Originally Posted by Revs
Another issue I have with projectors, other than the bulbs is; the light that is reflected off the screen then reflects off the walls in the room and reflects back on to the screen, making the blacks less black. You can get round this by having all dark walls, which won't reflect the light back on to the screen as much, but I don't like dark rooms. The only way I would be able to enjoy a projector fully is to have a dedicated room (with very dark walls) for it.
No trying to put you off but it's just something to think about if you go the projector route
You make a very good point here as you really need to dim your room in order for a projector to look its best. Choice of screen can also effect how much light is reflected towards the walls/ceiling which is why I always recommend getting a grey screen for non-dedicated rooms.
But trust me there's a good reason for the hefty price tags on projectors compared to lcds and plasmas.
Dreamweavernoob: Amazon.co.uk is selling the HC5500 for £1100 and Optoma HD800x for £899(my first projector and I like it a lot due to the fact that I prefer DLP over 3LCD, but it is awfully noisy and has very limited placement flexibility).
Another very good entry-level projector is the Sanyo PLV-Z700(selling for less than £1000).
Here's projectorreview's comparison between the two:
PLV-Z700 vs. Mitsubishi HC5500
First, the Z700 has all that great placement flexibility, while Mitsubishi decided to limit the zoom lens and lens shift range to keep costs down. Assuming both will work in your environment, I'll give the PLV-Z700 the advantage in image control flexibiility (except that weakness for gray scale calibration).
The Sanyo is definitely the less expensive of the two, starting at $1995 MSRP, vs. $2499 currently, less $200 rebate, and that's a real strength for many on a budget, especially those with tighter budgets deciding between a good 720p and 1080p projector.
The HC5500 however, is brighter in best mode. As noted in the Brightness section of the Z700, the Z700 can get up there to match the numbers of the HC5500, but, it requires some compromising of "best mode", to do so. Overall, the Mitsubishi has a slight advantage in black level performance. On the other hand, the PLV-Z700 is slightly brighter in "brightest mode". Also of note, the HC5500 can get up to 5000 hours on it's lamp, in low power mode, compared to probably about 3000 hours for low power on the Sanyo. That's a money saver, which should negate the higher up front cost over time.
Both produce a very sharp image, with the Mitsubishi having a very slight advantage. Sanyo has the longer warranty.
These are worthy competitors. I expect the Sanyo to appeal to more folks though because of the price, and that the HC5500 is priced closer to the next level up 1080p projectors.
EDIT: The Epson EH-TW2800 would also be a good choice, but if you want a FullHD projector for under £1000 then I'd go for the Sanyo Z700.