How to Play Movies on Mini Projector

Digital projectors aren’t only reserved for presenting slideshows for businesses any longer. They’ve instead become more and more commonplace for home use the same way HDTVs, media players, and PCs have through the years. With that said, what about mini projectors?

What do mini or pocket projectors bring to the table? Do you even know how to play movies on mini projector devices? It’s actually relatively easy to do, especially if you have gotten a hold of a modern-day pico projector.

See more: How to Use Netflix on a Projector

How to Play Movies on Your Mini Projector

Theoretically, playing movies on your mini projector shouldn’t be any more complicated than playing movies on a regular projector. However, you need to take note of the differences between a standard projector and a mini projector, with the latter mainly being smaller.

You might think this isn’t a big deal, but mobile devices tend to gravitate towards fellow mobile devices. Therefore, playing movies on your mini projector is mostly an exercise in knowing how to connect by wire or network a cellphone to your mini projector.

Why is this so? It’s because a mini projector is designed to be both small and mobile. You’re supposed to watch movies on it on the go, kind of like a portable smartphone with the Netflix app would. In turn, you need to figure out how to make Roku or Amazon Fire TV Sticks work with the device.

Further reading: The Best Mini Projector for Netflix

Regardless, step one in playing movies with your mini projector is to install it in front of a screen, whether that screen is a fixed or automatic roll-down screen. Make sure the projector’s air vents remain unobstructed to keep it from overheating.

Install Your Mini Projector First

Depending on how mobile your projector is, you might need to do some cable management on it along with mounting it on the wall or ceiling. If it’s not battery-powered then you definitely need to make sure its power cord can reach your wall outlet or the nearest electrical socket.

From there, search for the HDMI connector on your DVD or Blu-Ray Player as well as PC in order to link it to the projector. Plug one end of the HDMI cable into the media player HDMI port then hook up the other end on the projector’s HDMI port.

If your media player is instead of the mobile variety, use the appropriate cable and port on your projector.  They might have to use lighting or a USB-C cable instead. You might even be forced to get an adapter or converter to allow linkups between an iPhone or Android phone to your mini projector.

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Turn the PC or Media Player on to Check If the Linkup Worked

Once all the cables are hooked up then it’s time to turn on your media player or PC. This might be unnecessary though since the HDMI format is Plug & Play. This means that you can connect the devices together while they’re both turned on. No need to switch off or restart.

However, you might need to press the “Fn” (Function) key on your PC in order to allow you to change the video output to HDMI. This key is at times labeled with an icon or image of a monitor to make it easy for you to find. It’s usually the F7 or F8 key in particular.

There’s a focusing ring around your projector lens. Use it to focus the image until you get a clear one. You should now be able to play whatever you want to play on your projector, whether it’s a DVD or Blu-Ray Disc of the latest films (since theaters are closed) or streaming TV shows on Netflix.

Calibration DVD and Grid Pattern

Older projectors come with a calibration DVD you’re supposed to play on your DVD player or disc player on your PC. Play the DVD then choose the “Grid Pattern” option as it comes up. It assists you further with lens adjustment. If the pattern isn’t square, you can use lens adjustment to fix it.

Just tilt the lens down if the pattern has a pyramid shape. Tilt-up instead if the pattern is that of an inverted pyramid or diamond-like shape. Tilt leftwards if the pattern forms a pyramid with the tip to the left. If the tip is on the right then you should tilt right for good measure.

Keep adjusting your projector until you get a square instead of a pyramid image and then you’re good to go. For everything else, just use your standard keystone correction features or, if push comes to shove, adjust projector placement itself.

Finish up by inserting a movie into your player to play it on the big screen.

Use Mobile Devices for Viewing Content

For mobile device viewing since the point of a mini projector is on-the-go entertainment, you should do the following.

Check what sort of device you’re linking up to your projector. Now check if your projector has ports for them. A typical projector will have a USB-A and USB-C port along with even old-timey A/V ports like S-video and component video. More advanced projectors even include Wi-Fi and screen mirroring.

Further reading: How to Connect Your iPhone to a Projector

Mini projectors tend to depend on their HDMI input to interface with many HDMI-compatible devices for the purpose of broadcasting content. Standard laptops are likely to have HDMI connections. Barring that, many mini projectors can link up to VGA connections plus extra audio cables.

Laptops made by Apple like a MacBook Pro will instead tend to have Lightning ports or similar to connect to your projector, thus necessitating Lighting to HDMI adapters. Most users prefer to Streamcast or mirror content from their iPhone or Android phone onto the projector too.

See more: How to Connect iMac/Macbook to Projector

How to go about this will vary from daisy-chaining your mobile device to an Apple TV to bypass HDCP blocks or establishing a connection because both your projector and phone are compatible smart devices.

Final Things to Consider

Essentially, connecting your mini projector to a Blu-Ray Disc player, DVD player, and PC requires a simple HDMI cable. This cable transmits High Definition video that’s clear and uncompressed. The sound can either be compressed or uncompressed as well. The cable carries both video and audio.

As for mobile devices, you need the right cables and adapters to get them to connect to your device. As of now, online wireless connection to devices is only possible via a wireless dongle transmitter or through smart projectors linking up to fellow smart devices.


  1. Andrea Helaine, “How to Play a Movie Through a Projector“,, Retrieved April 3, 2021
  2. How To Watch Movies, Shows, & Live TV Anywhere with a Mini Projector“,, Retrieved April 3, 2021

James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

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