I have had the NEC HT1000 since October of last year and sold it for a Hitachi 57XWX20B. While I enjoyed watching movies on a big screen, I never felt the picture quality and black levels were anywhere close to a RPTV.
While I never could admit it to myself, an article in February/March 2003 issue of Sound & Vision heavily influenced me to trade in my HT1000 for a RPTV. The article interviewed M. Night Shyamalan about his home theater equipment. Here is an excerpt from it:
"But with front projection all the rage, it is suprising to find a 55-inch widescreen rear-projection TV as the system's centerpiece. . . .When asked why he didn't go with a front-projection setup, Shyamalan comes back with, "Whenever I go to somebody's house and they show me their overhead thing, I'm like, `I can't believe you can even watch this," because its so fuzzy and big."
That last line sums it up best. With front projection, the images are huge, but the PQ is not so good.
I am also the type of person that needs the highest quality picture to believe that the events on screen are believeable. I never truly got that feeling with front projection. I was kinda surprised recently how my 27" direct view television drew me in to the show more so than my NEC HT1000. After reading about Shyamalan's observations, I finally understood what I was missing.
Front projection is a nice add on to your home theater, but I wouldn't make it your primary display device. I decided to go smaller with higher picture quality. My thing is believeability and I just didn't feel front projection images were really believeable.
Now your case might be entirely different. You might have a completely light controlled room with a lot of room to spare. The NEC HT1000 might make sense for you if you have the space and the Do It Yourself attitude for mounting the device on the ceiling and then drilling holes into the walls to hang the screen and running cables throughout your ceiling. Oh, I forgot, you have to buy heavy light blocking curtains as well as you can't enjoy front projection with any light. Oh and forget about watching satellite or cable TV on it. It looks absolutely crappy on any front projector.
For me, in retrospect, it was a complete waste of time and money. For less money, the 57XWX20B allows me to enjoy everything (satellite, cable, dvds, D-theater, and PS2) without having to control light, put up a screen, mount a ceiling mount, or cover the windows with curtains. Hell the Hitachi throws in a HDTV Tuner with the TV, the NEC HT1000 don't!
Like I said eariler, front projection, nice to have in addition to your primary display, not a replacement for it.
I went from a Pioneer Elite 510 Pro to a Panny Ae100 and then from the ae100 to the Sanyo PLV-Z1.
The Ae100 was I'd say about 85% the PQ of the Elite. The Z1 is IMO, overall better than the Elite in PQ. The only area where the Elite has the slight advantage is in black level but it is slight. But the z1 produces better and more accurate colours and the depth to the image seems the same. The z1 has no geometry issues (ie, straight lines being slightly off) like every rptv set has. Both have the same detail and the z1 has the luxury of giving me an image 4 times the size.
Keep in mind that I make these comments viewing the z1 from a decent distance of 2x screen width with a slight defocus and sort of am trying to compare the two based on sitting the same screen width away. If I was to sit 1x screen wdith away then the Elite would have the superior PQ. So basically if you were to sit 1x width away from both, the elite would look better. But at 2x width or farther from each, the z1 looks superior.
That is my honest opinion...and I loved my Elite. I'm actually getting it back in June as I gave it to my parents when I moved and got into front projection. They are moving and will have no room or need for the Elite. They have a sony 53" HDready set as well. I'm excited to be getting the Elite back.
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