Originally Posted by iceatola
I am starting my new Home Theater system in my new house and for the first time I will be buying a projector. I have been in the audio world for a very long time but never bought a projector. I am asking for help on which projector I should by for a newbie. I am looking for one that plays 1080P native and one that has a quiet fan.
Don't know what else I should be looking out for when purchasing one. Please any and all help is needed!
Hey man - you are on point. You are getting some flack, some good advice, and some bad advice.
Sub $500 on Amazon are typically 'toys'. They advertise 1080p a GREAT DEAL, but they are not 1080p native projectors. They are 1280x720 or (more often) 1280x800. They may not advertise technology, which means they are likely single chip LCD projectors with terrible contrast and weak image uniformity.
The one specific example is the aforementioned Rigal projector, which is 1280x800 native. It claims 2,600 lumens, but realistically may deliver 200 or 300 lumens. It is ALL a lie and because there are no standards which those craphole importers must follow, you get suckered into their lies.
Epson, BenQ, Optoma, Viewsonic, and other major manufacturers will show up in review sites like Projector Central or Projector Reviews and have good websites.
That said, at $500 you were rightly told that you are at the very low-level of entry for front projection 1080p native models. BenQ, Epson, Optoma, and Viewsonic have various models that come in near the $500 price point. You can look online for them. You can also look (and should look!) in the classifieds section of AVS for used models. The BenQ HT2050, 2050A, w1070 and similar are very well regarded and can show up used for under $500. Budget for a new lamp.
Check for the Optoma HD27, Optoma HD143X, BenQ MH530FHD, BenQ HT1070A, Espon 2045.
There are others as well. The HD143x seems like a real bargain at this time and will do well for entry level. You can get a 120" or 133" diagonal from that model nicely and it will BLOW YOU AWAY.
Understand that these entry level models are still near cinematic quality. GOOD cinematic quality. Not dime store stuff here. It will be bright, vibrant, and will make you wonder what you have been missing. The cheap Amazon models will make you wonder why you bothered to waste your money. Not the way to start things off.