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How to Build a Home Movie Theater in a Small Apartment

Find ideas and solutions on how to bring the cinema experience back home!


There’s a common misconception that a larger space is needed to build a home theater. However, a short throw, ultra short throw, or any projector with a throw ratio around 1.13:1 allows you to enjoy a 100” plus screen, even in a small apartment. 

What is Throw Ratio?

Throw ratio is the relationship between projection distance and screen size. It is calculated as:


Throw Distance / Image Width = Throw Ratio


For example, the throw ratio 1.13:1 means that you can achieve a 100-inch screen by placing the projector only 8.2 feet away from the wall with a 16:9 aspect ratio (image width is approximately 7.2ft). When shopping for the best home theater projector, look for information about screen size and distance, typically written as "screen size @ distance from the screen”. Using the same example, a projector with a throw ratio 1.13:1, would have this specification “100-inch @ 8.2ft”. This means you would need to place the projector 8.2 feet away from the wall to achieve a 100-inch screen. Use our projection calculator to help you make these calculations.

Projector Placement & Projection Distance

Projection distance is dependent on room size and projector placement. To find the best projector for a home theater, you need to know the dimensions (L x W x H) of your room, furniture placement, and shape of your apartment. Remember: the most ideal projector setup is when it’s placed between two walls that are furthest apart.   

With advanced technology, there are projectors with short-throw lens that offers a shorter projection distance for the same 100-inch screen even if placed only 6.6-feet away! An ultra-short throw projector allows you to have a 100-inch screen less than 3.3-feet away because of the lens placement. The lens in an ultra-short throw is placed inside and behind the projector body which allows the image to be projected onto the screen above. 

Keystone Correction & Lens Shift

Not all small apartments are built the same, so there will be cases where a projector cannot be perfectly centered in front of a screen or wall. However, you can easily fix tilted or skewed images by using vertical/horizontal keystone correction and lens shift! Experience the immersive thrill of a huge screen at home!

What’s the difference between the two? Keystone correction is based on a digital correction, while lens shift is a physical mechanism. Lens shift allows the lens to move up, down, left, and right within a certain range. This allows the image to be moved vertically or horizontally without causing a keystone effect (trapezoidal distortion).

If the projector can be mounted on the ceiling or placed on a table aligned to the center of the screen, only the "screen size @ distance" information is needed when selecting a projector. But if the projector cannot be aligned to the center of the screen leading to screen distortion, the projector must be equipped with keystone correction or lens shift design. Some projectors offer vertical keystone correction, while others include both vertical and horizontal keystone correction. If the projector can be aligned to the center of the screen but must be tilted at an angle to fill the screen, then only vertical keystone correction is needed to project images fully and accurately. But if the projector cannot be aligned to the center of the screen due to other objects or has limited placement, a model with both vertical and horizontal keystone correction is needed.

Keystone Correction

Lens Shift

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