TVs

Toshiba ET10 and ET20: home cinema on your coffee table

Want a big picture in a small room? Toshiba's new short-throw projectors use a wideangle lens to give you a 100-inch image from a distance of just 1.3m

You know how it is: in your heart you're Renee Zellweger, but your life's more Bridget Jones. You ought to be following Hugh Grant down the red carpet, but you're stuck at the back of the crowd. You want to show movies in your living room, but you haven't got space, and anyway your partner doesn't want a mess of cables snaking round the sofa.

Toshiba can't make you famous, but it is going to bring you the big-screen experience. Its ET10 and ET20 projectors (first seen at CES 2006) produce a 100-inch image from a distance of 1.3m, so you can set up a cinema in the cosiest of cottages, without disturbing your decor. Just put the projector on a coffee table, point it at a blank wall, cook some popcorn in the microwave and curl up with Colin Firth.

Unlike most projectors, the ET10 and ET20 are designed to sit in front of you. They both have built-in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, with the speakers arranged around the back and sides to direct the sound towards you. Cables plug into the front, keeping everything tidy, and inputs include composite video, S-Video, component video and HDMI (Scart is accommodated via an adaptor). The ET20 also has a USB port and a built-in DVD player, giving you the complete cinema experience (minus the kids, the hoodies and the mobile phones) in a shiny black spaceship with a big white eye.

Both projectors use DLP chips and produce 16:9 images at a resolution of 852x480 pixels (480p). This means they aren't HD-ready, although Toshiba is promising a 720p version later in the year. That's not really what these projectors are about, though: they're about creating a big picture in a small room with the minimum of fuss.

The ET10 and ET20 should go on sale in August, priced at around £1,099 for the ET10 (projector only) and around £1,299 for the ET20 (with built-in DVD player). -ML