Lots of computer experience, but I've never owned my own projector. Factors to consider:
-displaying 1080p mkv movies from my computer's HDMI in classrooms that will always have a significant amount of ambient light
-7ft pre-installed screens. I don't know screens either. I'd assume these are considered mediocre at best.
-Since the classroom can sometimes be crowded, the closer to the screen I can set up, the better to keep things out of harm's way.
-pre-installed room audio from my computer's 3.5mm stereo out
-I don't need multiple inputs or fancy audio capabilities, and reduced weight is a plus, but not a big deal.
-usage: 25 hours per year, so don't care about lamp life. But if we love it, then up to 300 hours per year.
I hope I've listed all the relevant factors here. When looking at the specs for the many choices, I simply don't have the experience to know what kind of differences there will be in the images. I believe I simply want the best possible image for the money and don't care about any other features. If I could get a list of about 5 candidates, I'm ready to roll the dice just to get the thing up and running as soon as possible. As I said, I'm willing to spend $2500 if I can get many years of service (except for lamp replacements). But if spending $800 sacrifices image quality only marginally, then I'd prefer to save the money.
MacBook Retina, Sony VAIO Z226