Lighthouse

All things projection

Little Church Boasts Big and Bright Projection

God said, “Let there be light.” Applewood Community Church agreed, and set out to find that light through a major renovation.

Applewood Community Church’s humble beginnings consisted of a small building nestled in the outskirts of Golden, Colorado, created for its community in 2005. However, as the community grew, so did the congregation. By 2011, the congregation had grown by more than 20 percent, mostly with kids. And one thing became certain – it was time for a renovation.

From July 2011 to August 2012, Applewood Community Church underwent a major renovation consisting of a complete renovation of the downstairs classroom space, an addition with new office space for the staff, a larger kitchen, updated landscaping, and a facelift of the sanctuary.

The result was nothing short of a miracle:

Applewood Church Before+After

But as church patrons filed in for services in their beautiful new space, they quickly noticed a critical piece of equipment for worship that failed to be upgraded – the sanctuary’s projector.

“Our old projector was 14 years old, not bright enough for the space and had very low resolution,” said Andy Platt, the leader of the church’s audio visual team.

It didn’t help that the new sanctuary was filled with light from its newly-installed bordering windows, making it nearly impossible for the projected images and videos to be seen.

“We had rebuilt the old projector once, maybe twice, and determined that even rebuilt, the projector was not going to meet our sanctuary’s needs,” Platt continued. “Our projector also had color and quality issues; the red was also shifted by two pixels to the left so sharpness to the image was impossible.”

The solution? The Epson PowerLite Pro G6750WU – and what a difference it made.

Applewood Church Worship 1

The words and images that were once hard to read and see were now bright and crisp. Patrons were wowed by the quality and brightness of the projected song lyrics, scripture and videos which had a huge impact on the worship experience.

The church also hosts a myriad of community activities, from classes to movie nights, and all experience the benefits of the PowerLite Pro G6750WU.

“The difference has been night and day. We can read the words on the screen in any lighting environment, and our movie nights are now better than ever,” professed Steve Seybold, one of the church’s technology consultants.

Applewood Church Worship 2

And the biggest difference between the old projector and the new PowerLite Pro G? It works within the bright light of the sanctuary.

“We can now leave the curtains up and lights on while watching a video. This was never previously possible,” said Seybold.

Applewood Church Worship 3

Be it through song lyrics, scripture, images, or videos, Applewood Church patrons are finally able to see their messages clearly, and the final piece of the renovation is complete, thanks to Epson and very dedicated members of the congregation.

 

*Photos courtesy of Justin LeVett Photography

Planes, Trains and Collaborative Selling

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I’ve always loved maps. From the tattered AAA map of California my dad kept in his car glove box, to the maps of the world that were on the walls of just about every elementary school classroom I can remember. The idea that I could map out a route from Los Angeles to some remote and exotic destination was super cool. Made me think I was a modern day Francis Drake trying to circumnavigate my block.

Fast forward a few decades: Just two months ago, I heard about Mapcargo, a global logistics company that manages the transportation of products and materials around the world in trucks, trains, planes, and on ships. They installed an Epson BrightLink Pro, our collaborative whiteboarding solution, to take their sales process to a new level.

When I first heard the company’s name, Mapcargo, it seemed pretty self explanatory, or so I thought. However, Jarry Sessions, Mapcargo’s general manager, shared that this is a complex international operation combining advanced logistics technology with a wide range of what seems to be less-than-high-tech business processes and services. He also discussed the extremely competitive nature of today’s global logistics market. For Mapcargo this means getting things – from computers and golf clubs to first releases of major motion pictures – from where they are to where they need to be faster and safer than anyone else can. No simple task.

The company’s success over the past 20 years, and its planned growth moving forward, stems from the priority it places on working closely with its customers to develop logistics strategies that provide a real bottom-line advantage. Mapcargo’s approach is that one solution rarely fits all; in the logistics business, the logistics provider needs to develop unique solutions that best meet each customer’s individual needs. And this is generally best achieved through a collaborative and interactive process that allows the customer to be more involved in developing their own strategy.

According to Sessions, the hardest part of presenting solutions to new or existing clients is when their initial recommendations are off target because of issues or information that Mapcargo didn’t have in advance.  And often, going back to the drawing board and revising a proposal can take time that clients don’t have.

