Home cinema on your canal boat / narrowboat? Yes it is possible and the equipment can easily be installed and used if you have sufficient power.

It is possible to run a projector screen & home cinema set up on a narrowboat
A projector installed on a narrow boat

Projectors & Home Entertainment… Introduction

Perhaps not high on everybody’s priority list of cruising accessories, we would like to point out that home cinema systems can be adapted for use on narrow boats. As with all our AV and media accessories, there has to be sufficient power available, but taken this as a given, there are significant possibilities open for those who enjoy a good film in grand scale. Get the popcorn out!

There are a number of considerations to be poured over when selecting a projector:


The resolution is the number of pixels it builds the image from. Usually quoted in two numbers, i.e., 1280×800, the first number refers to horizontal pixels and the second is the number of vertical pixels. Sometimes they are given just a single number, such as 1080p. This refers to the vertical resolution and the “p” refers to progressive scan or simply that the picture is being displayed in it’s entirety.
Whatever the rating, the higher the number means the better the resolution and probably the higher price.

Aspect Ratio

This is the shape of the projected image. TV’s are 4 units wide to 3 high or 4:3. As projectors are fixed resolution, the aspect ratio is important.

For example if the source of your media is from a laptop that has a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 then it is best to match your projector to the source. A 4:3 projector would project a very square image from a widescreen source and would not be pleasant to view.


Measured in lumens this is important to comfortable viewing in a potentially bright boat environment during daytime viewing. The more lumens, the brighter the image. typically movie projectors range from 1000 to 2500 lumens.

Contrast Ratio

This is the difference between the brightest and dimmest part of the projected image. The higher the difference, the greater the depth and definition of the image projected.

Finally, as space is limited on a narrow boat, think about the installation of the unit and the screen. Roll down screens can be installed against a bulkhead and projectors can be mounted on the ceiling, height permitting. If mounting on the ceiling speak to the supplier about the throw ratio. This refers to the width of the image relative to the distance of the projector from the screen and differs from projector to projector.

Projectors & Home Entertainment

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