If an all-in-one is what fits your needs, look no further. Just get one, plug it in, and enjoy the world of home theater.

Optoma MovieTime DV10 Projector

Art Feierman | ProjectorReviews.com

Optoma MovieTime DV10
All-in-One Home Theater Projector System
Courtesy of ProjectorReviews.com Reviewer- Art Feierman
 Providing in-depth reviews of the newest home theater projectors from Panasonic, Sanyo, Optoma, BenQ, Marantz, Epson and others. Our reviews and articles focus on the practical, with emphasis on overall quality and value.

If an all-in-one is what fits your needs, look no further. Just get one, plug it in, and enjoy the world of home theater.


The Optoma MovieTime home theater projector system - which the refer to as a Home Cinema projector - started shipping last month, and has, according to Optoma, been selling like hot cakes.

Optoma MovieTime DV10 Front Top ViewIt is one of the first "all-in-one" systems to hit the market. HP and RadioShack also have entries and I will comment a bit on them later. The MovieTime has a street price of $1499 as of this writing! An optional sub-woofer is an additional $199, to complete the system. All you need after that, is a DVD to play, a white wall (or screen) to show it on, and a long cable if you want to also attach it to your cable or satellite box to pump TV and HDTV to the projector!

This is one fun product. It's affordable, and produces a really fine looking image on both DVD and TV (and HDTV). It's not perfect, as this is one of those first generation attempts at an "all-in-one" home theater projector solution, but the weaknesses are minor compared to the overall functionality of the product, and how much enjoyment it should provide to those purchasing one.

What makes the MovieTime projector so special?

  • Built in DVD player
  • Built in speakers
  • Optional subwoofer
  • Can be set up, or taken down in seconds
  • Real portability, move it from room to room, take it on vacation
  • Affordable $1499 selling price makes the MovieTime projector competitive with any of the stand alone projectors and accessories.
  • As of this writing (9/05), Optoma is offering a free 92" pull down screen (worth a couple hundred dollars) with the Movietime!

Of course performance is the key and we'll look at that in the Projector Performance section.

Want to watch more than DVD's - no problem, the MovieTime DV10 projector gives you options. And you won't be disappointed.

Basic Specifications of Optoma's MovieTime DV10 Home Theater Projector System.

  • Brightness: 1000 Lumens
  • Resolution: WVGA (854x480)
  • Technology: DLP Darkchip2
  • Contrast: 4000:1 with AI enhancing circuitry
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds

Let's start with a phyiscal tour of the MovieTime DV10 projector system.

From the font:

MovieTime Projector - Front viewThe lens is mounted off center on the MovieTime projector. The zoom contrrol for the lens is a slide lever, hidden behind the lens shield, on the inside. The zoom offers a 1.11:1 zoom range, about 10%. Since the projector is a portable, the idea is you can find a place on a table or the floor where it will fill your screen, and the adjustment range, just lets you fine tune, to exactly fill the screen. In the center is the front Infra-red sensor for the projector's remote control. At the bottom center, is a push release for the drop down front foot.

On the top, in the center is the DVD player, a simple push on the cover opens it, and it click shuts nicely. On the left are right side (in the projector's black trim ring) are a whole ton of buttons, but you have to expect that - its an all-in-one home cinema projector system. On the picture to the right, you can see the top of the two built in speakers they fire to the sides although slightly to the rear. I'll discuss the quality of the sound output in the Projector Performance - Other section of the review.

In the image directly below you can see all the buttons that are located on the left side (when looking from the rear of the Optoma MovieTime home theater projector. You can see the DVD's Play/Pause button, and also the the fast forward and reverse buttons. Note there is no chapter forward and back buttons like found on most DVD players, but those buttons are on the remote. The MovieTime projector, to make up for those missing buttons have multiple fast forward and reverse speeds, including a blazing 20 to one, which would let you zip past a 4 minute chapter in 12 seconds. Not bad.

Also found on the left side of the projector, are two small volume control buttons, and a DVD indicator button.

Optoma MovieTime DV10 home theater cinema projector right control panelMoving to the other side of the MovieTime DV10 projector, from the left of the image, the projector's power button, Menu button, Enter, and the four arrow keys, for navigating the Optoma projector's menus. In addition there are two small indicator lights - one is a projector temperature warning, the other a projector lamp indicator.