Enter the BrightLink Pro. Sessions said that BrightLink Pro’s interactive whiteboarding capabilities has changed their sales process, helping to close deals faster. Customers can literally walk up to the whiteboard and make changes to the proposal. This not only ensures customers thoroughly understand the game plan, but also gives them more control over the process itself, ultimately leading to increased satisfaction and trust in the Mapcargo solution.

Every day, we see how information technology is changing virtually everything. This couldn’t be truer than when it comes to maps and moving cargo. From the old clipper ships used by the East India Trading Company to today’s most advanced Triple E class container ships; and from the first Lloyd’s of London contracts to Mapcargo’s advanced logistic planning. And on a personal level, advancements in GPS systems, whether handheld, built in to cars or on our smartphones, help us get where we need to go. At the end of the day, nothing beats the rustle of a AAA map as it is expanded and folded crisply into its original form.

 

 

Interacting with an Interactive Projector

comic strip image revisedIn my professional life I help educate people on the benefits of interactivity and projection, something that comes naturally for me because of my past experience teaching elementary school students. While the underlying principles are the same – opening doors to help discover new abilities and cultivating an appreciation for learning in new ways – I’ve learned that teaching kids can be an easier undertaking than teaching adults.

Kids are a blank slate, open to discovery, while adults are often set in their ways, particularly if they have been following the same process for a long time. This is similar to the dilemma that Fabien Bourdon, technology specialist at Citrix, faced when tasked with structuring the company’s “Classroom of the Future.”

He needed to create a learning environment that was conducive to teaching students how to use Citrix mobile workspaces and virtual tools, whether located onsite or participating remotely.   Beyond installing collaborative technology tools, Bourdon also needed to motivate Citrix instructors to hone their teaching techniques to incorporate the new technology, a challenge in itself.

Bourdon installed two Epson BrightLink Pro interactive projectors into the Classroom to create an inclusive environment that would allow the instruction team to demonstrate the power of Citrix mobile workspace solutions. The projectors are interactive; enabling the instructor and the students to walk up to the projected image and use their fingers to “write” on the projected image. In addition, students participating in the class remotely can see the projected image on their mobile device and annotate on the shared display, creating a collaborative training session.

While the new interactivity offered a vast improvement over existing teaching methods, Bourdon knew it would be difficult to teach instructors how to use the interactive projector. “Instructors generally don’t like to change the way they run their classes, so one of the things I wanted to highlight is how to have fun with the projector,” he said. “People see their screen projected on a wall and don’t give it a second thought. It’s neither new nor compelling to them. It’s not the most effective way to use these new projectors.”

How did he do it? By using a method close to my heart – gaming. Knowing that most people are comfortable playing online games on mobile devices where your fingers control game play, Bourdon created an “Interactive Acclimation Guide” for instructors, working in popular mobile device games to make the transition easier. He used one very popular mobile game that requires the use of physics and trajectory to help make the interactive functions less daunting to instructors – and, in turn, students – and make training more effective and immersive.

“I’ve been reading up on memory retention in training. Apparently a great way to retain what you’ve been taught is using manipulatives to develop the spatial memory of students while engaging them kinetically, and what better way to do that than combining gaming and a BrightLink Pro? This popular game works extremely well because it has a real time physics engine in it and the game works entirely from the mouse pad without requiring a keyboard,” said Bourdon. “With dual projection screens you can challenge students prior to the class or during their break. Add in the audio over the speaker system and the whole effect is unique, memorable and the students quickly start seeing this as a new way to learn.”

In my experience I’ve found that it’s easier for students to internalize lessons when they enjoy the subject matter. Bourdon applied that same teaching method to his Classroom of the Future, and found a way to tie a concept that both instructors and students are comfortable with to break the mental barriers surrounding projectors, and embrace the new capabilities that come with interactivity. I’m looking forward to hearing about the new discoveries Citrix instructors and students make, and sharing them with you.

Blurring the Lines between the Digital and Physical Worlds

Aliens attack

Visitors to Epson’s booth at InfoComm 2014 had the opportunity to experience a 3D-projection mapping exhibit set to the soundtrack of electronic dance music. The video demonstrated the versatility of three-dimensional storytelling with a Las Vegas-inspired cityscape illuminated by 12 high-lumen Epson large venue projectors. Building facades morphed while the skyline remained constant. Soon, the mood changed as a spaceship emerges from the horizon, fires a laser beam, and destroys the buildings spectacularly.

