Thursday, December 15, 2005

Projector vs. Plasma

My parents were recently looking to buy a new TV/video set-up, primarily for watching DVDs, and they went a slightly unusual route: they bought a digital projector.

I think it's a fantastic way to go. The picture quality is equal to--and often surpasses--plasma TV. The screen size is definitely much larger. And the cost is much cheaper.

They went with the Epson MovieMate which projects onto the 92" screen it comes with. The Epson MovieMate retails at about $1100-1200. It comes with a DVD player, a decent 2.1 sound system and a screen. Plasma screens aren't even made that size, but if they were, the cost would be at least $3000 plus mounting plus installation plus sound system plus DVD player.

And as every movie buff knows, there's just something ineffable, something RIGHT about a projected image, that just makes you say: Now I am watching a movie just like in the theater.

Right now, (although I'm pretty broke) I have my eye on the Infocus ScreenPlay 4805 Digital Projector. It retails at about $999, but you can pick it up, factory refurbished, on E-bay for about $700. I hope they come down in price even more. Customer ratings are high on opinion sites and message boards: it's practically a cult.

Almost any multimedia projector--such as the ones businesses use for Powerpoint presentations--can be hooked into a DVD player, but many--such as the Infocus or the Epson MovieMate--are made specifically for home theater use.

If you're considering buying a new plasma TV, I highly suggest you start exploring the idea of digital projectors as well. It's a mystery to me why plasma TVs (expensive, costly to install) are so much more well-known and desirable than digital projectors (less expensive, simple to set up).

I'm doing some house-sitting for my folks over the weekend, and they've invited me to watch movies on their system, so I'll be able to offer a full review of the Epson MovieMate in an up-coming post.

[Note: Read that later review here.]

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