First of all, thank you for reading this thread. I am new to the site, but from what I gather, this is a healthy forum of tech enthusiasts and the perfect place for me to ask advice. As the project detailed below goes on, I plan to share my experiences with buying, installing, setup, result, and overall user experience. That is, once the research end of the project is completed. Anyway...
Background: I have been commissioned to design a home theater setup for a newly built home. The home theater will need to be installed in November, so there are several months of research available. When I was approached initially, my knee-jerk response was to research the best projector, but I started to stumble across very large Mitsubishi DLP TVs within the price range. I am considering both options.
Budget: The budget is approximately $3000 for the entire setup (audio, video, wiring, self-installation). However, for this thread, my main concern is finding the best quality video display for around $2500. There is some wiggle room with the numbers. A majority of my budget has been a lotted to video, because sound is not very important. I intend to spend $300-$400 on sound altogether. [Thanks man4mopar]
Room Design: The room will have full lighting control and be dedicated solely as a "home theater room". The dimensions of the room are 19' by 11.5'. The ceilings are 9'. The furniture setup will be adjusted according to optimal viewing distances. The furniture can be sofas or a movie theater-style setup. For now, consider this a non-variable. Considering the room is large enough, the amount of space a TV takes is a non-issue [Thanks Jim McC]
Uses: The home theater would be used for console gaming and movies, in that order of priority. It will also be used occasionally for sports. There won't be any PC gaming. 3D is not important for either gaming or movies. [Thanks man4mopar]
I would like to find out several things:
1) What will give me the best quality display within the price range considering the room design and uses?
2) In terms of longevity, what option requires the least maintenance?
3) Based on the type of setup, how difficult would self-installation be?
4) Are there any other variables I should be considering that I am not?
I am open to any type of projection or TV setup within the price range. I plan on doing a self-calibration or professional calibration. I am not tech-illiterate, but video display is not my department, so please suggest at an elementary level, if possible. As of writing this thread, I am considering the 92" Mitsubishi WD92840 DLP TV vs a similarly-priced projector, but I am open to any and all reasonable suggestions.
EDIT: I have decided to update the original post of this thread as updates are made!
Update July 16, 2012: I have decided to go with the projector design. Here are the reasons why...
1) The room will have total light control, therefore, the advantage of the TV in such a room is lost.
2) 92" TV vs 110" screen. Self-explanatory
3) Since I have a room design with seating in rows, a TV would be more difficult to see since it would be sitting on the floor, whereas, a projection setup could project the image approximately 4 feet off the ground.
4) Aesthetically, a projector would look better than a TV for a true home theater setup
I vote for a projector. Does that TV model use a bulb or a laser? Because if it's a bulb, you'll have to replace it periodically like a projector. Another negative of the TV is you have this HUGE TV sitting on the floor, taking up space.
The TV uses a bulb, but in my personal experience with the 60" Mitsubishi DLP TV, they replace the bulb while under warranty. Not to mention the projector will also have a bulb. I do understand your point about the size of the TV, but I don't know if that would make a difference at all. Considering the room is 19' long, there would be plenty of room for the amount of seating the individual is looking for (4-8). In terms of quality of the picture, would you say there is a difference? If so, which one wins? The experience for it's intended uses is my main concern. Thanks for the input though.
Neither 3D gaming nor 3D movies are important. Also, gaming will be console-based and not PC gaming. I will not be using the system as an external display either.
I really appreciate all the options though. I will look into them all individually, especially the sound ones. Firstly, I would like to get the video out of the way and then move onto audio. So with the new clarifications above, what would you suggest. By the way I'd like to add that the home won't be built until November, so I can wait around for a price drop or a product release. I just want to be prepared.
I noticed you didn't consider the TV at all in any of your options. Can you give reasons why? Your help thus far has been much appreciated. I will keep you in the loop along the way via this thread.
As for the TV's I have little experience. I did have a first gen Mitsubishi DLP tv that was very nice. I would recomend reading the thread on the model your looking into same goes for the projectors as well. Nice thing about projectors is if you want larger or smaller just bring it closer or further to an extent, also viewing angles are solid, doesn't dim while to the side, not sure how current DLP sets are but betting projectors are still better since they have no loss. Some times those Mitsubishi tv's are sold very cheap for the size and if in the size range you wish to have could be hard to pass up. Believe most of them are 3D capable too. Long way to say I wouldn't dismiss the tv's if the size etc fit's your needs. They may do better with more ambient light and I am not sure what there contrast levels are but may be better then projectors listed.
Since 3D gaming is of no concern I would dismiss my mention of the Optoma GT750.
Tough to say but if not able to set up a theater till November you may want to wait. But that said almost everything new is 3D capable. I have the H9500BD by Acer and very much like the 2D performance as well as the great 3D performance for movies and I play a lot of PS3 and 360 games on it. I am very competitve in COD MW3 on a Linked network. Input lag is around 30ms tested against a laptop screen so is slightly higher in reality. The Optoma HD33 and BenQ W7000 would be similar.
There are some discontinued projectors that can be found at great deals to clear inventory or refurbished models.
BenQ W6000 is 2D only and has decent blacks, full CMS and believe decent input lag times. Might be hard to find now though, the W7000 is it's replacement.
Mitsubishi HC4000 is 2D only good reviews.
There are some Epson refurbs that do well on input lag times but I do not recall them, maybe 8700UB, 6500UB, 6700UB not sure though.
Higher dollar projectors can net better blacks and contrast but a lot of times the expense is input lag times increase due to the extra processing. The Sony HW30 is likely out of budget but deals may be found, has decent input lag times and believe better blacks and contrast then the DLP units. You can look into the current Epson's but think the input lag will bother you for gaming, I know it would me anyway.
As for the difference between the Mits TV and a projector I would base your choice on how you use the room. I own each (Mits TV in my living room HD33 in HT) If you want a dark cave go with the projector best for movies. If you want some lights on so other people can multitask while you are playing games I think the TV is the way to go. My wife won't watch the projector because she can't knit at the same time. There are some light cannons out there but room lights will always wash out a projector. I don't know about lag time on the Mits I would read up on them in the Mits forums
@man4mopar I appreciate all your help thus far. Based on the feedback I've gotten from this thread and a bit of independent research, I've decided to go with a projector. Logistically, the projector became the better choice. And, as you suggested, I will wait on purchasing the projector until October or so. Now that I have an idea of my options for equipment, I have shifted my focus to furniture and room design. Although, I have a tight budget I have a couple of creative minds working with me. I will keep you posted with the updates.
@rekbones Your input was the last straw for the Mitsubishi. Along with other factors, I have total light control and like the "dark cave" idea, so I have decided to go with the projector.
Dont forget that 50% of home theater is audio.
I'd recommend people to spend over 50% of their budget on audio. The reason is because speakers have a much longer life span than display equipment. If you buy high quality speakers they can last 20+ years if they are not abused.