“What I liked about our exhibit is that it turned the booth into a live event…people sat there and watched the show two or three times through,” said Daniel Roth, creative account manager for AV Concepts and a key member of the team behind the creation of the 3D mapping exhibit. Roth and his team earned those repeat views through the hundreds of staff hours invested in creating it.

AV Concepts isn’t new to making visual spectacles that people want to see over and over. In 2012, I watched the late Tupac Shakur step onto the Main Stage at The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. The hologram that got me and about 45,000 other music lovers grooving was also created by AV Concepts.

Two years later, my work with Epson lead me to intersect with AV Concepts again where I got the opportunity to ask Roth the question that everyone wants to ask after seeing a 3D mapping display: “How did you do that?”

To begin, the AV Concept’s Creative team used pre-visualization software to create mock-ups that they could use to guide the creative process before starting construction. With unlimited design freedom, the team pushed themselves to do something they had never done before. That challenge resulted in intricate and complex designs that would be projected onto the surfaces of a seemingly plain set.

AV concepts then took the 3D model to a builder that created the physical set. Thanks to the accuracy of the 3D design software, the design team was able to simultaneously create the content as a separate team constructed the set.

A few weeks before the show, Roth’s team had a completed model. The next challenge was to fit an expansive pixel space into a relatively small booth. “We designed the craziest creative option we could for the scenario, then we had to work hard to make the tech work and fit it in the space we had,” Roth said.

The pixels produced by twelve projectors operating in only an 11.5 ft. x 20 ft. booth roughly compare to the number that would be used to do a mapping show on the side of a full-sized building.

After nearly 1,000 person-hours of work, the final demonstration was ready for visitors at InfoComm.

Tupac may still be gone, and aliens may be fictional, but now I know the secret to making digital projection mapping come to life—hard work, creative vision and a bit of magic. If you were at InfoComm and saw the demonstration, or have seen a similar projection mapping show, let us know what you thought in the comment section below.

Namaste Projector

SurfSet NYCIn the middle of Manhattan, miles away from the nearest beach, groups of people every morning are on surfboards keeping an eye out for that perfect wave. These city surfers are part of a fast growing waterless phenomenon called SURFSET Fitness; and master trainers and brand ambassadors Aaron Thouvenin and Diana Garrett launched the Big Apple’s first dedicated studio – SURFSET New York City – in October this year.

Aaron and Diana bring their unique surf-inspired exercise program and their Epson projector brings the ocean. “The general concept of SURFSET is that with the help of a surfboard you can get a great workout and have a lot of fun doing it,” states Aaron. The company offers four signature programs – balance, build, burn, and blend – that operate on high-intensity interval training, designed to give students of all levels a full-body workout in a short amount of time.

So where does the projector fit in? According to Diana, “The projector sets the ambiance of the class.” Aaron agrees. “What we really do is try to create an environment and a feel within the class. It’s really about creating a community, a sort-of comfort-level feeling that transports you somewhere else.”

During each class, images of surfing scenes and movies are projected onto the walls of the studio, allowing students to imagine what it’s like to be riding an actual wave. In many classes, the projected images are even used to time sequences; if the person on-screen is paddling out, so is the class. The goal is to make the students feel as if they were actually there, to make the experience as realistic as possible.

And beyond the studio, Aaron and Diana are constantly bringing the surfing vibe with them for partnership activities and private events, thanks to the portability of the Epson PowerLite 1776W projector.

“We needed it to be light and bright,” states Aaron. “Right,” adds Diana. “And, the images had to be crisp and clear enough that we could easily project a movie, an image or a logo in a range of environments. It not only lets us bring a beach ambiance to our classes, but it’s a great way to show branding (for us or our clients) at events.”

Many students, according to Aaron and Diana, have even expressed how the projected images help to keep them motivated through some of the more intense, cardio-heavy classes. “The movie and the projector bring that inspiration,” states Aaron.

Learn more about Aaron and Diana’s classes on the SURFSET® New York City website or their Facebook (www.facebook.com/surfsetnyc), Instagram (www.instagram.com/surfsetnyc), and Twitter (www.twitter.com/surfsetnyc) channels.

