ANSI lumen ratings don't mean that much, you have to look at review sites. I'm not trying to criticize you, but I'm just saying projectors are not like most electronics and eventually you'll figure out what the rest of us already know. I have no horse in this race, no dog in the show, and no interest in the bank. I get nothing by telling you one way or another. I do not sell projectors, I do not work in the projector industry. It is just a hobby.
Check out sites like at www.projectorreviews.com
, they often publish TRUE best modes. This matters a lot more than MFR published ANSI lumen specs.
If you are looking for the best PJ under a certain price point for home theater, us veterans already know how to advise, you are just wasting your time trying to evaluate a PJ based on a given model and ignoring expert opinions. There are thousands of PJ's, you are not understanding the system of summary review which experts already have been through. All the answers you seek are in this forum, keep an eye out in the DEALS section of the forum for refurb deals. Refurbs sometimes come with warranties almost as good as a new one, so you can swap if something goes bad. Buying a projector for a new person is a VERY daunting task, without hands-on experience you will not figure it out just by reading, other than to just listen to the advise of others in this forum when we advise you on a deal.
I would hone in on your MAX budget and start a new thread that doesn't start out by pitching chinese knock-offs. The thread has turned off the people that would normally give the real valuable advice in this forum.Best deals going right now:
B-Stock JVC RS-40 for under $2000
Refurb Epson 6500 around $900, or a refurb Mits hc4000 or Mits hc3800, or even refurb Epson 8500 or 8700New under $1500 and 1080p:
Mits hc4000 (no 3d), Optoma hd33, Epson 8350, I could go on and on, they are in my sig link anyways, I'll leave it hereEven cheaper approaching $600 or maybe less
Benq w710st, Optoma GT 750, Refurb Viewsonic Pro8200 or new
If you are ultra-price sensitive, wait for a sale on the w710st, that is a good one and sometimes goes for around $500 or so, or grab you a used or refurb projector. You have to verify if it will work in your room and fit in the mounting requirements and all that. $500 is a tough budget to be restricted to, but you can find something very good and project onto a wall with a little patience. I am just telling you to look at refurbs and sales, not knock offs, that's all I'm saying.
You are not likely to find some magical model the rest of us missed
I give the chances of you finding this magic projector to about 1 in 500. You do have a good chance of finding a great deal on a refurb unit though.
I own many projectors and paid right at $500 for my refurbished Pro8200, which was a great deal. Great deals are out there, you just have to grab one fast when it comes. I also own projectors that cost 6x as much as the Viewsonic. The Viewsonic will hold its own in bright scenes but not as good in dark scenes, still you can get A LOT of bank for the buck for $500 these days if you get lucky and grab something fast when you see it. You cannot get quite as much bang for buck from new units, you will get no bang for buck on no-name units. The Viewsonic refurb deal is just one example, there are occasionally similar deals on other models, you just have to grab them fast!
I watch my Viewsonic and play games on it so I don't burn up my more expensive projectors, and really it looks just as good (95%) in most stuff, just not in dark movies or a few things.
Good luck!Edited by coderguy - 7/25/12 at 12:29am