Epson MovieMate 85HD – A Review of An All-in-One Home Projector

Epson MovieMate 85HD Projector - Appearance

Click to enlarge.  So close. It’s a box! Actually, the MovieMate 85HD is a black box, with a slot in the front for a DVD, CD and assorted other disc types. There’s a recessed lens high on the right when facing the front of the MovieMate 85HD. The front also has an IR sensor, and a headphone jack. On the top, are recessed dials for focusing and zooming the lens. Also up top is an extensive control panel. Inputs and connectors are on the back. There’s a hinged handle on the right side (looking from the front). There are two screw thread feet in the front that can also be adjusted by releases on the left and right front. There’s a 3rd foot in the back – stationary, for a solid 3 point stance.

MovieMate 85HD Control Panel

Click to enlarge.  So close. The control panel on the top of the MovieMate 85HD is loaded with buttons, but that’s not a sign of luxury, as much as a sign of a combo projector. Afterall, you not just have all the projector controls, but those for a DVD player, audio controls…

Taking a look at the control panel, from the left, are the master power button and two indicator lights (lamp and temp) located behind it. Moving to the right, next come the Source button, the play/pause button and the Stop button. Next are a pair – volume control up, and down, and finally what would be a normal control panel with some extra buttons for additional menus.

 

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The lamp cover (top, back edge) is secured by a screw along the back. Once removed, you can change out the lamp

The MovieMate 85HD vents hot air out the right side (if looking from the rear). Time for a more in-depth look

There’s the general Setup button, and the one we’re more familiar with, the Visual Setup, which has controls like brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation… The Setup menu selects language options for the Disc menu, Audio Subtitles and for the OnScreenDisplay menu itself. It also has the Audio setup page which allows you a choice of Night Mode audio. That will limit the dynamic range of your content, the idea being to raise soft voices so you can hear, while lowering the loudest explosions, so that you don’t wake everyone else up! The Menu button takes you to the Root menu, so, for example, if you are watching a movie, hitting that button will take you back to a screen where you can choose to PLAY the movie, SELECT SCENES, SPECIAL Features, etc. The rest of the control panel consists of four arrow keys in a square pattern, with a center enter button, and below to the right, a Return button. There are no dedicated buttons on the control panel for fast forward/reverse, chapter change. Grab the remote as the fastest way to handle those type of changes.

MovieMate 85HD Inputs and Outputs

Click to enlarge.  So close.

Not a bad selection at all. Most promising is the addition (compared to the older MovieMates), of an HDMI input. This is a real plus for hooking up to a Blu-ray player, or your satellite or cable box. That’s not all, though, there’s also a 3 connector component video, which is another high resolution input. Finally, for the high resolution inputs, there’s also a standard HD15 VGA connector – the type used for computer monitors and projectors to hook up to a desktop or laptop.

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Also to be found are two USB ports – the one is just for “service” functions, but the other will allow the input of content over USB, which is becoming more and more popular. USB can be used to hook up a digital camera, camcorder, games, with plug and play efficiency. Also of particular note, is a coaxial audio out. This can be used to channel the audio feed to a bigger sound system, or, a very nice option, use it to power a relatively small, low cost sub-woofer, for more punch

Menus slideshow

The first choice is the Image sub-menu, which provides control of Brightness, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation…Looking into the Image sub-menu it brings up one option at a time. The down arrow would next take you toContrast.

There aren’t a whole lot of sophisticated controls. Color Temp is limited to 3 presets. There’s no ability to further tune the color temp.The MovieMate 85HD, not surprisingly, also offers a Child Lock sub-menu. Considering this is primarily a family projector, a Child Locking system can be very important. You can lock even lock out the power switch itself, requiring the remote. It can also be set to not play inappropriate DVDs.

Menus also allow you to choose between Full power and Eco mode, set a password for child lock, Lock the disc player, set a screen saver, and so on.

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MovieMate 85HD

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Brightness

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Contrast

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