Photos courtesy of SURFSET® New York City

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So You Want to Build a Home Theater? Step 1: Planning

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When I first thought about the title for this post, I couldn’t help but think about a classic Byrds hit from the 60s, “So You Want to be a Rock & Roll Star.” In the song, the band laid out four simple steps to rock stardom: first, get an electric guitar; second, take some time and learn how to play; third, grow your hair right; and fourth, wear tight pants. What could be easier?

It’s in that frame of mind that I‘m approaching this blog series. I want to share my thoughts as well as insight from other industry experts on how a beginner–someone who’s never owned or set up a home theater before– can get their arms around the technical and aesthetic issues necessary to create a home theater that really rocks, regardless of the budget. And while I can’t promise that my advice will have the same life-changing effects as hitting the top of the music charts, I can promise that when you’re sitting in your new home theater watching your favorite movie, TV show or even classic rock video, you will feel like a rock star.

So here goes. The first of this series will look at project planning.

Part 1: Project Planning

Like starting any important project, having a plan that helps you think through a wide range of important issues and anticipates potential hurdles is critical. And while your plan may require somewhat more or somewhat less, the following five plan elements are a good place to start.

  1. Location: Determine where you’re going to set up your home theater. The answer for some might be easy and obvious. If you live in a small apartment, your home theater will most likely need to share a space that may also be your living room or bedroom. If this is the case, you need to think about where your screen will go and where your projector will be placed or mounted (I’ll get into projector and screen technical issues in Part 2 of this series.) If you live in a house, you might have multiple options, ranging from an underused guest room, a basement or attic, an enclosed patio space for those living in warm weather climates, a garage, or a living room or other communal space that you’d like to convert. Of course, a home theater in a home, even a big home, can easily be set up in an area with multiple uses. In my house we set up our home theater in a main living area where it serves multiple purposes – a play room for the kids, a living room area to host guests and a home theater for watching our favorite flicks.
  1. Purpose: What you’ll be doing in your home theater. Will it be limited to watching movies and TV shows? Do you plan on playing Xbox 360 Kinect or Wii-style games like bowling, dancing, skiing or supporting your child’s Minecraft addiction? Do you plan on a space that will let you snuggle up with your significant other or host movie nights with the kids, or do you plan on having movie parties for a dozen of your closest friends? All of these considerations are important to the layout of your home theater room.
  1. Layout: Determining where you’ll be seated when you’re in your home theater may very well be one of the most impactful decisions you can make. If your theater is in a rectangle shaped room, you might need to take advantage of the room’s length; however, if your space is square, you probably have many more options. Of course, windows, doors, fireplaces and other home features may require some creative thinking. From outdoor chic to traditional home theater to cozy and unconventional, there are plenty of ideas online to get your juices flowing.
  1. Light: If you’re constructing a dedicated home theater in a renovated or add-on space, you can easily control the amount of outside light that will enter your home theater. If your home theater will be in a family room or other shared space, you will need to think about how dark you’ll want the theater. The good news here is that many projectors and screens can deliver very bright extremely vivid images in rooms with ambient light.
  1. Budget: Saying you want a home theater is a little like saying you want a new car. You could get a Rolls Royce or a Ford Focus. Both cars will get you from place to place and each has their distinct benefits. Building a home theater from scratch will require a projector, a screen, a sound system (speakers), and possibly some in-wall/in-ceiling wiring. It may also need to include new seating and other fun features that will make it a home theater you’re proud to call you own. The best place to start this process is setting your maximum. From there you can scale your theater’s performance and features to meet your budget.

As I said before, planning is key. Whether you’re a back-of-a-napkin kind of planner or a spreadsheet aficionado, the sooner you start planning the sooner you’ll be enjoying your home theater.

Flat Panel Displays Fall Flat in Classrooms

IMG_0170With great power comes great responsibility, and Kurt Henne has both at California State University at Monterey Bay. As equipment coordinator, he has been tasked with choosing the best and most appropriate technology to outfit the campus’ brand new classrooms—not a job to be taken lightly. And he doesn’t.

But therein lay the problem: What was the best product to outfit classrooms with? Over the past 14 years at CSUMB, academic locations on campus have grown from 10 to over 75 with basic technology. Which product could fit in his budget, minimize downtime in the classroom and, most importantly, hold the students’ attention?

