Lightning Round: Epson MovieMate 72 All-In-One HD Projector

Epson_MovieMate_72.jpgThe Gadget: Epson's newest all-in-one projector, the MovieMate 72, with yes, you guessed it, 720p screen resolution and HDMI input
The Price: $US1,200

130-inch picture (taken in light for sense of perspective)Good manual image-shift controlsLots of inputsSlot-loading upscaling DVD playerSwivel action for front or back loading convenience

I love the thing. I've been a fan of projector all-in-ones for a while now, and I think Epson is onto something with the 720p, because it makes both high-def input stuff and upconverted DVDs look better than the 480p alternative. The color is great, and the sound is okay, though I happily connected the optical line out to an old Sony 5.1 receiver I had for the full surround effect.

I had a few small problems when I connected the PS3 to watch a Blu-ray movie. When I sent it in via HDMI then out of the projector to the receiver, all I could get was stereo PCM. But that was easily remedied by bypassing the projector altogether and running the sound directly into the receiver. No lag problems or anything. The other issue was an occasional video hiccup, during a camera pan, it looks like only half of the screen could refresh at one time. I only noticed this issue during Blu-ray, and even then only in certain situations. It's a bit annoying, but not a dealbreaker.

The only other concern would be its size. Epson's first gen was really big, but it's new 480p version, the MovieMate 50, is much more portable (and $450 cheaper). You can't stick the 72 in a tote bag and that's a shame since all-in-one projectors are nothing if not social devices for gaming and movie watching. I know it's a tall order, Epson, and you're doing well so far, but can you make a nice upscaling HD all-in-one that's portable? And while your at it, plays both Blu-ray and HD DVD movies internally? [Epson]

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