MovieMate 72 by Epson: Home Entertainment Projector System Review - General Performance
There's plenty to cover in this section. These links will allow you to quickly get to any topics of interest to you.
Epson MovieMate 72 Menus
Epson MovieMate 72 User Memory Settings
MovieMate 72 Remote Control
Lens Throw and Lens Shift, Pixel Structure...
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Epson MovieMate 72 Projector Brightness
Epson MovieMate 72 Light Leakage
Epson MovieMate 72 Audible Noise Levels
MovieMate 72 Projector Screen Recommendations
MovieMate 72 Calibration
MovieMate All-In-One Features (at bottom, link to be added)
MovieMate 72 Menus
Unlike most projectors, the MovieMate 72 lacks a comprehensive menu system. Instead it relies on several menus triggered by different buttons on the remote, as well as discrete functions also accessable from the remote control.
The Visual Setup Menu is accessible from the Visual Setup button on the remote. As you can see, it has three sub-menus, Image, shown below, Option, and also an Information menu.
Select the image menu and you can toggle between the usual image settings: Brightness, contrast, color saturation, sharpness, and tint.
The DVD's menu provides information on your DVD or CD or MP3 source. Look at this image of the menu, and you get the idea.
There is also an setup menu for player and audio functions, as shown to the left. The menu shown is from the Audio Setup page. The A menu lets you set language displays for various options.
The Others Setup page handles an assortment from screen saver, and controlling the brightness on the player's display. It also has the projector's password security and disc lock feature. I'll discuss those at the bottom of this page.
The Source button on the projector or the remote, brings up a small menu with a choice of four sources; DVD and USB, HDMI (the highest quality) - and the Epson projector will accept sources with resolution all the way up to 1080p. There is also the Video inputs, and the PC input, which can feed a typical analog computer display signal, or a high quality component video source.
All considered, the menus are rather scattered, and there are no separate red/green/blue controls, but other than that, just about everything's there. I realize that being an all-in-one projector means lots more controls, and I have no problem with separate menus for controlling DVD and Audio, others for general projector functions, but I still think the projector would be friendlier if the menus were consolidated more.
MovieMate 72 User Memory Settings
There are no traditional user savable memory settings. That said, adjust color, brightness, or other features, and the MovieMate 72 will remember them. It's just that you can't pre-define, and save a number of preferred combinations of settings.
MovieMate 72 Projector - Remote Control
The MovieMate 72 certainly has tons of buttons, but that has to be expected, since you are not just controlling a projector, but also a DVD/music player. At least half the buttons relate to the player.
We'll start at the top.
On the top left is the power switch (press once for on, once for off), and next to it is a small switch to toggle the three rows of buttons immediately below, between a numeric keypad and function buttons. There are several reasons for the numeric pad, including directly jumping to a chapter on a DVD or track on a CD, as well as inserting a password as part of the child related security features.
On the top right, is the eject button for the built-in player.
The next three rows have the numeric buttons, which double to bring up functions including: On Screen display of the DVD player data, Repeat options, Program mode (for example you can change the order songs play in on a CD), Surround sound options, Digital zoom in (lets you part of the image - then you can pan around the screen with the arrow keys). There is also a Sleep button which lets you set the desired time before the projector shuts down if nothing is playing. Lastly, there is an aspect ratio button.
Next comes three larger buttons. The left most is your Source Select, which lets you toggle between the internal DVD player, the HDMI input, computer/component video input and USB input. The center button is labeled color mode and toggles you between five preset modes: Dynamic, Living Room, Game, Theater, and Theater Black.
On the right, is the Break button (symbolized by a coffee cup image). Pressing the Break button will stop playing, but have the projector to continue to put light up on your screen, so that the room doesn't remain dark, when you want to get up to do something.
Next comes buttons for controlling the play of the DVD/CD player. You'll find the usual play, reverse, forward, back chapter, forward chapter stop, and pause controls.
Next comes the traditional four arrow keys with center Enter button. Surrounding them are the Top menu button, Menu button, Setup button, and Return button.
Those buttons are primarily for controlling the player, but the arrow keys and enter and return buttons also are used for controlling some projector functions.
As we get to the bottom, there are two large rocker switches, on the left, keystone adjustment, and on the right, volume up/down. In between these is the Visual Setup button, one of the most important, as it lets you toggle through brightness, contrast, sharpness, tint, etc.
Right below that button is the Mute button, which mutes the audio. The next row has Audio, Subtitle, and Angle buttons for the player. And lastly, the bottom most button is Image, which lets you mute the image. This can be used just to blank the screen, but its primary purpose is to turn off the lamp, so that you can listen to music through the system, without wasting lamp hours.
