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I might as well say right from the off that this is probably the single weirdest review I've ever done for TrustedReviews. And if that hardly sounds like a ringing endorsement of the ‘weird' product in question, Epson's EMP-TWD10, then actually I've got the opening tone pretty much right!
The TWD10 is an LCD projector with a DVD player built in. On the surface, this sounds innocuous enough; where's the harm, after all, in having two bits of AV kit built into one box, saving space and reducing cabling?
However, while the idea of reducing clutter might sound logical enough, when you actually think more in-depth about what the TWD10 is proposing - or especially when you actually try to set the thing up - the whole concept starts to crumble.
Before we start explaining why this is so, it will make our arguments easier to follow if we first give you a sense of what the TWD10 brings to the table in terms of design and specification.
The projector itself is a rather novel-looking item, being almost cubic in shape and sporting a bold two-tone finish, with gloss white on the top two-thirds and black for the bottom part.
This colour difference delineates the projector part - the white bit - from the DVD part underneath. And this delineation is particularly important for the novel reason that the whole projector section can rotate anti-clockwise on the DVD sub-section, to help you out if you're needing to position the unit to the side of your screen.
Also helping out during set up are excellent vertical and horizontal image shift ‘wheels' built into the projector's bodywork, as well as keystone correction to help you get the sides of images straight if you don't have the projector exactly in line with the centre of your screen.
The TWD10's curious position as an AV source as well as an AV display also affects its connectivity. For alongside the expected HDMI (v1.2 only, sadly), component video and D-Sub PC ports, you also get such projector novelties as a phono output for a subwoofer, a headphone jack, and an optical digital audio output so that you can ship digital audio from the DVDs the TWD10 plays to your AV receiver, if you have one.
It's these sound-centric connections that bring to the fore my practical concerns about the TWD10 concept. Clearly if you're going to play DVDs in the TWD10, the sound from them is going to have to come out somewhere. Hence the audio connections we've just mentioned, as well as the presence in the TWD10 of speakers pumping out 4 x 5W (coo) of audio power.
Yet if you use the speakers in the projector, you end up with a completely bizarre situation where the soundtrack of the film you're watching is coming from the projector (potentially at the side or potentially even behind you!) while the pictures are appearing on a screen potentially metres away. Even if you can get the projector positioned in front of you and still get a large image from it, this audio ‘dislocation' is so severe that it makes the annoying lip-synch problems sometimes experienced with display technology look positively puny.