Living Room Projector
DisclosuresFrom the Editor: This video was created to demonstrate how the Epson Pro Cinema G6550WU and Screen Innovations SLATE screen perform in our bright living room. It was directed and scripted by Lisa Feierman, and features Art Feierman, editor of ProjectorReviews.com Videos that are part of the Projector Reviews TV channel are created by Projector Reviews Inc. If we review a projector and it wins one of our awards, it becomes eligible for a video summary. Of course, we can only do a limited number of these videos. In some cases, we will choose a projector review to do a video of. In other cases, a request may come from the manufacturer. As we do with the rest of the content on our website, we offer manufacturers Permissions. With these paid Permissions, manufacturers can post these videos on their own websites, pass them out to their dealers, and use them for other promotional purposes including trade shows and point-of-sale displays in retail stores. These videos are very short versions of the full review. In just a few minutes worth of video we can’t begin to capture all the information in the review, so we call this a video summary. If this video is positive and enthusiastic about the projector, is simply because the review itself was positive and enthusiastic. We try to make the videos more fun, a bit less dry, with far less technical detail. Enjoy, but also visit the full review for more depth, even the settings that work best. Thanks! -art
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Living Room Projector
Before I ordered anything, I took plenty of measurements to figure out how it would all fit together in my space. The projector calculator at Projector Central was particularly handy for this. In the end, I learned I had enough clearance to display a 100-inch image, but my projector would have to be somewhere behind my couch. That squashed my plan to build a floating shelf for the projector — I ended up just buying an inexpensive folding bookcase that fit it perfectly.
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Living Room Projector
Videos that are part of the Projector Reviews TV channel are created by Projector Reviews Inc. If we review a projector and it wins one of our awards, it becomes eligible for a video summary. Of course, we can only do a limited number of these videos. In some cases, we will choose a projector review to do a video of. In other cases, a request may come from the manufacturer. As we do with the rest of the content on our website, we offer manufacturers Permissions.
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Mind you Epson – even though they are, by far, the largest projector manufacturer in the world – isn’t your only game in town for bright projectors – you’ll find bright room projectors from companies including BenQ, Optoma, Viewsonic, and others. I’m sticking to Epson in this blog because they are the only projector manufacturer that is really pushing the bright room projector concept at all price points.
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Projector owners who mostly watch movies and special events run their projectors an average of about 8 hours a week. For a projector with a 2000-hour lamp, that translates to 4-5 years of use. But if you use a projector as your main TV, logging say, 4 hours per day, you'll be looking at lamp replacement in under a year and a half.
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Lens shift: Another feature that makes installing a projector easier is lens shift. It allows you to move the projected image up or down, left or right, while keeping the projector stationary. This opens up more placement options because you can position the projector off-center in relation to your screen and still get a perfectly true image.
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If you’re eyeing a setup similar to mine, I also recommend an IR blaster so that you can change the volume on your receiver or TV when the projector screen is up (it’ll likely block all of your A/V components, so IR remotes won’t work). My aging Google TV Blu-ray player handles the IR blaster side of things, but I still have to get up and reach behind the screen if I ever need to change my receiver’s input. The only component that gives me trouble with the projector screen is my Apple TV. I can control it wirelessly with Apple’s iOS remote app, but I still prefer the convenience of its tiny remote. My fix? I just move the Apple TV to the side of my projector screen whenever I need to.
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Once I had all my components, I first had to figure out where the projector would live. I experimented with a few different locations on my folding bookshelf before I settled on the second-highest shelf, which put the projector around four feet high. That was just enough to get it over my couch, though not high enough to compensate for someone sitting in that seat. It’s not ideal, but for now, the left side of my couch is off limits when the projector is going (unless you’re reclining, or very short).
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Next, always remember to carefully measure out the space you plan to project in before buying your next projector. If you need to project in a space that’s less than six-feet from where the projector will be mounted to where the screen sits, you’ll have to invest in a short-throw model over a regular long-throw. Calculating the exact distance you’ll need to get the picture size you want out of your projector is easy if you use the tool provided here.
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Even though a projector meets the needs of a modern life, it still feels distinct from the TVs most people own. Watching a movie on a projector feels more special and can feel more romantic, too. Also, because of the image size a good projector creates, even when you’re watching with a large group, there’s rarely a bad seat in the house.
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That said, most projector owners also have at least one TV. The projector experience is unbeatable for movies, sports, or any other viewing where you're really focused on what's happening on the screen. But if you just want to catch a few minutes of news before bedtime, firing up a projector rig can be a little inconvenient.
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There are a couple of key things to be aware of if you're considering a projector. First, your room lighting: for the best projector performance in a home theater, try to reduce or eliminate light in the room, whether it's daylight or room lights.
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Yes, yes, yes, I know that all speakers that come with a television are terrible by default. And projector speakers should be, presumably, worse. And obviously, if you put this particular projector in a living room with a sound system, you should use that instead.
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Let me be clear, even the most high-tech uber-material isn’t going to reject ambient light as much as the marketing claims, but some do a pretty decent job. I reviewed Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge screen a few months ago, and came away quite impressed. It’s a rigid screen, so when the projector is off, the screen looks exactly like an ultra-thin flat panel hanging on your wall. It does a pretty good job rejecting ambient light (significantly better than my reference screen), enough so that you don’t have to “live in a cave” as some expect when living with a projector.
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For most first-timers, finding a good spot to place your projector and screen will be your biggest problems. If you’ve got a smaller living space, you should consider a short-throw projector, which can spit out a big image from up close.
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Pro projectorNot limited to a specific screen size. You can size your screen to your room, and the projector will generally be able to zoom in or out to fit. Want a smaller, brighter screen? No problem. Want a massive wall-size screen? Depending on the projector, no problem.
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Epson's wireless receiver is built into the projector chassis, while the small transmitter module is placed near your video sources. Just connect an HDMI cable between your component and the transmitter and you're done. The transmitter sends a flawless picture wirelessly between the transmitter and the projector. Both must be in the same room, and the range is about 32 feet.
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If you buy a retractable projector screen, you also don’t have to sacrifice much wall space for projection either. Instead of leaving a large wall blank for the projector to shine on, you can pull down the soft screen over any wall art you may have. Alternately, you can mount the retractable screen to the ceiling, which can do double duty as a makeshift room separator in a studio apartment.
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Of course, a projector isn’t a need; it’s a want. If you’re like me, and you had childhood fantasies of turning the garage door into a screen for Mario Kart and Monday Night Football, a projector might be for you — no mansion or screening room required.
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