Epson MovieMate 72 All-In-One Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

Epson’s MovieMate 72 is one of my favorite projectors reviewed in the last year or two. It definitely fills a need, and does an excellent job of it.

Up until now, I haven’t run across an all-in-one projector that I would have been really comfortable recommending to good friends. Now I have one. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it does offer very respectable performance, great versatility, and all considered, excellent price/performance. At $1199 suggested retail, it should sell very well. When products like this come down to, say $600 – $800, they should fly off the shelves.

I’ve got it on right now, early afternoon, and it’s in Living Room mode, filling my large screen, and the announcers and sports clips on Sports Center.

The Optoma DV-11 can do better blacks (not drastically so), but I’ve got to go with the Epson for everything else, from brightness, to solidness of construction, to warranty, to sound quality (although you really do want to get a small subwoofer for any of these). The earlier Epson MovieMates pale by comparison, and their 480p LCD panels make pixel structure way to visible for my taste (even though kids could probably care less, and some adults as well.)

It is more interesting to compare Epson’s MovieMate 72 with some stand alone projectors.

As noted before, its black level performance is its weakness, and off the top of my head, I can’t think of a current stand alone 720p projector that doesn’t at least slightly improve on the MovieMate in this regard.

However, it is brighter than most of the 720p projectors, with the exception of the Panasonic PT-AX200U, and Epson’s own Home Cinema 400 (reviewing the Home Cinema 720 next, but it should be about the same). The Panasonic has noticeably more lumens, and the Epson Home Cinema 400, about the same.

One could debate the image performance of the MovieMate 72 compared to the lower cost ($899 – $999) DLP home theater projectors, all of which can do better black levels, but the Epson offsets its weakness in that area, with its really good out of the box performance, and brightness. It also offers far more placement flexibility, except of course, its not practical to ceiling mount a projector with a built in DVD player, even if the projector supported ceiling mounting.

 

The Epson MovieMate 72 simply covers all the bases. A good (not great) DVD player in terms of performance, the ability to handle sources all the way up to 1080p, whether from a hi-def external DVD player or your cable/satellite box. Add to that, decent audio and the ability to play music CD’s, while offering the option to plug in a powered sub-woofer to enhance bass, or, instead, get higher quality full 5.1 surround sound via its Digital Audio out, so you can feed the high quality audio signal to a good surround sound audio system.

It is truly a system that the whole family can enjoy, since its overall picture performance is really very respectable, especially color handling. It would be nice to have more extensive color controls, but then again, this combination projector isn’t intended to be the best under $1200 projector around, just a great little home entertainment projection system.

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