How to Hook up Cable to Projector?

Projectors offer a plethora of benefits in terms of design, functionality and quality compared to laptop screens, flat screen televisions and smartphone displays. Further, this range of display devices can be used to enhance engagement in several different environments such as classrooms and corporate spaces, and are easy to setup for the most part.

Cables are the most important part of the setup process, and must be connected properly to prevent any disruptions in the audio and video signal. But before learning how to hook up cable to projector, it is a good idea to acquaint yourself with the different types of projector cables available to ensure that you are using the right one with your projector model.

Different Types of Cables for Projector

HDMI Projector Cables

HDMI short for High-Definition Multimedia Interface is a widely used cable of choice when connecting with projectors for several reasons. This range of cables transmits both uncompressed digital video and audio over a single cable.

The latest HDMI specification can support higher video resolutions and refresh rates, and any TV or PC video format including standard and high-definition video, and up to 8 audio channels.

VGA Projector Cables

Next up on this list are VGA (Video Graphics Array) cables, which typically feature 15 pins, spread across three rows. VGA cables are generally used for computer to monitor connections or computer to projector connections, and unlike HDMI cables can accommodate only a single video signal.

This means that you would need to connect an extra cable if you’d like to play audio as well. As an example, if you’re connecting a projector to display a PowerPoint presentation at the office with no sound, you can use a VGA cable, but will need VGA and an audio cable to stream Netflix.

DVI Projector Cables    

DVI (Digital Video Interface) cables look similar to standard VGA cables, and just like the name would suggest are designed to create a digital to digital connection between data or video source (laptop, smartphone, etc.) and the display device (projector). Just like VGA, DVI cables can only carry video, but offer much better picture quality and can carry both analog and digital signals.

USB Projector Cables

Many business projectors are equipped with USB ports, which allow you to connect a USB stick (pen drive) loaded with media and play it directly without the need to connect your laptop.

RCA, Composite and BNC Projector Cables

RCA or composite cables are generally color-coded cables used to hook up standard VCR and stereo equipment. Even though RCA and composite cables are regarded as the lowest quality cable for a video source, most of not all VCR’s and video camcorders and new televisions are fitted with RCA jacks.

BNC cables are another type of composite cable, and are often seen in most professional video equipment. What sets the two apart is that the tip of the BNC cable looks a bit different from an RCA cable, and can be switched to an RCA cable with an easily available adapter.

How to Hook up Cable to Projector?

Now that you know the different types of projector cables available, and determined the right one for your devices, here’s how to complete the setup process.

1. First things first- you will have to decide where you’re going to place the projector, where you need to leave enough space for the projection, which can be either a blank wall (as close to white as possible) or a screen (recommended).

Most projectors are designed to render images as small as 40 inches and can go all the way up to 300 inches measured diagonally. If you desire a bigger projection range, you may have to move the projector further back. If you’re using a screen, you will have to set that up next, which in most cases will be affixed from above or hanging from the ceiling.

2. Once you have the projector and screen in place, its time to make the connections. Before getting started, make sure that both the projector and the video source device are turned off.

3. If you’re using an HDMI cable, its just one cable that you need to deal with so plug one end of the HDMI connector to the “HDMI In” slot on the projector and other into the “HDMI Out” slot of the video source device such as laptop or cable box.

For other types of cables on the list, you will need to connect an audio cable as well to the In and Out slots on the respective devices. Color coded projector cables feature three connectors on each end of the cable, where one end i.e. three connectors will be plugged into the Out slot of the video source device and three into the dedicated color coded In slots of the projector. Take note that you will not need to connect an additional audio cable with this type of cable since it does support audio channels.

4. After you’ve hooked up the appropriate cable to projector, turn on both the projector and the video source device. Most of the best projectors will detect the video input automatically such as HDMI, and then switch to it automatically. If the video input mode isn’t automatically selected, browse through the video input menu on the projector and select the right one.

5. Lastly, play the video or presentation on the source device, and voila, you should be able to enjoy the picture on the massive projector screen.

Final thoughts:

A projector offers several advantages, mostly notably the ability to view a video on a much larger screen with superior picture quality. Learning how to hook up cable to projector the right way is important to view your video without any hiccups, and to prevent damage to any of the devices. Some projectors offer different types of connectivity options such as HDMI and composite ports, giving you more cabling options to connect the video source device with the projector.