When I replaced my Sony CRT 1252 in '04, I was pretty sure I was going to go with a 720p LCD (which is what I ended up with, a Panasonic ae500.)
An internet retailer had a program where they would ship you a projector and you were allowed to put 1 or 2 hours on the lamp, then use the enclosed shipping label to ship it back, all at zero cost to you! It really was a cool program. I wish I could remember their name.
I had seen the Panasonic and another LCD locally, so I had a good idea about what $1700 would get you in that category. One of the projectors the internet company had to sample was the X1. At the time, it was selling for about 1K. I set it up, and all I could see was screen door and rainbows, so even 7 years ago, I knew LCD was the choice for my price range.
Isn't technology amazing? 7 years ago $1700 would get you a low-end, 720p, 700 peak lumen projector. Now we can just about get twice the projector for half the price! While in college around '95, I remember reading the latest review of the new Dwin or something thinking I'd never be able to afford a home theater room...