I purchased this because i really wanted a fireplace for my living room. First, I would say the fake fire is real enough to make me happy. My friends all think it's fairly cool looking, so don't be too concerned about this. Also, relative to my friend that has a gel fireplace, I tend to use my fake flames a lot more, for the fire-like effects. Second, the heater is pretty good. They say it's for heating up to 400 sq feet. I use it to heat around a 200 sq foot living room and would not try to have it heat more than that. It's powerful enough to be adequate, but not so crazy a heater that it will burn the TV you have on top. The design is that it shoots the heat forward. I think the number 1 concern for people is whether this unit will harm or damage your TV. That is not a problem at all and as soon as you see the design you realize why. Overall, I'm extremely happy I got this unit. I wish it heated just slightly better, as it would be nice if I could extend the heating power out to another room (i.e. the full 400 feet). However, this might partially because of the placement of my unit in the far corner of the room, rather than the unit's inability to heat 400 feet.