The Black Hack 2nd Ed Reprint

The Black Hack Second Edition - Redux -- Kicktraq Mini

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Choosing a Projector for Gaming

Following on from the photos of my projected game map yesterday, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the technical details about the rig I use.  Here's a list of the kit in my set up:
  • Acer X1230PK DLP projector
  • 10m VGA lead
  • Dell netbook
  • Cordless USB mouse
  • Old Paintshop Pro Software (just about any photo software should be ok)
  • Ikea 70x70cm Stave Mirror
  • 50" Projection screen mounted on 6mm MDF
  • Selection of bolts, angle brackets, hooks and 4 turnbuclkes
Assembled it looks like this:

To generate a 50" image the projector needs to be 6'6" away from the screen.  The only way to acheive this in a normal room is to use a mirror set at 45 degrees.  The mirror needs to be fairly rigid otherwise the geometery of the image will be distorted.  Initially, I wanted to buy a projector with a short throw range which would allow it to have been mounted directly over the screen.  However, I spotted this one at almost 70% off so I was happy to put the extra work in.

Here's a list of what to look for in a projector:
  • Brightness of at least 2,000ansi Lumens.  Most DLP projectors easily meet this.
  • A 4:3 or 1:1 aspect ratio.  Widescreen is great for movies but not so good for gaming on.
  • XVGA (1024x768) resolution or better.  Budget projectors are 800x600 which is ok at a push.  Also make sure your computer can output the correct resolution.
  • Options to flip (mirror) the image if you are planning on a set up with a mirror.
  • Options to rotate the image 180 degrees
  • Vertical Keystone correction this allows you to make adjustments if the angle of the mirror/projector isn't perfect.
  • Noise level under 30dB.  Depending on the setting used mine is 28-33db and I wouldn't want it to be any louder.
  • Some form of manual zoom for fine tuning the image to fit the screen.
In addition to these points, be very careful that the throw distance and range will allow the image size you want. has a great calculator which allows you to fine tune distance, zoom and image size for hundreds of different projectors.  My projector is now discontinued, but here a link to the details of a similar spec model:

InFocus IN104 projection calculator

And here's almost the same as mine but with a shorter throw lens:

Acer X1230PS projection calculator

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