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TEST BENCH

Epson MovieMate 25 RadioShack Cinego D-1000 Optoma MovieTime DV10
COLOR TEMPERATURE Theater mode Video preset Cinema mode, color temperature set to 0, before/after calibration
Low window(30-IRE) 6,919 K 12,244 K 12,588/6,590 K
High window(80-IRE) 8,386 K 9.997 K 11,083/6,585 K
BRIGHTNESS(100-IRE window) 10 ftL 9.6 ftL 11.3/9 ftL (before/after calibration)

Epson MovieMate 25 Like most TVs, Epson's MovieMate 25 projector had a blue cast out of the box, though the darker end of the grayscale was closer to the 6,500-K standard than the brighter end. Because it has no color controls, I was unable to calibrate the color temperature. While measuring slightly brighter than the Optoma and RadioShack, the Epson was still dimmer than many home theater front projectors, yet on par with most movie theaters.

Color decoding was fairly accurate. I measured +5% red from the internal DVD player on the Avia DVD's color-decoder-error test pattern. Overscan was good, checking in at 4% - well within the safe range. The Epson showed slightly more distortion in its lens than the Optoma, but it was visible only in test patterns and not noticeable on DVDs or TV. The pronounced screen-door effect was noticeable on all program material, but this is typical of lower-resolution LCD projectors at large screen sizes. The screen included with the projector measured slightly brighter than our test screen (14.2 ftL), but that did not adversely effect the picture's color temperature.

RadioShack Cinego D-1000 RadioShack's Cinego D-1000 had an extremely blue cast out of the box. Unfortunately, like the Epson, it doesn't offer controls to calibrate the color temperature. In contrast to the Epson, the Cinego was noticeably bluer on the darker end of the grayscale. Brightness was a little low for a front projector, but similar to what you'd find at the local cinema.

Color decoding wasn't perfect either. It showed +10% red on the Avia DVD's color-decoder-error test pattern both from the internal DVD player as well as our reference DVD player through the component-video input. Overscan, however, was excellent, a mere 2% from all sources. With the lens zoomed to its widest, there was a minor bowing of straight lines in geometry test patterns from the Sencore signal generator and the Digital Video Essentials DVD. But this distortion wasn't visible in any normal material.

Optoma MovieTime DV-10 The only projector/DVD combo of the bunch with color controls, Optoma's MovieTime certainly benefited from calibration. The picture went from extremely blue to within 100 K of the 6,500-K standard at both ends of the grayscale. I was able to get very similar color-temperature performance from the internal DVD player (using Video Essentials as a source) and the component-video inputs (with our Sencore signal generator as the source). The post-calibration brightness was on the low side for a front projector but matches what you'd find in a real movie theater. (Calibration needs to be performed by a qualified technician, so discuss it with your dealer before purchase or contact the Imaging Science Foundation at imagingscience.com or 561-997-9073.)

The color decoder could be better. The DV-10 measured +5% green and -10% red on the Avia color-decoder-error test pattern from both the internal DVD player and our reference player through the component-video input. Overscan measured an impressive 3%. Also, the lens showed very little distortion, with only a very slight bowing of straight lines toward the edges of geometry test patterns. This distortion was not visible in normal program material.

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