Epson MovieMate 72 All-In-One Home Theater Projector Review: Overview
MovieMate 72 Lens Throw and Lens Shift
The 1.5:1 zoom lens (as noted in the physical tour section), allows the projector (measured from the front) to be as close as 8.1 feet, or as far back as 12.2 feet from a 100″ sized diagonal screen. This is a little shorter throw than most projectors, making it practical for many to place the projector in front of the seating area. Note, if your screen area is larger or smaller than 100″ diagonal, you can easily calculate the distances, using my numbers above. (i.e. an 80″ diagonal screen would have closest and furthest away distances that are 80% of the numbers I’ve published for the 100″ screen).
Sporting vertical and horizontal lens shift separates the MovieMate 72 from most all-in-one projectors (except other Epson models). This lets you move the image up or down so that the image is at the right height for your screen. With a vertical range of 50%, that means that the bottom of the image still can’t be as high as the lens. For a 100″ diagonal screen, the screen height is about 49 inches. Thus the 50% means you can move the image up, or down about 24.5 image. The neutral point would have the lens even with the middle (top to bottom) of the screen.
Many people, however, will want to place the projector low. This will require a low screen, or more likely, using maximum vertical lens shift, plus tilting the projector. Tilting it will mean the image becomes trapizoidal, which can be corrected with the keystone correction. However, for best image quality, we frown upon using keystone correction, so I advise not using it unless the keystoning is significant. Horizontal lens shift has even less range – 25% of screen width. This will allow the projector to sit slightly to the side. Unlike the image in the manual, however, you really can’t place the projector outside the width of the screen. It will however, on that 100″ screen (87 inches wide), allow you to move the projector about 22 inches to either side of center.
MovieMate 72 SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
Since Epson’s MovieMate 72 is a 3LCD device, there is no rainbow effect. As far as Screendoor effect (SDE), it is a typical 720p resolution LCD device, so if you sit too close, you’ll see the pixel structure, and if way too close, the screen door effect. I’ll quote my usual, in that to have pixels to the point of invisibility that you only really just spot them on movie credits and overlayed graphics (such as the stats in a sports broadcast), then you’ll want to be about 1.5 times screen width. For that 100″ screen, the width is 87 inches, so that would be about 130 inches or about 11 feet. Most people don’t mind sitting a bit closer than that. But if you have a screen area that size, and sit 6-8 feet away, you are going to be able to spot pixels without trying.
MovieMate 72 Projector Brightness
This Epson all-in-one projector produce true HD resolution, but has an impressive amount of muscle. The darkest, best mode, Theater Black, manages to crank out 566 lumens. Remember most projectors produce between 300 and 600 lumens in best mode, so the MovieMate is brighter than most.
The Theater mode, which I expected to be brighter, produced an almost identical 567 lumens.
Living Room Mode provided 949 lumens, and that’s very good.
When you need every last ounce of power, though, Dynamic mode measured a wall melting 1664 lumens making it brighter than all but a couple of stand alone 720p projectors, and far brighter than any other combination projector.
MovieMate 72 Audible Noise Levels
Claiming a range of 28 db (I’ll assume that is Theater Black only), and 32 db, that makes it about typical for most DLP projectors, and a little noisier than most LCD models. I might note that Epson has typically built home theater projectors with this type of noise levels (average), whereas, traditionally, most LCD projectors are a bit quieter. I don’t see these nolse levels as a problem for this type of product. (If they were, I’d really have a problem with a number of $3000 – $10,000 projectors that are just as noisy).
Again, this is a typical LCD projector, in terms of audible noise.
MovieMate 72 Projector Screen Recommendations
First you’ve got to decide whether you’ll be using a screen, or just a wall (as is not uncommon for people with all-in-ones, as they tend to move from room to room, travel on vacations, or end up in the back yard for a movie). If you plan to use a wall, I sure hope your wall is a fairly neutral white, or off white. Otherwise, you’ll be working the Tint control to try to compensate. Certainly, for best picture quality, you’ll want a screen, or at least a pretty neutral white wall.
Now, assuming you are buying a screen, your first decision is whether you want a portable screen that you can move with the projector, or if you want a fixed wall screen, pull-down, or motorized screen for those that have one room in mind for most usage.
you plan to get a screen, and based on your usage, have figured out whether its portable, etc. Next, what type of screen? High contrast gray surface screens can help reject side lighting and that can be a big plus for a projector that moves around a bit, or, even more likely ends up in rooms that cannot be fully darkened. Those HC gray screens will cost you a few lumens, but the Epson has lumens to spare unless you are planning on a huge screen (like 120″ diagonal). The other benefit of those HC gray screens is they lower visible black levels, and that’s a plus for those really into picture quality while watching movies. Thus, for serious viewing or rooms with ambient light issues, I’ll recommend a HC gray surface. The MovieMate 72 did well on my Stewart Firehawk (HC Gray), although that screen is not a reasonable match, financially, for the MovieMate (most configurations of Firehawks cost at least as much as the Moviemate, and can be several times that).
Elite, Da-lite or other more moderately priced screens. Elite, in particular has a wide range of very inexpensive screens in HC gray, including motorized ones, pull-downs, pull-ups and fixed wall. Da-lite is a better known name, and the largest US screen company (US built screens – believe it or not), has a long standing reputation, but costs a chunk more than Elite screens. There are other brands out there as well – Draper, Vutec, etc.
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