Epson MovieMate 30s, 33s Projector Review - General Performance
User Memory Settings
Lens Throw and Lens Shift
Audible Noise Levels
Lamp Life and Replacement
Projector Screen Recommendations
Epson MovieMate 30s Menus
Well, this is EASY. The MovieMate 30s basically doesn't have the tradtional menu structure found on most projectors, And, there is no menu button on the remote either (other than those for DVD control). There is, however, a picture quality button on the remote, that does bring up in sequence the key image controls - brightness, contrast, color saturation, and tint. Separately, there is also a Setup button which does provide for a few basic features, such as "menu language" subtitle language, subtitle off/on, and similar type options for audio, and the DVD player.
There is also the selecting from the four picture presets - a button on the remote toggles you through the four presets: Theater Dark, Theater, Living Room, and Dynamic.
Epson MovieMate 30s User Memory Settings
Surprise - no user savable settings either - however, if you are in a preset, and change the brightness, staturation, etc., it will remember those savings until the next time you change them.
Epson MovieMate 30s Remote Control
Now here's something I can think my teeth into. The Epson remote has zillions of buttons. It's not that they are extravagent, it's just an "all in one" so you've not only got the basic projector controls, but also the sound system and DVD player as well.
Although some of the remote buttons do glow in the dark, they sure don't glow bright enough. Forgetting layout for the moment, this remote just has too many buttons not to have most of them backlit. Maybe next year's version. (We can only hope!)
Well, since there are so many buttons, I better get started. The top left, in red is the power button (one for on, one for off). Opposite it, is the DVD player's door (open/close). Now in between is an interesting switch, labeled Func and alternately 123.
In the Function mode, the buttons in the next 3 rows, perform as the labels around them indicate, but in 123, the buttons now become numerics - 1 thru 0, plus +10, suitable for selecting track 13, or whatever.....
In Function mode these 12 buttons pick up a number of functions, including On Screen, Sleep mode, aspect ratio (wide/normal), Color Mode (the presets), Dimmer (lights on the DVD player's led display, Repeat, Sound mode (surround, etc.,) DVD level, as well as a Cancel button ,Play mode, progressive and playback options. You should be able to download the manual from Epson's site, if you want to explore these functions further - just too many details to tackle here.
The next row has larger buttons (glow in the dark), the first on the left is the source select. It toggles between DVD, Video input, and "computer". Computer seems intelligent enough - when I hooked up my HD-DVD player via component video - into the computer input, it immediately grabbed the source correctly. Next to the source is the "coffee break" button. (Mutes audio and video), and on the right, Image Off (use to save the lamp life, when you are just playing music and not using the projector).
Right below them, nicely grouped are the transport buttons for the DVD player. I should note that the fast forward and fast reverse buttons go from 2X speed to 5X to 10X and then back to 2X. On the Moviemate itself, there are only the chapter forward/back, but if you hold them down, you can control the 2X, 5X and 10X, speeds.
Moving further down, the usual DVD controls for Top and regular MENU. Under them the typical four arrow keys and center Enter button. Then there are a Setup, and Return button as well.
Right below is the audio section with volume up/down, treble, mute, etc., and also the DVD's subtitle and angle buttons.
Finally, the bottom row, 4 small buttons - the left one displays info, the 2nd one lets you toggle through the image settings (as mentioned above), and the two on the right let you adjust those settings (+ and -).
Epson MovieMate 30s Lens Throw and Lens Shift
With a 1.5:1 zoom lens, and both vertical and horizontal lens shift, the MovieMate is extremely flexible when it comes to placing it in your room. About the only downside, as I mentioned in the physical tour, is that the projector can't be placed singnificantly below the bottom of the screen, but rather anywhere from a few inches below to a few inches above the top of the screen. That means it will even work on a shelf!
The front of the projector can be as close to their 80" screen as 6.6 feet, or as far back as 9.9 feet.
Epson MovieMate 30s Light Leakage
No issues here.