The remote lacks a backlight, and to me, that's always a negative. Most of the buttons are whitish buttons designed to be visible in the dark, but since the buttons themselves aren't labeled, rather the labeling is around the buttons, while you can spot familiar buttons, you'll have to memorize their function since you won't be able to read anything on the remote when the room is dark.
For this type of device - an all-in-one projector, the remote seems reasonably good, backlighting notwithstanding. Buttons are fairly well organized by function, and generally large enough and spaced enough that all but the largest hands should have no problem.
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
Nice! Not only does 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 Projector - Light Leakage
No problems here! The MovieMate 72 is very clean in this regard.
MovieMate 72 Audible Noise Levels
Not bad, not great. 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.
OK, so 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).
So, instead, I might suggest screens from 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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MovieMate 72 Projector Measurements and Calibration
To my best understanding, based on what Epson says about lamp life, the lamp runs at full power except in Theater Black mode. There is no separate low lamp (eco) mode, or high lamp mode that is user selectable. As a result there is only one set of numbers for each mode. The Game mode is only available if you are running an outside source so no measurements for that mode, since I had my calibration disc in the internal player.
The MovieMate 72's best mode is Theater Black, overall color balance out of the box was really very good, close to the ideal 6500K. That's a good thing, since there's no way to adjust grayscale except for the tint control and that is not really going to help. The grayscale balance out of the box is in the range of an acceptable grayscale calibration, which is to say don't worry about it. The color temperature, overall, is a little low, but not by much.
Theater Black Mode:
White (100 IRE): 6213K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6182K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6111K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6504K
And, as no suprise, Theater Black made for very enjoyable movie viewing.
Theater mode was a suprise, I expected a brighter version of Theater Black, with similar color balance, but it turns out that Theater is better balanced for TV viewing from a color temperature standpoint. Note that it is cool (bluish) in the brighter ranges then slightly warm in the darker grays:
MovieMate 72 Theater Mode:
White (100 IRE): 8584K
Light gray (80 IRE): 7835K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 7104K
Low gray (30 IRE): 7152K
Living Room Mode was well set up for TV viewing, and, as with the theater modes the green was very close to ideal as well.
MovieMate 72 Living Room Mode:
White (100 IRE): 8557K
Light gray (80 IRE): 8294K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 7871K
Low gray (30 IRE): 7930K
Dynamic mode was rather warm in color, with green boosted way up, as is not unusual for dynamic modes on projectors, as it's a good way to boost lumens to cut through ambient light. As is also normal, you'll save Dynamic mode for when you really need it, because it is not a color accurate mode.
White (100 IRE): 5865K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6263K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6424K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6404K
Epson, has really done a good job on setting up the MovieMate 72's modes. There really isn't anything to do, but set it up, and start enjoying the really big screen experience.
MovieMate 72 Image Noise
On content from its internal DVD player, image noise was not bad, but hardly exceptional. Using the Silicon Optix HQV test disc, background image noise was a bit noisy, a minor compromise. It was also not spectacular on jaggie tests, scoring only Fair (out of Good, Fair, Fail), however on the other jaggie test of the waving US flag, the jaggies were very hard to spot. Let's say better would be nicer, but very acceptable. On the motion artifact test the Epson is a little slow adapting, so with the right content such as panning across stadium seats, you may notice the motion artifacts briefly. Again, while a flaw, not a big one, although this was the worst of the performance.
I also fed the Epson MovieMate the test on the HQV 1080 resolution disc, but this time outputting 1080p from my Playstation 3, and just letting the Epson downscale to 720p. The Epson looked great in all cases, with the source from the PS3. Bottom line, the so-so image noise performance seems to be tied to the DVD player, rather than the projector overall. For an all-in-one projector, this is about as good as it gets, however the internal DVD produces less desirable results than most stand alone 720p projectors, with a decent external DVD player. That said, there are a couple of well known stand alone 720p projectors that fare no better!
MovieMate 72 Projector All-In-One Features
Let's start with some of the practical security features. First, there is a password function that you can use to lock out the kids. Set password by using the numeric function on the remote. There is also a disc lock. The MovieMate 72 is smart enough to allow you to lock up to 40 titles requiring a password. That way you can keep your kids from watching your R and (if you dare) X-rated flicks.
The MovieMate 72 has 4 five watt speakers and they do a respectable job, providing plenty of volume even for my large viewing room. It's not the highest of fidelity, but very good for an all-in-one. Get yourself a small powered sub-woofer if you want to do a little room shaking, the Epson has an output for one. Epson was making one for the Moviemate 30s/33s models, but I don't know if it is available at most dealers. There are, though any number of third party sub-woofers you can choose from out there.
The MovieMate can not only play standard DVDs, but also music CD's Video CDs and MP3 files. In addition, through the USB ports, you can play music and video files, even hook up your iPod or video iPod. Very versatile.