Daily Blog – Ross Jones – February 21, 2008: A BAD CASE OF PROJECTOR ENVY.

I think I’m the only one around here that doesn’t have a front projector, and it’s leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.  The reasons why I haven’t taken the FP plunge, I suspect, are the same as many others; lack of appropriate space, and cost.

The price of admission for front projectors continues to fall, with several 1080p projectors available for less than $3,000. That’s a huge drop from just a couple years ago, and inch-for-inch represents an extraordinary value. But still, three grand is more than most folks will spend on a new display, and that doesn’t include the cost of the screen.  Again, prices have come down, but a high quality screen can cost almost as much as the projector. Do-it-yourself options such as specialty paints and homemade screens are always an option, but you have to be really committed to undertake that kind of project.

The second reason I haven’t pulled the trigger on a front projector is that I don’t happen to have a spare, light-controlled room lying around the house. Of course, that’s my fault for continuing to have kids until they filled up all of our bedrooms. The only space that could possibly host a front projector is the family room. The list of undesirable features in that room is virtually endless: white cathedral ceilings, a sliding glass door on one side, open to the kitchen in the back, and a 12-foot tall opening to the dining room on the other side. Can you say “zero light control?” So that means a FP would only come into use at night, with my RPTV handling duties during daylight hours. And because the RPTV doesn’t hang on a wall, that raises an interesting question as to where exactly I could mount a screen. And where to mount a projector on a cathedral ceiling. And where to run the cables and power.

So the upshot is that I have perfectly legitimate reasons why a front projector isn’t a viable option. I’m guessing that many home theater enthusiasts who lust after a FP came to the same conclusion that I did (although maybe without as much overanalyzing). But I’ve decided to challenge my own reality. There must be a relatively painless and economical way to enjoy the wonders of a HD picture on a huge screen in my own home.

I’m going to investigate various options over the coming months, hoping to find one that won’t end up with me banished to the living room couch by my wife, one that can be duplicated in various less-than-ideal environments, and ideally, one that makes buying and setting up a front projector as simple (or close as possible) as bringing home a flat panel from a big box store.