Epson EMP-TWD10 standalone Home Theatre System

Epson’s EMP-TWD10 projector combines built-in speakers and DVD player with a combination of neat features that make this a versatile, portable standalone home theatre projector system.

Epson’s EMP-TWD10 is an integrated home theatre and entertainment centre that brings together all you need to experience big screen entertainment in a single device, even if it does look a tad boxy on the design front.

You get built-in speakers (four of 'em) providing a surprisingly loud, clear and rich sound quality, particularly when given the 5-watt power output available. You also get a built-in DVD player all packed together in a device that while not particularly small provides a great portable unit.

In fact, I used the TWD10 for a talk I presented in a village hall to around 30-peple and it was perfectly adequate in terms of volume and picture brightness for the well-lit hall.

The HDMI compatible, HD ready projector uses a neat 1.5x optical zoom lens with manual focus that sits in front of one of Epson’s proprietary 3LCDs that provides a top resolution of 720p, so not Full HD (1080p) but given the devices price not bad at all. Particularly clever is the package is delivered with a very nice freestanding 80-inch projection screen, so you really do have everything you need to get started, out of the “boxes”.

In terms of picture adjustments, (including the 720p resolution capability) you get Epson’s cinema filters. These are colour presets that allow you set the picture dynamics according to the room it’s used in and to allow for bright, crisp images (even in a well lit room).

There are a variety of settings including a gaming mode for optimised transmission between your gaming console and the projector. I have to say, it’s pretty good, I tried it on Nintendo’s Wii games console and it was impressive.

The living room mode provides a general setting for brighter rooms that works well enough and was ideal for the talk I did in the village hall. A movie optimised Theatre and Theatre Black settings provide a better contrast ratio – the image is projected less brightly but has blacker blacks and whiter whites, so is ideal for darker rooms.

In all, the system provides for most settings with further fine-tuning in the menus so there’s plenty of scope but I found the preset modes provided perfectly acceptable results, particularly when I connected a Playstation 3 for HD Blu-ray movie playback. Apart for some “twinkling” pixels (a slight rainbow effect) particularly projecting white text on black, for example, the picture is simply superb even if it is not Full (1080p) HD.

In terms of projected picture size, the TWD10 can project 60-inch picture from just 1.5m, which means you can get set up quickly and the wire clutter is minimized as well. Maximum projected image size range is from 30 to 300-inches so plenty of scope for most living rooms and smaller venues.

Add to this 50% horizontal and 25% vertical lens shift projection plus a device that can rotate about its own axis and you can even project an image from behind objects without obstructing the picture.

Keystone correction allows for image distortion but one beef I have got is the vertical shift is not enough if you’re projecting from a low coffee table for example. However, two adjustable feet gain another few itches of lift so you can get higher, low angle projection with a bit more fiddling.

As well as DVD Video playback from the built-in DVD player, you get DVD VR, SVCD, VCD, CD, DivX, MP3, WMA and JPEG playback on a range of media that includes DVD-R/RW, DVD+R:RW, CD-R/RW and CD-ROM.

The system’s audio format is Dolby Digital but because you can plug in external sources video and audio via the range of connecting options. These include one Composite and S-Video connection, three RCA (YUV) with RGB adaptor

You get one HDMI version 1.2 port, one RGB and one USB type A port (for PC connection) along with two RCA audio ports. Add to this the fact that the system is supplied with an excellent, freestanding 80-inch (roll up style) cinema screen and you have a comprehensive (complete) HD Ready home theatre system in one boxy, erm, box!

Verdict: 
This projector provides a superbly versatile system ideal for families or for those with smaller rooms or for those that cannot “install” a hard wired home theatre setup. The built-in speakers are actually quite good and mean you don’t need all the extra audio paraphernalia that goes with some theatre systems. That and the excellent picture quality (though Full HD would be better) combine to create a very clever, easy to use home theatre system.