The up and down arrow keys do double duty. When the projector's menus aren't in use, the up arrow is used for source selection, and the down arrow for auto sync (labeled "resync") which will look at the incoming source and make sure the signal is properly locked on to.

This being my first "all-in-one" home theater projector, the phyical tour sure is longer than other reviews, but we're getting near the end.

Let's look at the back panel, but first, underneath, there are two rear feet (no image), to complement the adjustable front foot. The back right foot is screw adjustable, the left one is fixed.

Optoma MovieTime DV10 home theater projector input panel offers versatilityOK, time for the input section of the MovieTime projector. Let's start with a reminder that the DVD player is already on board and needs no input. The DVD player connects digitally to the projector, which is more than most can claim as few DVD players sold today have digital outputs (DVI or HDMI). Since DVD output, and this projector are both the same resolution, this makes a perfect match. OK, there are the usual composite video and S-video inputs, as well as stereo audio. If you want to use your MovieTime DV10 projector with an existing home theater audio system, you can output 5.1 surround sound through the optical port (on the right). You will also notice a small audio out port - which can be used to hook up a subwoofer, either the one Optoma offers, or any other brand o fpowered subwoofer. There is an RS-232 for external control, and a USB port.

That brings us, at last, to the computer input - labeled VGA-In. This is where the action is. You can feed the projector a traditional analog computer source, or through the same connector, a component video source from your cable/satellite box, or other high resolution source. On the left you can see the rear infra-red port for the DV10 projector's remote control. A close look at the remote will be found on the Projector Performance - below.

Shown is the MovieTime DV10's included soft carry caseThat takes care of the phyical tour of the the Optoma MovieTime Home Cinema projector system. You can obviously buy one of a half dozen stand alone projectors out there, that are price competitive with the MovieTime, but the MovieTime DV10 projector offers a huge advantage to many - the ability to set it up in seconds, and then put it away when done, or throw it into its padded soft case and take it on vacation, or wherever you want.

Time to look at image quality, after all that's what it's all about!

MovieTime Projector Performance - Image Quality

The Optoma MovieTime DV10 home theater projector system produces a vivid image on this shot from I, RobotIn once sense, Optoma's MovieTime projector is the equivalent of a stereo boom box, or an all-in-one home theater in a box sound system, and if you think of it that way, you wouldn't expect it to perform as well as "separate components". Now, while there is plenty of compromise in terms of audio, compared to dropping $500 or a grand, or more on a 5.1 surround sound system, the projector and image quality aspects of the MovieTime projector, rival the best of the lower cost home theater projectors out there, including Optoma's own highly regarded projectors.

Rich blues and reds as seen on this image captured from The Italian Job, are typical of the MovieTime's performance on DVDCertainly, from a spec standpoint - 1000 lumens and a 4000:1 contrast ratio, you should expect great image quality, and the MovieTime DV10 projector won't dissapoint. In fact, in addition to watching the MovieTime perform on many DVD's including Lord of the Rings (LOTR) Fellowship of the Rings, Sin City (a great test of black levels and shadow detail), Men In Black II, The Italian Job, and Independence Day, I also watched live HDTV from cable, and Hi-Def off my D-VHS deck. In other words, I threw plenty of everything at it. I also quickly hooked it up to my laptop, however, the projector being WVGA resolution (854x480) its a bit low for viewing traditional XGA computer information 1024x768. As a result very small type was very difficult to read. However if you set your computer to lower resolution - say SVGA (800x600) the MovieTime's performance was acceptable for surfing the internet, etc.

But you want to hear about picture quality on DVD and HD, so lets start with DVD. There's something I really like about the quality of just about every Optoma home theater projector I have tested. The colors have excellent saturation and the MovieTime is no exception. The image above from The Italian Job, are vibrant, faithful, and realistic looking.

Fleshtones - Will Smith from the DVD of  Independence Day

The MovieTime DV10 projector is also no slouch when it comes to natural looking fleshtones as seen on this shot of Gandalf from LOTR. A little more challenging is the image of Will Smith from Independence Day.

