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Epson's 3LCD home projectors

Epson's 3LCD home projectors

Live from CEDIA

Epson announced four new, LCD-based front projectors at CEDIA, and between them, they hit practically every price point. On the "family" end is the Epson MovieMate 25, an all-in-one front-projection solution that includes a built-in DVD player, an external subwoofer, and an 80-inch pull-up screen. The projector itself is capable of DVD-level 480p output, with native 16:9 support and an adjustable pitch on the X- and Y-axes for easy fine-tuning. The whole package retails for $1,199, and while that's not bad for what you're getting, the unit itself is quite large; it has the white coloring that distinguishes "classy" products of the iPod generation, but the bulky cube shape may not appeal to style-conscious buyers. This model compares with other all-in-one projector/DVD players such as the RadioShack Cinego D-1000.

Epson also announced the step-down PowerLite Home 20; it has a more familiar projector-only form factor, and the lack of a DVD player and included screen brings its cost down to a compelling $999. There's also the 1,000:1 contrast ratio and the 1,200-lumens bulb to consider, both of which vie with competitors in the sub-$1,000 price area. For consumers who already have a DVD player or who like their projectors slim, the PowerLite Home 20 becomes a steal over the MovieMate 25.

Last but not least, Epson unveiled two high-definition projectors with 1,280x720 native resolution (the two models above are 852x480). Priced at $2,499 and $4,499, respectively, the PowerLite Cinema 550 and 800 both offer HDMI connectivity and user-controlled gamma and color-adjustment settings. The only difference lies in the PowerLite 800's superior 5,000:1 contrast ratio and its 1,600-lumens bulb, which trump the 550's 3,000:1 ratio and 1,400-lumens bulb. The Cinema 550 is a compelling option for home-theater aspirants who want high-def resolution and don't want to spend the extra cash for a DLP-based unit such as the Sharp XV-Z2000.