I think you are being very prudent. It is very easy to get superb picture quality and brightness from units costing $1500 or less. In some cases, much less. Anyone paying more than that for a 1080P projector is simply not doing their homework...
Avgoround! It's good to see you posting again. Haven't heard from you in a while. You pose an interesting question. I'm not too into video, but I trust Rlwainwright's judgment. His advice is always excellent.
I missing a couple but, just for reference, I have had the following projectors in my home system, FTR:
Optoma pk301, Optoma HD65, HD80
Epson Powerlite HC750, 8350, HC5010, & HC5020UB
JVC DLA-HD350, DLA-RS20, DLA-RS25u, DLA-RS48, X3,& RS56u
FTR, the best overall image I attainted was with RS25u! Black level is VERY good, filmlike image, tight pixels, acurate enough THX color calibration, quiet operation, motorized everything! AWESOME IMAGE on a modest sized screen!
Brighter image from HD350, RS45, and Epson 5010,5020 for large screen images, but this units overall Black level and refinement is simply superb! Gets me through just fine till 4k upgrade, whenever..
The cheaper projectors have very cheap lenses. I would buy the best lens package projector that I can afford.
If the budget is $1500, what would be the recommendation? Screen size:100", 24' throw distance.
TWB2, all depends on the room, screen, and setup. Is room blacked out and dark boundaries, or is less than ideal,brighter colored surroundings, maybe even daytime viewing? All this matters.
So, the throw is 24" fixed distance option, and you already have the 100" screen? What screen is it?
Just to recap some 6 months later, I'm STILL using my RS25u, and have now owned/used this pj longer than pretty much any other - and I will likely do so until it either dies, or gets replaced by a quality 4k change effort in the future. Yes, the newer JVC's are a tad sharper and tighter, but the overall image and film-like quality reference and world class leading black level of the rs25u is just excellent (see Sandra Bullock tumbling out into space in Gravity.) -good as it needs to be for now on a modest screen. I think I paid like $800 plus ship on this thing. Truly the bargain of the year for me at the time, and I can sell it for more.
Also, for reference, after nearly 800 hours on eco on the lamp, I can fill about a 110" equivalent diagonal for widescreen movies comfortably on a neutral white screen (lol - I'm using a $40 pure white 1/4" 4x8' board from Home Depot in a blacked out room), with plenty of pop. And NO ONE has anything but WOW to say about the image it throws, even while steaming up-scaled ROKU/Netflix/HD TV broadcasts.
Anyway, besides my PJ setup, about the only other bargain option I'd presently recommend on 1080p content would be either the budget Epson HC5020/30UB on a bigger screen for a large room (bright projector, more visible pixels at distance, not as good black level n so needs something like a minimum Stewart Firehawk, Elite Polar/Darkstar or SI Black Diamond/Slate to make it work best IMO). Beyond that, the 600ES sony 4K projector on same screens.
Pjs still the way to go for movies...FTR
I'm using a Sony VPL 50 I bought used at least 4 lamps ago for $1300. Earlier this year i replaced my 100" DYI screen with a used Stewart UltraMatte 150. That enabled me to reduce the brightness setting, and the apparent contrast really popped. The 1080p picture is beautiful. I thought I need a new projector, but it turned out all I needed was a new screen.
Yes, I agree if on the screen. I've had some expensive one's in past (SI Black Diamonds, Stewart Firehawks and Studiotech 130's G3's, and so forth) but its acceptable for no money on the $40 budget basement board for now.
If I needed to go LARGE on the image (130" diag+), I'd ideally want to find another Stewart Ultra Matte 150, yes! Minor hot spotting when you move around is never going to be a problem, out weighed greatly by the added brightness and adjust-ability on the projector, accordingly. I like your screen choice. yes.
Going into late part of the year, and I still don't see anything new coming down the 4k front that would have me sell my RS25. Just for conversation, I kinda figured there would be at least something with TRUE 4k in projetion from the likes of Epson, JVC, or maybe from a DLP camp that would tempt the masses, but apparently its just Sony fer now?? Hmmmmm.
We'll see what CES has to offer n post back. Hoping fer a tid bit of some near future promise?! That and I would like to see the latest Sony batch, sure.
My guesstimate, however, tells me ill still be sticking to my current PJ for at least couple more years, n be just fine. Im sure!?!
Clearly, we shall see. But Is it just me or does it seem like this category is intentionally being left stuck in the mud, by the manufacturers, across the board??!
Maybe pjs are on the way out, fer all I know...