Optoma's MovieTime projector handles daylight scenes effortlessly, as you will observe on these two shots - the first also from the Italian Job, and the second one from Independence Day. The projector handles the colors very well, with natural looking grass, the bright reds and blues of the cars, and even the sunlit concrete in the background. On the image below, the photo I captured is a bit off on the blues, but it looked right on, when viewing the projector. (My digital camera does have some limitations!)

MovieTime DV10 home theater projector from Optoma has great color handling for a low cost system.The real challenge for projectors, however is how well they handle "black levels". LCD, DLP (like the MovieTime), and D-ILA projectors, can't produce a true black. Their best attempt gives you extremely dark grays, when black is called for. Contrast is normally the spec that gives you a heads up on how well a projector will do. The Optoma's 4000:1 (using their "AI" circuitry to enhance contrast) is an extremely high spec, found on only a few projectors selling for less than $3000.

Night city scene from I, Robot displayed on the MovieTime DV10 projector from OptomaThe MovieTime does a great job. I found it annoying that it even did a marginally better job on a few scenes than my own, higher resolution (and far more expensive) BenQ PE8700+.

This is the first projector I have tested since I recently acquired the DVD of Sin City, a movie done mostly in black and white, with just splashes of color added on some scenes. Here are images of two dark scenes from Sin City - but unfortunately my camera does not capture the full intensity that the Optoma projector was able to put on the screen.

Optoma MovieTime home theater projector on a scene from Sin Cityhere's a second image from Sin City, captured on the MovieTime DV10 projector

Performance was also very good on Hi-Def. The shot below of the Chrysler building at dusk, comes out a bit darker, and with a bit less of the pinkish hues that the image calls for, but my reference for viewing this scene, is Marantz's $14,499 VP12S4 home theater projector. The fact that the Optoma projector is even in the game is impressive.

The MovieTime projector has 5 modes which will be discussed in the Menus section in the Performance - Other section. All the images photographed from DVD and Hi-Def were shot in Cinema mode. The Chrysler building image may have performed better had I selected the Image AI mode which is designed to enhance dark scenes, but appears a bit lest contrasty (a higher gamma) in the low to mid bright areas.

Overall, I found the MovieTime to do a sensational job, however, I did view Independence Day, and the Hi-Def content side by side with Optoma's new H27 projector which sells for $999. My impression is that the H27 did a slightly better job on images like the Chrysler building.


In the comparison shot , the H27 projector is on the left, the MovieTime DV10, on the right. Again, a different setting should bring the two closer together. Another reason for the difference. The H27 appeared to be the brighter projector on all the sources I viewed as you can see in this image from Independence Day.

In summary, fleshtones are excellent (out of the box), shadow detail and black levels are very good, and images are generally bright and well saturated. I found that the MovieTime has enough "horsepower" to fill my 128" Firehawk screen, (which has a gain of 1.3), and that would indicate that the MovieTime DV10 should be able easily handle a standard matte white screen of 106" diagonal, and that's one nice large theater-like image from a small, entry level "all-in-one" projector.

Lets look at the other areas of performance, including layout of the control panel, menus, the projector's remote control and many other features.

MovieTime DV10 Performance - Other

Since this is an self contained home theater projector system (just add electricity and a wall or screen), and has built in speakers, I think Speakers are a good place to start.

Rocking the House? - The Sound System

Optoma's MovieTime projector has two built-in 5 watt speakers facing primarily to the sides, but also slightly to the rear. That makes sense as the projector sits fairly close to the screen. The first time I hooked up the MovieTime DV10 projector, it was in a large demo room. about 16x30. The sound was thin, and lacking in bass.

I was pleasantly surprised, however when I brought it home and placed it in my home theater room, still a fairly large room - 12x21, with a cathedral ceiling going up to 21 feet at the peak. This time I found the MovieTime projector to do a pretty acceptable job. Although I had to set the volume near the top setting it provided a good amount of volume, enough for all but those that really want to rock the house.

Optoma offers an optional $199 subwoofer from D&K. In the large demo room it certainly helped, but that room was so large that I didn't think the Optoma projector had enough volume to do a "loud" movie justice. The sub-woofer certainly added umph, but I still found it slightly lacking.

