Higher resolution works better when you need to read fine text -- like the credits for movies.
Some Blu-ray players have problems with some 720p projectors. I had to help one person figure out how to set the output resolution of his player to a fixed 720p before it would work with his projector. The player's setup menu would output at 1080p, but the projector wouldn't actually scale it down to show it. He just got a blank screen. In principle, that shouldn't happen with modern projectors, but it's something to be aware of. (It worked fine with a TV, so he used that to set the player's resolution before plugging it into the projector.)
That said, I use a 720p projector with 100" screen right at 13' viewing distance and find the image to be very good. It's possible a 1080p image would be sharper, but so far I've decided the 720p image is more than acceptable. I'm even in the process of upgrading projectors and have decided to go with another 720p model, opting to add 3D capabilities instead of upgrading to 1080p for roughly the same price... but then that's a question of personal preferences, priorities, and subjective diminishing returns.
300 hours isn't really "mint". Also, some projectors will let you change the number of hours. I'm not saying that the particular seller has done that, but make sure you can return the projector for a refund if it doesn't work or if the bulb fails within a short amount of time.
thanks for the help guys, i found this projector, Dell M110 720p LED Projector w/remote for $400, its 1280x800 and rated for 20k hours. Its small, but it looks sweet. I have seen videos of it online. What do you guys think as a starter projector?
Also, my basement is pitch black when the lights are off, so it will be well suited down there