Epson MovieMate 30 Brings Projectors Home

Sometimes you’ve got to give it up for Epson, which continues to churn out functional devices which don’t last forever, don’t offer all the whiz-bang high-end features, and aren’t going to take home tons of awards from flexibility and usability—but, dang it, they often get the job done just fine without requiring surrender of one’s first-born or a second mortgage. And sometimes, concentrating on new high-end gear gets old.

Along those lines, the company has announced its MovieMate 30, the company’s latest projector, DVD player, and music player combo device. Building on the MovieMate 25, the MovieMate 30 will sport the same silver breadbox design with the addition of a VGA input for improved connectivity with laptops and gaming devices, and an adapter cable which enables users to connect component video like satellite service, high-definition cable, or terrestrial HDTV receivers. The MovieMate 30 offers 3LCD picture quality (one LCD each for red, green, and blue) up to 480p native resolution (so you aren’t going to use this for a videophile setup) and a 16:9 widescreen project with a flexible 1.5× optical zoom so you can project an 80-inch image from a little over six and a half feet away, or throw a 12-foot image up on a wall from 12 feet away. The MovieMate 30’s 1,200 lumens aren’t going to stand up to full sunlight, but should do fine in any reasonably dim room. An integrated JVC DVD player supports standard disc formats, and Epson is also rolling out a new Accolade brand Duet Ultra Portable Projection Screen, which will be offered separately and in bundles with the MovieMate 30: the screen supports sizes up to 80 inches and either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect rations, and can stand free or be mounted to a wall.

“Epson MovieMate combines the ease and convenience of home entertainment with an exciting, high-quality theater experience,” said Lowell Wolf, product manager for Epson America’s Home Entertainment Division, in a statement. “People of all technical levels can enjoy almost any multimedia application with this product whether they’re watching movies and sports, playing video games, viewing digital photos or listening to music. Furthermore, they can do all of this for a price that’s much lower than today’s popular flat screen TVs, but have the added flexibility of projecting images in much larger sizes.”

Oh yes: that price point: $999, due in October, with bundles including the Accolade Duet screen ($249) and a 40-watt subwoofer ($89). Hey, that’s down $200 from the MovieMate 25!