But, in my theater, the combination of the projector and the sub-woofer really did provide an acceptable audio solution. It won't replace a true 5.1 (or higher) surround sound system costing $600 - $1000, but it's got Game! I suspect that the vast majority of people who buy both the projector and subwoofer, will find the overall sound quality and volume to work for them. I watched part of The Italian Job, first without the sub-woofer, and found it performed acceptably, and when I added the sub-woofer, I was actually impressed. (I am an audiophile of sorts and have many thousands invested in the sound in my theater). Optoma's solution won't win awards for audiophile performance, but it does the job well with movies.

Caution, if you are an audiophile, or simply spend a lot of time watching Music videos and are real pickly, you will want a true surround sound system (or a killer stereo one), that costs far more than what Optoma provides in it's box. Certainly a $300 A/V receiver and $700 worth of speakers would blow the MovieTime DV10 projector's sound performance away. But a thousand spent on sound, would only leave a few hundred for a projector and DVD player, and that solution just doesn't exist.

So for sound, we'll say - good, for what it is, and if you have a smaller room - say 10 x 13 with a normal height ceiling - and opt for the sub-woofer too, you will be able to "rock the house".

Portability

It sets up in your room, in just seconds. OK, it doesn't run on batteries, and we probably couldn't afford the batteries if it did. The system draws almost 300 watts, compared to a dozen or two for a boom box.

For setting up in a room just when you want to use it, and stuff it in a closet, though, its a great home theater system. Tomorrow your kids can use it in a bedroom or a different room. Put it in its soft, padded shoulder case, and you can take it on vacation, to a friends, or even run an extension card and show movies in the back yard (or on the outside of your garage door if it's white).

This should appeal to a great many families, as a practical alternative to permanently ceiling mounting or shelf mounting a projector. Since the quality is excellent considering its price, you will have to figure out whether the MovieTime is best for you, or a traditional projector, plus separate DVD player and sound system.

Positioning the Projector

This Optoma projector has a huge amount of fixed lens shift. In fact, so much (I've never seen anything close), that you pretty much have to place the projector on the floor, or on a very low table (let's say under 16 inches) to have the image fit a screen mounted at a normal to high location.

If you have an 8 foot ceiling and place the projector on a typical 30" high table, you'll probably have some of the image on the ceiling, not exactly desireable.

I don't see this as a problem, in fact, it makes sense. You can probably always find some floor space for it and if needed prop it up an extra 8-10 inches or so, if needed.

There is a penalty, due to the drastic lens shift. The image is not straight all the way across the top. It bows slightly. That is, the image is slightly higher on the left and right corners and gently curves down toward the top center. The actually bowing is about 2 inches on a 100" diagonal screen, so the border of the screen should hide this defect. Once you are watching a movie or TV, if your screen has a border, and you set it up right, most probably will not notice. For those of you who are videophile purists, you will be happier with a more expensive projector anyway, or a stand alone projector, like Optoma's roughly $1000 H27 projector, mentioned in the Image Quality section.

DVD player

I found no problems with the built in DVD player. It seemed to perform every bit as well as the two DVD players I use, a Sanyo and a Bravo D2 (with DVI interface). The DVD player outputs digital to the rest of the MovieTime, which is ideal, in terms of one-for-one pixel matching, which you normally don't get with a typical DVD player (only a few have digital outputs). So the DVD player, overall, is a real plus. The DVD player also handles a wide range of music and image formats besides DVD and Audio CD, here's the list: MP3, WMA, JPEG, VCD, DVD, DVD-R,DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, Audio CD, CD-R, CD-RW. That should keep you happy.

Projector Lamp Life

The MovieTime offers typical lamp life. 2000 hours is the rating for full power, or you can switch the projector into Economy mode, where the image is a little dimmer, but lamp life is 3000 hours. For those with screens smaller than 100" diagonal, you should find the MovieTime DV10 projector to be plenty bright in Economy mode. In fact, if you end up with Optoma's 92" Grayfox screen, which they are currently (9/05) offering for free, and which has a very high gain of 1.8, the only time you would want full power is if you have a significant amount of light on in the room. (Football fans, rejoice!

