A Roku Stick is a streaming device that allows non-Roku TVs or smart TVs to connect to the Internet and stream content from services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, and Disney+. It’s like a USB flash disk but you’re supposed to connect it to the HDMI port of your HDTV, monitor, or projector in order to watch whatever it is that you want to watch, whether it’s Tiger King (The Joe Exotic Documentary) or The Last Dance (The Michael Jordan Documentary).
A Roku stick can handle high-resolution video processing. Therefore, hooking it up on a projector makes a lot of sense. In regards to how to connect Roku stick to a projector, here’s what you need to know.
Can You Mix Projectors and The Roku Stick Together?
Yes. A Roku stick can work with certain projectors but not all of them. It’s wise to use a projector with the stick in order to stream HD projections on the big screen that’s even bigger than the biggest HDTV. After all, a projector screen can get as big as your whole wall if you want. What’s more, you can truly see the full depth and quality of 1080p or even 4K resolution videos with millions of pixels when you blow it up to the size of a huge home cinema screen.
- The Quality of HD Works Better with Bigger Screens: HD quality projections from streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime work best with bigger screens. Why? Because 4K on a smaller screen scrunches up the image and doesn’t display its true amount of pixels, which number by the millions. The true size of a 4K image with all its photographic or film detail can truly be seen on the big screen, or at least through a screen larger than your average HDTV. It’s this way that you can turn movie night or TV marathons into something truly special. You will be amazed by the amount of pixel-perfect detail you’ll see.
- How Can You Link The Stick to a Projector? We’ve established that you can link the Roku stick to a compatible projector, preferably one that can accept high-definition streams so that you can in turn get your streaming shows, documentaries, and movies on the big screen with amazing clarity, detail, and fidelity. For most modern 21st Century projectors, you simply need to hook up the stick directly to the projector, which can be tricky if you have an overhead projector and you have no where to stick the device. You might require a cable or an extension cable for it as well as a wireless connection on such cases.
- Recommendations for Roku Stick Models: The Roku Streaming Stick+ and the Roku Express are both equipped with Wi-Fi direct. What this means is that it can connect your projector to Wi-Fi, thus allowing you to stream without needing to get a projector with its own Wi-Fi or ability to run apps. The stick itself will serve as your Wi-Fi connector and a streaming app, in other words. With that said, these two types of models of Roku stick are the only recommended sticks that you should pair up with your projector. They’re made for projector use and feature enough compatibility to be plug-and-play devices with the display appliance.
- Infra-Red Roku Sticks Are Awkward to Use: If you’re using a Roku stick that has an infra-red feature, then it won’t be too comfortable to switch between channels unless you’re using a short-throw projector or a rear-projection screen. Why? It’s because you’re typically flipping through channels, services, or shows with your IR remote control at the screen instead of at the projector. If your projector is overhead, you’d have to angle the remote towards that. If your projector is at the back of your room, you need to turn around from your couch to switch channels, pause, or search for a new movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
- Connecting Your Roku Player to the Projector: Just plug it into the HDMI port where you’d usually plug your DVD or BD player too. It’s quite simple to activate your Roku stick. If your projector has an HDMI input you’re good to go. Just directly plug your Roku stick into the HDMI port of your projector or use a premium HDMI cable to connect the stick with the projector together. If you want to go wireless because you have an overhead projector, you can plug a transceiver on the projector then a receiver unto the stick to activate the contents of the stick. As long as the projector receives the signal of the Roku player, you should be able to access your Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Disney+, WWE Network, or Hulu account.
- Projector Setup for Roku with Sound Bar or AVR: If you want to have high-fidelity sound to come forth from your Roku streaming experience, you shouldn’t depend on the built-in speaker of your projector. To experience a more immersive sound and music from the movie or show you’re watching by streaming, you should add a sound system into the mix. This entails connecting speakers or soundbars to your projector to serve as your amps, base, and subwoofers for your home cinema or TV show marathon plans. To connect your Roku player to an AVR, you’ll need an HDMI cable. If your projector only has one HDMI input, you can run things by linking the Roku to your AVR then to the projector. Or you can buy a splitter.
- Using a Splitter with Your Projector Connection: You can also use a splitter to split the signal from your Roku stick to your AVR or soundbar and then to your projector, such that the video signal goes to the projector while the sound signal goes to your stereo or sound system for your home cinema. There’s also the option for Bluetooth speakers, but you might need to depend on your projector’s Bluetooth compatibility to make that work since a Roku player or stick will only provide Wi-Fi connectivity and the interface needed for you to access your Netflix or Amazon Prime favorites. Regardless, you will need some additional audio configurations to get things right compared to simply sticking a Roku stick to an HDTV.
- The Beauty of Wi-Fi Direct Connectivity: By availing of a Roku stick with Wi-Fi direct connectivity, you can turn any non-smart projector with an HDMI connection into a smart projector with its own streaming capabilities directly granted to it by the Roku Streaming Stick+ or the Roku Express. If your projector is already of the smart projector variety with its own operating system and Wi-Fi connectivity, you can instead download an app to Netflix or Hulu in order to do your streaming directly on the projector interface itself without hardware like Roku. Additionally, Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to control the Roku Stick without needing to face the right way. You can click your remote at the screen and it would still work.
- Vintage Projectors and Connecting with the Roku Stick: It can get hairy trying to make a projector from the 1990s or early 2000s work with a Roku Stick because of the lack of an HDMI port. You’ll need an HDMI to Component or HDMI to A/V converter in order to make these legacy projectors work with your Roku the same way that it’s possible to make the stick work with a CRT TV. If you can make an analog connection TV showcase Netflix with the right type of adapter or converter, such that it’s possible to watch the 1980s-inspired Stranger Things on a 1980s TV set, then it’s even more possible to connect your Roku stick to a digital video projector with the right tinkering and compatible converters.
- 4K Projectors and Modern Projectors Work Best with Roku: Although many projectors have their own ability to connect to streaming content by using your Wi-Fi and the apps for Netflix and whatnot, some users prefer to simply use Roku instead because of how easily it plugs and plays multiple streaming channels and services without you having to download this or set up that. Additionally, Stick+ is 4K-capable. Therefore, if you have a 4K projector, chances are it should work with your Stick+ in delivering to you the best video and audio quality possible just short of 8K (there are still no 8K projectors available in 2020).
In a Nutshell
It’s easy to make your Roku stick work with your projector as long as it has an HDMI. The most recommended models of Roku stick for projector use (as opposed to HDTV or HDMI monitor use) are the Roku Streaming Stick+ and the Roku Express. Additionally, the Stick+ can even work with any projector of yours that’s 4K-capable since the media source player itself is 4K-capable as well. Essentially, you can treat the Roku stick the same way you’d treat a cable or satellite box, only this time it’s a more portable device and it works with your Internet connection. Also remember that it requires you to have a wireless Wi-Fi that it can connect to for the best results.
- “How To Hook A Roku Up To A Projector“, TechJunkie.com, October 25, 2019