I'm already a huge fan of DVD-projector combos, so Epson's new LCD-projector MovieMates make me titter like a school girl. The first thing Epson did was solve its size problem with the MovieMate 50. The new one is 63% slimmer than its predecessor—with a built-in handle!—yet still costs $799. But the inevitable shift to high-def has happened earlier than I would have predicted, with the advent of the MovieMate 72.
If you haven't already guessed it, the 72 refers to 720p. It's not a full 1080p, but a big step in the right direction, and at $1,199, hard to pass up. When you're projecting an image 100 inches across, it's all too easy to see the screen-door effect of the pixels from a 480p-resolution chip. The jump to 720p triples the number of pixels. With the requisite internal DVD upscaling, the image remains a lot smoother when you project it big. Also, since there's an HDMI input, you'd be able to play games and watch Blu-ray or HD DVD movies at a much improved resolution too.
Usually Charlie is Gizmodo's main man for projector reviews, but this is one that I'm going to have to commandeer for myself when it's up for a test drive.
From the fact sheet:
EPSON MovieMate 50 - On-the-Go Instant Home Cinema
Smallest footprint of all-in-one projectors on the market, 63% smaller than previous generation
Innovative, sleek black design
Portable - convenient built-in handle
Great home cinema sound (5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS)
Cushioned soft case included
$799 (estimated street price)
EPSON MovieMate 72 - Instant High Definition Home Cinema
World's first high-definition combo projector
True HD 720p resolution with HDMI connector
Unique swivel base for more flexible placement; also has wider lens shift and wider zoom
Powerful audio - four 5W speakers
$1,199 (estimated street price)