Originally made for movie theaters, front projectors have now become affordable for the average person to own. Front projectors allow users to go to basically any size, as long there's enough wall space for it.
How it works:
There are two main types of front projectors in production today, LCD and DLP. They both use a light to project an image onto a screen, but each technology does it a little differently.
LCD - On an LCD projector, there are three different LCD panels, one for each of the three primary colors (red, green, and blue). Light passes through these panels, and is then recombined and shot through a lens onto the screen or wall, thus creating a picture. For this reason LCD projectors are often referred to as 3LCD.
DLP - A DLP (Digital Light Processing) projector uses a chip called a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) which has hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors. When an image is shot on to the chip, its mirrors tilt and convert that image into a grayscale version. The grayscale image then passes through a color wheel, creating a full color image, which is then projected onto a screen.
Huge Size Range
When it comes to front projectors, the wall's the limit. If you're looking for a screen size 80-150 inches or bigger, front projectors are the most logical solution. Also, the cost is much cheaper than going with a super-size LCD or plasma display.
One nice thing about front projectors is there is so much to choose from. Projectors can range from $700 to $100,000, all depending on your budget and what you are looking for.
A front projector is just that, a projector. Its sole purpose is to create an image, so it does not have any speakers. When going with a front projector setup, be sure to factor in speakers and a receiver into your budget.
Since front projectors are primary designed for playing movies, they have no tuner to pick up channels. If you're planning to watch broadcast television on your projection, you have to hook it up to your cable or satellite connection.
Gotta Block the Light
If you're going with a projector setup, you'll need to either have a room with no windows, or very effective blinds. Any light coming in will make the picture very difficult to see. There's a reason why lights in a theater are dimmed.
Just as with rear projection TVs, front projectors use a lamp, which will need to be replaced every 3-5 years. The cost of the lamp can range from $200-$500, sometimes more, depending on the model. Be sure to consider maintenance costs when going with a front projection setup.
If you're looking for the ultimate home theater experience and have the space, front projection is the only way to go. If you're planning to go this route, just make sure you have enough saved up for not only a good projector, but also speakers and a receiver. If you're not a DIYer, make sure you can afford a good installer, too.