Happy New Year everybody! I've been reading this forum for awhile, and you guys really know your stuff. I'm fresh off my first projector, and I've got the itch. I think this should have enough specs for my fellow geeks here to help me out.
I'm replacing a Sony VPL-CS1 (4:3 SVGA, 600 lumens, LCD) that a friend dug out of his work's trash. It finally burned out after 6000 hours, and although it had low brightness, low resolution and mediocre PQ, we loved it.
My budget is only $400-$600, and while that's half a projector to most of you, we'll still be able to blow ourselves away with a projector in that price range, because we're used to, well, glorified shadow puppets.
My room is 11'2" L x 14'5" W x 8' H. The projector is on a shelf behind our couch in a built-in bookcase, and sits about 44" off the ground. It's 11' 2" from our 85" (diagonal) white screen (70" W). Viewable screen area starts 14" down from the ceiling. We have a moderate amount of light control, but almost never watch stuff during the day. In fact, our screen is mounted above our windows so pulling it down acts like a shade. (and we're used to the modest amount of ambient light that may spill in from the kitchen or living room doorways, on either end of the 14'5".) Our ceilings are cardboard, and the room has a chandelier, so a ceiling mount is out of the question.
Even though it's just past the top end of my budget, I was looking at the Optoma HD65. Seems like a PJ we could grow into, replace the lamp fairly cheap, and would blow ours away. But I'm somewhat concerned that its lens offset and throw (1.1:1 zoom), might be a problem based on our projector's placement. At the moment, it throws above our heads as we sit, and rests on top of a couple DVD cases to angle the image down. Classy, I know.
Is the HD65 what I'm looking for? I'm not tied to 720p, LCD/DLP, or portability--I just want the best projector for my room and budget.