A newbie seeking advise on a projector

I am a total newbie thinking about putting together a HT system and I need advise on what projector to buy. I would like to spend between $800 to $1200. Is it possible to buy a decent projector for this kind of money? If so, can you recommend me a specific model? Also what are the pros and cons of LCD and DLP projector?

This isnt the place for real P[rojector info, check out Hometheatershack.com Projectorcentral.com AVSforums.com or projectorreview.com for more video oriented focus.
I own the Panasonic PTAX100U and a used unit can be had at your budget, it looks great. The are many 720P models you could afford but not yet 1080P.........your almost there but not quite.
Make sure you have a room you can control the lights and that you dont need to turn this thing on and off many times per day as thats not what these things were made to do, use a regular monitor for that. Bulb cost is an issue to consider also, every 2000 or so hours its gonna cost a few hundred for a new bulb. How do you plan to mount unit?, if ceiling than DLP or LCD is fine but if you cant do it in center of room and need some room to adjust things from say a shelf, table or whatever LCD is better option because of lense shift. Blacks are better on DLP but DLP can show some "rainbows" at times and DLP can have a dimmer bulb and harder to see in anything but the darkest rooms. Plan on atleast a $100 for a manual pull down budget screen (mine is 90in and cost about that) a wall can be used aswell if its white..duh.
Dont forget wires of longer length are needed to wire this to your AV gear.......it can easy be 20ft away from your reciever and stuff.
I am just rambling off random thoughts so excuse the A.D.D. but what you really need to do is poke around those sites I listed earlier, then compare models with tools those sites provide and PM me if you have any other questions, I am not the premier expert but own, study, and have a good experience with them. In close I will say Projectors rock and many are still um-aware of how cheap these can be picked up for, there is nothing like a great flic, game or concert via a huge ass screen........not to mention its out of the way for a great audio foucused room.
I've been researching models as well. I hope to purchase one myself soon. The Mitsubishi HC5500 jumps out at me. It is a 1080P unit selling for $1300(retail $2495). It uses the Silicon Optics HQV chip(this chip is used in projectors over 4 grand). It is also rated for 5000 hrs bulb life in econo mode. Rather than use organic LCD panels it uses inorganic LCD panels. This gives you up to ten times the life of the bulb. In the end this would save you money..those bulbs aren't cheap. It rates as one of the quietest projectors on the market as well..-19dB. Once you spend some time around them..you'll find this also very important. Some sound like hair dryers!

You can go to www.projectorreviews.com and www.projectorcentral.com for more info on a host of projectors. For the price performance ratio..the Mits is the best I've found so far. It is one of the cheapest 1080Ps if not the cheapest on the market. Of course your location for setting the projector up will decide what is best for you.
Gmood, I am gonna look at that model as I am thinking of going 1080p.........cheers
Hey Chad here's a review of it Mits HC5500 review. No doubt the reviewer is a little bias towards Epsons. For the street price..she's going to be hard to beat! I like the screen shots in this review. You get to see just how sharp this projector is against some higher priced models.

Make sure to look around..the prices vary greatly.I've seen them for $1295.00. The price seems to increase near the weekend and go down during the middle of the week...Just like flat panel TVs.
I own the Mitsu HC5500. I sold my Panasonic to Chad. I can say without any hesitation that the blacks on the Pany are better than the Mitsu. So, it's a tradeoff between the two units: more detail on the Mitsu, better blacks on the Pany. One advantage the Pany has over the Mitsu is the higher light output which makes daytime viewing much better even in a darkened room.

As for bulb life, there are many factors that determine it such as number of bulb cycles, temperature of room (too hot or too cold) ventilation and the possibility of buying a bulb made on a Friday. I've had bulbs that were rated to last 2000 hours go for over 3000. And, I've had bulbs rated for 5000 hours last 1200. My last bulb on the Mitsu lasted 1200 hours on low power setting and Chad’s last bulb lasted about 450 hours. Anyway, if you plan on watching your projector a lot, plan on at least one bulb a year and if you don't watch it a lot, plan on at least one bulb a year.