Luckily for CSUMB, Henne’s 30 years of experience in the audio visual field gave him the knowledge and skills to make this critical decision. With around 6,000 students and founded just 20 years ago, CSU Monterey Bay is one of the Cal-State system’s smaller universities—but it’s growing. New buildings are under construction on campus, situated on the former military base at Fort Ord on California’s central coast, and Henne is overseeing the technology selection and installation process.

“The first thought was to install flat-panel televisions. They’re cool and they’re new, but they’re a lot more expensive,” said Henne.

That’s not to say that flat screens won’t be gracing the new buildings at all, as Henne realizes that there is a place for them in conference rooms and as digital signage. But for classrooms, both he and the teachers knew that projectors were the way to go. When Henne joined the university in 1998, he walked around the classrooms, asked the faculty questions—and listened. “They want the latest technology, because they know that students are learning when they use these tools,” Henne explained. “The teachers also understand that the Epson projectors have great new technology, including interactive capabilities that just can’t be found on any flat-screen television.”

And like a painting or other wall hanging, a flat screen is always there, taking up wall space; but a projector provides flexibility for a classroom. A flat screen creates ‘dead space’ when it’s not in use, meaning that the wall area can’t be used for anything else. When you use a projector, you can project on a blank wall or whiteboard. But when you turn it off, that whiteboard can be used as a whiteboard, and the wall can be used for just about anything. “CSUMB’s new platform of technology in the future is moving in the direction of BYOD (Bring Your Own Technology),” explained Henne. “And with an Epson 1430w interactive projector, DaLite Idea Panoramic erasable projector surface and Extron IP control solutions, we are able to accommodate any user.”

Henne definitely does his due diligence, and he was also factoring in keeping classrooms up and running, now that his teachers depend on the visual technology every day. “I can keep a few projectors on hand, but in the rare event a projector goes down, Epson will have a replacement out to us within one or two days,” Henne said. “So the only things we really have to store are bulbs and filters.”

On the contrary, new flat panels are too costly to keep on hand. “If I have a projector go down during a class, one person can go in and replace it,” Henne explained. “If a flat-panel goes down, it’s going to take two to four people to get that down off the wall. And then you’re going to have to wait until that thing is shipped in, serviced and returned, which could take a month to six weeks. And basically that classroom is down for that time.”

And while the size of the product is important, image size mattered too. Over his years in the business, Henne has also noticed the huge gap in attention levels when students are watching a television screen versus a large projector image. And the teachers he’s talked to know it too. With a projector, students in a classroom or lecture hall have no problems seeing the content, even if it’s a complicated image like a spreadsheet. For instance, the United States Sign Council’s Legibility Index rules of thumb state that a rate of 30 is considered legible, which means that letters should be one inch high at a 30-foot distance. A 60-inch flat panel display would provide a letter size of a half-inch or less, especially when showing an image such as a spreadsheet.

“I think the whole reason they’re pushing flat panels in classrooms is because it’s just the latest buzz,” mused Henne. “But any teachers I talk to on campus, and others in my capacity…they all say ‘No, it should be projectors.’”

Starry Nights: Projected Night Sky in the Home

Have you ever just gotten away from it all and headed off on a family camping trip for a few days? It’s always great to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city or suburbs and really reconnect with nature: The sound of the crickets, the hikes through the trees, the twinkle of the Milky Way. When those summer camping trips end and you’re back in civilization, there are some things you can recreate… hot dogs, story telling, campfires. But there’s one thing that just isn’t the same—laying back and watching the stars with the kids, pointing out constellations, and maybe even seeing a falling star. It’s an unforgettable experience, but through all the lights of the city, the stars at home never shine as bright.

You can recreate that feeling at home. Play a star projection through an Epson Home Cinema 2000 home theater projector, and the room becomes filled with bright, drifting stars. Try to place the projector in the far corner of a family or game room and aim it at the wall and ceiling to maximize the size of your sky. The Home Cinema 2000 can project up to 300 inches, so the bigger the room, the better! Put the star projection on repeat, hook the computer up to the projector, and turn out the lights.

If you want to get the true camping experience, tell some scary stories and freak out the kids. Toast some marshmallows on the gas stovetop and you’re on your way to s’mores, urban style. Grab a bunch of pillows and set them up on the floor so you can lay back and enjoy the stars like you did in the Great Outdoors, and maybe even sleeping bags for the kids if they really want to get into it. It’s an experience that can be beat only by a good old-fashioned camping trip. Although you might find that you prefer the urban camping trip—this way there are no bugs, no bears and bathroom breaks are significantly easier.

