Price (RRP): $1,999
A digital projector is a great way to get that cinema experience in the comfort of your own home. The only problem is that projectors are visual devices, so you’ll need to connect a video source and a set of speakers. Unless you plan on running permanent AV cables behind your walls, finding the right lengths of cable that span from your projector, which is generally placed in the middle of the room, to your DVD player and audio components can be a real fuss.
The good news is that you can have an instant home cinema experience with a minium of set-up hassle. All you need is an Optoma MoveTime DV10, a power outlet and a bit of blank wall (although a projector screen will give you the best results). The MovieTime has an integrated DVD player and speakers so it can operate without the need for external devices.
You can still connect to other devices, of course, with its digital optical-out port for sending Dolby and DTS signals to a surround sound system, or use the 3.5 mm audio jack. There are conventional RCA audio-input connectors for playing sound from a games console, computer or digital set-top box through the internal speakers. For displaying video VGA, S-Video and composite connectors are included.
Once plugged in to mains power, all you need to do is drop a DVD into the top-loading player and you can navigate the DVD menus from buttons place around the top of the unit, or with the remote control.
A handy feature is that the MovieTime can play a slideshow of JPEG photos stored on CD or DVD, and play MP3 or WMA music.
Image and projection quality
When it comes to image quality, it’s good to see that 16:9 widescreen is supported, although the panel resolution is standard definition only. This means that while the MovieTime does support high definition TV modes, such as 576p, 720p or 1080i, it doesn’t have the physical pixels needed to create the extra detail.
As for the projection quality itself, the MovieTime’s 4000:1 contrast ratio translates into good detail rendition in darker scenes. Colours are brilliant, and the 1000 ANSI lumens lamp is bright enough to be seen in shady daytime conditions. Pull the curtains closed during the day and you?ll see plenty on screen.
Another contributing factor to the image quality is that as the DVD player is internal, the video signal stays very clean because it doesn’t need to travel through an external cable.
Setting up the picture is fairly easy with the manual zoom and focus ring, plus there’s digital keystone adjustment. The only trouble we had was finding something the right height to rest the projector on to get the image where we wanted it. Also, the MoveTime has a fairly short throw, or minimum distance needed between it and the wall, which is between 1.5 and 4 metres. This is especially handy for small spaces, and it can produce an image stretching out from one metre in diagonal to a whopping 2.93 metres.
The twin 5-watt speakers are loud enough for an intense X-Box session, but don’t give you the room-shaking bass needed for a true cinematic experience. Still, it’s easy to run audio to a set of amplified speakers or surround sound system.
Overall, the MovieTime is a great solution for families who like to get the projector out for a movie night but don’t want the hassle of connecting it to other devices. It’s also handy to take to a friend’s for a big-screen games session, or for an impromptu outdoor cinema night. While you can get high-definition projectors for a similar price, the bonus is the all-in-one home cinema capability.