I am not an expert by any means but I am in the same boat as you as far as my budget goals. I have been in several custom built theater room ranging from $25000 to over $500,000. One thing that I have learned is that $$$ does buy you unbelievable sound and picture BUT AND I MEAN A BIG BUT. An acoustically untreated room sounds like my kids schools gym no matter how expensive the equipment. You need to acoustically treat the room first! You can do for under $1000 if you do some work yourself. As far as projectors go the Panasonics are flat out awesome but it would not be in your budge goals. Look at the $1000ish projectors people here recommend. Jamestown makes home theater screens for under $300. Not the greatest but good enough and in your budget. Then I would spend the remaining $$$ you have left on your av and speakers. Again go will what others can recommend within your remaining budget. As far as DVD and blue ray players. Do you have a ps3? I think if you went this route you would have an amazing sounding room with 1080p that would be in your budget. Just my 2 cents. Post pictures of your build. We love pictures.