How to turn your living room into a cinema
Is there anything as meta as watching Black Mirror on your phone? For the uninitiated, it’s a Netflix show about a not-so-distant dystopian future in which technology, as wondrous as it is (the title refers to life’s ever-present screens, like the one in your pocket), can subject us to subpar human experiences. Our problem is trivial compared with what the characters on Black Mirror grapple with — can artificial intelligence provide love? — but it still sucks: Binge-watching anything on a screen small enough to fit into your backpack eats away at our humanity, dammit.
There are more TV shows and movies to absorb than ever, yet we’ve never been more time-strapped as a society, so we end up watching things on our phones during the commute, on our computers at the office, on our iPads before bed. We’re always in the thick of some kind of video, but we’re never fully engrossed. Fine for Snapchats or Facebook videos, but anything longer than 22 minutes deserves more attention — and real estate.
The antidote to small-screen-itis? Go big by getting a projector for your home.
You may be thinking, My 65-inch TV is plenty huge. I’m here to tell you: Not really. Many of us have our faces buried in large high-resolution screens at work; coming home to a marginally bigger one isn’t a game changer. Truth: I gave away my traditional TV more than seven years ago, got a projector that creates a 120-inch image (many go bigger), and never looked back. You know that feeling you have in a movie theatre where it’s just you, the darkness, and the Death Star blowing up (when will they patch up that tunnel)? That’s what it’s like at home now, except the popcorn doesn’t cost Dhs40. The world around you melts away and you’re transported for an hour or two — assuming you’re not live-tweeting. You just can’t get that from a 65-incher.
The latest projectors don’t need much distance to cast a big screen. The short-throw LG PF1000U, in fact, can create a 100-inch image when positioned only 15 inches away from your wall. Place it on a credenza and you’re done. Others can be ceiling-mounted or simply set on a shelf on the opposite side of the room. Many are equipped with wireless HDMI — or you can buy a separate wireless transmitter — so your clunky cable box or Apple TV can be tucked away elsewhere. Although they work best in darker rooms, a number of new models do just fine in brighter environments. You can buy screens that descend from the ceiling, or special paint for your wall, but if the wall is white, you’re all set.
That’s the real advantage of projectors: When they’re off, they’re gone. There isn’t a black void staring you down, saying: Give me life, human. When they’re not in use, you get your living room back to, I dunno, read a book or a magazine. Because if there’s one safe space in our screen-filled dystopian present, shouldn’t it be the couch?