high bit rate at 4K yet. That said, many modern projectors offer 4K resolution, with the biggest benefit being the higher dynamic range of that content (better, brighter colors).
If you want to search for projectors yourself, we recommend that you stick to brands like Sony, LG, Optoma, BenQ and Epson. Be sure to read aloud on any projector before you buy and avoid generic electronics brands.
Ideally, your projector projects images on a screen (usually made of polyvinyl chloride or some kind of fabric), much like a movie theater. Strictly speaking, this is not done need a screen – you can project on any surface – but screens really enhance the viewing experience. These screens vary in size and quality, but are designed to provide the flattest, most cinematic image you can get. If you have used white walls, a screen will make a noticeable difference.
A good place to start is a 100- or 120-inch screen (measured diagonally), depending on the size of your room and your ability to mount the projector far enough away. Typically, screens come in three variants: rolling, wall-mounted or freestanding. I recommend one wall mounted screen for all cases where you do not have to hide a screen between uses. They are typical light and easy to assembleand they hold the tension better because they are secured on four sides.
Outdoor screens with legs are amazing for occasional movie nights, but it’s annoying to have your legs in the way when you’re indoors. Roll-down screens like the ones you probably had in school are a decent option if you refuse to see your screen between viewing sessions, but make sure you get a high quality that will not distort over time. We have indoor and outdoor recommendations in our best projector guide.
There are a myriad of professional projector mounting systems, and most of them work very well, but you need to make sure you consult your manual or the manufacturer’s website to make sure you get a mounting that is rated for the correct weight and have the right type of screws included to the wires on the bottom of your projector. You can find decent fittings on Amazon, Walmartor any other online retailer that sells projectors, but I recommend starting on the manufacturer’s website and seeing what they recommend.
They are not as universal as VESA brackets for TVs and computer monitors, but these are largely plug-and-play solutions—here is the one I use ($ 20) on my ceiling. It came with several types of screws and adjustable brackets for easy mounting of different projectors. It’s pretty easy to determine which holders are compatible with which projectors with a quick Google or YouTube search. Just make sure you also know the throw distance of your projector and the size of the screen you intend to fill (both will be included on the specification sheet), and make sure you can mount the projector at that distance.
Once you have decided on your projector, you will want to decide how to get audio and video to and from it. Some projectors have built-in smart TV interfaces that make it easy to stream your favorite shows and movies right away, but some require a streaming device. Our Best streaming sticks the guide has several recommendations; all you have to do is connect them to your projector (and to an electrical outlet).