Have you ever gone to the movie theater and wished that you could replicate that feeling of actually being a part of the movie that you have when you’re seeing it in the theater? Of course you have! Installing a home theater projector in your own living room might not exactly duplicate the movie theater experience, but it can be just about as close as you can get in the privacy of your own living room.

You can set up your own big screen to satisfy your movie going urges without having to purchase expensive theater tickets and concessions… or without leaving your house, for that matter. You can pop your own popcorn, snack on your own sweets and lounge in your comfy clothes. Not to mention, what girl wouldn’t love to come back to your home theater setup to watch a movie with you?

Mounting a projection screen to your ceiling will allow for use at any time and keep the device from being more clutter in your living room. When setting up a projector, you will want to be aware that they require ambient lighting, meaning that you will have find a way to limit the amount of light entering the room when using the projector.

The size of the room is also important. Projectors need larger rooms. The larger the room, the larger the screen you should be able to accommodate. There are calculators online, like this one to help you determine the screen size that will properly fit your living room.

There are three versions of video projectors available for purchase. Those three are: CRT, DLP and LCD. Here’s some info on the three different types of projectors, so you can decide which one will work best for you.

CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)

The CRT video projector has been around for quite a while and is not available to the average consumer, but is rather used for commercial and industrial use. CRT projectors produce the blackest of black and have the ability to show the most movie-like qualities out of any of the types of projectors. This type also has the longest light source projection times. It can last up to 20,000 hours.

These units are typically very big, require a large screen and it is necessary to have a completely dark viewing area.

DLP (Digital Light Processing)

This type of projector is used in both commercial movie theaters and in home environments. The DPL projector uses images displayed on a chip called a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) wherein all of the images in every pixel are reflected onto a mirror in the chip. The mirrors tilt rapidly to accommodate the changing images on the screen. The color on these projectors is very accurate, they use smaller amounts of energy to operate and produce a smoother looking picture.

The downside to this type of projector is there are a limited number of pixels that these projectors can provide. The light source also usually needs to be changed after every 3000-4000 hours’ worth of use. This model has become pretty popular among home theater enthusiasts.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

This type of model uses a powerful light source to project through a transparent LCD chip comprised of individual pixels. These images are then projected through a lens onto a large screen. This model is compact because the LCD chips are small. They do not use much power and have a high brightness and contract capability. The other big advantage to the LCD projector is that they are inexpensive and geared towards home theater usage.

This unit does have some disadvantages. The LCD chip has many individual pixels on a chip. If one of the pixels burns out, it will appear as a black spot on your screen. Individual pixels cannot be replaced in this model; therefore, it would be necessary to purchase a completely new chip. The light source on this model will also need to be replaced every 3000-4000 hours and sometimes the light replacements can be costly.

Whichever you decide to use, don’t hesitate to get your home theater setup! I did it last year and, despite having to fork over some money initially, I haven’t regretted it for one second.

Jeff Fields contributes writing to Allcases, a company that sells projector cases, among many other cases. When he’s not working, writing, or watching a movie in his home theater, Jeff likes hanging out with his two black labs and playing Neil Young covers on his acoustic guitar.