Projector Brightness and Practical Screen Size

I already mentioned this in the Image Quality section. But, there's more. At full power, and lights off, the MovieTime had the "horsepower" to fill my 128" screen which as a gain of 1.3. In other words, the MovieTime has plenty of brightness, that rivals most home theater projectors, including those costing several times as much. On smaller screens - 80 inch to 92" diagonal, you really can handle some lights on, especially on TV (movies are always tougher - as they tend to have some really dark scenes, that will wash out with any home theater projector, if there's even modest room lighting hitting the screen. The 92 inch Grayfox, makes a great screen choice for both movies or HDTV, especially sports. (Brightness rolls off rapidly to the sides with this screen, but it also rejects much of the lighting hitting it from the side.

Projector Fan Noise

I found the MovieTime to be noisier than expected. The specs say that the projector noise levels are 28 db in full power and 27 in low (economy) mode. I'll accept the low power spec, but believe they are very optimistic at full power. From a practical standpoint, the projector was very audible when powered up in full power, before you start watching. Still, I didn't notice it at all, except on extremely quiet scenes, in full power mode, and that with the projector sitting just about 3 feet from my ears.

Again, this is an all-in-one solution, and I think even in full power mode, more than acceptable. In low power, which many users will find perfect for movies, no problem at all. And, if you are watching football (I'm just thrilled that football season is back - go Penn State), or other sports, you won't care at all.

Calibrating The Projector

Out of the box, image quality is very good. With 6 modes to choose from (one is user savable settings), its not hard to find the right setting for what you are watching. Still, I always recommend getting a good calibration disk like the Avia Disk, to fine tune color and contrast. If that's not your thing (it's requires about an hour of your life), you still will find the performance excellent. I did find that with calibration, several of the test images (the Chrysler Building at dusk) improved, and I was able to see more stars in those great night sky scenes from Star Wars, and Independence Day (there were plenty of stars without calibration).

Optoma MovieTime DV10 Menus

This is an image of the Optoma MovieTime DV10 projector's Image 1 menuWell Done. They are nicely laid out, and easy to understand. Most notable are those 6 pre-defined image modes on the Image 1 menu: Cinema, sRGB, Vivid (hit that one for those sports with some lights on), ImageAI (good for movies, but better for regular HDTV I thought), Game (that cranks out the colors, but is not particularly natural - not suitable for movies and good flesh tones in general, and lastly the User Savable setting. The Image 1 menu also has the usual Projector Brightness, Contrast, Color (saturation), Tint, and Sharpness settings.

Optoma MovieTime DV10 Home Cinema projector's Image 2 menu

The DV10's Image 2 Menu offers some of the more sophisticated controls, including the White Peaking (controls the tendency of near whites to end up "blown out" and appearing full white - thus reducing detail). The Degamma control lets you lighten up the middle brightness values, without affecting the extremely dark and extremely light areas.

The True Vivid Menu gives extreme color control for those who are calibrating their MovieTime home theater projector.The True Vivid setting gives you independend control of both brightness and contrast, each separate for Red, Green and Blue. The toggle for Image AI is also there, along with the Reset control. You will note that the default settings for these will vary depending on which Image mode you select (Cinema, Vivid, ImageAI, etc.)

There is (not shown) a lamp settings menu, which tracks your lamp usage and allows you to reset, and also to switch the projector into Economy mode, which dims the lamp and extends lamp life.

The last menu shown (there are two others) is the Display Menu, which let's you change the aspect ratio, digital zoom, keystone correction, and other general display items.

Of particular note is the Image Shift feature (also found on Optoma's H27 projector). This is a very nice feature that, when watching DVD's, can be very handy, in terms of placing the projector, and screen location. Since with any 16:9 home theater projector, you fill the screen with HDTV, but the vast majority of DVD's still give you a letter box (black area) at the top and bottom of the screen, since the movie shape is wider than HDTV - 2.35:1 instead of 1.78:1 (1.78 is screen width divided by screen height 16 divided by 9). With Image Shift, you can move the used portion of the DVD, up or down, instead of the black bars at top and bottom, you could move the image down even with the bottom of the screen (or up with the top of the screen). I like this feature. And have used it previously to watch movies when I evaluated the Optoma H27. (I should have shown some images showing its use to make its operation more obvious, but didn't think of it when shooting, my apologies.)

And that takes us to:

The Optoma MovieTime DV10 Home Cinema Projector's Remote Control

For a change, I'm going to go into a bit less detail - only because there are so many features, due to the all-in-one aspect of this projector.

