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I'm preparing for my first purchase and after months of reading link after link, I've pared down my list to the following projectors. I want the most bang for my buck (i.e. even if the most expensive projector is better, I don't want to spend $1500 more for only an incremental increase in quality). Hence, I'm seeking your help. Presuming I can obtain each projector at the listed price from a reputable dealer, which is the best deal?


My viewing will roughly be 10% OTA HDTV, 40% progressive DVD, 30% dish network, and 20% web browsing/gaming. I'll be hooking the projector up to either my Panasonic RP-56 or my Toshiba KD700, a dish 6000 reciever, a mitsubishi svhs vcr, and a radeon all in wonder based htpc. I'm planning to purchase a Yamaha receiver with component switching.


ProjectorName Lumen Res Contrast Price

Panasonic 711XU 1400 1024x768 300 $2,949.00

NEC LT158 1500 1024x768 600 $3,550.00

Sanyo PLC-XP18N 2000 1024x768 700 $3,999.00

Sanyo PLV60HT 1200 1366x768 600 $4,199.00

Sanyo PLC-XP21N 2500 1024x768 700 $4,598.00

Hitachi CP-SX5500W 1500 1365x1024 600 $5,899.00
 

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You have identified a good shortlist. You are also at a point where only you can make the decision.


You will find many who are happy as clams with cheaper projectors and don't have the need for anything better. Just like the many using recievers rather than seperate processor/amp combinations. It's only YOU who has to be satisfied.


We spent two years looking at projectors before finding the new 16:9 DLPs at CES this year. My wife preferred to have no projector rather than putting up with the lower resolution and lack of contrast that the previous models demonstrated. When we saw the new DLPs the decision was a no brainer.


Comments on AVS are helpful to identify a shortlist but are no substitute for actually viewing the contenders yourself. Have you done enough viewing to know if you are affected by rainbows? I notice the Plus Piano at $3k isn't on your list.
 

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With 50%+ of your viewing being 16:9 sources, and possibly 40% HDTV, I'd lean toward the 60HT.


The 60HT and the 5500 will be the only ones that can display 720p in full native res. The 5500 has great potential, but doesn't yet have the seemingly necessary tools (dilard, etc.) to take advantage of that potential.


Any of these pj's will greatly benefit from a High Contrast screen, such as a Da-Lite High Contrast Da-Mat or Stewart Grayhawk.
 

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HWM, to gain more insight on at least some of these models, (I hope this is allowable) try this site:

http://www.thebigpicturedvd.com/cgi-...conf=DCConfID1


You may also want to put the Sony 10 and or 11 on your list. (Blowout prices on Sony 10s right now as they are being replaced.)


I purchaced the Hitachi SX-5500W and shoot it to 78" on a Firehawk screen and we love it. My only beef is that my reds are bluesh. While this is not noticable on most things, somethings (like strawberrys) just don't look right. On the other hand, these is absolutely no pixelation or "screen door" even when you put your face up to the screen. I understand there have been problems with some of these units, but we have not experienced these problems (e.g., pixel shift, purple blacks, deads and sparklies, etc.) Realize that most of these problems will occur on other types of units as well. For example, pixel shift is not an issue for DLP, but is possible with LCOS/D-ILA and LCD. While the Hitachi has a "blue push," I understand that the Sanyo 60 (and its clones) can have a green push. DLPs can have color artifacts depending on color wheel design.


Unforetunately, I know that there is no way that you will EVER be able to view some (most?) of these units prior to a purchase. I live in Los Angeles/Orange County area and could not find a single place to see the Hitachi! To see the Sanyo, I would have had to drive 40 miles each way and the dealer wanted to charge me a $200 presentation fee! (Forget that!) So what can you do?


The People that I bought my Projector from (don't know if I can say the name of these Projector People on this forum) have a policy where they will preview the projector BEFORE SENDING IT TO YOU. They say that very few people actually take them up on this. I was adiment that the projector they sent to me would be tested and that there would be no dead pixels/sparklies. Foretunately, these people also just happen to have the best prices and free shipping. Oh, they also have a thing with select models (like the Sanyo 60 and Sony 11) where you can try them at home for a specified period.


Other than that, just to see various models in action, you need to go to someplace like the Consumer Electronics Show. But even that may not be representative because you would view different models under different conditions and you would not see them back-to-back. Additionally, it would seem to me that the projectors at the shows would represent the cream-of-the-crop, each hand selected from who knows how many.


Just my $0.02 worth.
 
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