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All-In-One Home Entertainment Projectors

Posted on March 12, 2007 by Art Feierman

All-in-One Projector Overview

Definition: All-in-ones, typically have built in sound systems (at least 2 speakers), an optional (or included) subwoofer, and an optional or included (almost always built-in) DVD player.

Because there are so few All-in-ones (so far, but it should be a growing market), I'll mention most of them first:

Radioshack Ciengo - perhaps the first to hit the market, bult in DVD and speakers
Optoma MovieTime DV10 - very popular, DLP projector - usually bundled with subwoofer and screen, built in DVD
Optoma MovieTime DV11 - a redesigned home entertainment projector to replace the MovieTime DV10 in the 2nd quarter of 2007
Epson MovieMate 30s/33s - recently replaced the older MovieMate 25, built in speakers, and DVD (MovieMate 30s). Moviemate 33s, is same projector, plus subwoofer and dual aspect ratio, Duet tripod screen

Toshiba ET-20 - a new entry - claim to fame is that it has a very, very, short throw lens so can be placed only a few feet back from the screen (or white wall). Speakers built in, DVD player is technically optional, but I expect it will be hard to find the ET20 without the DVD player. Note, 3M also offers an all-in-one, that is essentially identical to the Toshiba ET-20.

All-in-one Home Entertainment Projectors

Best In Class Toshiba ET20
Runner-up MovieTime DV10
Special Interest Epson MovieMate 33s

Toshiba ET20 Home Entertainment Projector

Click to Enlarge. So close.

I just finished reviewing the ET20. While it may not be the ultimate in performance (none of these is a hands down winner in picture quality). In my opinion, the Toshiba is the common sense purchase of the group. When I first unboxed the ET20, I already knew it had a very, very short lens throw (it sits much, much closer to screen than the others). That is a real plus for most buyers of all-in-one home entertainment projector systems because almost anyone can setup a small table near their screen, screen wall, or any old white wall. Positioning a projector further back is normally more challenging for most rooms, and especially for people who plan to use an all-in-one home theater projector in multiple rooms.

Click Image to Enlarge

As soon as I powered it up, I popped in a "Boston Legal" DVD, and kicked back to watch. It just really worked great! I had partial room lighting on, and it did just fine. It's pixels, when filling my 106 inch diagonal Carada screen, were barely visible from 8 feet back, and quickly forgotten. Overall picture quality was both very good and natural looking, although for movies, a bit too "cool". That is, it would be better if reds were a bit

MovieTime DV10 All-in-One Home Entertainment Projector: The MovieTime DV10's key strength over the Epson lies with its DLP engine. As a 480p DLP projector, pixels are going to be slightly visible at normal seating distances, however with LCD 480p projectors like the Epson, the pixels are blatantly visible, and a real distraction for many. That was the deciding factor, essentially it wins in terms of image quality. The DV10 is also well equipped in terms of inputs, and it has a stronger matching subwoofer than the Epson. In addition, the Optoma makes for a nice system to move around - from room to room, or take it on vacation. The weakness of the DV10 compared to the Toshiba ET20 lies in positioning it, and the need for a separate subwoofer to do any decent bass at all. On the plus side, the color accuracy of the DV10 for movie viewing is adjustable to be better than the Toshiba.This image is from "I, Robot" (standard DVD) is from the DV10 review.

Epson MovieMate 30s/33s Home Entertainment Projector

I love just about everything about this new Moviemate - except the highly visible pixels. Some may not care, but I just can't get past the pixel structure when trying to watch movies. I guess I'm hung up on the "can't see the forest through the trees" mentality.

The Epson is extremely well built, like the Toshiba, with a much more solid feel than the Optoma MovieTime DV10 (although the prototype DV11 seems to have a significant build quality improvement over the DV10), and the Optoma supports more inputs, including computer an component video, not supported on the earlier Moviemate 25. On the downside for the Epson, it is big and bulky (some have said it looks about the size of a small Microwave oven - wasn't me, though), making it less suitable for folks who want to move it around, or set it up and take it down frequently. The Epson is similar to the Optoma also in that they both have a small subwoofer for it. The Epson, therefore has the advantage of better bass than the Toshiba. The image on the right, taken using the MovieMate, is from "Phantom of the Opera" on HD-DVD.

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