I have always wanted a projector for my house because they are a great way to get the big screen experience without having to go to the theater, or pay out big bucks for a super large TV. The reason I have never purchased one is because I would have to take the time, and expense, to setup one of my rooms just for the projector. This really means I would not be able to use the room for anything else. Epson makes this easier with their MovieMate line of projectors which include built-in speakers, and a DVD player.
- Up to 8x larger than a 40″ TV
- Built-in progressive-scan DVD
- Two 10W speakers with microphone input
- Easy setup – plug, load & play
- HDMI connectivity
- Works with game consoles, iPods
One of the best features of a projector is that the screen size is only limited by the size of the room it is in. With the MovieMate 60 it is possible to have a an 80″ widescreen display by placing the projector only 7.8 feet away from the wall, or 120″ display at 11.8 feet.
The MovieMate 60 has a built-in DVD player. This DVD player is progressive scan, so you can expect good output, but as far as I can tell it does not upscale.
The Projector also has two built-in 10W stereo speakers. These speakers are used for playing all the audio from this projector. However, there is also an audio out so that the audio can be sent to better speakers if you have them.
There is no setup required to play movies with the MovieMate 60. Since it contains a DVD player and speakers, it just needs to be plugged in and a movie inserted. However, if you want to display content from another device (like an Xbox or iPod) then the MovieMate 60 includes all the most popular connectors, including HDMI, and USB.
One of the joys about this projector is the simple design. This projector is aimed at individuals that do not have a dedicated theater room, or don’t know how to wire up a DVD player and speaker system, so simplicity is very important.
The front of the MovieMate 60 simply has the projector lens, and the DVD player. This DVD player is of the slot load variety so there are no drawers that might break off. To the right of the DVD slot is the eject button. To the right of the projector lens is an IR port for the remote control.
The top of the projector is where the manual controls, ambient light sensor, and lamp door are located. Starting at the very front is the lens cover which needs to be open or else the projector will not turn on. Just below that is the focus adjustment. Below that is the light sensor which is under a small clear window. The power button is directly below the light sensor and to the right of that is the source button. Pressing the source button starts the projector searching for an active video signal. The next two buttons are Play/Pause and Stop. These two buttons work directly with the built-in DVD player. Next to that are the volume up and down buttons. The right most buttons are all the menu and navigation buttons. Finally to the right of the buttons is the lamp door. The lamp door is very simple to remove because it only has one screw. Inside you can see the lamp, which has another two screws. Once those are removed the lamp lifts up easily for replacement.
The right side has a handle and a intake vent with air filter. The cover and filter are easy to remove and replace.
The left side has the exhaust fan.
The back is where you will find all the connectors and the speakers. The MovieMate 60 has just about any connector you could want. These connectors include Component, Composite, HDMI, VGA, and USB. At the bottom, on either side, are the speakers. There is also an IR port of the back for when you are sitting behind the projector.
The remote is fully featured and well labeled. You will know by reading past reviews that having a poorly labeled remote is a pet peeve of mine. The only feature that I would have wanted to add to the remote is zoom, but it is fairly easy to get to in the menus so it is not a big deal.
So how does it perform? I have been using it for about two weeks now and I think I have tested most of the features. Since this is made for people that don’t have dedicated theater rooms, I tested it in my living room at a distance of 10′ from the wall, at that distance the picture was about 9′ diagonal. I also did not use a screen, instead I displayed it on a normal light colored wall.
Like I said above, setting up the MovieMate 60 is a snap. Because there is only one cord (power) I was able to get a movie going in a matter of minutes. The hardest decision I had to make was finding a suitable place to put the projector so that it would shine directly against the wall. I ended up using a chair from my dining room and then using the feet to adjust the angle. The projector has the ability to adjust the keystone so you don’t have to worry about it being the correct height, however there is no way to compensate if the projected is off to one side, so it is very important that the projector be directly in front of the wall or screen it is shining on.
The projector is very bright, especially in my small living room. I was able to watch several movies and play some games from my Xbox without any trouble. I did notice that during the day, or when I had lights on, the picture would be washed out and it was difficult to see the dark scenes.
With the speakers in the back it is really important that you sit behind the projector if you want to get the best sound. However, in my living room that is difficult because the room is not very large and I wanted the screen to fill up the entire wall, so I had the projector far away from the wall. With this setup the projector was only about 4 feet from the back wall and that makes it very difficult to sit behind.
Even though I could not sit behind the projector the sound from the speakers was still loud in my living room; however, it was not always clear. Because of the small size of the speakers I was not surprised, but I was still a little disappointed. How is anyone suppose to be happy with this if they cannot hear their movies and TV shows clearly. The maximum volume is 40 and I would regularly have it around 35. I think the ability to change the direction of the speakers would be a helpful feature, but so far that is only available on the MovieMate 72.
The projector does have a zoom feature, but by default it is already zoomed out as far as it can go. So for all intents and purposes it only zooms in and this is of little use to me. I was hoping to be able to place the projector closer to the wall so I could sit behind it, and then zoom the picture larger so it would fill up the wall.
Another issue I had to take into consideration is the max resolution of the projector. The max resolution of the MovieMate 60 is only 540p (960 x 540), which does not stretch to 9′ very gracefully. This again emphasizes the fact that you want to sit behind the projector, because the closer you are to the screen, the more pixels you are going to see. For example, with my setup above (9′ diagonal screen size) each pixel was about 1/16 of an inch wide and easily visible. This gives us the projector an effective PPI (pixels per inch) of 16. For comparison sake, my 24″ computer monitor which has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 has a PPI of 94.
As a side thought, I wonder if this projector would work with 3D shutter glasses. I could not find any information about refresh rates, so I don’t know if it meets the 120Hz minimum.
Support and Warranty
The Epson MovieMate 60 includes two years of toll-free, priority technical support, plus a two-year limited warranty and a 90-day limited lamp warranty.
Epson also offers their Preferred Plus Protection plans which will extend service for your projector, and best of all they don’t start until the standard warranty ends. This means if you buy a 1 year extension, you get a total of 3 years of warranty coverage. The cost of these plans is a little high, but if you want the coverage here is how much it will cost:
- 1-Year Extended Depot Repair Service Plan $199.00
- 1-Year Extended Exchange Warranty $299.00
- 2-Year Extended Depot Repair Service Plan $299.00
Overall I am happy with this projector. Yes it is missing a few nice features and the audio and video quality is not the best, but that is how Epson is keeping the price down. With a retail price of $699 ($603 on Amazon), built-in DVD player and speakers, the MovieMate 60 easily falls into the entry level market. Higher resolution projectors with more capabilities can easily cost double or triple this price. The bulb is also reasonably priced, at $159.99, a replacement lamp will not break the bank when it is time for a new one. If you spread that cost over the 4000 hour life span (5000 hours in ECO mode) of the bulb, the cost of the bulb is only $.039 an hour. The Air filter which also needs to be replaced regularly only runs a paltry $13.99.
If you are looking at getting your first projector and you don’t have a dedicated theater room or a huge budget, you should take a look at the MovieMate 60.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|