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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, Ive been lurking on this forum for a while, and just signed up and made a couple posts yesterday, and have spent some time going through old threads and whatnot, and there seems to be an extreme lack of support for the idea of using an XGA business class projector for Home Theater use.

I just thought I'd make a post telling my experiences with it, as they have not been bad at all.

I believe there is a place for this type of projector, particularly for super low budget HT builds, college kids, and people that just want the biggest display for the least dollars. I personally believe that if you have about 3-400$ to spend on a display device for your living room, there is no better choice than a projector, but you wont be able to get a true 720P HT projector for anywhere near that price unless you get very lucky, so you'll be stuck looking at XGA or SVGA business projectors. I would skip right over anything SVGA, as you can usually find an XGA model for a similar price.

About 2 years ago, we had no TV in our house at all, but we wanted to get an Xbox 360 and play some games, so me and my roommates made a deal that one would buy the Xbox, another would cover a TV of some sort, and another would cover the audio portion. I ended up with the task of finding a TV our budget for each portion was about 4-500$, and that was stretching it for all of us, so i went looking for TV's, i didn't want something tiny, and i didn't want an old SD CRT tv, so i was led to projectors, and eventually found a used Sharp PG-M20X for about 400$ shipped, with plenty of lamp life left. I also sprung for the HDMI cable for the Xbox.

It has no doubt been the best 400$ i have ever spent. The picture was impressive, the black levels weren't terrible, and motion and high action movies all looked very reasonable indeed. In the last couple years I've had a chance to view a handful of true 720P projectors, and they were pretty nice, no doubt a step up from mine, but not a huge step. HD content looks almost as good on our projector as on a real HT projector, for half the price. Here is a screenshot or two of some 720P planet earth being displayed through the Xbox.




This is just with a cheap <30$ blackout cloth screen, and a business projector, and i didn't use a tripod or decent camera to take them either, just a handheld point and shoot.

I have very recently picked up an Infocus X3 with very low hours for well under 300$ shipped, and expect it to perform as good or better than the Sharp. I do plan to get a 720p HT projector eventually, but with my current income, i think a cheaper projector is a smarter decision, especially when my satisfaction level is so high.

Anyway, this is getting long winded, but long story short, if you want a big HDTV on an extreme budget, i wouldn't ignore business projectors as an option, make sure the stats are good, particularly with contrast ratio, and inputs, look at reviews and go for it.

On a similar note, we have been very satisfied with the Xbox 360 as an all in one entertainment device, we can stream any content on my computer through the xbox and onto the projector, including ripped DVD's, and HD content, such as the Planet earth seen above, and it looks beautiful. We can also use it as a media center extender for my computer which allows me to access and use the TV tuner card in my computer as a digital DVR for regular SD cable programming.

Just some thoughts for the super budget minded people interested in getting an impressive home theater going for cheap...
 

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Great start Brandon! :T

I have personally nothing against business projectors, and I have been myself enjoying the Epson powerlite S4 while I was waiting for the TW 2000.
One can certainly enjoy a huge screen with any projector, that's a completely different experience from a standard display.
If you are short on budget, so be it: ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE! But if things can be a little bit more flexible, I would advise a HD or better a FD projector.

More pixels allow you sit closer without noticing the screen door effect, they are generally higher in all aspects: color depth and saturation (higher color bits), better contrast ratio, lower blacks...
Try a blu-ray movie on a 1080p projector and you'll know what I'm talking about. But, but, but ... That is also much more expensive than a business solution :)

Form those who will need to sit a 1.5 screen width, they might not be very happy with the screen door effect of a BP, and therefore if they really need a projector, I would advise a DLP.
 

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I've been thinking about this myself, lately. However, I'm afraid. Right now, I have a OHP + projection panel set up with a Sharp QA-2500, which is the grandaddy of all panels, and I've got XGA, but my brightness uniformity and contrast suck (like 50:1). However, I can mess around with some settings and it looks pretty good, would you think that a low-end XGA business projector would blow it out of the water? I'd love some advice on this, I've been looking at some projectors online and they are nice and cheap.
 
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