Is this in US dollars? If so LT150 XGA DLP, 800 lumens, 800:1 contrast, 1000 hr bulb for $500, excellent colors with Vortex, 2 year instacare NEC warranty, 3.3#, 6"X8", ceiling/table mountable is great if you're not prone to rainbows (color streaks with panning, high contrast scenes). It's going for $2340 right now. Contender should include LT85 (same as LT150 except SVGA) for $1750, LT154 (XGA, LCD, 900 lumens, 2000 hr bulb, otherwise similar to LT150) for $2300 from Dell with 20% discount, Sony VPL-CX2 (XGA, LCD, 750 lumens) for $2200 (CX1 for $1600--XGA, 550 lumens), Proxima DS2 ($1350, SVGA DLP, 700 lumens), Dell's Viewsonic Litebird PJ870 (SVGA, 700 lumens, DLP) for $1200. LT150 has clones too for similar pricing. Use www.projectorcentral.com for specs, reviews, and pricing. www.cnet.com , www.pricewatch.com , www.pricegrabber.com , www.streetprices.com , www.pricescan.com , www.mysimon.com can compare prices for you. Also do searches on AVS as most of these units have been reviewed or discussed here before. Search screen forum here for screen ideas. Reputeable sites like AVS, projectorpeople, medicalvideosystems may be able to come close to your lowest prices with much better service. Most do charge 10-20% restocking fee so beware of this when buying unseen as mileage may vary. I don't guarantee specs quoted above as they were from my poor memory . I personally had Sony CX1 which was great except for dead pixels and blacks and then upgraded to LT150 and couldn't be happier.
I demo'd a rental SW10 this weekend (LCD, 700 lums, SGA, zoom, nice remote, 5.5#) that is selling for $1500, new ones a couple hundred more. But I think I'm going to buy the new XW15 (XGA!, 800 lums, component in, HDTV, etc) available from many places for <$2300 (I've negotiated $2360 with a DVD player and 50' component cables & switch box with a local place).
I set up the SW10 12-13' away from a matte white wall in my apt, did I mention I have 9 foot windows covering one whole wall? With just 1/3 of the windows shaded (the one next to the "screen") I got decent brightness for the US GP at Indy, but by the time the Eagles started kicking Cowboy butt I was seeing a very bright image. This was with a cheapy single RCA cable coming from my VCR. Discovery Channel was the best picture and looked GREAT on a 6' wide screen.
Of course anything less than 1000 lums will be obsolete shortly, but if you don't want to wait think about the Sanyos.
The 800:1 Contrast ratio of the NEC LT150 is what separates the men from the boys in the best value 4:3 XGA digital projectors IMO.
I have a 15" NEC LCD display (200:1 contrast ratio), 17" NEC CRT and the LT150. The PQ of the LCD display is unacceptable for HT video, 17" CRT is excellent but too small of course, and LT150 is surprisingly good at 100". If the CR of the LCD projectors is anything like my little 15" flat monitor, I couldn't live with it personally. I also would rather have an occasional fleeting rainbow flash than continuously visible screendoor or scanlines.
From what I've read, Huey does an excellent job summing up your options. It seems the real "deal-breaker" issue is the rainbows. If you don't see rainbows, the DLP machines are going to give you the best picture in your price range. But if you do see the rainbows and find them annoying, than you will probably want to go with an LCD. Most agree that the LCDs in this price range don't look as nice as the DLPs, but if rainbows ruin the viewing experience for you then of course you're better off with an LCD model. Hopefully, in the future, inexpensive three-chip DLPs (or some other technology) will enable us to get the quality of DLP without the rainbow effect.
"Overall, what NEC has done in the area of color control with this DLP is impressive. NEC has moved DLP closer to LCD in color quality, just as Sanyo has moved LCD closer to the best DLPs in contrast and pixelation."
If I could get a LT150 for less than $2000 I might get one! But not that I know of...
LT150 lacks the zoom of the Sanyos (very nice for placement and also if you will be watching sometimes from closer, sometimes far away), is a little noisier, but it is lighter. Remember contrast ratio is a tough spec to compare as manufacturers use their own tests to figure it (unlike ANSI Lumens). Sure you can argue why would Sanyo list their SW/XW line at only 250:1 contrast if they could just change the test to make it seem higher, but all I know is next to my acceptable-contrast 27" TV, the borrowed SW10 did fine in the shadow detail department. When the dealer put in a test CD showing grey scales from black to white, I could make out the faint grey box directly next to the blackest one, in a not-pitch black room on a white wall. Good nuff.
I also hate most of those LCD computer monitors, but the Sanyo LCD projectors (and the Promixa LS2 from work, also 250:1) give good blacks and shadow deatil at the price.
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