Epson Unveils Slim MovieMate 50 and High-Def MovieMate 72 DVD Projectors (First HDMI/720p All-in-One)

Illustration for article titled Epson Unveils Slim MovieMate 50 and High-Def MovieMate 72 DVD Projectors (First HDMI/720p All-in-One)

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.

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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)

DISCUSSION

TurboFool
TurboFool

It's actually designed to sit in the middle, in front of the viewer. The sound is surprisingly good, but the focus of this unit is mostly in its portability. While it CAN be mounted and hooked up to better systems, the idea is to have a very simple setup you can move from room to room, just plug in, and use. With that in mind, having built-in speakers is a MUST. If you're going to hardwire it, though, then obviously you'd be installing good speakers. In that way it covers both needs.

Anyway, I've played with the MovieMate line a lot, and they're pretty impressive machines. One thing not noted in this article that I noticed in another article is that these are apparently DivX-certified. I don't have that confirmed yet, but if true, that would also be a great bonus.

The black design also fits home theater components better than the white, but they may have an options like they do with their PowerLite projectors, as for some people if it's going to sit in the middle of their living room a white design might look better.