Epson MovieMate 30s Audible Noise Levels
In the MovieMate's Theater Black mode, the lamp runs in low power mode, and the projector is quieter than the vast majority of home theater projectors out there. Even in the other three modes (Dynamic, Living Room, and Theater), where the fan is louder, the Epson is about average in noise level. For a projector more designed for a family room than a dedicated home theater, these noise levels should be more than acceptable. Epson claims less than 26db in Theater Dark, and less than 33db in full power.
Epson MovieMate 30s Projector Brightness
Epson has always had the bad habit (or maybe I should say good habit) of actually producing projectors that exceed Epson's brightness claims. In an industry over the last 10+ years where many projectors measure only 75 to 85% of claim, Epson's traditionally beat their specs. This is true of the MovieMate, and that extra brightness is one of the MovieMate 30s's real strengths.
I measured the MovieMate in each of its preset modes. (Remember there is no way to toggle the lamp from full power to low power, but it goes down to low power automatically in Theater Dark mode.
So here goes: The MovieMate is officially rated 1200 lumens by Epson
Dynamic Mode: 1386 lumens (that's a full 15% above published spec)
Livingroom Mode: 1046 lumens - overall color accuracy improves, and you still have plenty of lumens:
Theater Mode: 624 lumens
Theater Black Mode: 508 lumens (still brighter than most home theater projectors in their "best" image quality mode.
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Here are small images of the four preset modes - with the exposure the same for all 4 so you can see the difference in relative brightness. To make things more interesting, there is a significant amount of ambient light on in the room, including some daylight through the window, plus 4 overhead recessed lamps (see that image first). The screen is on the opposite wall
Starting with Dynamic (the brightest):
Just to give you an idea of the differences between the modes (in terms of contrast/black levels), the first image below is the Theater Black mode (Epson's best), the second - is the same frame, with my best attempt to get the same exposure (dynamic turned out a touch brighter - sorry):
Overall, the Epson MovieMate 30s is a very bright projector - better suited for wrestling with some ambient light in your family or bonus room, than most projectors that cost a lot more. Note, for measurement purposes the zoom lens was set about in the middle of its range, so you may expect in full "wide angle" (largest possible image from a given distance), to actually see lumens increase by 15-20%, from those measured.
Epson MovieMate 30s Lamp Life and Replacement
Epson rates its lamp at 2000 hours at full power (all modes but Theater Black), and 3000 hours in Theater Black mode. The lamp is user replaceable, with the door on the top, and the release for the lamp door on the top left side (if you are facing the lens). Very straight forward.
Projector Screen Recommendations
Most people I suspect, will end up buying the MovieMate 33s, which comes with the subwoofer and screen, so, for them, the 80" (at 16:9 aspect ratio) screen size will work very well, and will be very bright.
Others will just shine it on a wall. Certainly the MovieMate, in a darkened room, can handle a screen size of up to 130" diagonal!
If you need to buy a screen, and want one bigger than the Epson Duet, I would recommend a matte white surface (like the Duet) as a good complement. I could suggest an HC grey surface to improve black levels, but, those seriously concerned with black levels, aren't likely to be buying this projector anyway. If you really want to crank out lumens, consider a higher gain screen - Carada's Brilliant White 1.4 gain), or even brighter products like Optoma's Greyhawk (1.8 gain) or Da-Lite's HiPower surface 2.8 gain.. Once you get above about 1.5 gain, your viewing angle will start deteriorating rapidly, but - if you need the gain, and it works in your room.... go for it!
Meanwhile, the MovieMate works just fine with the Duet!
MovieMate 30s projector - Calibration
Nothing to calibrate, basically, however for those of you curious, here are the color temperature measurements for white (100 IRE) for each of the four preset modes:
Living Room: 8093K
Theater Black: 7012K
Epson MovieMate 30s Image Noise
Nothing to complain about here, the MovieMate did pretty well, overall, on the HQV test disk, and was particularly good on the jaggies tests.