The MovieTime's remote control is NOT backlit, and that's a shame.

On the bright side, however, the layout is so well done, that by the time I had been using it for two days, I was able to find almost every feature of interest, on the remote control, without even looking at it. The layout is logical, and the button shapes are different separating types of features. I have a remote for my Marantz THX receiver, and after a year of using it, I still have to turn on its backlite to figure out where some things are, and it has about the same number of buttons!

OK, from the top. A nice big power button, in the center. Use it once and you know where it is. Press once for on, twice for off! Immediately below, four wide buttons, Format (aspect ratio) and Source (toggle between DVD, computer/cable/satellite, S-video, etc.), are also obvious. Right below that is the Menu button (right) and the Enter button for the Menus, on the left.

Now Optoma chooses to have four buttons with large arrows on them for controlling the menus. It didn't take long to memorize the fact that the two on the left were down and up, and the two on the right, left and right.

Below that, the the main cursor control (four arrows) and center Enter button.

Back to round buttons for Setup and for the DVD's menu (use those cursor controls above). Keystone and Volume are verticals, with Display, Subtitle and Auto sync in between.

The rest of the buttons including a numeric pad, are primarily for the DVD player, and you'll find about everything you could need. two rows of round buttons below the keypad, have all your standard mechanical controls for the DVD - play/pause, fast foward, chapter skip, stop, etc. And lastly, slow motion, goto (jump to a track - and remember that could be CD or DVD), repeat, and return.

Again, I can't say enough about how quickly I was able to fully control the system in the dark. Really Well done. Lacking the light is still a negative (Occasional users might get frustrated without it, but overall, its a good remote.

Projector Styling

It sure doesn't look like anything else out there. It looks more like a spacey boom box. Done mostly in white, with black accents, and lots of curves and angles, it is not surprising that it has already picked up a couple of awards for innovation, including at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. Like the experience in general, the MovieTime's looks are fun!

Construction

The MovieTime feels much like a nice boom box, in terms of construction. There's a lot in it for its 7.8 pounds and that means lots of lightweight plastic. My one complaint is around the lens. The small zoom lever for the lens, and its assembly, are apparently not well designed. If you adjust the zoom, the lens goes out of focus. Of course, once you set up the projector it takes only a second or two to adjust the zoom and refocus, but it is a minor nuisance, and I would hope Optoma will improve this while the product is still manufactured. It's more a case of it just feeling cheap than any lost performance.

Adjustable Feet

I touched on this earlier. The front foot has lots of adjustment range, and is controlled by a bar on the bottom front. Only one of the two rear feet is adjustable, and this I found to be unfortunate. If you are placing the MovieTime DV10 projector on a table more than a foot or so off the floor, you may have to put something under the two rear feet. I think Optoma

All-in-One Projectors - Comments

To my knowledge, there are only 3 units so far. In addition to the Optoma MovieTime DV10, which I saw (a prototype) for the first time at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) back in Jan '05, there is also one from HP, (also shown there) and Radio Shack. Now first of all, I have never seen the Radio Shack projector, nor know anything about it, except that there is a rumor (take that for what its worth), that it hasn't been selling well.

The HP, however, I have seen briefly. There are a number of differences between the HP and the Optoma MovieTime. Two are of significant differences. First, the HP has a small subwoofer built in (or at least their prototype at CES did). A great idea, but to be built in, it really has to be pretty small, and whether it can do a serious job would be questionable.

The other major difference is that HP chose to go with the old 4:3 aspect ratio, of standard TV and Video tapes, instead of 16:9 favored by DVD and HDTV. This, I see as a major design flaw in a projector that has a DVD player built in. On traditional DVD's (2.35:1 movie ratio), that means that about 50% of the screen is black - 25% each letter boxed at the top and bottom, instead of 10% at top and bottom for a 16:9 projector like the MovieTime. The bottom line, the HP is inherently a dinasour - out of the box, unless your primary use is projecting games, and regular TV. There's a reason why when you walk into a Best Buy, all the plasmas, and virtually all LCDTV's and big screen TV's are 16:9. It's the future, and I can't see buying something that is inherently almost obsolete.

That said, I can't imagine what other advantages the HP could have to make it a viable alternative.

