We're looking into getting a HD front projector for our new "playroom" instead of one of those buhgiant flatscreen LCD TVs. I've been cruising some of the online forums and review websites, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what's out there and what our options are. The hard part now is figuring out which one to get.
Traditionally, you'd go to the store, compare how things looked on the different models, weigh the costs and then make a decision. The problem being, where do you go to actually SEE what the projected image looks like?
- The high-end audio store we went to for our new speakers didn't have any projector systems on display (although the sales rep had a recommendation for us).
- The SOOTTAD and I rode over to the Best Buy on Sunday to see what they had, and what they had was a shelf with FAKE display models and an apologetic sales guy who thought the only difference between different models was the number and type of input ports. (And a prospective buyer whose totality of experience with projection systems that was driving him to buy one was that he'd seen a projector setup and THE PICTURE WAS HUGE AND IT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME!)
- I went to a Tweeter store today -- they actually have a home theater demo room (Score!), but they only demo one projector, the 1080p Sony VPL-VW100. Which is better than nothing, I suppose -- at least I now understand that a high-end projector with the highest resolution currently available with a given throw distance and display size will give us what we're hoping for. Helpful, without actually being all that helpful. Like learning that it's dark at night, or that rain is wet.
- The local high-end audio store says that they have a demo room, but it appears to be, once again, a single model, and in their case, one of the senselessly expensive models. May go anyway -- it may be a 720p projector (or at least has a native resolution less than the max 1080), so maybe I can see whether the resolution is adequate for the screen size and viewing distance that we're hoping for. Perhaps their webpage is just hopelessly out of date.
Ugh.So, does anybody know how one can actually see how well these things perform? Do people who buy them just buy them sight unseen and rely on the "expert" discussion in the online forums or online review sites? Are we being just soooo last cenury? Do these things not matter to "normal" consumers? Was the BestBuy guy actually speaking truth when he said the different models were all basically the same and we should just make a decision based on price?
What's the standard operating procedure these days for the modern consumer of the high definition front projection system?
Inquiring minds want to know.
UPDATE 01Sep2007: Did some Googling today, and this looks promising... (too bad their website doesn't actually tell you when they're open)