First off, what a great thread! Thanks for doing this.
I am a audiophool...built my own tube amps, speakers, Class D amps, etc. I am always fooling around with my set-up. When it comes to HT though, I am a noobie at best.
I have decided to buy my first FP and the more I read up on these projectors the more I can't make a decision!!.
Here are my particulars...
The projector will be in the basement. My throw distance is flexible anywhere from 12' to 17'. I have total flexiblilty but will probably ceiling mount the FP. The vast majority
of use will be movies in a light controlled room. Maybe 10 to 20% sports with the lighting anywhere from none to medium depending...
I might DIY a 120" (diagonal) screen using a Sintra board which will be spray painted with either a "recipe" found on this forum or over at Home Theater Shack. Or I might just get a package deal from Visual Apex and use one of their fixed 120" Vapex sceens(matte white, 1.1 gain).
The projectors I am currently looking at are:
Epson 8350(refurbed) - great price, but am scared about reading all the quality problems with this unit. It seems if you get a good one you are lucky. While Epson's service and warranty is second to none, alot of people are on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th units and still can't seem to get an 8350 without problems. A friend has one and loves it.
Epson 8700UB(refurbed) - Epson's warranty appeals to me as well as the reviews on this unit. Read it has good black levels for the money. But then again, I don't really know if this will be an important issue being this is my first projector.
Epson 3010 - Looks to be a good entry level all around projector. It doesn't have lens shift but with the flexibility I have, this probably will not be an issue. I am ambivilent towards 3-D. I am also not a gamer and at this time 3-D is not that important. However, the 3010 is around the same price as the 8700UB and is a newer model.
You are probably getting the picture by now that I really don't want to spend more than $1,600 on my first projector. Any thoughts would certainly be welcome. Again, movies and 2D picture quality are the most important to me. The only DLP units I have read about have been the HC4000 and the Benq W7000. LCOS - the LG CF181D. I am figuring the JVC models are more than I want to spend for my first projector.