You'll find that all the projectors in this price category are basically 4:3 1024 x 768 chips only using 576 lines of the chip. What the NEC offers is a 1024 x 576 16:9 installation mode (which gives you all the functionality of a 16:9 projector) or a 1024 x 768 4:3 installation (for those that prefer), or a 16:9 installation using 1024 x 768 pixels and an anamorphic lens!!
It also gives you a better picture than most of it's competitors regardless of the aspect ratio of it's chip!!!!
Or there is the Toshiba MT8 (1280 x 720) which is now going for less than 4 grand
Sorry I should have explained myself clearer regarding this price range essentially all being based on 4:3 chips. The Matterhorn Chip (1024 x 576) is essentially the DDR Chip (1024 x 768) just without a whole chunk of lines!
As in the performance is the same (save for a tiny bit of light spill) and the fact that it (the NEC) is 4:3 really shouldn't rule it out because the picture from it is better than most Matterhorn Chip DLPs. Esp given that it can be set into a 16:9 mode and hence behave exactly as a matterhorn chip.
well at £1500 you are in the middle of lcd territory..... most obvious problem being contrast ratio problems eminating from a raised black level. You additionally have the tendency that lower end projectors use lamps which dont do colors true justice.
Spend a bit more and you will start to get over those problems. I have an ht1100 and have to say the step in contrast ratio between it and one of the projectors in the lower range is absolutely incredible.
Got to admit that going from a 16:9 projector to a 4:3 'feels' like taking a backward step. However, providing you can install adequate masking to soak-up the light-spill from the unused portion of the DMD chip you are at no disadvantage compared to a 1024x576 projector. In fact, you get the added flexibility of being able to use the additional pixels to position the image like a virtual lens shift.
With a fixed screen the masking issue is easily solved but I can see though how it might be more of a problem with a retractable screen. The amount of light spill is quite low but without masking it might be noticeable on occasions - like particularly dark scenes that are sustained for some time.
Check the throw of the HT1100 though, it's quite short and may not fit your room layout anyway.