LCD in the right room, with proper light control will look best. Most of the Sony units offer better performance. Getting a demo of a projector is almost impossible so you are left with reading reviews and checking ratings. Your budget is low considering that a quality screen will cost at least $500 and maybe another $200 for the mount. Projectors have not seen the large price declines that LCD's have. So, with your budget I would go with an LCD now and at a later date get a used Sony projector for use with movies. It does not make sense to use a projector for regular TV viewing as the bulbs can get expensive.
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I can say that my LCD does not look nearly as good as my brothers DLP.
150 inch is a huge stretch for any projector. I wouldn't believe anyone's claims of an LCD handling this with quality unless you see it in person.
I bought my LCD when I saw the same model in a club playing on 15 foot screens. I'd never use it that large.
The other issue to consider is where will the unit be located. Many units have built in fans. You really don't want a fan above your head.
You really need to see the exact player on the exact screen to be satisfied. The source can be a huge difference too. The last thing you want is to spend $2500 and have a fuzzy screen...
Get a projector. Bigger is better if you have the space for it. If you are able to darken the room sufficiently, the projector will best a television every time. Sure, the television with its smaller screen may be sharper, but the huge image of the projection screen more than compensates. A 40 inch flat screen monitor is probably sharper than your local cineplex.....but the cineplex with its huge screen wins every time because of its sheer size. Bigger is better and you'll never go small again. Remember, the whole idea of home theater is to emulate a comercial theater if you have the room to do it...
You may have mislead OP with your bigger is better comment. It's not just a space consideration. It's the ability of a projector to throw an adequate picture on a large screen, an ability unlikely on a 150" screen for any projector even thousands of dollars above OP's price range. OP needs to adjust his expectations, and "bigger is better" is not part of that adjustment.
07-19-09: EricjcabreraAlthough your projector accepts 1080i input, it displays in its native mode, 1280x720. It downconverts 1080i to 720p.
My LCD rear projection 55" TV from 2006 is the same way and I didn't discover that fact until I'd owned it a couple years. Curiously, when I configure the Blu-ray for 1080i output, it does look a *little* sharper than when fed 720p, but not double the pixels' worth.
07-19-09: MantaraydesignI agree with what you say, except your efforts should be more rewarded if you pay the extra money (about $5/sq ft) for real projector screen material.
For example, here is a screen material page from an AV supplier.
I believe you can also get rolls of projector screen material on eBay for even less (like $30 to do the entire screen).
DB,.........he is well in the range of a projector that will throw an image that big. I have a projector that I paid only $1,200 new and it throws a beautiful high definition picture. It throws a 240 inch diagonal picture in 4:3 aspect ratio for television and a 220 inch diagonal picture in Blu Ray. It is very bright at 3,000 lumens. But, the room has to be theater dark.
I have 73 inch Mitsubishi 1080p television. It has a beautiful picture. Still, it is no contest with my projector and screen for sheer movie enjoyment. When Shaq comes to LA at the Staples Center to play the Lakers, he's only 7 ft tall in person if I'm lucky enough to be sitting courtside. At home on my screen, Shaq is 12 feet tall in high definition and I'm courtside for every game at home. You won't get that effect on a 73 inch screen television.
If OP does his homework, he can get there.
I believe ProjectorPeople allow you to return the projector if you don't like it. Projector Central has the specs for every projector and screen known to man.
If OP does his homework, he can get there.
Big is where its at. Why do you think televisions sets have gotten bigger over the last 25 years? I remember when a 25 inch set was all the rage.....then, 32 inches, then 40 inches. The televisisons got bigger because people want it bigger.
Go big young man.
InFocus offers a 1080p projector, the X10, which is the current price leader in 1080p projectors. Reviews generally say that although its black levels aren't as good as the more expensive ones, it's nevertheless an excellent projector for the money and actually beats many more expensive competitors on color accuracy (esp skin tone) and shadow detail.
If you google for reviews on this unit, you will find some pretty comprehensive evaluations, including high-res demo screen captures. Example.
I was using an older InFocus projector with a 480p DVD player for a while. The image was very good - and HUGE. When the bulb died (and we determined it was not cost effective to replace the bulb on this unit), the projector vs flat screen debate arose. I was personally for the projector, but the flat screen won out for a number of reasons - mainly we could install a flat screen much easier in the the desired location than a projection set up (prior projector had been in the bedroom).
The biggest difference I notice is black levels. With a high quality LCD or Plasma display and a Blu-Ray source the shadow detail is much better than the projectors I've seen. Now I haven't seen the $4-5k projectors, so I can't say all projectors are inferior in this area.
That said, I wound up with a 47" LCD display. It was all my budget would allow. The display is wonderful - top notch quality, amazing image, etc. But I've already decided I'll go bigger once the funds allow. Projector or 60" flat panel will be decided based on what's available at that time.
Just revisited this thread. Mitch, I stand by my 7/20 post. I suspect your judgement of a high quality picture differs from mine, but perhaps the OP would be satisfied with your picture, which I suspect I would judge washed out and lacking in detail. In my view a projected image should give nothing away to the image of a plasma or LCD display, except greater sensitivity to ambient illumination. Visit the screen shots at AVS.
DB, He can get a very good projector that will show a great picture on a 150 inch screen for his $2,000 budget. And no, the picture will not be washed out or lacking in detail. Those projectors are out there, he just has to do his homework. Before I did my own home theater I thought that I had to spend megabucks for a good projector. After a lot of homework, legwork, trial and error I finally got there. You have to see the projector itself.....the prices and specs don't tell the whole story.
I am looking into a projector. I know it does not look as good as Plasma or LCD TVs but I like the fact that the screen can be 150 inches large.
Just thought I'd update this thread with my recent experience.
The above statement is no longer correct - provided you can get a totally dark room (make sure walls/ceiling are not white) and you do not make the projector work too hard (very long throws on a massive screen).
I recently got a Panasonic PT-AE4000 and I have a totally dark room, with a 13 feet throw on a 120" screen.
The picture quality exceeds both my HD Plasma and my HD LCD flat screen TV's - significantly in the case of the LCD - black levels are simply astonishing (my big fear was black levels but it was unfounded with this projector)
We watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire BD last night with the kids - this movie has well over half an hour of extremely dark scenes. No problem at all - perfect black levels with no loss of information.
Anyway for folks who thing that a projection screen can never look as good as a Plasma or LCD - that paradigm has finally been broken.
I am so impressed with this projector that I thought I'd update this old thread even though Audiogon is an audio website...
I think of you mostly as an audio guy, but thanks for reviving this thread. Several years ago, I bought a used Sony VPL-50 (Pearl) projector; it's native resolution is 1080p. Our carpenter built a 100" 1.3 screen using commercially available screen material. Sources are a PS3-80 and a DirecTV HD-DVR, both through a DVDO Edge processor. I use recessed ceiling lights on a dimmer for ambient lighting, so we don't sit in bat cave darkness, but little light impinges of the screen. Black velvet covers the ceiling above the screen, and charcoal carpet covers the wall expect for the screen. The picture quality is at least the equal of the several Sony XBR LCDs we have in the house. We use our projector for TV and film viewing