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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, I'm looking to get my first projector for a living room. I read through the guide in the sticky section. I have NOT bought a projector yet :)

My living room is basically square but open on one side. It's about 15ft from one wall to the other. It has a few windows and there is ambient light but not a huge amount, and I watch mostly at night. I prefer a dark room and I usually keep the brightness on my traditional TV at a minimum.

Should I consider an ultra short throw under the screen? There isn't a whole lot of space to put a projector somewhere, although I probably could mount it on the opposite wall above my couch, high enough so heads wouldn't get in the way.

I will not be using cable/TV, I would run a windows 10 mini-PC HDMI out to the projector, playing my collection of 1080p movies and TV shows on external 8TB hard disks directly from within windows. My audio setup is pretty basic but its cheap and it sounds good--a Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10 2x35 watt integrated stereo amplifier going to two Klipsch RP-5000F floorstanding speakers.

I'm totally OK with getting a 1080p unit. It looks like 4k projectors are still pretty pricey and to be honest I grew up in the 80's and 1080p looks great to me even on large screens.

It appears there are some newer projectors with LED lamps that are quieter with much better lamp life. It seems like that's the way to go, and I'm okay spending a bit more for an LED unit. Although, I don't want to drop too much cash until I'm sure I like projection.

Can someone point me in the right direction as far as what type of projectors to look at, how powerful they need to be for my room, what type of screen? I don't need anything to be portable and I'd get a fixed frame screen, although I don't want a gigantic projector in my living room either.

Why do I want to do all this? Well, primarily, I have had many traditional TVs and I'm just frustrated with them. None of them have ever given me the experience I am after. I don't like all the image processing stuff they use, I have had constant issues with flickering, artifact that I can't tune out in settings, etc. The lighting is never uniform. All I want is just an exact projection of my computer and the media I play through MPC-HC with madVR. Nothing extra.

Plus I have young kids and when I show them Star Wars for the first time I want it to be epic :)
 

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I don't have specific answers to your questions, but I'll share a couple of thoughts based on having a projection system for several years.

First, I find that watching light bounced off a screen is a very different experience subjectively from watching a glowing screen. The glowing screen is immensely popular, we use it for most TV's and generally our computers and our phones too. We all have plenty of experience with it. We all have experience with light bounced off a screen too, because that is the movie theater experience. I'm just pointing that out because the two are very different, and there's no guarantee that you will prefer the projection experience. I much prefer it, but you may not.

You can find a lot of threads about the advantage of a darkened room, meaning dark walls, ceiling, floor, and furnishings. Yes, they matter. But you can enjoy a lot of the experience without taking that to extremes.

In fact, that would apply to many of the extreme views about this hobby that you can find on the web. Use your own instincts and start with what seems important to you, and don't worry about what anyone else is obsessing over.

Try to arrange to see a few projection systems in actual homes. Different projectors do yield different looking images. You would be in better shape to pick your first projector having seen a few. The basic look of the image will tell you a lot more about it than any of the specific specifications that we all argue about. I think you can post here somewhere on the forum asking people near you if you could come over and watch...lots of people like nothing more than sharing their movie watching room and their stories about how they got to it.
 
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