Suggestions/budget advice on possible HD projector?
We're currently in the research stage of replacing our main video projector, and I'm hoping to get some input and advice on whether we should seriously consider moving to an HD-capable projector despite having no HD content at the moment, as well as how much we might expect to spend and some specific manufacturer and model suggestions (depending, of course, on the answer to the HD question).
The projector we're replacing is used almost exclusively for showing a DVD recording of the sermon when our pastor isn't in attendance (preaching live at another campus or out of town). The existing projector works just fine, but we've been struggling for way too long with a washed out image on the screen due to insufficient light output from the projector -- we have to deal with outside light coming in through 4-foot-high windows covered with white vertical blinds around the entire perimeter of the room just below the ceiling, as well as keeping the lights in the room on bright enough that the congregation can see to read their bibles and/or take notes.
The existing projector is a Panasonic PT-F100NTU, which is XGA and 3,200 lumens. Screen size is 180" diagonal 4:3 (9' x 12'), throw distance is approximately 33'. Closest viewers are around 14', farthest are approaching 60-65'. I've seen the various formulas for calculating amount of light required... I seem to remember something like 5 times the ambient light per square foot of screen? We do not have a light meter at the moment so I can't quantify exactly how much ambient light we're trying to overcome, but I would guess that we need at least 4,500 lumens, but would much prefer 5,000-6,000 if it's in the budget.
As for the question of whether to stick with XGA or go to HD (either 720p/WXGA or 1080p/WUXGA), I'm torn on that. As I said, we currently do not have any HD material that would benefit from an HD projector, although we are considering replacing our main camera (Sony DSR-PD170) soon as well and may go with an HD camera (something in Sony's HVR- line, or possibly up to an EX1 or EX3). My question is whether having the extra resolution will be worth the cost at the viewing distances I mentioned earlier. There is also the possibility that the new projector could move to our new building in 2-3 years, but we have no idea what the physical parameters of that space will be, so it's hard to predict what sort of screen size, throw distance, or light requirements we'd be working with.
Any and all input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!