The heart of our system is an LED pico projector
, sometimes called a pocket projector, which can project a picture onto any light-colored wall (or ceiling, in this case.) This type of video projector is very small and inexpensive
, and most important, has both a very long lamp life and cool running temperatures. Most video projectors contain hot lamps, and are not designed to be mounted pointing upward. Incorrectly mounting a traditional projector could result in expensive heat-related damage. Our pico projector, illuminated by modern LED lamps, won’t have this problem.
Pico projectors do have a flaw, which is a lower level of illumination than other types of video projectors. Fortunately, this is not a serious flaw for our application, as bedroom TV watching can easily take place in a darkened room. In fact, modest illumination is ideal for late-night watching, as it will not light up the room or disturb your spouse, who may be trying to sleep.
Many Pico projectors are not high resolution, though some are. You can also look at some larger and higher quality LED projectors. One of the first decisions you’ll need to address is whether you want to make yourself a high-resolution, full-fledged theater system, or if you’re happy enough just watching a big screen, but standard, video picture from your bed.
First of all, you need to have a white bedroom ceiling, that’s relatively flat. Using screen paint on your ceiling to improve light gain is an optional step.
Next, you’ll need a way to mount the projector to your bed’s headboard or the wall. Some ideas on doing that are in the next section.
And finally, you’ll need a video source, and a way to present sound.
Your source could be a small computer, which can be used to play DVDs through, or to access streaming content like NetFlix. It could also be a cable or TV tuner, or a set-top box like Roku, Boxee, or Google TV. It could be a DVD player. It could even be an iPod.
For sound, you’ll have to decide if headphone sound is enough (through your computer’s headphone jack, for example) or if you’d like to have a nice speaker system. The answer depends on whether you will be presenting to an audience – the population of your bed – or just to yourself. Any old stereo system with speakers could be put to use for this task. Place it close enough to your sleeping position that you can plug in headphones to silence the speakers when necessary.