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RadioShack DLP on the go

The Short Form
RADIOSHACK.COM / 800-843-7422 / $1,300 / 11.75 x 4.125 x 10.25 IN / 7.5 LBS
•Simple setup. •Decent stereo imaging.
•Unnatural color. •Limited zoom-lens range.
Key Features
•$1,300 •HD-compatible component-video input •854 x 480-pixel DLP light engine •Built-in DVD player •Stereo speakers and outboard bass module
Key Features
Color temperature was extremely blue from all sources. A +10% red color-decoder error was also apparent on all sources. Overscan was very minor at 2%. Minor bowing of straight lines was visible in test patterns with the lens zoomed to its widest, but wasn't noticeable with normal material. Full lab results
In some ways, RadioShack's Cinego D-1000 is similar to Optoma's MovieTime DV-10. It's about the same size, uses the same DLP chip, and has a top-loading DVD player. But like the Epson MovieMate, the RadioShack also includes a small bass module, and it sports a stealthy black style. It doesn't have the vast picture controls that will make the Optoma attractive to the tweak crowd, but it's easy to set up, which is right for the everyday consumer the Cinego is intended for.

SETUP & USE Unlike the Epson with its straight-firing lens, the Cinego projects at an upward angle - it's right at home on a low coffee table. But the lens has a meager 1.2x zoom range, which means you'll have to rely more on moving the projector forward or backward to adjust picture size than you would a projector with a more powerful zoom lens. With the Cinego about 8 feet from the screen, it projected an image about 80 inches diagonal, or 6 feet wide. The backward-firing speakers gave decent coverage.

With the exception of a VGA input and a coaxial digital audio output, connections are all handled by .125-inch minijacks. The supplied adapters let you use most types of analog video connections, including wide-bandwidth component video for HD sources.

There's no display window for DVD track info, so you'll have to use the onscreen display, accessible only through the supplied credit-card-size remote control. Like others of this type, it's difficult to use, with tiny membrane buttons that aren't always responsive. The projector and DVD player menus don't have many options beyond the basics. Noticeably absent are controls for fine-tuning color. There were, however, four picture presets. I found that Theater mode worked best for watching movies.

PICTURE QUALITY The Cinego's color was the most unnatural-looking of the bunch, with all programs displaying a distinct bluish cast I couldn't correct with any user controls. Though there was a slight screen-door effect from a viewing distance of 10 feet, it was nowhere near as pronounced as with the Epson. Also, like some budget-priced DLPs, the Cinego occasionally served up some rainbows, but not often enough to be distracting.

The RadioShack's ability to display shadow detail wasn't very impressive. When Sandler first meets fellow inmate Turley - a.k.a. Sasquatch - in The Longest Yard, the right side of Sandler's face blended into the black background. With other projectors I've tested you can see the edge of Sandler's face as he talks to Turley. But the Cinego D-1000 did a better job of delivering detail in bright scenes.

High-definition sources looked good but had more noise than with the Optoma, especially in darker portions of the picture. Since the Cinego doesn't provide HD resolution, you lose some detail, but I was still able to see the crow's feet around Steve Buscemi's eyes in The Sopranos on HBO HDTV and could even make out individual strands of hair on Geena Davis's head in her new ABC show, Commander in Chief.

Sound from the D-1000's built-in speakers was comparable to what you'd get from most computer speakers: slightly dull, with slightly mushy bass from the outboard module. But dialogue was clear, and with the projector just a few feet away, the sound got plenty loud.

BOTTOM LINE As long as you're not too finicky about picture quality, you might be happy with the RadioShack Cinego. Its simple setup, big picture, and built-in speakers can turn your regular movie night into a special event.