All things projection

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.


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.


  1. Cathy says:

    So you got your projection screen TV anyway? Plus the 60″ TV.
    Win. Win.

    • Phong Phanel says:

      Win-Win…And one more WIN for the kids.
      They have watched the “Snowman movie” aka “Frozen” about a thousand times.


  2. Cynthia says:

    I have been trying to get my husband to put up a projector in our family room for a few years. I saw this post and sent it to my husband to show him how it could be done. Since I work with Epson, I’m familiar with how good the image quality from Epson projectors can be and I trust Phong’s recommendations. Fingers crossed that he puts up a decorative shelf with a pull down screen attached for movie night and watching the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49er games!

    • Phong Phanel says:

      What husband would say NO to a bigger screen?

      If he doesn’t already own some power tools, tell him to give me a call. Always happy to help get a projector into a home.

  3. k.wilkes says:

    I agree I think they are Both Too expensive…in today’s economic climate…But the projector system is really cool…and looks good… and easy to store away…but bring the price down to $100.00 -TO- $175.00 it just’s not worth that much…. in this economy I’m sorry its nice if you have it but you don’t want to regret over paying for it…..

  4. jonny says:

    Hi there, just a question, what kind of projector screen did you get, and how did you attach it to your wall shelf? I’m trying to do a similar thing in our apartment. Thanks for the article!

    • Phong Phanel says:

      Really cool.
      I just went to Best Buy and got the biggest screen I could find within my budget. I believe they were having a sale on Elite screens and so I bought a 130″ for $99. They tend to have sales around major sporting events like football season, NCAA tournaments, world cup, etc.

      I find basic white is the best value, especially for watching during the day with the windows wide open.

      However for movie night, I wish I had spent a bit more money on a good screen like a Da-Lite or Screen Innovations screen. Those have gain and light rejection that makes the image look amazing. But they are a bit pricier.

      As for attaching the screen to the shelf, the screen comes with some hooks and mounting screws that I drilled right into the shelf. Keep in mind that I built the shelf specifically to house the screen, so I didn’t mind doing that. The screen weighs about 20 pounds so no special mounting hardware needed.

      Or you can do what my brother did and mount it directly to a stud in the ceiling.

      Hope that helps.

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