Projector Roundup: Big Screens on a Small Budget

With prices falling faster than confidence in Greece's economy, is there a better big-screen deal these days than a front projector? Back in 2008 even bargain-basement-priced 1080p models cost about $3,000 - about half what they cost just a year earlier, but still a sizable chunk of change.

These days, of course, you can get outstanding performance from projectors that cost even less, and you'll find dozens of choices on that kind of budget. But we wondered what's out there if you only have $1,500 - or less - to spend? The good news is that the buy-in for a 1080p front projector with decent performance now starts at about $800 to $900.  The even better news is that if you can spend just a bit more -say, $1,500 to $1,600 - you can get something much better, maybe even with 3D capability.

We decided to survey the landscape to see what's currently out there from the major manufacturers. Right now the choices are primarily limited to single-chip DLP or 3LCD models, as the main brands using LCoS technology-Sony, with SXRD, and JVC with D-ILA - haven't yet played in that low-priced sandbox. Given past trends, however, it may be only a matter of time before you see entry-level LCoS projectors under $2,000.

So if you're shopping for a projector now (and you're not carrying around a huge wad of bills) here are ten projectors that'll deliver satisfying - and sometimes outstanding - performance on a budget.