We’ve been in our present home for over 2 years and like our last home, wanted a home theater in this one. In this house, it meant upgrading our den. I had to decide whether to purchase a projector and 110” (horizontal) screen or get a large flat panel TV.
When it came to screen size, I’ve always felt bigger is better, which favors the projector option. However, the projector solution has downsides. Projectors need a darkened room, which is easier with a dedicated home theater, than an open den that’s attached to the kitchen. This meant mostly nighttime viewing. While a dedicated home theater can usually mean a fixed screen on the wall, our den would require an expensive motorized screen that retracts into the ceiling. Otherwise a big rectangular box on the ceiling would be unsightly. Also, projectors use expensive bulbs, which need to be replaced periodically.
To answer that question of large flat panel vs. projector, rather than flip a coin, I dropped by Evolution Home Theater in Agoura Hills, CA. The owner, Jay Frank put on a demo disk on a flat panel that was comparable to mine and 2 projectors in different demo rooms. The first projector was in my price range, about $4,000 (not including screen) and in Jay’s opinion was the best buy at the price. The second room contained a $15,000 Sim2 projector. The first projector looked pretty good, but didn’t compare to the Sim2 projector. With the Sim2, colors were more vivid, the picture was sharper, and it had depth that drew you into the scene. The first projector was like a nice flat picture, but not as sharp and it didn’t draw you in. Jay explained that the superior optics and processing was the main reason. The picture of the $15,000 Sim2 was more like the flat panel, only obviously larger.
Costco had an 80” Vizio on sale. I decided to purchase it along with a wall mount kit. The picture quality is spectacular, comparable to the high-priced projector and much better than the $4,000 projector.
I’m glad we got the 80” flat panel. We watch it day and night. We gave up a little on screen size and gained a lot in picture quality. Perhaps someday I’ll get a projector, but I know now it will have to be a very expensive one.