Originally Posted by RodK
Is it worth the extra money to get an ultra high contrast projector for a non dedicated room? Would it be a very noticable difference with my screen as well?
My short answer is no, save the extra money as you won't see the benefit. My long answer is....
IMHO, to get the most benefit from a high contrast PJ with deep blacks, you need a light controlled environment. That's were a PJ with great contrast really, er, "shines".
Personally, I think it's a waste to use quality contrast PJ in a non-dedicated room with too much ambient light. I'd opt for more of a light cannon in that environment to offset/outshine the ambient light. Of course, I'd spend the money to cover all the windows and doors and turn off all the lights. You don't know the power of the Dark Side.
I couple my 123" HiPower with an RS2 clone and it works very well. The blacks are very slightly elevated, but so are the whites, so CR remains and it provides for more punch. It also allows for using a ND filter initially to offset the elevated blacks and run in normal lamp power mode. As the bulb ages, the ND filter can be removed and later, the lamp can be set to high mode, provided the most life/hours out of the lamp. I think it's a great combo.
I'm not sure why you're using a HiPower with 2.8 gain in a room with ambient light. I would have looked for a screen at the other end of the spectrum to defeat reflective light and provide a darker picture. Then again, in a non-dedicated room, I'd use that PJ and screen budget on the largest plasma or RPTV that I could afford. I'd rather sacrifice sitting a little closer to get a MUCH better picture. To each their own, but my opinion is that any home theater that uses a front PJ should have (near) total light control. Otherwise, don't call it a theater. It's just a room with a big screen.