Projector for a Videophile on a VERY Tight Budget

Title pretty much says it all. I am on an extremely tight budget and I want to create a home theater in my room. Today's deal on Woot convinced me its time to make the plunge, but when I went to go look at projector prices I almost gagged. 1080p projectors start at 800$ and go up from there; 720p projectors are still really expensive. Just to throw this out there my plan is to buy the set of speakers, a decent (yet cheap) reciever and set it all up for the projector. In a few weeks (when I get my paycheck) I will purchase a projector and screen.

My guidelines:

1.) My budget does not go a penny over 650$. Would rather it be MUCH less
2.) MUST be at least 720p

I did a little shopping around and came up with one suggestion but lost it. I'll post it tomorrow morning when I fire up my gaming rig and look at the browsing history :).

Thanks Ahead!
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  1. What size room are you looking to install this projector into?

    What would be the estimated throw distance (distance between the lens of the projector and the screen)?

    What is the distance between the screen and the seating area?

    Are you able to control the ambient lighting in the room?

    Does the room have good air circulation?

    Have you figured out the wiring situation? Generally speaking, the receiver and speakers are on one end of the room and the projector is at the other end.

    What is the primary video source (TV Set Top Box, PC, DVD, Blu-Ray)?

    Which projector you should get (regardless of budget) is going to depend on the answers to the questions above.

    And finally, if you happen to live near St. Paul, MN. I'm selling my BenQ MP610 for $225 - :hello:
  2. 1.) The room is about 11'x11'.
    2.) About 11' unless I want to mount it from the ceiling (which I do not). Plus I have a ceiling fan where the best place to put it is.
    3.) About 11'. It would sit right above my head on a shelf.
    4.) To a large degree, yes I can control the lighting.
    5.) Yes.
    6.) The wiring situation is a mess. There is no way I can wire behind the walls without spending a several weekends at it which I do not want to do. I planned to have the projector sit on top or near the receiver but wiring around the room will be an absolute pain. Can't figure out a way to do it: I don't want wires draped across my room.
    7.) My laptop, through an HDMI port, would be the source of 1080p high profile video files, Blu Ray discs, DVD's, Netflix, my MLB.TV account, and Hulu. Audio will go through my digital output on the laptop to the receiver. I may end up getting a Roku box in a few months but that's not for some time.
    8.) I live across the country from you... :(
  3. 1-3) You should be able to get by with a 720p projector (I did for a couple years).
    4-5) This is critical for true movie/tv enjoyment.
    6) The last thing you want to do is trip over wires and yank an expensive component from it's resting place. Do all that you can to make sure wiring isn't an issue. Given your room size, cable length shouldn't be an issue.
    7) Sounds like you have it all set up. You should be good to go. If your laptop can display it, so can your projector.
    8) You didn't want mine anyway as it's not HDCP compliant. I did manage to sell it today.
  4. So do you have any ideas for something pretty cheap that will cover my needs? The one I found yesterday was an Optoma HD66, but its still pretty spendy even though its a lot lower than my 650$ estimate (535$)...
  5. Actually, the Optoma HD66 was the one I was going to recommend.

    -Wolf sends
  6. I have read that the DLP chip in the HD66 likes to fail and it starts to project lots of dead pixels. Do you know how common it is?
  7. Sorry, but I do not know.

    -Wolf sends
  8. Are there any other suggestions in a similar price range? I can always wait for another little while before jumping the gun.
  9. Obviously, I can't speak to any other projector from a personal experience point of view. Just looking at the specifications, I can't recommend any one projector over the other.

    Acer K330 - $550
    Acer H5360 - $500
    Epson V11H475020 - $650

    Just based on the specifications, they're all pretty much the same. All I could advise at this point would be to read reviews of each projector and see if they list how they compare to each other.

    -Wolf sends
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