In case I haven't mentioned it lately, Cheapskate readers are some of the most awesome people on the planet. You have no idea how much I appreciate your kind words and gestures. Thank you, thank you, thank you. /mushystuff
Projectors are awesome. A high-end HD model can turn a living room into a sweet home theater, but don't overlook the value of lower-end options. A projector that's compact, inexpensive, and easily moved can be a great solution for anytime, anywhere movie fun.
To wit: For a limited time, Epson is offering the refurbished MegaPlex MG-50 3LCD projector for $239 shipped. Original price: $699.99!
The MegaPlex is a self-contained home theater, offering loud built-in speakers, a carrying handle for easy transport from one room to another, and a dock for 30-pin Apple devices. Yep, you've just found the perfect home for that secondhand iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
By connecting one of those devices, you can project any videos you've purchased from iTunes. It also works with Netflix and YouTube, though unfortunately most other streaming apps (Hulu, HBO Go, etc.) don't support this kind of video-out.
Thankfully, the projector also has VGA and HDMI inputs, so you can connect just about any other source (DVD player, Android device, laptop, etc.) to greatly expand your viewing options.
Whatever your source, you'll get 2,200 lumens' worth of brightness via a 3LCD engine. That's pretty solid, but there is one downside: The MegaPlex MG-50 tops out at 960x540 pixels, a bit shy of proper HD. It's fine for casual movie watching (especially the likes of, say, a kid's sleepover), but anyone accustomed to 720p/1080p images may balk.
That said, you'll want to check out PC Mag's mostly favorable review of the MG-50, along with my own coverage of the slightly higher-end MG-850HD. (For what it's worth, Amazon customers rated the MG-50 4.5 stars out of 5.) One thing is certain: Resolution notwithstanding, this is an amazing deal on a powerful projector. Definitely worth a look.
Bonus deal: Game time! If you love platform-style adventure games with a sense of humor, Get Games has the 2013 indie hit The Cave (Win) for $3.74. Regular price: $14.99. Features include lovely graphics, challenging puzzles, and punny jokes from the mind who brought you Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion.