For one thing, I would make sure that it can do HDTV. I think you want that additional insurance, even if it is not in your current plan.
Machines to consider: NEC LT150 (around 2500), Infocus LP530 (new and around 3700), Sanyo PLV-60 (may be around 6K), Sony 10HT (around 4400). I prefer the DLP's (LT150 and LP530 for example). All of these meet your requirements but also handle HDTV.
The Infocus LP530 probably has the best video processing for DirecTV, but the NEC has better contrast. The previously model, the Infocus LP350, was a favorite of this group for a while.
The NEC LT150 has been the recent favorite of this group, ever since Dell had a special price of 1701 for a few days. I recommended one to my son-in-law, and it is very nice. Clearly the value leader in HT even at 2400.
The Sony 10HT was a favorite and still has a lot of adherents. It is LCD. The Sanyo is something of a new version of the 10HT, using the same chips, OEM'ed from SONY. There is another forum all about these (I think under http://www.thebigpicture.com
Read the forum. There are a lot of opinions, and a lot of interest in your price point. All of the projectors I mention (except the still-new Infocus LP530) have a huge number of posts.
There is also a screen forum, that is probably a secondary decision for you at this point.
At price points of $2,500 or so, I don't need more than five years of life out of the projector. Also, I won't watch anything on DirecTV that I can't record on a PVR. Those two factors combined make HDTV compatibility a fairly low priority item for me at the moment.
Any thoughts on the Plus Piano? Based on the review at www.projectorcentral.com , it would appear to have excellent NTSC performance and very little noise, although I don't know what to make of the 450 lumen brightness.
[This message has been edited by JAB (edited 08-30-2001).]
Sorry about the wrong URL, I should always check these things first!
WRT the Plus Piano: I saw it at Infocomm. Plus had a very elaborate demo for it as an HT machine. They emphasized its small size and ergometric factors.
The brightness was not good. The color, contrast and deinterlacing all looked good.
They indicated that the machine does not accept 480P, 720P or 1080I, so I discounted it.
Portions of Gladiator and Toy Story II were shown. Neither of these films is a good test for color, contrast, or realistic video IMHO. [Gladiator's two color schemes are so unnatural that everything looks OK; Toy Story II looks great however you see it.]
I was not overly impressed with the Plus Piano, but this was not a definitive A-B test scenario with films that I would normally use for a comparison.
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