Originally Posted by Plug
This is for a great room with white walls and floor to ceiling windows around half of the room. Obviously this is not going to be a top cinema experience, but looking for advice on what might work best.
We currently have a projector in this room (a Mitsubishi HC5500), but it's about 10 years old and according to the manual puts out about 1,200 lumens. If there's any daylight, the picture is really washed out.
There's some projectors at work that I've noticed do surprisingly well in a lit room with the windows open during the day. I know there's screens that are better optimized for lit rooms, but for aesthetic reasons, we don't want to put a screen on the wall here or use a different paint.
The distance from projector lens to wall is 18.5 ft. I'm assuming that whatever I get here the picture is likely going to be pretty compromised. Thus, I'm not looking to spend a bunch of money on this, but I'm not sure what's available.
In this situation, what specs should I be looking at? Does this just come down to the amount of lumens a projector produces?
You're working with a compromised situation and you seem to have a good understanding that you're going to have compromises' with regards to picture quality.
In it's day, the Mitsubishi HC5500 was a fairly high lumen output projector. Using it this long, you've no doubt a good understanding of it's short comings.
Yes, I think you're on the right track looking for high lumen output. The problem with high lumen output projector's is that they tend to offset contrast and color accuracy for brightness. This is especially true with projectors at lower price points.
The Epson HC1450 is not necessarily a bad choice given your needs, but it will not offer the best color accuracy and contrast. I would suggest that you take a look at the Epson HC3700 or the new Epson HC3800 4K projector. They will have slightly less light output compared to the HC1450 but much better color/contrast. The HC3700/HC3800 will both offer a substantial improvement in light output and picture quality over your Mitsubishi HC5500.
The HC3700 can be found for ~$1000 and the new HC3800 is at a comparable price to the HC1450. The new HC3800 also supports 4K 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0; so there's that too. They booth have a good lens, lots of placement flexibility, and will project your desired 156" image size and throw distance without breaking a sweat. I would add that you could reduce your image size during the daylight hours to increase the perceived brightness as well.