Toshiba begins 2006 with a new projector bundle, hoping to take advantage of the likely mass migration to digital TV as consumers seek to watch this year's big sporting events -- the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, FIFA World Cup soccer, AFL, NRL, Formula One Grand Prix, etc -- on a big screen to match the occasion.
The bundle consists of three main components: Toshiba's S8 DLP projector, a Centrex SDTV receiver that also includes recording capabilities, and a "high quality AV cable".
The fact that this is an all-in-one solution is handy for less tech-savvy consumers who've been turned off digital TV by the headache that comes with component selection. The bundle is also considerably cheaper than if you were to purchase a projector, PVR and the relevant cabling separately.
The Centrex set-top box is a standard-definition model, so it can't receive HD signals. That said, outside of a few prime-time weekly shows and movies that are mainly -- but not solely -- imported from the US, there's currently little HD content to take advantage of anyway. That includes most of the big sporting events, too.
Built into the receiver is a 120GB hard disk drive, so the unit is capable of recording up to 30 hours of content. There's also an integrated Electronic Program Guide (EPG) to help you painlessly schedule recordings.
Based around DLP technology (more information on this can be found here), the projector boasts an SVGA resolution of 800x600. Rated at 2000 ANSI-lumens, the lamp should be bright enough to project a decent image in daylight hours, while a 2000:1 contrast ratio puts it in good stead compared to the competition. Both 4:3 and 16.9 aspect ratios are supported.
Its array of video inputs -- component, composite, S-Video and D-Sub - should satisfy most users, and the projector supports HD resolutions of up to 1080i should you wish to connect a HD receiver down the track.
The projector can be placed anywhere between 0.88m to 6.5m from a wall, while it's capable of projecting an image between 1.3m and 11m high.
Finally, if portability is important to you, the S8 delivers with a fairly compact design. Its dimensions are 239x107x207 mm and it weighs just 2kg.
A three year parts and labour warranty rounds out the package. Toshiba also offers a 90 days lamp warranty as well as a 90 days new product replacement warranty.
The projector is sold only with the bundle, so users who already own a receiver are out of luck. The unit also lacks digital audio outputs and HDMI connectivity, limiting its ability to connect up with external home theatre devices.
If you're on a budget but still want to equip your living room with high quality digital TV on a big screen, the Toshiba S8 projector bundle is undoubtedly worth a look.