Video for Movie Room

I'm looking for a new video display for a room that will be used for movies, games, etc. I would prefer not to have to have complete darkness at all times, so I wonder if projectors are out?? I'm interested in budget projectors as well as large rear projection tvs. I need 55+ inches. Budget is $1800 or less and used if fine.


Unfortunatly all front projectors will wash out the picture to some degree;(understated). This refers to your blacks and all dark scenes. While LCD displays have come down in price and up in quality 1800 for a 55" display might make you happy as long as you don't spend any time with a quality 5k display.i.e.There is a reason they cost more.
I have a Sony VPL VW 100 LCD projector. I've seen them on Audiogon for +/- $1500. New I paid $7500 years ago. If you have some type of window blinds etc. It'll look fine, not it's best, but sufficient. I have mine zoomed out to 100inches, 55 inches will get you a little brighter pic.

Football games etc, during the day, I don't mind it at all...HD looks terrific on this projector...
Do a search for Panasonic AX 100.
I've had an AX100 for a couple months and it is an awesome machine! It will fight through "some" ambient light quite well but you'll find yourself wanting the room darker for better contrast and the full effect.

However you shouldn't use a PJ as your primary display. They are not designed to be turned on and off several times a day. When you fire it up it should be left on for at least 2 hours and when it is shut down, the lamp needs to completely cool off before you strike it again. A new lamp for the AX100 is about $350. Something to consider.

Go to for a ton of info on front projection.

They will all tell you that for a screen under 80" you should go plasma or LCD or such. I watch 88" from 12 feet viewing distance and that is considered small. But I'm a newb at projectors and it looks gorgeous to me.
I read avsforum, but find the organization difficult. Too often you find yourself reading a long series of rants about some detail or another. An 80" plasma or LCD will be very expensive. I'm trying to work out a combination of fixed screen front projection for movies and special programs and 40" to 48" LCD TV on a trolly that can be rolled in for casual viewing.

In my case, I want to eliminate the 36 XBR that sits between my front speakers. When we temporarily removed that unit, stereo imaging was vastly improved.

If your room can handle the size,a good rear projection system could fit the bill.They can handle some ambient room light,i.e. daytime viewing.A lot of them are being replaced by flat panel TVs,so they are quite affordable.I've seen Pioneer Elite sets going for less than $1K.The Elite Pro-610/620HD sets are 58" and the 710/720 are 64".The x30 models were the last to be produced and have had some problems.But I believe they have DVI inputs,whereas the x10/x20 models do not.I own the PRO-520 (53") and it's been a great looking set.
There are some very good and bright front projectors out now, including the mitsubishi HD1000 I believe, which is under a $1000 and is getting good reviews, as well as the new panasonic mentioned. Your room does not have to be completey dark with a PJ, but the lighting you do use has to be well thought out. Making use of indirect lighting features, darker lamp shades that keep the light down and off of the screen and dimmers to fine tune it all for the different types of programming. you can go brighter for news and sports and dimmer for movies and dark TV programs. I do this in my room to great effect.