Projector Cables

Of course you won't need a cable to hook it up to a DVD player, since one is built in. If you opt for their optional Sub-woofer, you'll have the cable you need for that, as well.

You will, most likely, want to also be able to watch TV and maybe a VCR with the MovieTime. The MovieTime does come with a composite video and stereo audio cables, to connect to the VCR, or you could use them with your cable or satellite box (but you don't want to, believe me.). With cable or satellite box, you will want to take advantage of the component video output (separate Red, Green and Blue cables), for the highest quality picture. For this you will need a component video cable. Remember you are likely to need a 10 foot or longer component cable to stretch from the Movietime to the cable/satellite box. The cable you need will have 3 RCA jacks on each end. The MovieTime DV10 projector, does not have an input for those three, but instead provides a small adapter. Plug the three RCA's into the adapter, which fits into the computer input on the projector.

You don't have to do it that way, you could instead order a cable with the 3 RCA's on one end, and an HD15 (computer) connector on the other. In that case, you don't need the adapter. Most Optoma MovieTime dealers will be able to provide the regular component cable in most lengths. Finding the 3 RCA to computer cable may be a bit tougher, so why bother.

Depending on where you are placing the MovieTime, you might also need a three prong extension cord. And it never hurts to use a power strip to protect against power surges.

Have a big sound sound system already, and want to play the DVD's sound through it? You can run a (digital) optical cable from the MovieTime projector to your surround sound system (if its old, make sure it has optical input). Again, figure out how much cable length you need. The Optical cable will move full 5.1 surround sound to your home theater audio system.

OK, time to review the warranty, and then summarize the review for you.

MovieTime Warranty

The warranty is average for a projector. It is a basic 2 years parts and labor. There is no 1st year overnight replacement or loaner program like found on some brands of projectors. In today's market there are plenty of projectors with 1 year warranties, the most have 2 years, and there are also plenty of models with 3 years, but 2 years dominates, especially in the Home Theater class of projectors.

You have to give kudos to Optoma for doing the two year thing, afterall, DVD players and most Home Theater in a Box audio systems typically have 90 day warranties, although some of the HTIB's have a year.

Summary

The MovieTime DV10 Home CinemaThe MovieTime DV10 is hard not to like. Easy to setup, easy to move to a different location, and image quality comparable to virtually any other entry level projector, and better than many, it should gain a huge following.

The toughest part of the decision is whether to get yourself a MovieTime, or go the tradtional route with a separate projector, sound, and sources.

This photo of the MovieTime from the I, Robot DVD gives you a good idea of the excellent, vibrant image quality of this projector

The MovieTime DV10 home theater projector offers "entry-level" resolution - the same as today's DVD's but lower than HDTV. True resolution is WVGA (854x480 pixels). You get a level of sharpness way beyond traditional TV, and when viewing DVD's one comparable to other entry level projectors and just a tad softer than the higher resolution 1280x720p projectors. (Other DLP projectors with that higher resolution start at $2500 and go to $15,000 or more).

Sound is decent, actually pretty good in small rooms, but I would definitely recommend the small optional subwoofer, which will give your movies that kick that today's special effects call for. Budget tight - start without the sub, and add it later if you figure you need more bass.

Pros

  • Great image quality for an entry level projector
  • True 16:9 Aspect ratio (unlike HP's all-in-one)
  • Unique "all-in-one" portability
  • Decent built in sound from 2 5 watt speakers
  • Optional small subwoofer
  • DVD player built in
  • A easy to learn remote
  • Friendly easy to understand menus
  • Easy to hook up to your cable or satellite box
  • Already have a big stereo or surround sound system? A single cable (digital optical) will send the DVD's sound to your big system
  • Compatible with just about all the video and audio formats

Cons

  • Image bows slightly in the top center
  • Lens shift is extreme - putting the projector either on the floor or just off the floor, for normal viewing height (this also causes the bowing mentioned above).
  • Zoom adjust defocuses lens (minor)
  • Sound could be better - but then it wouldn't be a small portable solution
  • Remote not backlit

Typical

  • Warranty

Even those demanding great image quality, will find the Optoma MovieTime Home Theater Projector meets their expectations.

If an all-in-one is what fits your needs, look no further. Just get one, plug it in, and enjoy the world of home theater.


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