One important factor is ambient light. If your room's lighting is not readily controlled, you might prefer an RPTV. Having said that, and having just over seven months with my FPTV, I would go to extremes to control lighting to allow a FPTV! You should check out the projector forums here at AVS.
The button is labeled "Play", not "Pay". STOP the MPAA!
How about a NEC XG-135 with less than 300 hours, combined with a DTC-100 HDTV Receiver. I can get that to you for $4000, but I need to calbulate shipping to "unknown" http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif
I bought my electrohome ECP-4000 for $2000. It had new tubes put in by the owner about 3 months prior to my purchase. I bought a roll up electric screen for $850. Draperies for the room to block out daylight and frame the screen was just over $500. The dtc-100 was about $650 back then. I think this fits the $4000 budget to get some HDTV.
I have also seen the HDTV RPTV's for $4000 and I think the picture on them sucks by comparison. The $8000 RPTV's are better but not yet FPTV quality. They are just better in daylight than FPTV. FPTV looks washed out in daylight. If you can't control room lighting then your best picture quality will be the RPTV for HD.
Mr. Hulk (or should I just call you Incredible?):
Whenever someone asks me about what they should do for a home theater, the first thing I ask them is where they are going to locate it. Why? Because if you're going to put your HT in an attic (that's where mine is) or in a basement with difficult stairs, you will be sooorrrry if you buy a 286-pound RPTV. Never mind getting it IN the door, what are you going to do if you ever have to move it or send it out for service?
A front projection system does not suffer from this (for me at least) weighty problem. As I mentioned above, my home theater is in my townhouse attic, which is accessible only by a narrow staircase only 25" wide. I sort of HAD to go the projector route--all RPTV's are too wide to fit through the door! (And there was no way I was spending $10,000 on a plasma flat-screen.)
Like Man E I've had several months now to enjoy my system, and let me tell you, there is nothing, NOTHING that compares to the thrill of watching HDTV and DVD's on a hundred-inch screen that fills your field of vision. It truly IS "home theater".
My system for (a bit more than) $4,000:
NEC VT540 LCD XGA projector, refurbished: $2,995
Homemade 100" projection screen (look in the Screens forum for a ton of advice on this subject): $100
DISH 6023 (includes DISH 500 and DISH 300 dishes to get all HDTV and SDTV satellite channels, DISH 6000 receiver, and 8VSB modulator for OTA HDTV signals): $550
(This assumes you have a spare computer lying around) Radeon 32 MB DDR AGP video card, DVD-ROM drive, and SoundBlaster Platinum Dolby Digital 5.1 sound card to turn a computer into the best progressive-scan DVD player you can buy or build (see the Home Theater Computer forum for a wealth of info on this subject): $450
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