Originally Posted by Andy Moore
I want one to stick in our garage to watch movies. A secondhand one off eBay would be okay. I just don't know what sort of £££s we are talking about.
If you want the whole cinema experience, rather than just a big telly (which it sounds like you do), I'd say go for it. Sure, they work best in a dark room, but if you are watching a film what does that matter? I use an 8 foot wide (110" diagonal) screen and coupled with a surround sound system it is fantastic (IMO).
Sure, the bulbs are expensive (and this could be a problem if you buy second hand), but my projector is well over 5 years old and still on its first bulb.
I haven't looked at the market recently (I'll probably upgrade to a new projector when the bulb in the current one eventually expires) so this might be out of date, but here goes:
Traditionally CRT projectors were the best, but expensive and requiring professional setup. LCDs are / were cheaper, but don't give the best image quality (they suffer from something called the 'chicken wire' effect). DLP falls somewhere between the two.
As a rough guide,
More pixels = better
3 panels = better
Native 16:9 panels = better
For standard definition at least, driving the projector from a pc will give better picture quality than anything but a top spec DVD player .
Personally I wouldn't buy a projector without road testing it first. The main variables are brightness, contrast (how close to true black can it achieve, image quality (chicken wire effect, etc), and NOISE - some projectors (particularly older 'office' projectors) have very noisy fans. There are lots of home cinema review sites on the web which can help - try:
However, like with ribs
it all comes down to personal preference - take along a film that you know well, with lots of fast action sequences, bright colours, dark scenes