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I guess my question is what can $1000 get you? Am I wasting my money at that price point? What are some of the key features and qualities I can expect between the two?

Thanks
Greg
 

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Gregbe,

You can typically get a nice 840x480p projector LCD or DLP for the $500-1200 range.

In the $2000 range you are looking at the InFocus 720p 3 chip LCD or single DLP HD1 chip projectors. Not bad by any means. I would recommend the Panasonic AE900u which can be had $1800-2000 ballpark and regaurded as a dealbreaking piece compared to most sub $5000 projectors

~Bob
 

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I think the $2000 range is indeed the sweet spot myself. I personally think the leading contenders are the Sanyo Z4 and the Panny AE900. Prices seem to vary from about $1600 up to $1800 and some times a free bulb is offered, which is about $350-400, quite a bargain if you ask me.

I also may be some newer DLP projectors that are around that price range that might compete with the LCDs, but I haven't really investigated them.
 

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For that price range I would second the above, the Sanyo Z4, Panny AE900 and Infocus all are receiving excellent reviews. The Mitsibishi also recently dropped in price from 4k to 2000-2500 but I would have to admit I didnt like the picture quality on that one.

Of course the more you spend the better you get but you are definetly not wasting your money, these are all great and popular projectors.
 

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I've got a friend in the UK who has a simple tactic - he waits for a manufacturer to launch a new model and then buys the model it replaced at a crazy discount price. He has bought a couple of Yamaha DLP projectors this way.
 

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That is definitely a good idea. It seems like Sanyo comes out with a new model every year and when they do the last years model drops about $500-700 in price.
 

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Here's a list of favorites reviewed.

(Pay no attention to the MSRPs. Check the street prices yourself.)
 

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Street prices are alot lower then the MSRP but may or may not be from an authorized dealer. I would suggest checking to see that the projector you select has a valid warranty from the manufacturer when buying from a particular seller.

I know in the case of the BenQ projectors I was looking to buy that I could have gotten it for $1,000 less at some places but they were not "authorized dealers/stores" for BenQ and would void any warranty with the projector. The store may have a limited warranty (30 days) to return it but the projector would not be able to be sent to the manufacturer in the future if it needed to be fixed or replaced.

I dont know if it is the same from all projector manufactures or not though. I would at least suggest looking it up from the manufacturer after you make a selection for which projector you like.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Guys
 

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GregBe,

IMO the best way to budget for a projector isn't the system itself but all aspects. I would suggest the AE900u with a Caradas 2.35:1 screen and a Panamorph lense. All-together about $3650 add in a DIY masking system with curtains and walla instant cinema bliss without killing your wallet.

~Bob
 

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I posted a deal link in the Special Deals forum. How about a Panny 900 for $1400 after rebate or a Z4 for 1600 + a free bulb (nets out to about $12-1250) ... both excellent deals. I think they are also offering free shipping and a free screen and a 30 day money back guarantee.

Personally I think spending a lot of money on a screen is a waste, but I'll respect those who desire to do so. Eyes are different for everyone. Some painted DIY screens have hung in there well with some very expensive screens with quite a few people. Many of these you can look at their equipment and see they could easily afford the most expensive screen but chose the DIY route. Some have had both and could not tell enough difference to warrant the extra expense. However, as stated, it may not be that way for everyone.
 

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Personally I think spending a lot of money on a screen is a waste, but I'll respect those who desire to do so. Eyes are different for everyone. Some painted DIY screens have hung in there well with some very expensive screens with quite a few people
I agree with you that DIY screens can rival 95% of store bought screens, the problem is that not many people have the experience, nor the patience to create a flat area suitable for a painted screen.

Plus you cannot roll up a painted screen into the ceiling to stop kids wiping their dirty hands along the wall.

If you create a perfectly flat space with no imperfections and use an industry standard coating, I think you can do better than any roll up screen, just need to show people how. You could still frame the area to give a good contrast point around the screen.
 

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Steve Williamson said:
the problem is that not many people have the experience, nor the patience to create a flat area suitable for a painted screen.

Plus you cannot roll up a painted screen into the ceiling to stop kids wiping their dirty hands along the wall.
Very true... you have to be willing to do it and you have to have the right situation. Probably dedicated HT rooms would be more suitable. Of course that still doesn't always work out either. I had one guy who was using an upstairs space for a dedicated HT room and the screen was over a window. They ended up wanting a roll up to be able to continue to use the window, however up until the time they sold their house, according to him, they never rolled it up. It had to meet the WAF though, so we installed the rollup.

I think it's great that you can pick up a projector and have the option of the DIY screen and have less than $1500 in a super nice setup. That is of course if you have the proper room for this kind of setup. I don't think you can get a rear projection to even come close to that price range to give you what a projector will give you.

I think the sweet spot for a projector has moved into the $1500 range now. Remarkable.
 
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I know this is a little late, but I just ran across this thread.

For 1000 and below, I second that you can get a rather nice entry level projector.

Of course, the IN72 - Infocus
The New W100 from BenQ - Great projector for beginning home theater fanatics.


Those are my two recommendations for the under 1000 price point.

Now over that price point, you would need to give me 5 pages at least....top choice of those are the BenQ7700 though.

I love their projectors....it's kind of like the hold music you hear when you call....
"BenQ, I love youuuuu!"
 

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Dont forget that you can get a nice 1080i capable CRT projector for around 1000-2000 1000 being entry level and for 2000 you could get a Marquee 8500 which is a really sweet project. If space allows it of course. Nothing like a 25,000:1 contrast ratio :)
 
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