Projector Parade: Top: Epson EH-DM3 ( all in one); bottom left: Optoma PK 102 pico projector; right: BenQ CP270 portable projector
Take your projector with you!

With thousands of movies in all languages, legally available on DVDs for less than Rs 50 each, the home theatre has become an increasingly attractive and affordable option for Indian fans of cinema. Recent months have seen multiple makes of compact home projectors available for the first time, for below Rs 50,000 .

With the non-tech-savvy family user in mind, Epson has recently launched an all-in-one ‘home theatre in a box’ : The model EH-DM3 integrates a DVD player and speakers into the body of the projector. Weighing just 4.2 kg, the machine makes operation very simple: Connect to a power socket, insert a movie DVD and press ‘play’. The projector judges the distance to the wall or screen and adjusts picture size accordingly.

Screen sizes go up to 10 feet diagonal – which is more than adequate for the average drawing room. And so are the built-in stereo 10 watt speakers. The native resolution of the EH-DM3, at 960 by 540 pixels, is some way below high definition quality – presumably to keep the price to Rs 49,900; but the projector sports a HDMI port which allow owners to connect to external Blu-ray players or to laptops or PCs which might have full HD content. You can also play movies in MP-4 or DivX format by connecting external flash drives or hard drives through a USB port.

Like all Epson products, the EH-DM3 uses its own 3-LCD projection technology. The rival, Digital Light Processor (DLP) technology from Texas Instruments, is harnessed by the largest selling projector brand in India, BenQ as well as other brands like Acer and LG. While not below the Rs 50,000 mark, BenQ’s CP270 model is one of the lightest projectors for corporate users who travel frequently. The palm sized machine weighs just 1.5 kg, and has a quick-cool feature which allows rapid dismantling.

PICO PROJECTORSTI’s lilliputian Pico projector technology first unveiled in 2007, has now come to India, offering the world’s tiniest projectors – the size of a mobile phone. The PK102 from Optoma, weighs just 124 grams; runs for 1 ½ hours off built-in batteries and can project an image of up to 5 feet diagonal. It has a connection for the iPod or iPhone as well as a Nokia adaptor and costs Rs 25,000. The pico projector hardware is so small that 2010 should see the first mobile phones with built-in projectors.

See our video on Pico Projectors at CES 2010 on the home page video slot for a few days

Feb 7 2010