Front Projectors

Nick Hnatiw

Mar 5, 2003
I'm interested in getting a projector for my theater, but I have a few questions first.

1) Is it possible to get one for around $1000 that isn't a piece of junk? (new or used)

2) What would be sufficient light output for a fairly dark living room?

3) How big of a picture can I display if the projector is about 15 feet away from where I plan to mount it?

4) Any brand suggestions?

5) How pricey are bulbs, and is it worth it to be my primary video displayer?

6) Where's a good place to find one?

7) Any other info that I might need to not waste any money

Thanks for all of your help!!!

Shoaib Lateef

Second Unit
Sep 26, 2002
i have an ad in the hardware for sale area that you might be interested in...

please email me with any questions...

Michael Pineo

Stunt Coordinator
Sep 17, 1998
I have been doing a lot of research in this area lately because I am finally going to have a dedicated space for my home theater. There are definitely options in that price range. A very popular projector that is getting a lot of praise over at the AVS forum is the InFocus X1 DLP projector. It is one I am seriously considering (although the whole rainbow thing has me a little nervous). It can be had for around $1200 (not including the $100 rebate that is good until 4/30 I believe). Also, if you have the room for it, and the patience to tweak the heck out of it, there are many CRT based projectors that can be had for that amount. Curt Palme over at the AVS forum is a good source for CRT projectors. You can get on his mailing list and he will send you lists of projectors he has available. As an example, he listed an Electrohome ECP-3500 for $750 on his last list. I believe he said that it has about 7000 of the 10000 hours lifespan left on the tubes. Personally I am torn between the ease of use of one of the digital projectors and the better picture quality of a CRT unit (I pretty much change my mind every hour or so

Anyway, that is the extent of my limited knowledge. I think you can get a projector in that price range that you will be happy with. The only problem that I can forsee is that once you have the projector, you will want to upgrade other things (DVD player, line doubler, HTPC, etc...), but I guess that is always true when it comes to this hobby


Max Leung

Senior HTF Member
Sep 6, 2000
Bulbs are generally in the $200-$500 US price range. $400 MSRP is a commonly quoted figure. You get about 1500-2000 hours out of most bulbs.

The size of the screen is dependent on the throw-length of the projector. Have a look at and try their projector throw calculator. At a 15 foot distance to screen, most projectors can easily throw a 100" diagonal image, with plenty of brightness in a dark room.

You probably want a projector that puts out 800 or more lumens. You want at least 12-15 foot-lamberts of light (amount of lumens per square foot). So, if you want to light up a 6'x4' screen, and you have a projector that puts out 600 lumens, you'd have 600 lumens / 24 square feet = 26 foot lamberts of brightness, which is plenty bright (almost twice the brightness of most movie theaters).

Keep in mind that bulbs dim over time.

Be aware of the pros and cons between DLP and LCD (DLP = possibility of seeing rainbows and getting eyestrain/headaches, good black levels and shadow detail, LCD = visible "screendoor", very saturated colors, black levels and shadow details not as good as DLP, no rainbows or headaches).

There are many very good projectors between $1200-2000 US. All of them should be at least as good as the typical RPTV. Below are the most popular "low-end" projectors:

Infocus X1 (DLP with 2x color wheel - faster the wheel, the less chance of seeing rainbows). 800x600 resolution, 4x3.

Sanyo PLV-Z1: LCD, 960x540, 16x9.
Panasonic L300U LCD, 960x540, 16x9. Smoothvision to reduce screendoor.

There are many more...too many to list here.

DaViD Boulet

Senior HTF Member
Feb 24, 1999
If you can up your budget...the Sony HS10 LCD (16x9 HD) is between 3 and 4K depending where you get it and there are many slightly lesser-quality images to be had for around 2K from Panasonic and others...


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