From a placement standpoint, to fill the included 100" diagonal screen, the projector can be as close as 9.8 feet, and as far back as 20.9 feet (measured from screen, to the front of the lens).
There is more than ample lens shift, so that the system can be wall mounted or ceiling mounted. When ceiling mounted, the center of the lens can be up to almost 23 inches above the top of the screen surface, so, even in a room, with relatively high (normal) ceilings, such as a 10 foot ceiling, the projector cradle can be mounted just about flush with the ceiling. If shelf mounted, it can be anywhere, again, from that far above the screen to even below the bottom of the screen (although no one is going to mount it really low).
The built in DVD player is just that, a basic SD-DVD player, not a Blu-ray player. Some will be unhappy with that, but I don't see why, when you consider Epson has been working on the design of this system,since long before the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD war were decided. Fortunately, the AV Controller has 2 HDMI inputs, and the first thing I did upon completion of the installation, was to plug in a Sony PS3 into one of them so I could watch my Blu-ray movies. Since my Blu-ray player is outboard, and firmware upgradable off the internet, that likely will work out much better for most people. Had Epson put in a basic Blu-ray player, it almost certainly would not have had the performance, or the upgradability of the PS3.
The built in DVD player supports a healthy assortment of DVDs and CDs, including:
- SD-DVD (standard format DVDs)
- Recordable DVD (DVD-R format)
- Standard CD
- CD-R and CD-RW
- Data CDs with jpg MP3 and WMA files
On the other hand, the player cannot play SACD or DVD-Audio, DVD-RW and several other formats. In other words, it plays what I have listed, but no other formats.
I better mention it again, before it is forgotten. The AV Controller also has an AM/FM tuner, although I've never tried it, as I've got something like 60 music channels on my cable, (which happens to be plugged into the 2nd HDMI port). Down here, by the beach in San Clemente, CA, half way between LA and San Diego, reception leaves much to be desired anyway!
The AV Controller is primarily controlled with the remote control (we will explore than in the General Performance section). It does have a couple of controls right on the unit, though. There is a Power button on the left, five small buttons in the center in a row. On the left is Source select, then the DVD controls: Play/Pause, Back Chapter, Forward Chapter, Stop, and Eject. To the right of all that, is a large volume dial (backlit in LED blue - like the power button), when the unit is on. The power button is orange when off, the volume dial doesn't light when off.
Low on the front left, are a headphone jack, the Audio 2 input (convenient), and the USB input.
There are a good selection of inputs on the back- both video and audio. No actual photo at this time, as we never photographed the back of the A/V Controller, before installation. I did, however take a picture of the drawing in the manual - it's not great:
Video inputs: HDMI 1 and HDMI 2, Component Video, S-Video, and of course Composite video. There is also an input for a USB flash drive (want to watch pictures from your digital camera? - No problem).
Audio inputs: As you would expect, there is also a full complement of audio inputs. Remember HDMI ports provide audio as well as digital video. In addition, there is a Coaxial audio port, and a Digital Optical port, as well as stereo audio labeled Analog audio for the audio for the composite or S-video inputs. There is also an additional stereo audio input simply labled Audio In, which can be used for an iPod, MP3 player, or other audio only device.
Tuner inputs: There is the traditional 75 ohm coaxial input for the FM tuner, and the standard two connectors for the AM tuner.