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Discussion Starter #1
I'm downsizing my physical Halloween yard haunt prop collection in anticipation of moving to a lot smaller house (with a lot less space for storage and a smaller lawn). The idea is to do even more video projections.

I also want to get a projector that can serve double-duty for a (modest) home theater.

Can anyone recommend specific models and vendor sources for a good WXGA projector? Don't kill me, but my budget for this, ideally, is sub-$500. Prefer not to pay more than $500. $600 absolute max if I can manage it. Please let me know the replacement cost of a lamp for whatever model you suggest. I feel the true budgeted cost of a projector, for my tastes, is:

* Projector with working lamp
* One spare lamp (I'm an IT guy so I love and need Redundancy in components; having a "hot spare" if needed) :)

Also, what are the differences between WXGA and XGA? Assuming the only difference is that "W" means Widescreen. And so you have a more movie theater-like experience with WXGA.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Yes wxga stands for widescreen. Here's a breakdown if you want info on it.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/buyers2.htm

eBay is obviously one source for a projector. Other sources are direct from manufacturer, to avoid the potential markup that a retail store adds. I recently picked up an ultra short throw direct from ben-q for just over $500. They have quite a few at decent prices.

http://shop.benq.us/projectors.html
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This might help as well

http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?g=1&hide=0&st=1&mfg=&p=0-700&w=&r=12&br=&ll=&ltg=&t=&db=&dt=&c=&ar=&dvi=&wr=&pjl=&pjw=&pjh=&td=&i=d&is=&sort=pop&sz=15

Just change price to 0-700 and resolution to wxga.

Or this go to Epson's website and check out their clearance store. They have the EX7210 selling right now for $429 w free shipping

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/BuyEpson/ccHome.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=0

Victor
Thanks IcePick and Victor Eyed. Any idea what replacement lamps might run on these? And/or if, and for how long, a projector lamp is guaranteed to function?
 

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There's never a guarantee on lamp life unfortunately. Also lamp prices vary depending on the projector you choose. Can be as low as 40-50 bucks or as high as the cost of a new projector. When I bought mine I tried to factor in replacement lamp price and it's expected lamp life. Keeping the projector well ventilated and as free from dust as possible will help to lengthen the bulb life.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to all. Definitely prefer the lower cost lamps if any one has further suggestions for good, ~$500 WXGA projectiors. Will continue to research on my own. This is not just for Halloween but also to enjoy widescreen movies at home. And possibly to Take On The Road to give presentations for work.
 

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Before buying a projector I look for the lamp first on ebay and see what they cost. Even though a bulb may be rated for so many hours, they are sensitive to shock if dropped or bumped. You definitely need a spare bulb. You don't want to have one fail just before showtime and not have a spare.
Usually if you are patient you will find a good price on the projector you want. I have had good luck buying reconditioned ones that have a new lamp installed for around 350.00.
Here is an example from a vendor I have purchased from with no problems:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ViewSonic-PJD5133-DLP-Projector-2700-Lumens-3D-Ready-HDMI-/380871398135?pt=US_Video_Projectors&hash=item58adb452f7

Lamp is 100.00

http://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-PROJECTOR-LAMP-BULB-FOR-VIEWSONIC-PJD5123-PJD5223-PJD5523-PJD5133-PJD5133-1W-/280858811098?pt=US_Projector_Lamps_Components&hash=item41647d5ada

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Before buying a projector I look for the lamp first on ebay and see what they cost. Even though a bulb may be rated for so many hours, they are sensitive to shock if dropped or bumped. You definitely need a spare bulb. You don't want to have one fail just before showtime and not have a spare.
Usually if you are patient you will find a good price on the projector you want. I have had good luck buying reconditioned ones that have a new lamp installed for around 350.00.
Here is an example from a vendor I have purchased from with no problems:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ViewSonic-PJD5133-DLP-Projector-2700-Lumens-3D-Ready-HDMI-/380871398135?pt=US_Video_Projectors&hash=item58adb452f7

Lamp is 100.00

http://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-PROJECTOR-LAMP-BULB-FOR-VIEWSONIC-PJD5123-PJD5223-PJD5523-PJD5133-PJD5133-1W-/280858811098?pt=US_Projector_Lamps_Components&hash=item41647d5ada

Pete
Great strategy. Thanks Pete!
 
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