Review Price free/subscription
Epson EH-DM2 LCD Projector - Epson EH-DM2
As you can probably tell by now, I have real issues with the whole idea of a DVD player/projector combi. It's one of those concepts that sounds great on paper, but just doesn't work in reality. And I honestly don't think I'm just saying this because I'm some sort of AV snob. I just can't in all reality imagine that anyone other than, perhaps, a very small child could be satisfied with the DM2's bizarre sound/vision solution.
The only time where I concede that the dislocated video/audio scenario might not completely ruin a show is a sporting event. For instance, if you're watching an England footie match in the next World Cup (hopefully), then I guess it's not the end of the world if the crowd noise and dodgy commentary is coming from somewhere other than the main video action.
Before you think that I'm starting to go soft on the DM2, though, I've got yet more bad news for you: its picture quality is rubbish. And again, I'm not just saying this as some boring AV snob; its weaknesses are there for even the most uninitiated to see, especially with the GT-7000 on hand to highlight its rival's deficiencies.
There are so many problems with the DM2's pictures, in fact, that it's difficult to know where to start. But I guess if I really had to pick the single thing that winds me up the most; it's the overt appearance of LCD's so-called ‘chicken wire' effect.
This sees the physical structure of the pixels being manifested in the picture, so that the action seems to be appearing behind a sort of gauze - especially if there's a lot of motion in the image, or very bright, single-tone content such as a white or blue sky. The same problem also results in the edges of fine details, such as the contours of distant faces, looking blocky and jagged.
The chicken wire effect really is extremely evident from the DM2 even on our 100in screen, so we shudder to think how dominating it would look on the sort of 300in screen the DM2 hilariously claims it can work with. To be fair, the impact of the chicken wiring will reduce the smaller you have the screen, but we tried it at 80in as well, and it was still distracting.
Another depressing problem for the DM2 is its black level response. Dark scenes are presented with a dingy grey veil over them that's more oppressive than I've seen on any projector for years. This prevents dark scenes enjoying any sort of depth, keeps shadow details hidden away, and generally just leaves dark scenes looking completely unrealistic. Again, the comparison here with the startlingly good black response of Optoma's GT-7000 is - literally! - like night and day.
Not surprisingly its dodgy black levels really harm the DM2's DVD movie-playing credentials. But they also do no favours at all to its potential usefulness as a gaming machine, given how much darkness there tends to be in today's increasingly cinematic console experiences.
It comes as little surprise to find the DM2's wholly inadequate black levels also causing trouble with its colour response. Rogue colour tones, especially with skin tones during dark scenes, are 10 a penny, and there's a general lack of colour dynamism.