These days, home theater projectors are finding their ways into all kinds of places they haven't gone before. For many years, projectors absolutely had to be installed in very dark rooms, but brighter projectors and ambient light rejecting screens mean that you can put a projector just about anywhere now. But even with that restriction out of the way, most projectors do require quite a bit of space in the form of throw distance if you want a decently large picture.
Enter the Acer H6517ST. This tiny 1080p projector boasts 3,000 lumens, so you can use it in rooms with windows and ambient light. Its defining feature, though, is an ultra short throw lens that can project a 100" diagonal 16:9 picture from less than four feet of throw distance. If you've ever dreamed of putting a home theater into that tiny spare bedroom, the Acer H6517ST is definitely worth a look. Selling for less than $800, the H6517ST will fit your room and your budget.
The Viewing Experience
Firing up the H6517ST for the first time gets you a bright, vibrant picture that's bigger than you're expecting. That's because the projector's ultra short throw lens can display a huge picture from a very short throw distance. This is a huge benefit to folks with small rooms, as it means they can enjoy the prime benefit of home theater projection - really large screen sizes - without an equally really large room.
I can personally see the appeal of the H6517ST. When I got married, I was living alone in a 2,300 square foot house that was far larger than I needed. I was renting this house because of a huge 18 foot by 12 foot room that was just perfect for home theater use. Since I work with projectors, I need that kind of space, but it also meant that we had two spare bedrooms, an office, and a dining room that didn't see much use.
My situation is somewhat unique, obviously - I don't get to pick one projector and stick with it. But if home theater is a priority for you, you've probably found yourself looking at your home and evaluating it in terms of how well a projector will fit the space. The Acer H6517ST gives you a lot more flexibility when it comes time to pick a room for your theater, and might just mean more dedicated theater space instead of sticking the projector in the living room just because it's large enough.
As for the quality of the picture itself: In most ways, the H6517ST is a typical entry-level home theater projector. The picture is vibrant and crisp, with plenty of shadow detail, a reasonable black level, and out-of-the-box color that could use some fine adjustment but is at least in the ballpark. However, extreme lensing like the super short throw found on the H6517ST usually comes with some sort of trade-off. In this case, the image loses a touch of sharpness in the corners unless you have the projector set up to be dead-on square with the screen, and brightness is less uniform than a comparable projector without a short throw lens. Other than that, you sacrifice very little to get a projector that fits in small spaces.