The star projection could also fit well at a chilled-out party or romantic date night. Download the star projection files, sit back, and watch the stars drift by. Share pictures of your urban campsites with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Going to the Theater: Shadow Puppets with Projectors

Right now it’s summer, and the sunny days and long nights make the ideal conditions for my children to be outside, playing in the yard. But inevitably, the fall and winter will come and my kids will be in forced outdoor-activity exile.

Usually, when they are relegated to playing inside, they’ll be starting fights and tattling on each other. My wife and I are always on the search for more constructive uses for their time during times of indoor captivity, and recently we hit upon a fun and unique use for our Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000 Projector. It would let the kids be active, creative and inside …without killing each other.

We had the idea to create a shadow puppet theatre, complete with animal cut outs and giant exotic backgrounds, which should provide the kids with a playful storytelling experience. We imagine that they will find this much more fun than your typical little puppet show. What we like about using the projector is that it projects a huge image, and by using our laptop, we can change the backgrounds in an instant for new scenes, letting the play’s plot twist and turn as their imaginations run wild.

We’ll try the first theme, The Great Outdoors!, on the next rainy day. Seems fitting, doesn’t it? Everybody will be able to get involved in making some puppets and setting up the theater. Then we can sit back and let our kids loose to fight—but in the puppet show this time. It should prove to be a very entertaining process. So let the rain begin!

Download some example puppets and backdrops here or get creative with your own! We’d love to see what you and your children come up with. Feel free to share photos of your puppet theatre ideas or other rainy day activities either with us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Shopping for a larger TV? Consider a Projector

We had a monster 40” flat screen in the living room and when it came time to finally upgrade, my wife and I discussed which direction we should go.  She wanted a larger flat screen. I wanted a projection system. The “discussion” was long, fierce and horribly one-sided. Yet for every objection she gave, I offered a well-reasoned response.

Her Objections My Responses
Projectors are too expensive. 720p projectors in the $500 range. We can get a good 1080p/WUXGA projector for under $2,000.  Screens sometimes go on sale for $49 for up to 130″. Try finding a 130″ flat panel for that money.
The screen won’t be bright enough. A 3,000 lumens projector is plenty bright for our small room with ambient lighting/windows. But to be fair, at 2,000 lumens, we may need to draw the drapes.
Glare from the windows will wash out the image. Glare off of a glass screen will be worse.
60″ is big enough. Let’s be serious. 100″ is better. And 130″ is amazing.
I don’t want a black box hanging in the middle of the room. It’ll sit on a shelf at the opposite end of the room.
It will be too difficult to install. It takes two people to mount a 60″ flat panel to the wall. One of our kids could put a projector on a shelf.
I won’t know how to use the projector. It works the same way as the flat panel. You press the power button to turn it on.

I felt so good about my arguments, that I started planning how to rearrange the living room to fit the new projector. Unfortunately, my confidence was misplaced, as we ended up buying a flat screen (wah wah). Here it is.

1. Upgrade 1 - FPD

But, just because I lost the battle, I wasn’t willing to give up on the war. I took up carpentry and built a shelf to go over the new TV. My wife loved it, even adding family memorabilia that we had collected over the years.

What she didn’t notice was the screen mounted on the underside of it (the white bar above the TV running the length of the shelf). Nor did she see the projector sitting on the shelf on the opposite side of the room.

1. Upgrade 2 - Screen

We have had people over many times for SuperBowl parties, NCAA tournaments, USC/UCLA football game, World Cup, etc.  We have also hosted movie night for my nephews and nieces, where we would push the couches across the room and lay blankets and pillows on the ground. Everyone loves it.

My wife still maintains that the image size is overly excessive. But that is exactly the point.  For the same price, we got a huge screen compared with the flat screen.

Nowadays, we use the projector almost on a nightly basis.  Whether it is watching her favorite shows (Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance) or playing Dance Central on the Xbox, she loves the larger screen. And when the kids go to sleep, we enjoy our own movie night–something we have not been able to do for years.

Notes:  

I chose the Epson 8350 ($1099) – 2,000 lumens, so we draw the curtains during the day. I’m looking to upgrade to the PL 1980WU model which has 4,400 lumens, WUXGA resolution.