Projectors are getting better, cheaper, and brighter with LED lamps behind them. Here's a 1000-lumen 1080p projector: "http://www.lg.com/us/projectors/lg-PF85U-portable-led-projec.... It's still around $1200, but give it six months.
GE has some equivalent LED bulbs that they market under the 'Reveal' moniker to indicate they have a 2850K color temperature. A quick search suggests that Home Depot sells them in the US.
IMO each point of CRI really does count, even in the high 90s. I'm using EIKO Solux halogens that have a CRI of 99 as I recall. Excellent light quality, colors are so much better and everything just feels so much more right.
But I’ll agree with you that LEDs (and especially CFLs) have terrible color rendering, and make pretty unpleasant room lighting.
ChuckMcM: a light source for taking photos is a very different kind of application than room lighting (for which I really dislike all of the LEDs and CFLs I’ve tried, even expensive fancy ones) and also a very different application from projector backlights: projector backlighting is an application where what matters is the interaction between the source spectrum and the transmission spectra of the RGB color filters; the CRI is an almost totally irrelevant metric for projector backlights IMO, except insofar as an LCD was designed to be used with an incandescent backlight (which I doubt a laptop display panel would be); regardless of backlight source, it should be possible with the right equipment (spectrophotometer) to measure the colors projected on the wall and properly characterize the system, and then generate an ICC profile and get pretty accurate color out.
And I agree with you that taking pictures is a different application than room lighting, but there is significant overlap. Essentially I'd like to have a "perfect" broad spectrum lamp for my pictures, and I'm happy to bias the spectrum one way or the other for room lighting. That said, the combination of a broad spectrum room light and a digital photo processing stream lets me get back to the 'original' colors. That was not always true with LEDs but with the high CRI ones it works well for me.
In California, at Home Depot, the high CRI products are subsidized by the utilities and thus quite affordable.