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Epson MovieMate 85HD Video Projector/DVD Player Combination - Product Review

Introduction

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Epson MovieMate 85HD LCD Video Projector/DVD Player Combination - Front View with Accessories

Epson MovieMate 85HD LCD Video Projector/DVD Player Combination - Front View with Accessories

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Epson MovieMate 85HD is one of a class of video projectors that include a built-in DVD player. The projector section utilizes 3LCD technology with 1280x800 (approx 720p) native resolution. All DVDs played in the projector's built-in DVD player are projected in 720p. The 85HD also has both an HDMI and microphone input (for Karaoke or presentations), and also has both built-in speakers and digital audio output (for connection to a home theater audio system). The 85HD is easy to use, making it great for novice users. After reading this review, check out my Photo Gallery and Video Performance Tests.

Product Overview

Features of the Epson MovieMate 85HD include the following:

1. 3LCD Video Projector with (1280x800) 720p native pixel resolution, 16x9 and 4x3 aspect ratio compatible.

2. Light output: up to 2,500 Lumens, Contrast Ratio: up to 3,000:1, Lamp life: Up to 5,000 hours.

3. Optical zoom ratio: 1.2:1, Keystone Correction: Vertical +/- 30 degrees. Projected image size: 33 to 318 inches.

4. Fan Noise: 29db (ECO mode), 33db (Normal Mode).

5. Built-in speakers (2 speakers - 5 wpc amplifier), headphone jack.

6. Progressive scan DVD player included (upscaled to 720p by video projector for screen display), Region Code 1, DVD Video, DVD-R/RW, DVD+ R/RW, DVD Audio, CD-R/RW, DVD-VR (without CPRM), Audio CD, MP3 (CD/DVD), WMA (CD/DVD), JPEG, and Dual Disc playback compatible.

7. NTSC/PAL/480p/720p/1080i/1080p60/1080p24 input compatible.

8. Additional inputs: Composite, Component, HDMI, VGA, USB, and Microphone input for Karaoke or educational/business presentations.

9. Outputs: Headphone jack, Digital Coaxial output for accessing Dolby Digital/DTS with a home theater receiver.

10. Unit dimensions: 13.2(W) x 9.4(D) x 5.4(H) inches; Weight: 9.3 lbs.

11. Wireless remote control included.

12. Carrying Bag included.

13. Suggested Price: $899.

Hardware Used

The additional home theater hardware used in this review included:

Additional Source Components: OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc player, Helios H4000 DVD Player.

Home Theater Receivers: Onkyo TX-SR705, Harman Kardon AVR147.

Epson MovieMate 85HD LCD Video Projector/DVD Player Combination - Lens Controls

Epson MovieMate 85HD LCD Video Projector/DVD Player Combination - Lens Controls

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 1 (7.1 channels): 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , 2 Polk R300s, Klipsch Synergy Sub10.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 2 (5.1 channels): EMP Tek E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

DVDO EDGE Video Scaler used for upscaling comparison.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Cobalt, and AR Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used.

Software Used

The software used in this review included the following titles:

Blu-ray Discs (played using the OPPO BDP-83 via HDMI) used included scenes from: Across The Universe, Avatar (2D), Hairspray, Iron Man 1&2, Kick Ass, Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, Sherlock Holmes, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, and Transporter 3.

Standard DVDs used included scenes from: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Moulin Rouge, and V For Vendetta.

For audio only, CDs included: HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Lisa Loeb - Firecracker, Queen - News of the World, The Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite.

Setup and Installation

The MovieMate 85HD is easy to set up and use.

After setting up a screen, position the unit on a table or rack at the optimal distance from the screen or white wall. Note: The 85HD does not have a ceiling mount option.

Next, plug in the power cord and turn power on via the the projector or remote. You will see the Epson logo on the screen in about 10 seconds.

You can now raise/lower the projector front using the adjustable feet, adjust the image angle on the projection screen using Keystone correction via onscreen menu or remote control, and use the manual zoom/focus controls.

The 85HD will search for an active source. You can also access sources manually.

Video Performance

To start off, the Epson MovieMate 85HD has a 1280x800 native pixel resolution. This allows the projector to display an upscaled image from standard DVDs played on the onboard DVD player. In addition, all incoming signals connected by the provided composite, components, and HDMI inputs are either scaled up or down in order match the projector's 1280x800 projection resolution.

I was also able to view true high-def images from either an external Blu-ray Disc player, via the MovieMate's Component or HDMI inputs (scaled to 720p). The external Blu-ray input images looked better than the upscaled standard DVDs accessed from the onboard DVD player.

Also, I found that the projector section can display an 80-inch image at the relatively short distance of about 6-feet (the 85HD can project larger images). In addition, the 85HD has a Keystone control (see photo) that allowed me to adjust the geometry of the image on the screen to compensate for excessive upward or downward projector angle. The MovieMate 85HD also has adjustable feet in front of the projector to raiser or lower the projector in relation to the screen.

Epson MovieMate 85HD LCD Video Projector/DVD Player Combination - Onboard Controls

Epson MovieMate 85HD LCD Video Projector/DVD Player Combination - Onboard Controls

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
In addition to a large image, I found the color to be accurate. However, as will be detailed later in this review, although projector brightness was very good, contrast was not exceptional.

With 2,500 maximum lumens output capability (it must be noted that the average lumen output is lower than the stated output, as it is with almost all video projectors), the Epson MovieMate 85HD projects an image of exceptional brightness. However, as result of increased brightness, the black level/contrast range is not as good as most dedicated home theater projectors.

On the other hand, the increased lumens output of the 85HD does allow more flexibility in terms of differing room lighting environments, such as classrooms or meeting rooms where ambient light may be present.

Where the MovieMate 85HD is a little weak on, is deninterlacing (480i to 480p conversion) and scaling. When putting the through the paces of the Silicon Optix (now IDT) HQV DVD Benchmark Test Disc, it did well on the color bar, resolution, and detail portions of the test, but did below average on jaggie, complex motion (flag waving), noise reduction, and frame cadence tests.

This means, depending on the native resolution of the source and its image content, you may notice some edge and motion artifacts. However, the video performance of the 85HD was comparable to other projectors I have seen in this price range that don't also include a built-in DVD player or speakers, which adds value to the 85HD. Check out a closer look at the video performance tests.

Proceed to Page 2 - Audio Performance and Final Take

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