Absolutely, what you MUST do, is get a decent projector before investing in anything else. If you are happy with front projection at all, then get a projector like the BenQ HT1070. It's $500 at Newegg and it is a full 1080p single chip DLP projector. I would expect the contrast to be about 10 times what you currently achieve and the brightness to be 2-3x as high.
This is because the manufacturing flat out lies to you on these really cheap models. They don't take post-lens brightness measurements, but raw LED manufacturer claims and add them up.
Nothing wrong with an intro-projector, but if you want to improve the quality, then the screen won't be the thing to do it when the projector can't deliver.
The HT1070 is the least expensive quality 1080p projector on the market that I am aware of. It uses a RGB/RGB color wheel and post calibration should deliver about 1,200 lumens on screen.
It should be extremely comparable to my W1070, but may be slightly better overall as a newer model.
Here is my W1070 on a 161" screen. Some pics with lights on, some with lights off...http://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-digital-projectors-under-3-000-usd-msrp/1720730-w1070-lights-161-screen.html
Spending $1,000 is pretty easy to do with front projection, but at $500 the HT1070 really delivers the quality jump you sound like you are really looking for at an affordable price.
- Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.