I've owned a Pany 500u, 700u, 900u, 100ax and the Mitsu over that last 6 years. In addition, I've had lots of experience with the big Sony’s. The big Sony’s have gorgeous pictures, but they are big, have lower light output and eat bulbs. YMMV.
If the BenQ PE7700 is still available at the BenQ Store for $750 it's a real steal. I sit almost directly beneath it and seldom if ever hear its fan, if the sound is on at all.

it's only 720p though. I shine it onto a DIY 116 screen with great results accorfing to those who've seen it running.

This is regardless interlaced or progressive. (TV or DVD)

it works well also in low light as well. I can however control my lighting entirely.

A DLP single chip unit which no one hs yet to descern the screen door or rainbow effect yet. these two effects are based on the human viewing the image... not the PJ or screen itself. so IF YOU don't see it you're fine.

Ceiling is preferred. IMO.

Wirehider makes some very, very attractive and easy to use conduit to place onto ceiling or walls with which to run cabling in... signal & power. Very neat stuff indeed... and you can paint the covers!

I powered mine via removing an existing lighting fixture and use it's wall switch to turn the PJ on & off when needed. HDMI supplies the signal from an AV rec.

LCD has more placement options as many have lens shift versatility. many reviews however point to having them setup professionally for black level & color adjustments, however a good setup disc very well may suffice.

my DLP required little such attention... merely the same things one would do with their own TV to adjust to your own preffs... in essence, just had to adjust the brightness and contrast, and increse the color gain slightly.... for my own preffs... right out of the box it was fine by other accounts though.

Chadwiz' and my own setup were done for under a grand. So you should be able to do very well at $1200... depending on how you go with things.

one last note... if a controled lighting situation is indeed present, your options and results are many and very promising, whether you go LCD or DLP. The Projector People will give you honest and quite practical info on whatever they sell too.

The technology of projectors today are quite good generally speaking, so I feel it's not hard to come up with a very satisfying combination, of room, PJ, and screen. The only caveat here to bare in mind is just as with audio, there are many folks at these above mentioned AV wegbsites which are in fact 'videophiles' meaning, they are very very, picky about the minutia surrounding their setups. Consequently, better to them is measured in slight degrees here or there, so keep an open mind and stick to the main things that contribute to a good vivid colorful displayed image.

This effort won't be nearly as hard as you might think.

Good luck
Prpixel thanks for the info...I agree with you on the Sony's. They do have a great picture! My only dislike of them is the fan noise. The big JVC's have extremely good black levels as well...Even the older 720Ps are great! I've installed both in a few private HT rooms.

I've certainly noticed ..there's going to be a a small trade off any way you go. Some better black levels others better shadow detail.

Blindjim... I look at the 720Ps and wish the 1080s were the same price!! lol
There are some great deals on 720Ps out there. I've had to talk myself out of buying several different models. ;-)

I've wanted a PJ for some time now. Thanks to you and Chad..you are about to talk me into pulling the trigger on one. That.. plus experiencing the setups I've been involved in installing in the past has made me want one even more.

Yes, the JVC's look real nice also. Saw the big JVC being driven by Fios about a month ago and was blown away. Now, if Verizion could get their act together in my neighborhood....

Yes, the fans in the Sony's are loud. I sit right beneath my Mitsu and I can not hear the fan while watching TV. The fan in the Pany was quite enough as to not be a distraction.
I should clarify Prpixels comment on my bulb, it does have 450hrs on it but still works, it is arching though and gets a high/low variance in light output that at times gets obvious and distracting but it still outputs very good light. Some notice and some dont but it bothers me as I spent my working like in Printing so am pretty sensitive to color and critical of image.
Glad we all seem to have helped, projectors are all in all awesome choices for a great viewing experience.

Sorry about the confusion.
No confusion, he may have thought a bulb only lasts 450hrs and I didnt want him misled is all.
get a used marantz vp12s2 or s3. I bought new 6 years ago and still love the pics. HD on 10 ft screen. Price for used unit very reasonable. Bulbs are pricey but most are